Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are 10 of the coolest stories in science this week.
Death of a Cell
Cells in our bodies die all the time, and now we know just how fast.
If this process doesn't work properly, the consequences can be dire. For example, cancerous cells, happily living on, having slipped the grasp of the Grim Reaper, begin to spread instead of dying off. [Read more about process.]
Old and Cursed
If you are still disappointed about being denied the opportunity to drink the toxic red mummy juice unearthed in Egypt last month, we have some good news for you. Researchers have just discovered the world's oldest cheese (also in Saqqara, Egypt), and it is almost certainly cursed… or at least contaminated. [Read more about the cheese.]
Teamwork or Competition
In popular science literature, much ink has been spilled on the supposed collapse of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, as it's known in the local language.
Previous archaeological research has shown that no one clan had all the stone resources within its territory to make these massive monuments, and that there were preferred quarries for each type of stone. For example, the majority of moai came from a singletuff source, and most of the pukao came from a single red scoria quarry complex. In the new study, Dale Simpson, Jr., an adjunct professor of anthropology at the College of DuPage in Illinois, set out to investigate the origin of basalt stone tools that were used in the moai carving. [Read more about the people.]
Up, Up and Away
Speechless is not a word typically used to describe Nicky Fox, mission scientist for the Parker Solar Probe at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. But that was her reaction in the wee hours today (Aug. 12) as she watched NASA's Parker Solar Probe launch on an unprecedented mission to the sun. [Read more about the launch.]
Lost and Found
Nearly three decades ago, a 14-year-old in the United Kingdom got hit in the eye during a game of badminton and lost her contact lens. No big deal, right? Well, 28 years later, doctors found the missing contact … embedded in a cyst in her left eyelid. [Read more about the discovery.]
Ancient, Ancient Mummy
Embalming in ancient Egypt predated the pharaohs, an ancient mummy reveals. That would mean that the practice began at least 1,500 years earlier than once thought.
More than a century ago, the mummy was discovered in Egypt. The exact location is unknown, though it is thought to have come from the ancient southern city of Gebelein on the Nile River, and represents a man who was about 20 to 30 years old when he died, the scientists reported. The mummy was acquired in 1901 by the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, and dates to 3700 B.C. to 3500 B.C., according to the study. [Read more about the revelation.]
Early World Depiction
A 1491 map that likely influenced Christopher Columbus's conception of world geography is getting a new lease on life, now that researchers have revealed its faded, hidden details with cutting-edge technology. [Read more about the map.]
Deadly coastal waters
Toxic algae blooms along Florida's southwestern coast have persisted for months and are taking a deadly toll on marine wildlife. In response, Gov. Rick Scott recently declared a state of emergency in seven coastal counties affected by the algae, which creates a condition known as "red tide." [Read more about the emergency.]
Speedy Cosmic Troublemakers
Right now, as you read this very text, your DNA is getting sliced up by tiny, invisible bullets. The damage-dealers are known as cosmic rays, even though they are absolutely not rays — but the name stuck from a historical misunderstanding. Instead, they're particles: electrons and protons, mostly, but occasionally heavier things like helium or even iron nuclei. [Read more about the discovery.]
Sleep And Isolation
Getting too little sleep is tied to a slew of ill health effects, and now, researchers say sleep deprivation could contribute to loneliness as well. And this loneliness could be "contagious."
Surprisingly, the lonely feeling tied to sleep deprivation may also be socially "contagious." The study found that when well-rested people had a brief encounter with a sleep-deprived person, the well-rested people reported feeling lonelier themselves. This suggests there may be a "viral contagion of social isolation" linked to sleep loss, the researchers wrote in the study, published today (Aug. 14) in the journal Nature Communications. [Read more about the condition.]