Science

Egyptian royal mummy shows pharaoh wasn’t assassinated—he was executed

Enlarge Saleem and Hawass 2021 CT scans of a mummified Egyptian pharaoh, once suspected to be the victim of a palace assassination, suggest that he was actually executed after being captured in battle in the mid-16th century BCE. Pharaoh Seqenenre led his army from Upper Egypt in the 1550s BCE to face the Hyksos, a …

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Two visionaries: Marie Curie forged a friendship with dancer Loïe Fuller

Enlarge / Radiant: The Scientist, the Dancer, and a Friendship Forged in Light explores the lives of Marie Curie and Loïe Fuller. Aurich Lawson / Getty Images Both the arts and the sciences flourished in Paris during the years of the so-called Belle Époque at the dawn of the 20th century. This was when Nobel Prize-winning physicist …

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Neanderthals used stone tool tech once considered exclusive to Homo sapiens

Enlarge Blinkhorn et al. 2021 The entangled history of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals in the Levant (the area around the eastern end of the Mediterranean) just got even more complicated. Paleoanthropologists recently identified a tooth from Shukbah Cave, 28km (17.5 miles) northwest of Jerusalem, as a Neanderthal molar. That makes Shukbah the southernmost trace of …

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Astronomers: A comet fragment, not an asteroid, killed off the dinosaurs

Harvard astronomers have a new theory about the origin of the comet that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Some 66 million years ago, a catastrophic event occurred that wiped out three-quarters of all plant and animal species on Earth, most notably taking down the dinosaurs. An errant asteroid from the asteroid belt has been …

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CDC releases updated “science based” school guidelines

Enlarge / Rochelle Walensky during the announcement of her nomination to head the CDC. Jim Watson, Getty Images As the US approached the start of the school year in 2020, the guidance it received from the federal government was a mess. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a series of documents in late July …

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The $3,000 eVscope makes stargazing easy and fun

The eVscope on its tripod outside of Shelbyville, Illinois. Eric Bangeman The motorized mount handles altitude and azimuth changes via the app. You can view the heavens through the eyepiece or your smartphone. Eric Bangeman Pay close attention to the level as you set up the tripod, as it can affect the accuracy of the …

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A curious observer’s guide to quantum mechanics, Pt. 6: Two quantum spooks

Enlarge Aurich Lawson / Getty Images One of the quietest revolutions of our current century has been the entry of quantum mechanics into our everyday technology. It used to be that quantum effects were confined to physics laboratories and delicate experiments. But modern technology increasingly relies on quantum mechanics for its basic operation, and the …

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Hubble researchers find a gaggle of small black holes

Larger black holes may be the usual attention-getters, but the smaller ones may be at least as important. A team using the Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a concentration of small black holes in the NGC 6397 globular star cluster (pictured above) 7,800 light-years away — the first to have its mass and extent recorded. …

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China refused to hand over key data to WHO team probing pandemic’s origin

Enlarge / Liang Wannian (2nd L) and Peter Ben Embarek (3rd R) both members of the WHO-China joint study team, shake hands after the WHO-China joint study press conference in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, Feb. 9, 2021. Getty | Xinhua News Agency The Chinese government failed to share key data on early COVID-19 cases …

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Report: NASA’s only realistic path for humans on Mars is nuclear propulsion

Enlarge / NASA originally studied nuclear thermal propulsion in the 1960s. Here is concept art for the Nuclear Energy for Rocket Vehicle Applications (NERVA) program. NASA Getting humans to Mars and back is rather hard. Insanely difficult, in fact. Many challenges confront NASA and other would-be Mars pioneers when planning missions to the red planet, …

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