MI weekly selection #157


Strands of dark matter may create “beard” around Eart

Earth may have a “beard” of dark matter shooting out from it, and the roots may hold a wealth of information about the elusive stuff and Earth itself. The model shows how dark matter streams may interact with a planet’s gravity, passing straight through and producing dark matter “hairs” that don’t interact with normal matter but are channeled by Earth’s gravity, researchers say.


Mars rocks eroded by volcanic fog billions of years ago

Rocks studied by the Mars rover Spirit near the planet’s equator were likely eroded by acid fog caused by volcanic activity billions of years ago. The rocks varied in structure, bumps and the amount of iron oxidized.


Army ants make living bridges to make foraging more efficient

Efficient army ants invariably take the shortest paths to find food and bring it back to their nests, creating living bridges over obstacles until the shortcut they’ve created stops being worth the cost. Scientists studied ants in Panama with the hope of better designing swarming robots that can mimic that ability.


How to manipulate flatworms to grow other species’ heads

Flatworms can temporarily generate new heads and brains that belong to other species when researchers manipulate proteins that steer communications between cells.

Live Science

Foreign DNA found in tiny tardigrades’ genome

More than 17% of the genome of tiny tardigrades, or water bears, comes from bacteria, fungi and other sources. “We had no idea that an animal genome could be composed of so much foreign DNA,” said Bob Goldstein, co-author of the study.

The Christian Science Monitor

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