MI weekly selection #315

Brain responds to rocking during sleep with improved memory

A rocking motion may help people sleep better and improve their memory by influencing their brains’ sleep oscillations. “Our volunteers — even if they were all good sleepers — fell asleep more rapidly when rocked and had longer periods of deeper sleep associated with fewer arousals during the night,” said co-author Laurence Bayer.

The Scientist

Forecast: CO2 levels could rise by 2.8 ppm this year

This year could see one of the largest on-record rises in the average concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to a forecast by the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre. The office’s Richard Betts says CO2 levels could go up by 2.8 parts per million to reach 411 ppm.

New Scientist

Earth-smashing event may have led to life

The conditions for life on Earth may have been created when a Mars-sized object crashed into the planet more than 4.4 billion years ago. Study author Damanveer Grewal of Rice University says a merger between two planetary cores after such a collision, along with a melding of two mantles, could have changed Earth’s bulk silicate composition to a carbon-nitrogen ratio compatible with life.

Live Science

Potential role of dark matter in origins of black holes grows

Supermassive black holes may have been formed from halos of dark matter rather than radiation-influenced inhibition of normal star formation.The dark matter creates most of the gravity, and then the gas falls into that gravitational potential, where it can form stars or a massive black hole.

Space.com

Did Andes emerge from volcanic eruptions?

Researchers have concluded that the formation of the Andes Mountains in South America was explosive, debunking previous theories that the process was consistent and predictable. The study published in Nature found that the world’s longest continuous mountain range was formed millions of years ago by powerful volcanic eruptions that jolted the continent.

Live Science

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