MI weekly selection #343

Image: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC) and the OPAL Team

Hubble snaps stunning photo of Saturn

Saturn and its rings shine in an image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA and the European Space Agency on Thursday. The image, taken on June 20, also shows four of Saturn’s moons: Enceladus, Mimas, Janus and Tethys.


Assessing the long reach of microplastics

Studies of the Great Lakes and elsewhere show the vast reach of microplastics, which reach the oceans, rivers, streams and lakes through wastewater treatment facilities. “The plastic we use ultimately comes back to us in the food we eat and the water we drink”.

American Scientist

Bones may produce hormone to spark fight-or-flight

Osteocalcin, a hormone produced by bones, may be what activates the fight-or-flight stress reaction in the brain rather than adrenaline. “We hypothesize that bones may have been invented by evolution as a tool to escape danger, when animals left the sea to go to the land,” says study author Gerard Karsenty.


Rats show prowess at hide-and-seek

Rats have been taught to play hide-and-seek with researchers, and the scientists say the rodents are not only good at it, but they seem to enjoy it. The findings have given researchers clues about the rats’ cognitive abilities and the ways they participate in play.


Reconstruction of skull on computer yields clues about Homo sapiens

The skull of what may be modern humans’ last common ancestor has been digitally reconstructed using images of fossils and CT scans from a wide range of individuals from several populations around the world. The computer-generated skull is quite similar to fossils found in Africa that date back about 300,000 years.

The New York Times

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