MI weekly selection #352

Clues point to possible fifth fundamental force

Physicists say they’ve gathered more evidence that there could be a fifth physical force in addition to gravity, electromagnetism and a pair of nuclear interactions. The researchers say they’ve glimpsed a force carried by a particle they’ve named X17 most recently coming from a helium atom; if the discovery is confirmed, it might help scientists unlock the mysteries of dark matter.

Science Alert

Scientists discover universal features of music

Music around the world is incredibly diverse, but all tunes share similar structural components, such as melodies centered around a base tone. “This suggests there is a biological basis that is constant across all humans, but interpreted differently in different human cultures,” said W. Tecumseh Fitch, an evolutionary biologist who wasn’t involved in the study.

New Scientist

Unusual orbits keep 2 of Neptune’s moons apart

Two of Neptune’s moons orbit the planet in an unusual way, according to NASA scientists. Naiad’s seven-hour orbit is tilted relative to Thalassa’s, which takes about seven and a half hours in what astronomers say is a pattern known as an orbital resonance.

The New York Times

Ancient artists purposefully made ochre for rock paintings

Ancient hunter-gatherers purposefully created ochre to use for rock art by heating aquatic bacteria to specific temperatures.


Embryonic progenitor cells mitigate brain injury in mice

Memory improved and seizures eased in mice with hippocampus injuries that received embryonic progenitor cell transplants. The transplanted neurons migrated to the hippocampus and formed new connections with the injured cells, suggesting a promising path forward for treating traumatic brain injuries.

Health Day News

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