MI weekly selection #536

Photo: Bruno Kelly / Reuters

Bonobos show pro-social cooperation between groups

Bonobos demonstrate cooperation between different social groups such as forming alliances and sharing food, according to a study of wild adult bonobos in the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bonobos show that the ability to maintain peaceful between-group relationships while extending acts of pro-sociality and cooperation to out-group members is not uniquely human.

Full Story: Popular Science

Releasing treated sewage hurts freshwater ecosystems

Even highly treated wastewater can harm the health of freshwater ecosystems, according to a study analyzing the effects of wastewater from an advanced treatment facility on an unpolluted stream. Scientists found that nutrients from the treated wastewater caused higher growth of biofilm for invertebrates to consume but did not result in more energy flowing to fishing, demonstrating the subtle yet fundamental shifts in ecosystem function.

Full Story: Eos

Some exoplanets push their atmospheres away

The strange gap in exoplanet masses may be explained by core-powered mass loss when a planet’s radiation pushes its atmosphere away. Astronomers have observed a lack of exoplanets with masses between 1.5 to 2 times the size of Earth, or between super-Earth and sub-Neptunes, and found that the hot planetary cores of the larger sub-Neptunes may cause them to shrink.

Full Story: Gizmodo

The factors driving drought in the Brazilian Amazon

Drought conditions in the Brazilian Amazon are linked to a combination of factors, including deforestation, an El Niño pattern and warming of the water in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, studies have shown that climate change is affecting the timing of El Niño patterns. “The forest’s tipping point is coming closer — and it’s coming quick,” said geographer Karina Lima of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Full Story: Nature

Soft robotic hands with 3D printing

Researchers at ETH Zurich collaborated with US-based startup Inkbit 3D on an additive manufacturing process that produced soft robotic hands with synthetic bones, ligaments and tendons. The researchers used a slow-curing polymer and a process called vision-controlled jetting, as described in an article in Nature.

Full Story: Euronews

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