MI weekly selection #539

NASA/Caltech/Solange V. Ramirez (NExScI; Caltech)

Warming waters may release methane “fire-ice”

Methane hydrate, or fire-ice, frozen underneath the ocean floor can thaw and release methane into the atmosphere as the climate warms. Researchers used 3D seismic imaging techniques to examine a portion of fire-ice off the coast of Mauritania and discovered that some dislodged methane moved from a hydrate stability zone more than 40 kilometres up to the shallow edge of an underwater shelf, likely during periods of climate warming over the past 2.6 million years.

Full Story: Popular Science

Ancient “plant” fossils are actually rare turtle shells

Two leaf-shaped plant fossils collected by a Colombian priest aren’t plants at all, researchers say, but are rare hatchling turtle shells from the Aptian age between 125 million to 113 million years ago. While the priest mistakenly identified the fossils as extinct plants known as Sphenophyllum colombianum more than 50 years ago, a new study reveals that the fossils are the upper shells of young marine turtles.

Full Story: Live Science

Strange space region has even more unexpected qualities

New observations from the James Webb Space Telescope reveal more insight, and more questions, about a box-shaped cloud of dust at the centre of the Milky Way known as “the Brick”. While the dense blob should theoretically be an active star nursery, the study did not find any young stars, and new data show that the Brick is full of frozen carbon monoxide, despite the area’s temperature reaching much higher than conditions for carbon monoxide to typically freeze.

Full Story: CNN

Newly discovered heart-brain pathway underlies fainting

A two-way communication pathway between the heart and brain may explain why about 40% of people faint in their lives, often without an underlying medical reason. In a study published in Nature, scientists identified cells in mice that form a fiber pathway from the heart’s ventricles to the brain’s area postrema and found that stimulating the pathway caused the animals to pass out as their heart rates and blood pressure dipped.

Full Story: National Public Radio

Common beliefs about chronic fatigue syndrome upended

An estimated 3.3 million adults in the US are living with myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a CDC data brief. Although more women than men have been told by a health care professional that they have ME/CFS, the gap between men and women is smaller than previous studies have found, and people with lower incomes may be more likely to have ME/CFS than more affluent people, the study found.

Full Story: The Associated Press

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