The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week
Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are 10 of the coolest stories in science this week.
The universe shouldn’t exist, according to new ultra-precise measurements of anti-protons.
This physics conundrum focuses on the idea that all particles have their antimatter twin with the same quantum numbers, only the exact opposite. Protons have anti-protons, electrons have positrons, neutrinos have anti-neutrinos etc.; a beautiful example of symmetry in the quantum world. [Read more about the universe.]
In a long-awaited declassification of files related to the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy, President Donald Trump said this afternoon that he was releasing to the public 2,800 documents, while holding back others due to national security concerns. [Read more about the files.]
Intelligent Life, Hidden
E.T. may be out there, silently swimming in frigid oceans beneath miles and miles of ice.
Last week, planetary scientist Alan Stern offered: Maybe intelligent life is widespread throughout the galaxy but most of it lives in deep, dark subsurface oceans that are cut off from the rest of the cosmos. [Read more about the possibilities.]
A Lucrative Tip
Two advice-filled notes Albert Einstein wrote to a bellboy in Japan 95 years ago, including one that advocated for “a calm and modest life,” fetched more than $1.5 million at an auction on Tuesday (Oct. 24).
A bidding war for the letter lasted 25 minutes, and ended with an anonymous buyer purchasing it for $1,560,000, a price that includes an additional charge known as the buyer’s premium. [Read more about the formula.]
Lost and Found
A painting the Nazis looted from a Jewish leader of the French Resistance during World War II has been identified, German authorities announced yesterday (Oct. 25).
The Couture painting had been confiscated in 2012 when German authorities discovered a possible trove of Nazi-looted art in the Munich apartment of collector Cornelius Gurlitt. But it was not connected with a specific victim of Nazi artwork looting until now. [Read more about the work of art.]
A Sailor’s Guide
More than 500 years ago, a fierce storm sank a ship carrying the earliest known marine astrolabe — a device that helped sailors navigate at sea, new research finds.
The marine astrolabe likely dates to between 1495 and 1500, and was aboard a ship known as the Esmeralda, which sank in 1503. The Esmeralda was part of a fleet led by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, the first known person to sail directly from Europe to India. [Read more about the tool.]
Earth’s first trees had hundreds of tree-like structures within them, making them exceedingly more intricate than the insides of modern trees, a new study finds. [Read more about the first trees.]
A young woman in Italy has a rare and mysterious condition that causes her to sweat blood, according to a new report of her case. [Read more about the condition.]
Baby Samurai Names
What should you name a baby samurai? What food should a samurai bring to a battle? What is a samurai’s most treasured possession? A newly translated 450-year-old book supposedly written by a renowned samurai provides answers to these and many other questions about the Japanese swordsmen.
The rules also highlight the importance of archery, even suggesting that the best name for a baby born into the samurai class is “Yumi,” which means “bow.” [Read more about the book.]
Plastic and acetone
Whoever said chemistry is boring hasn’t seen YouTube user Amazing Timelapse’s video showing a calculator melting into a surreal shape, reminiscent of a Salvador Dalí painting. Surprisingly, the calculator isn’t melting at all, or even being heated.
Plastics are different. The long carbon chains aren’t polar — they don’t have the same positive and negative sides. So water just bounces off the molecules and doesn’t separate them from their fellows. [Read more about the vapors.]