The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week
On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan, leading to a nuclear blast that instantly claimed about 45,000 lives. Now, the jawbone of one of those casualties — belonging to a person who was less than a mile from the bomb’s hypocenter — is helping researchers determine how much radiation was absorbed by the bones of the victims, a new study finds. [Read more about the levels.]
It takes 512 years for a high-energy photon to travel from the nearest neutron star to Earth. Just a few of them make the trip. But they carry the information necessary to solve one of the toughest questions in astrophysics.
That data point, along with countless others like it collected over the course of months, will answer a basic question as soon as summer 2018: Just how wide is J0437-4715, Earth’s nearest neutron-star neighbor? [Read more about the solution.]
More than 200 flat-Earth enthusiasts descended on West Midlands, England, this past weekend to “engage freely in deep and meaningful discussions,” according to the Flat Earth Convention UK.
According to the group that put on the convention, the gathering also included some “alternative viewpoints.” (You think?) [Read more about the theory.]
New York City goes by many nicknames: the Big Apple, Gotham, Empire City and the City That Never Sleeps, to name a few. But one corner of the city’s Long Island Sound has a more gruesome moniker: the Island of the Dead.
When a person dies in New York, the OCME assumes custody of the individual’s remains; if they are unclaimed or unidentified, the remains are then turned over to the DOC for burial on Hart Island, according to the DOC website. [Read more about the bones.]
The far reaches of the outer solar system may be home to an icy giant — a hypothetical planet scientists have dubbed “Planet Nine.”
Planet Nine, if it exists, would have about 10 times the mass of Earth and orbit 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune does. (Planet Nine is not Pluto, which was once considered the ninth planet but was demoted to mere “dwarf planet” in 2006. [Read more about the tapestries.]
A Neanderthal seems to have left a message etched in stone about 35,000 years ago, a new study finds. [Read more about the etchings.]
Rare and Large
Connecticut surgeons recently removed a 132-lb. (60 kilograms) ovarian tumor from a woman’s abdomen.
The woman had gone to her gynecologist after she experienced a rapid weight gain — about 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) a week — over a two-month period [Read more about the tumor.]
Previously hidden text on fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls is now readable, revealing a possible undiscovered scroll and solving a debate about the sacred Temple Scroll. The discoveries came from a new infrared analysis of the artifacts, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced yesterday (May 1). [Read more about the scrolls.]
Hawking’s Final Contribution
Stephen Hawking’s final paper, which aims to test a theory that proposes parallel universes, appeared today (May 2) in the Journal of High Energy Physics.
Scientists later determined that this proposal implied something strange: that the multiverse is infinite, with endless, uncountable parallel universes existing alongside our own, Live Science previously reported. [Read more about the paper.]
Dozens of people in Alabama and North Carolina have developed a rare eye cancer — and doctors don’t know what’s behind the apparent spike in cases in these areas, according to news reports.
Right now, doctors don’t know the answer to the question, but they say something in the environment could be a factor, CBS reported. [Read more about cancer.]