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China on the Moon, Martian spring, holographic dreams, dinosaur bling

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China on the Moon (New Scientist, BBC)

China's Chang'e-3 mission has reached the Moon and successfully landed the Jade Rabbit probe. We see a Man in the Moon; China sees a Rabbit in the Moon. Now they've got landed one there.

Martian spring (Science News)

The Curiosity probe has been exploring a dry lake bed on Mars. From its findings, we learn that there was water as "recently" 3.5 billion years ago. Long enough, but a big increase in the time interval during which Mars could have supported "life as we know it."

All a dream (

In quantum mechanics, the amount of information a system can contain is proportional to its surface area. That's similar to the relationship between the film of a hologram and the apparent image it produces. This has spawned the idea that our apparent world is an illusion, conjured from data painted on some surface beyond the sky.

There is now some confirmation of this theory — of a sort. Theorists working on string theory have found they can describe the dynamics of a black hole with either ten dimensions or one. (Nothing so mundane as three or four.) Some take this flexibility of dimensional perspective as backing for the hologram theory.

Primal jelly (ScienceNOW, New Scientist)

There are a number of simple, obscure animals that have been candidates for models of the ancestors of all other animals. Sponges were the top candidates for a long time, but genetic studies now indicate comb jellies as closest to the first animals. Comb jellies are even more obscure than sponges; they are little egg-shaped lumps of jelly with "combs" of cilia for swimming.

Dinosaur bling (ScienceNOW)

Recent fossil finds have discovered a hadrosaur (a duck-billed dinosaur) with a rooster-like comb. Paleontologists think it served a similar function, of showing off to the females. Yet another resemblance between dinosaurs and birds.

Tastes too good (Discover)

Psychological tests find that obese people are more sensitive to bitter tastes than the non-obese. And heavily processed foods, dense in calories, are designed to be very short on bitter flavors.

Memory tickler (Discover)

Neurologists have identified a system of signals in the brains of rhesus monkeys that indicate when memory is being clearly accessed. And they find that if they feed those signals into the brains of monkeys working on difficult problems, they remembered the lessons better.

Antibiotic phaseout, sort of (New Scientist)

The FDA has told pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily withdraw sale of the antibiotics given to livestock to promote growth. Voluntarily. That is, without any legal teeth. So we'll see what that's worth.


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