Tag Archives: Science

Dan Levitt’s ‘What’s Gotten Into You’ traces atoms’ long trip from the big bang to the human body | CNN

By Bryn Nelson, CNN, Published 10:17 AM EST, Sun January 22, 2023

We are ever-changing and replacing old parts with new ones: our water, proteins and even cells.
Faisal/Adobe Stock

In its violent early years, Earth was a molten hellscape that ejected the moon after a fiery collision with another protoplanet, scientists now suspect.

Dan Levitt’s book, “What’s Gotten Into You,” reconstructs the journey of our atoms across billions of years.

Later, it morphed from a watery expanse to a giant snowball that nearly snuffed out all existing life.

Source: Dan Levitt’s ‘What’s Gotten Into You’ traces atoms’ long trip from the big bang to the human body | CNN

The Science Behind the Oldest Trees on Earth | Science| Smithsonian Magazine

How experts have determined that bristlecone pines, sequoias and baobabs have stood for thousands of years

By Jared Farmer, January 3, 2023

This cross section of a sequoia in Yosemite National Park in California has markers identifying the dates of tree rings. Jared Farmer

What and where are the oldest known trees on the planet?

If you include plants that can regenerate, the upper age limit could be ten thousand years or more. Such superorganisms, including the famous aspen grove nicknamed “Pando,” are made up of genetically identical trunks connected through a single root system that sends up new shoots over time.

These clonal colonies are impossible to date with precision, because the oldest substance long ago decomposed. Many lists of oldest trees stick to single-trunked plants that produce annual growth rings. These kinds of trees are easier to date. Scientists called dendrochronologists focus on assigning calendar years to tree rings and interpreting data within those rings. By using a hand-cranked tool called an increment borer, they extract core samples without depriving the tree of strength and vigor.

Source: The Science Behind the Oldest Trees on Earth | Science| Smithsonian Magazine

The Ten Best Science Books of 2022 | Science| Smithsonian Magazine

From a detective story on the origins of Covid-19 to a narrative that imagines a fateful day for dinosaurs, these works affected us the most this year

By Joe Spring, Carlyn Kranking, Riley Black, Dan Falk, Bridget Alex and Shi En Kim December 7, 2022

This year’s picks include Fresh Banana Leaves, Origin and Starry Messenger. Illustration by Emily Lankiewicz

This year in science was filled with amazing discoveries, sobering stats related to mounting illness and death from viruses, and major technological achievements in space. Researchers discovered lost cities in the Bolivian Amazon after flying over the rainforest. Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) spread around the United States, while global deaths from Covid-19 topped six million. And the James Webb Space Telescope unfolded to capture breathtaking images of our universe. In between the breaking news stories, we dug into longer works on a variety of fascinating scientific disciplines. From those, our editors and contributors have picked ten favorites that explore our universe through the lens of creatures ranging from a tiny virus to a dedicated anthropologist to extinct dinosaurs. For a deep look into reproductive anatomy or a memoir connecting music to physics, check out some of Smithsonian magazine’s favorite science books of 2022.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…

Source: The Ten Best Science Books of 2022 | Science| Smithsonian Magazine

Brain development: The myth the brain “matures” when you’re 25 | Slate

A powerful idea about human development stormed pop culture and changed how we see one another. It’s mostly bunk.

By Jane C. Hu, November 27, 20227:00 PM

Illustrations by Rey Velasquez Sagcal

When Leonardo DiCaprio’s relationship with model/actress Camila Morrone ended three months after she celebrated her 25th birthday, the lifestyle site YourTango turned to neuroscience.

DiCaprio has a well-documented history of dating women under 25. (His current flame, who is 27, is a rare exception.) “Given that DiCaprio’s cut-off point is exactly around the time that neuroscientists say our brains are finished developing, there is certainly a case to be made that a desire to date younger partners comes from a desire to have control,” the article said. It quotes a couples therapist, who says that at 25, people’s “brains are fully formed and that presents a more elevated and conscious level of connection”—the type of connection, YourTango suggests, that DiCaprio wants to avoid.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…

Source: Brain development: The myth the brain “matures” when you’re 25.

Peak Cuteness, and Other Revelations from the Science of Puppies | The New Yorker

A new book explores how dogs and people grow up together.

By Rivka Galchen, September 18, 2022

Photographs by Peter Fisher

Alexandra Horowitz, the head scientist at Barnard College’s Dog Cognition Lab, has conducted a longitudinal observational study on the first year of life of a member of Canis lupus familiaris. In other words, like many others, Horowitz got a pandemic puppy. And she paid a lot of attention to that puppy, whom she and her family named Quiddity, or Quid, meaning “essence of.” She chronicles this in “The Year of the Puppy,” a book with an unsurprisingly adorable cover.

Since Horowitz already had two dogs, a cat, and a son, her motivation for getting a puppy is somewhat convincingly presented as being in the service of science. Horowitz has written several popular books about dogs and dog science: “Our Dogs, Ourselves,” “Being a Dog,” and “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.” In her new book, Horowitz’s goal is to think and write about dogs in a way that is distinct from usual pet-related fare about how to teach a puppy not to lunge at children and not to increase your household paper-towel budget. Instead, she aims to try to better understand a young dog, from Day One to day three hundred and sixty-five, as a being in transformation. She wants to write about puppies developmentally.

Source: https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/peak-cuteness-and-other-revelations-from-the-science-of-puppies

The staggering lack of female artists in America’s museums | Axios

By Anna Braz, Nicki, Camberg, Victoria Ellis, Sept 10, 2022 – Science

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Women are the muses of the art in our museums, but rarely the creators.

Why it matters: Female artists’ work is a fraction of what’s displayed in museums, but that’s not due to a lack of women in art.

By the numbers: A recent analysis of major U.S. art museums by researchers at Williams College found that just 13% of artists featured in those collections were women. But some 55% of working artists are women, per data from the career platform Zippia.

The big picture: Kelema Moses, an art history expert and professor at the University of California, San Diego, points to a centuries-old pattern of women being left out of the art world.

  • “Let’s think back to the renaissance,” she says. “Women were kept out of art schools and institutions, and therefore could not become artists with a capital ‘A’.”

Now, women make up the majority of art students and working artists, but they’re still catching up to that long history of exclusion.

  • And museum directors or those in charge of curating the art are majority male, Moses notes.
  • “It’s sort of cliche to say that representation matters, but it really does. To see yourself, or at least a portion of your identity represented in museum spaces is critical because it can act as a vector for social change,” Moses says.

What to watch: Change is coming — albeit gradually.