January 15, 2021
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Mars image released in honor of Curiosity milestone
Curiosity (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
NASA has released a panorama of the Gale Crater and Mount Sharp compiled from 122 images taken by the Curiosity rover in November. The rover is spending its 3,000th solar day on the red planet.
Full Story: CBS News (1/14) 
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Science in the News
Disagreements take up more real estate in the brain than agreements, a study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests. After measuring brain activity in pairs of people either agreeing or disagreeing during discussions, researchers found that agreements activated sensory brain regions, while arguments activated cognitive regions, such as the frontal lobes.
Full Story: Yale Daily News (Yale University) (1/13) 
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Researchers have observed Volta's electric eels hunting in packs of more than 100, working together to trap and shock prey ahead of a feeding frenzy, according to findings published in Ecology and Evolution. The Amazon eels herd thousands of small fish into the shallows where they send out shocks to stun the fish so they can be devoured easily.
Full Story: Science News (1/14) 
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A huge gas giant exoplanet that orbits its star every 218 days has been discovered about 1,300 light-years away, researchers reported at the American Astronomical Society meeting. Kepler-1514b's lengthy orbit is rare among exoplanets, with just a handful found with orbits of more than 200 days, researchers say.
Full Story: Space (1/13) 
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Scientists who studied ancient zircon crystals from stream sediment in Greenland say the Earth's crust experienced major growth 3 billion years ago. "The spike in the age of crust production in Greenland matches other regions across the globe and points to a significant widespread event that formed crust relatively early in the history of our planet," says Chris Kirkland, lead author of the study published in Nature Communications.
Full Story: United Press International (1/12) 
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Data on 100 patients with COVID-19 showed the gut microbiome composition in patients with COVID-19 was different than in people who did not have COVID-19, according to a study led by Yun Kit Yeoh, MD, of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and published in Gut. The altered composition was associated with COVID-19 severity, researchers said.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (1/11) 
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The rate of cancer-related deaths in the US declined by 31% from 1991 to 2018, including a record 2.4% drop between 2017 and 2018, with 46% of the decrease in cancer mortality rates during the past half-decade attributed to reductions in lung cancer-related deaths, according to an American Cancer Society report in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The COVID-19 pandemic's effect on declining cancer-related deaths will remain unclear for several years, though cancer care disruptions brought by the pandemic may prompt increased advanced-stage diagnoses that may hinder future reductions in cancer-related mortality prevalence, said lead researcher Rebecca Siegel.
Full Story: HealthDay News (1/12) 
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Funding Watch
The Office of Naval Research has awarded a $541,167 grant to Penn State scientists investigating freestream turbulence and how it affects aircraft performance in an effort to help the Navy design safer high-performance aircraft. "As ... engineers are trying to improve airplane wings, inlets or turbomachinery applications, we want them to have a clearer understanding of what the effects of freestream turbulence could be," said principal investigator David Williams.
Full Story: Pennsylvania State University (1/12) 
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Sigma Xi News
The Committee on Awards invites nominations for the following Sigma Xi Prizes and Awards that recognize achievements in science or engineering research and communication: Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement, John P. McGovern Science and Society Award, Walston Chubb Award for Innovation, Young Investigator Award, Evan Ferguson Award for Service to the Society, and Honorary Membership. Nomination packets should be emailed by January 31, 2021.
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Students are invited to submit an abstract for the 2021 Student Research Showcase by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on March 26. The Student Research Showcase is Sigma Xi's online science communication competition. The eighth annual online competition will challenge high school through graduate school students to create a website containing a slideshow, video, and abstract about their research.
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Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
Melinda Gates,
philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
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