A bright flare has been observed emanating from Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, and scientists are trying to figure out what caused it. "The black hole was so bright I at first mistook it for the star S0-2, because I had never seen Sgr A* that bright," said Tuan Do, author of a study set for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Green turtles are likely mistaking pieces of plastic for their normal diet of seagrass, according to a study published in Scientific Reports that examined the stomach contents of dead turtles found on Cyprus beaches. "Sea turtles are primarily visual predators -- able to choose foods by size and shape -- and in this study we found strong evidence that green turtles favor plastic of certain sizes, shapes and colors," said Emily Duncan, one of the study's authors.
Five shipwrecks dating back about 2,000 years have been discovered by divers in the Aegean Sea, near the island of Levitha, Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports officials said. The ships contained a trove of goods, mostly amphorae, officials say.
A study in the journal Cell showed that 69 genes were tied to a higher likelihood of autism spectrum disorder, 16 of which are newly linked to ASD, while about 600 other genes may up the odds of ASD according to their interaction with ASD-associated genes. Researchers also found the rare and highly damaging gene variants were significantly elevated among parents of children with ASD, who mostly pass the genes to affected but not unaffected children.
A NASA-funded craft called the In-situ Vent Analysis Divebot for Exobiology Research will study hydrothermal vents at the Axial Seamount underwater volcano off Oregon's coast to prepare for the eventual exploration of water-filled moons in the solar system. InVADER, which will spend a year at the volcano, will practice using its technologies in the deep sea and gather measurements and samples from the vents.
Older patients in skilled nursing facilities for rehabilitation showed improved outcomes from goal-oriented physical and occupational therapy that focused on specific goals and motivational messages, according to a study published in JAMA Open Network. "We found that when you engage and motivate people, they do better," said lead author Eric Lenze.
Scientists can expand their reach and most effectively influence policy if they collaborate and communicate well, write Hannah Safford and Austin Brown of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy. Among their six recommendations, Safford and Brown encourage scientists to boil down lengthy academic articles into briefs or opinion pieces and focus on making suggestions that are feasible and specific.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has awarded $6.6 million in grants to 11 institutions to study ways to improve how structures withstand fire, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. In 2017, the institute awarded 12 grants totaling $6 million.