Archivo: Science

Astronomers have just spied a black hole with a mass one billion times the Sun’s hurtling toward our galaxy. But scientists aren’t worried about it making contact: It’s some 8 billion light-years away from Earth and traveling at less than 1% the speed of light. Instead, they’re wondering how it got the boot from its parent galaxy,

If lakes are shallower, they would release more methane into the atmosphere than previously estimated.

Tlaxcallan is one of several premodern societies around the world that archaeologists believe were organized collectively, where rulers shared power and commoners had a say in the government that presided over their lives.

The objects and people children play with as early as toddlerhood may provide clues to their eventual sexual orientation, reveals the largest study of its kind. The investigation, which tracked more than 4500 kids over the first 15 years of their lives, seeks to answer one of the most controversial questions in the social sciences, but experts are mixed on the findings.

By making assumptions about how the push and pull of energy and matter in the universe have changed the rate of cosmic expansion since the microwave background was formed, the astrophysicists can take their map and adjust the Hubble constant to the present-day, local universe. The numbers should match. But they don’t.

Using images from NASA’s orbiting Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers has deduced in unprecedented detail the distributions of dark matter within three clusters of galaxies.

A few years ago, Christopher Hamm was reading up on monarch butterflies when he noticed something peculiar. All of the scientific articles that mentioned the number of the insect’s chromosomes—30, it seemed—referenced a 2004 paper, which in turn cited a 1975 paper. But when Hamm, then a postdoc at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, did a genetic analysis of his own, he found that his monarchs only had 28 chromosomes, suggesting that an error has pervaded the literature for more than 40 years. Another twist, however, was just around the corner.

In a new study, two quantum computers fashioned from dramatically different technologies have competed head-to-head in an algorithm-crunching exercise. One computer was more reliable, and the other was faster. But what’s most important, some scientists say, is that for the first time, two different quantum computers have been compared and tested on the same playing field.

Predicting color is easy: Shine a light with a wavelength of 510 nanometers, and most people will say it looks green. Yet figuring out exactly how a particular molecule will smell is much tougher. Now, 22 teams of computer scientists have unveiled a set of algorithms able to predict the odor of different molecules based on their chemical structure. It remains to be seen how broadly useful such programs will be, but one hope is that such algorithms may help fragrance makers and food producers design new odorants with precisely tailored scents.

Fasting is all the rage. Self-help books promise it will incinerate excess fat, spruce up your DNA, and prolong your life. A new scientific study has backed up some health claims about eating less. The clinical trial reveals that cutting back on food for just 5 days a month could help prevent or treat age-related illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.