Incredible discovery places humans in California 130,000 years ago

Nature

In 1992, a group of archaeologists found something extraordinary buried below a sound berm next to the San Diego freeway in Southern California. They had been called in during a freeway renovation to do some excavation because the fossil-laced earth of the California coast often yields scientific treasures. After digging about three meters below the construction area, Center for American Paleolithic Research archaeologist Steve Holen was deep into a pristine layer of soil that hadn’t been disturbed for millennia. There, he found what appeared to be an abandoned campsite, where humans had left stone tools and hammered mastodon bones behind. This wasn’t too unusual; it’s fairly well-established that humans were hunting mastodons in the Americas as early as 15,000 years ago.

But when Holen’s colleagues

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As climates cool, adaptation heats up

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While natural selection is a big part of evolution, the theory now embraces much more than that. One of the big concepts that explains a lot of the pattern of evolution throughout history is called “adaptive radiation.” Adaptive radiation is a process in which environmental changes create new resources, challenges, and environmental niches, enabling rapid diversification of organisms from a single ancestral species.

Adaptive radiation provides a sound explanation that captures the effects of the interactions among organisms on species diversification. However, non-biological effects—the details of how environmental changes interact with species—are not easy to incorporate into this model and have not been extensively explored.

In a recent investigation published in PNAS, a team of scientists

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To keep EpiPen sales up, Mylan threatened states, sued making bogus claims

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Note: EpiPens are sold in the UK by Meda Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Mylan in 2016. They can be acquired for just £45 a piece online in the UK. But the US and UK healthcare markets are quite different beasts…

Pharmaceutical company Mylan sued West Virginia in 2015 to keep its EpiPens on the state’s “preferred drug list,” which, if successful, would mean that the state’s Medicaid programs would have to automatically pay for the pricey epinephrine auto-injectors.

The bold and unusual move by Mylan—which ultimately failed—is yet another example of the aggressive marketing and legal tactics the company used to boost profits from EpiPens, which halt life-threatening allergic reactions. Since Mylan acquired rights to EpiPen in 2007,

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UK has first coal-free power day since the Industrial Revolution

Enlarge / London’s coal-powered Battersea Power Station in 1937. Yes, originally it only had two chimneys but was extended after World War II. (credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)

In 1882, the world’s first coal-fired public-use power station opened in London at 57 Holborn Viaduct—today a fairly nondescript location in the centre of London close to Blackfriars. On Friday, some 135 years, a few monarchs, and an entire Industrial Revolution later, the UK power grid had its first ever day without coal energy.

The National Grid control room announced on April 21 that from 11pm on Thursday to 11pm on Friday the UK’s electricity demand was supplied without firing up some coal power plants. The UK’s power mix for the day was: 50.3% natural gas, 21.2% nuclear, 12.2%

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March for Science brought out great minds—and signs—at 600 events worldwide

Nathan Mattise

AUSTIN, Texas—“We are here today because the importance of science in our nation is in dispute,” Dr. Art Markman told the assembled crowd outside the Texas State Capitol. “And I have to lecture a bit because I’m a professor.”

Evidently, professors weren’t the only ones compelled to act at this weekend’s March for Science. Activists, writers, engineers, scientists, coders, kids, dogs, religious leaders, a PhD student preparing to give his dissertation next Friday, and a joke-telling robot named Annabelle gathered side-by-side among thousands ready to march at the Austin event.

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The life-saving treatment that’s being thrown in the bin

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Transplanted umbilical cord blood can be used to treat or cure more than 80 conditions, from leukemia to sickle-cell disease. For Mosaic, Bryn Nelson follows the story of one man, Chris. After being diagnosed with leukemia in his early 40s, his best chance of survival comes in the form of blood from three babies he’ll never meet, nor even know the names of. This article was first published by Wellcome on Mosaic and is republished here under a Creative Commons licence.

TA few hours before beginning chemotherapy, a man named Chris faces his cellphone camera with a mischievous smile and describes a perfectly absurd milestone at 1.37pm on a Wednesday. “There is no more beautiful moment in a man’s

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Study claims a link between diet sodas and stroke and dementia

(credit: Phera Laster / Flickr)

Excessive intake of sugar has been linked to a huge variety of health problems, many of them a consequence of the obesity that’s also linked to excessive sugar. That’s led many people to switch to drinks with artificial sweeteners that aren’t metabolized by the body. A new study is now suggesting that these sweeteners are associated with their own health risks, namely stroke and dementia. But the study doesn’t get into causality, and there’s enough oddities in the data to suggest that it’s not time to purge your fridge just yet.

The study, run by a collaboration of Boston-based researchers, relied on a cohort of individuals that had been recruited starting in 1971. On average, every four years since, the

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Mobile industry loses its bid to stop Berkeley’s cellphone warning law

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On Friday, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the City of Berkeley, allowing the city to keep its law that requires radiation warning signs in all cellphone stores within the city limits.

The CTIA, the cellphone industry trade group, sued the city to stop the law from taking effect by asking a lower court to impose a preliminary injunction. The group argued that forcing retailers to display the warning (pictured below) constituted compelled speech, which violates the First Amendment. After the district court didn’t impose the injunction, the CTIA appealed to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

(credit: Rebecca Farivar)

The 9th Circuit concluded that Berkeley’s disclosure “did no more than alert consumers” to FCC safety disclosures.

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107 cancer papers retracted due to peer review fraud

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The journal Tumor Biology is retracting 107 research papers after discovering that the authors faked the peer review process. This isn’t the journal’s first rodeo. Late last year, 58 papers were retracted from seven different journals— 25 came from Tumor Biology for the same reason.

It’s possible to fake peer review because authors are often asked to suggest potential reviewers for their own papers. This is done because research subjects are often blindingly niche; a researcher working in a sub-sub-field may be more aware than the journal editor of who is best-placed to assess the work.

But some journals go further and request, or allow, authors to submit the contact details of these potential reviewers. If the editor isn’t

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If you live inland, don’t think sea level rise won’t affect you

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There has been a lot of talk about the millions of people worldwide whose homes will be at the mercy of rising sea levels. Within the US, a 1.8-meter rise in the oceans by 2100 could displace as many as 13.1 million people. Worldwide, up to 180 million people could be at risk.

There has been less talk about where exactly those people will go when they leave their homes. Research on climate migration has painted sea level rise as “primarily a coastal issue,” writes Mathew E. Hauer in Nature Climate Change this week. But the inland regions that absorb climate change migrants will need to have sufficient transport, housing, and infrastructure to absorb the migrants.

To get a picture

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Laser-powered invisible images demonstrated: Like disappearing ink, but cooler

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I think everyone is aware of the trick with invisible ink. Write your message in lemon juice on paper, and when the juice dries it cannot be seen. But if you heat the paper, the lemon juice reacts with it and turns brown, bringing forth your shining prose for all to read.

That’s so old school—I want laser powered invisible writing (and, no, I am not paid to make sense. Why do you ask?). Since lasers are what make life worthwhile, others evidently felt the same. Lo and behold, there has now been laser-powered invisible writing.

Watching glass glow

To create laser powered invisible writing, we need to delve into how light interacts with matter. Imagine a glass plate. If

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Potential anti-ageing component of cord blood refreshes minds of old mice

(credit: Kenyaboy7)

A protein found in the plasma of human umbilical cord blood perked up the memories of elderly mice, researchers reported Wednesday in Nature.

Researchers at Stanford had first noted that injecting middle-aged mice with plasma from human cord blood could boost activity in their hippocampi, an area of the brain critical for creating and banking memories. The mice also got better at memory tests. After some analysis, the researchers focused in on one plasma protein called TIMP2. With injections of just that protein, the senior rodents again improved on memory and learning tests (though not quite to the extent that mice given whole plasma did). Still, they became faster at navigating a maze and  restored nesting skills they lost with age,

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Theranos secretly bought outside lab equipment with shell company—report

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If it’s not one thing, it’s another in the dizzying downward spiral of Theranos, the once-darling of Silicon Valley biotech.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company “allegedly misled company directors” regarding its lab tests and used a shell company to buy commercial lab gear. These are just a few of the new revelations made by the Journal, which also include fake demonstrations for potential investors.

The new information came from unsealed depositions by 22 former Theranos employees or members of its board of directors. They were deposed by Partner Fund Management LP, a hedge fund currently suing Theranos in Delaware state court. Theranos is also facing multiple lawsuits in federal court in California

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