Brazil’s science budget is rebounding. So why aren’t scientists celebrating? | Science

Scientists in Brazil started 2022 with a piece of good news. This year’s federal research budget is more than double last year’s—a major turnaround after 7 years of steep cuts. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation will have about 6.9 billion reais ($1.27 billion) for discretionary investments this year, a 110% increase from 2021, … Read more

Retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will leave a mark on science in the courtroom | Science

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who is expected to announce his retirement tomorrow, has made a notable impact on the use of science in the courtroom during his 27 years on the nation’s highest court. In particular, in opinions and other writings, Breyer helped clarify how federal judges should handle expert testimony on scientific … Read more

Gene for ‘toy’ dog breeds found in ancient wolves | Science

When humans began intensively breeding dogs in 19th century Great Britain, they created a cornucopia of canines seemingly out of whole cloth: hulking bullmastiffs, graceful golden retrievers, and pint-size Yorkshire terriers. But the real key to their success, a new study reveals, was taking advantage of two tiny but powerful genetic ratchets that have controlled … Read more

Why is a Harvard astrophysicist working with UFO buffs? | Science

Abraham “Avi” Loeb got the idea to hunt for aliens from cable TV. In June 2021, Loeb, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, was at home, watching NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on CNN talking about recent UFO incidents involving U.S. Navy pilots. “Do you think we have been contacted by extraterrestrials?” the CNN interviewer asked. Nelson … Read more

Everyday objects can run artificial intelligence programs | Science

Imagine using any object around you—a frying pan, a glass paperweight—as the central processor in a neural network, a type of artificial intelligence that loosely mimics the brain to perform complex tasks. That’s the promise of new research that, in theory, could be used to recognize images or speech faster and more efficiently than computer … Read more

How a disappearing ear bone turned bats into masters of echolocation | Science

Bats use sound to hunt a dizzying array of prey. Some zero in on flowers to sip nectar, whereas others find cattle and suck their blood. Many nab insects midflight. One species of bat senses small fish beneath the water and snatches them as osprey do. Now, scientists have discovered an anatomical quirk in the … Read more

New dangers? Computers uncover 100,000 novel viruses in old genetic data | Science

It took just one virus to cripple the world’s economy and kill millions of people; yet virologists estimate that trillions of still-unknown viruses exist, many of which might be lethal or have the potential to spark the next pandemic. Now, they have a new—and very long—list of possible suspects to interrogate. By sifting through unprecedented … Read more

Tonga shock wave created tsunamis in two different oceans | Science

When Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai, a mostly submerged volcanic cauldron in the South Pacific Ocean, exploded on 15 January, it unleashed a blast perhaps as powerful as the world’s biggest nuclear bomb, and drove tsunami waves that crashed into Pacific shorelines. But 3 hours or so before their arrival in Japan, researchers detected the waves of … Read more

After Omicron, some scientists foresee ‘a period of quiet’ | Science

Barely 2 months after it began, the Omicron wave is already ebbing in some countries. And although it has sickened huge numbers of people, caused massive disruption, and left many health care workers exhausted, it is also leaving something unusual in its wake: a sense of optimism about the pandemic’s trajectory. In countries where many … Read more

Did a taste for blood help humans grow big brains? Story isn’t so simple, study argues | Science

When it comes to killing and eating other creatures, chimpanzees—our closest relatives—have nothing on us. Animal flesh makes up much more of the average human’s diet than a chimp’s. Many scientists have long suggested our blood lust ramped up about 2 million years ago, based on the number of butchery marks found at ancient archaeological … Read more