This week we take a closer look at the ‘Great Wall of Mongolia’, the quest for better energy storage takes a leap forward in the form of quantum batteries capable of bending time, and a 12-year-old pliosaur skull 150 years is reviewed by Sir David. Attenborough as part of a new series for the BBC. Finally, we’ll see why your muscles hurt so much after the workout you did three days ago.
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New unexpected COVID symptoms appear as JN.1 variant continues to spread
The JN.1 COVID variant spread rapidly throughout December 2023 and has now become the most prevalent strain of the virus in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . JN.1 cases are also increasing in the United Kingdom, as well as China and India. Read the full story here.
OSIRIS mission targets ‘God of Destruction’ asteroid at crucial time
As NASA struggled to access the treasure obtained by the OSIRIS-REx mission to Bennu, it also had to decide what to do with the precious, still-operating spacecraft responsible. The decision has now been made, confirming a long-held plan, with the goal set for an even more famous Earth-crossing asteroid, 99942 Apophis, and a change in the mission’s name. Read the full story here.
The mysterious 405-kilometer-long “Great Wall of Mongolia” studied for the first time
A section of the Great Wall of China that extends into Mongolia has been analyzed for the first time, allowing researchers to present speculative ideas about the history and function of this enormous structure. Stretching 405 kilometers (252 miles), the wall has been nicknamed the “Mongol Arc” because of its curved path. Read the full story here.
Time-tracking quantum batteries could outperform chemical versions for energy storage
Batteries that use quantum phenomena that seem to mock our conventional understanding of the laws of physics could be harnessed for energy storage. Although these batteries have only been produced on a small scale in laboratories, they could one day offer advantages over conventional batteries that could make them the preferred choice in at least some niches. Read the full story here.
Pliosaur skull dating back 150 million years could be a species new to science
The enormous teeth of a “giant sea monster” have been restored by fossil expert Chris Moore after he and Steve Etches endured the arduous task of removing a massive fossil skull 12 meters (39 feet) from the summit of ‘a cliff in Dorset, UK. It belonged to a pliosaur, an ancient marine reptile with a bite force that could have surpassed Tyrannosaurus rex in a fight, according to scientists working on the discovery. Read the full story here.
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Feature of the week:
Why do your muscles start to hurt a few days after training?
Exercise can be great for you: being active regularly can reduce your risk of a range of illnesses, such as heart attacks and strokes, and simply getting out for a walk can reduce your risk of death . In fact, the World Health Organization states that those who don’t exercise enough have a 20 to 30 percent increased risk of death. But if exercise is so good for you, why can it hurt so much — and why can the pain start days after you stagger out of the gym? Read the full story here.
Have you seen our free e-magazine, CURIOUS? The December 17, 2023 issue is now available. Check it out for exclusive interviews, book excerpts, long reads, and more.
PLUS, check out Season 3 of IFLScience’s The Big Questions podcast, so far we’ve asked:
• Is Jurassic Park possible?
• How is climate change affecting polar bear populations?
• Why is space waste so important?
• Can we save a species on the brink of extinction?
• How does a quantum computer work and how will they change the world?
• What is space weather and how does it affect us?
• What do ancient ice tell us about the future?
• Are e-fuels the future of aviation?
• How are glaciers evolving in a warming world?
• Are we ready for the next massive solar flare?
• Do you eat plant-based meat for Christmas dinner?
Gn En gealth