This renewed interest in UFOs – excuse me, "UAPs" – is honestly pretty fascinating. It's clear that a nontrivial amount of UFO reports over the years have been "real" in the sense that there was really something there to be seen, but I'd figure most do have a completely mundane explanation – anything from prototype aircraft to weather balloons (har har.) Then there's a few that seem to completely defy explanation, which is the fascinating part. Lately there's been more official clips released, so it seems like it's not quite as taboo of a subject and likely to kill your career as a pilot or whatever as it has been.

The Unique Merger That Made You (and Ewe, and Yew) [Article about the endosymbiotic event that gave rise to eukaryotes, by Ed Yong in Nautilus]
The Unique Merger That Made You (and Ewe, and Yew): All sophisticated life on the planet Earth may owe its existence to one freakish event. The endosymbiotic event in which an archaea host took on an endosymbiotic prokaryote that would evolve into mitochondria is posited as a rare and critical event, never repeated in all of Earth's history, a step change rather than a gradual one, a step that enabled an explosion of complexity via vastly expanded cellular energy budgets. Perhaps the rarity of this event even explains the Fermi paradox. [The energetics of genome complexity]( by Nick Lane and William Martin (Nature, 2010) is only 5 pages long and has been an excellent follow-up read. I've found it fascinating and quite accessible, despite not being a biologist. (However, I admit I still don't understand the scaling that results in 0.003 fW/Mb (or ".0005 fW per gene, a 230,000-fold reduction") in the first paragraph of page 3.) If I am not mistaken, the Lane and Martin's argument is that the critical innovation of mitochondria is their separation of DNA that must exist in numerous copies near the metabolic machinery it controls (mitochondrial DNA), from the DNA that needs only to exist in small copy numbers (nuclear DNA). Large prokaryotic cells need many copies of their entire genome spaced throughout the cell to control their respiratory metabolic activity (specifically, a genome per some area of bioenergetic membranes), a task eukaryotes accomplish using miniaturized mitochondrial genomes (that only contain the small number of necessary genes for this task). Freed from the need to have so many copies of all their genes, eukaryotes could develop larger, more complex, and more specialized nuclear genomes (about 3000 megabases of DNA, or 20,000 genes, compared to an average prokaryote's 6Mb of DNA and 5,000 genes) while growing much larger (40,100 picograms vs an average prokaryote's 2.6 picograms). The overall result is a vastly enhanced energy budget per megabase of DNA (0.76 picowatts/Mb in eukaryotes vs. 0.08 pW/Mb), or a even higher enhancement of power per gene (115 femtowatts per gene in eukaryotes vs. 0.1fW/gene in prokaryotes) when considering the lower gene density of eukaryotes (about 12 genes per megabase in eukaryotes vs 500-1000 genes per megabase in prokaryotes).

A Subset of Mental Health Conditions may be Caused by Autoimmune Diseases
A long-form article on the relatively recent discovery that schizophrenia and other mental illnesses may sometimes have an autoimmune disease to blame. The correct treatment in the correct scenario is resulting in damn-near miraculous results.

An increasing number of high-calibre researchers are being accused of treason in today’s Russia, mostly without official charges, landing behind bars for decades. And the main beneficiary of their imprisonment is the Federal Security Service (FSB), which deprives them not only of their freedom and ability to work, but sometimes of their lives.

In recent weeks, the star has at times shone more than 50 percent brighter than normal, drawing renewed attention from amateur sky watchers and professional astronomers alike. They hopefully await a historic celestial event. Someday, Betelgeuse will explosively end its life in a supernova—and from our planetary perch just 650 light-years away, we Earthlings will have front-row seats to this spectacular cosmic cataclysm. Here's an image that gives an idea of Betelguese’s size:

Volunteers have been transporting the books and other precious documents, which became submerged in water and mud in flooded libraries in the worst-affected areas, to Cesena, where the items will be placed on shelves in temperatures of -25C in industrial-size freezers provided by Orogel, a company that specialises in frozen food.

Neuroscientists and neurosurgeons have re-established the communication between the patient's brain and spinal cord with a wireless 'digital bridge', allowing a paralysed person to walk again naturally. The device enabled him to regain control over the movement of his paralysed legs, allowing him to stand, walk, and even climb stairs, a report published in Nature says. The study is here:

Satellites reveal widespread decline in global lake water storage
> The findings underscore an urgent need to incorporate climate change and sedimentation impacts into sustainable water resources management "to protect essential ecosystem services such as freshwater storage, food supply, waterbird habitat, cycling of pollutants and nutrients, and recreation," according to an editor's summary accompanying the study.

The entire academic board of the journal 'Neuroimage', including professors from Oxford University, King’s College London and Cardiff University resigned after Elsevier refused to reduce publication charges. Academics around the world have applauded what many hope is the start of a rebellion against the huge profit margins in academic publishing, which outstrip those made by Apple, Google and Amazon.

Drivers overtaking bicyclists: Objective data on the effects of riding position, helmet use, vehicle type and apparent gender. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 39(2), 417–425 | 10.1016/j.aap.
>5. Conclusions > >Overtaking motorists pass closer to a bicyclist when the rider wears a helmet, rides away from the edge of the road, is male, or when the vehicle concerned is a bus or heavy goods vehicle. Based on previous work on drivers’ perceptions of bicyclists, we have suggested that many of these effects are the result of motorists making assumptions about bicyclists’ behaviours based on a brief visual assessment of their likely experience levels. We argue that these assessments can only ever provide a poor guide to the likelihood of a collision occurring and would encourage efforts to warn motorists of the assumptions they are making and the fallibility of these.

Endangered Māori construction methods pass modern seismic testing
Construction techniques traditionally used by the Mātauranga Māori, indigenous people of New Zealand, can withstand major earthquakes, a study by the University of Auckland has shown. “[The Māori] had a deep knowledge of building and creating strength and tension in structures, so we have recreated those techniques that have been lost and use them to [achieve] greater seismic resilience,” says scientist Anthony Hoete.

"A new discovery raises an important question: from an evolutionary perspective, who really has the stranger wings?"

Self-driving cars must learn the language of cyclists to keep roads safe
Human-computer interaction specialists from the University of Glasgow are highlighting the need for new systems in autonomous vehicles (AVs) capable of replicating the complex social interactions between human car drivers and cyclists on UK roads.

‘Humanity as a multi-planetary species’: Is sex in space being taken seriously by the emerging space tourism sector?
Sex in space is a real possibility with the expected growth in space tourism over the next decade, says a Cranfield University-led paper. This appears to pose several risks that have not yet been considered, those of a biological nature such as embryo developmental risks and those of a commercial nature such as liability, litigation, and reputational damage.

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