b. Phosphine is produced by some microbes on Earth. That’s why its detection in the atmosphere of Venus was treated as big news. However, follow-up measurements have clouded the issue.
© PLANET-C Project Team
a. The comet maintained physical-distancing guidelines at all times.
Carlos Osorio/The Globe and Mail
b. Fortunately for astronomers, the Very Large Telescope facility in Chile, which was blown up in a different Bond film, is still going strong.
c. A room-temperature superconductor is one of the holy grails of physics, which could transform energy transmission. Unfortunately, as reported in the journal Nature, the new material has to be kept at a pressure close to that at the centre of the Earth. So don’t expect a rebate on your utility bill anytime soon.
b. Alexander Milne was First Naval Lord in 1875-1876, when the British Arctic Expedition led by George Nares was naming features along the northwest coast of Ellesmere Island.
Courtesy of Adrienne White
b. Hurricane Iota, which devastated Central America in mid-November, also reached Category 5 status later in the season than any Atlantic hurricane ever recorded.
Diego Cuevas/Getty Images
d. According to the report, the amount works out to 50 kilograms of plastic for every metre of coastline worldwide.
Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images
d. In some cases, the researchers found that treelines around the Rockies have shifted upward more than 100 metres – a possible sign that a warming global climate may be altering high-elevation vegetation zones.
Mountain Legacy Project/The Canadian Press
b. The Greek translation of Thanatotheristes is “harvester of death.” The second part of the dinosaur’s name recognizes John and Sandra De Groot, who discovered the 80-million-year-old jawbone of the ravenous creature near Hays, Alta.
Julius Csotonyi/The University of Calgary and Royal Tyrrell Museum/AFP via Getty Images
a. After taking casts of the skulls, the researchers found that the left-right differences in other great apes appear to be about the same as for humans, pointing to similar differences in function between the hemispheres of the brain.
Petr David Josek/The Associated Press
d. Yes, that is a lot of bird poop. After they tidied themselves up, the Queen’s University researchers determined that bird numbers plummeted at the beginning of the 19th century once European settlers showed up in the area.
Seth Bennett/Handout/The Canadian Press
a. The fossilized guts turned up in X-ray images of the tubular creatures called Cloudina, which are among the oldest animals known. Importantly, their digestive tracts ran in a line with an opening at either end, a system that has been pretty popular ever since.
c. In the era before whole-genome sequencing, Dr. Houghton and his team painstakingly reconstructed the genome of the hepatitis-C virus and were able to devise a test that allowed screening of donated blood to prevent transmission of the disease.
John Abbott, Chiachi Chang, Richard Siemens/University of Alberta/AFP via Getty Images
b. The discovery of insulin by Frederick Banting and Charles Best led to Canada’s first Nobel win in 1923.
Heffel Fine Art Auction/The Canadian Press
c. The gene variant is linked to the hormone progesterone, which is important in pregnancy. Women who carry the variant tend to have fewer miscarriages, which likely explains why they also also tend to have more siblings than those who do not carry the Neanderthal gene.
Martin Meissner/The Associated Press
a. Researchers who conducted the study said they envied those with the gene variant.
Brynjar Gauti/The Associated Press
b. The eggshells were used to make bead necklaces which could be exchanged to strengthen social bonds some 33,000 years ago. Based on strontium isotopes in the eggshells, a team of Canadian and U.S. researchers was able to trace how far away the material originated from the places where the hunter-gatherers lived.
Yuchao Zhao/concept and arrangement by John Klausmeyer
d. AlphaFold can deduce the three-dimensional structure of a protein based on its amino-acid sequence, a notoriously complex problem in molecular biology. The achievement may usher in the era of AI-guided drug discovery and other applications that depend on knowing the precise shapes of biological molecules.
b. On June 7, Dr. Sullivan, who earned her PhD in geology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, descended to Challenger Deep, a spot in the Pacific Ocean that is just over 11 kilometres below sea level. Dr. Sullivan is also the first American woman to walk in space, but the current record for the longest-duration spaceflight by a woman was set this year by Christina Koch aboard the International Space Station. The first woman to scale the highest mountain on every continent was Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei in 1992. As far as we know, the StairMaster moonshot is still up for grabs.
d. Russian physicist Leon Theremin invented the device that bears his name in October 1920. Its eerie whistle became a signature sound in 1950s science-fiction films.
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