Best of Last Week: Electricity-free coolers, dark matter older than big bang and health effects of eating marijuana

August 12, 2019 by Bob Yirka
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

It was a good week for technological innovation as an international team of engineers described how in the future, an electricity-free tech could help cool buildings in metropolitan areas. It is based on special material that is placed inside of a solar shelter that transmits heat energy into outer space.

A team at the University of Sussex created the first-ever personalized sound projector with a $12 webcam—it can be used to track moving objects.

It was also an interesting week for historical-based work as Andrey Vyshedskiy with Boston University found that recursive language and modern imagination were acquired simultaneously 70,000 years ago, both due to a genetic mutation that slowed down the development of the prefrontal cortex.

A team from the University of North Carolina found evidence of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in their Mount Zion excavation.

And paleontologist Larisa DeSantis with Vanderbilt University reported that an intense look at the La Brea Tar Pits explains why we have coyotes, not saber-toothed cats—differences in hunting styles.

Also, a team from University College Dublin discovered almost 40 new monuments close to Newgrange in Ireland—including one that aligns with the Winter Solstice sunrise.

In other news, a team at Johns Hopkins University found evidence that dark matter may be older than the Big Bang. Using a math framework, they showed that dark matter may have been produced before the Big Bang during an era known as the cosmic inflation, when space was expanding very rapidly.

A team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found proteins that might restore damaged sound-detecting cells in the ear—they may trigger the formation of the hair cells that sense and transmit sound.

And Mexican physicists Rafael González-Acuña, Héctor Chaparro-Romo and Julio Gutiérrez-Vega solved a 2,000-year-old optical problem—the Wasserman-Wolf problem—using math.

And finally, as have gradually relaxed, more people in the U.S. and some other countries have begun consuming the plant rather than smoking it to avoid lung damage. If you are someone who might be wondering about its effects of ingestion, a team at Indiana University reported that they are on the case and are looking to uncover the health effects of eating marijuana.

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