This Week in Science (May 22 – 29) – 1st Anniversary!

May 29, 2016

You want to have a reference point of where to find the best recent scientific and technological breakthroughs? Here they are, in the weekly science compilations. Share them with friends and family, online or in real life. Enjoy:

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6 comments on “This Week in Science (May 22 – 29) – 1st Anniversary!

  • All publicly funded scientific papers published in Europe could be made free to access by 2020, under a “life-changing” reform ordered by the European Union’s science chief, Carlos Moedas.

    About time too, but it should extend to all research papers. Their authors are educated in schools in whole or in part funded by the public, and in publicly funded universities. The ideas on which they develop their research are predicated on three thousand years of research by people who often starved to death in garrets, then the mega business community, which thrives in the world of communal, national and international relationships, effort and law, steps in and is able to claim as its exclusive property, the knowledge it has built on all this public effort.

    No-one wants to deprive the commercial scientific world of just rewards for its efforts, but the whole issue of intellectual property rights is way out of control. Even human genes can be patented.

    Where The Mind Is Without Fear

    Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
    Where knowledge is free
    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
    By narrow domestic walls
    Where words come out from the depth of truth
    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
    Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
    Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
    Where the mind is led forward by thee
    Into ever-widening thought and action
    Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

    The floor belongs to Rabindranath Tagore.

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  • I think there is a historical find which merits addition to this week’s list!

    A dagger entombed with King Tutankhamun was made with iron from a meteorite, a new analysis on the metal composition shows.

    In 1925, archaeologist Howard Carter found two daggers, one iron and one with a blade of gold, within the wrapping of the teenage king, who was mummified more than 3,300 years ago. The iron blade, which had a gold handle, rock crystal pommel and lily and jackal-decorated sheath, has puzzled researchers in the decades since Carter’s discovery: ironwork was rare in ancient Egypt, and the dagger’s metal had not rusted.
    Burial site of Egypt’s boy-king Tutankhamun discovered

    Italian and Egyptian researchers analysed the metal with an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer to determine its chemical composition, and found its high nickel content, along with its levels of cobalt, “strongly suggests an extraterrestrial origin”. They compared the composition to known meteorites within 2,000km around the Red Sea coast of Egypt, and found similar levels in one meteorite.

    That meteorite, named Kharga, was found 150 miles (240km) west of Alexandria, at the seaport city of Mersa Matruh, which in the age of Alexander the Great – the fourth century BC – was known as Amunia.

    The researchers published their findings on Tuesday in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

    Although people have worked with copper, bronze and gold since 4,000BC, ironwork came much later, and was rare in ancient Egypt. In 2013, nine blackened iron beads, excavated from a cemetery near the Nile in northern Egypt, were found to have been beaten out of meteorite fragments, and also a nickel-iron alloy. The beads are far older than the young pharaoh, dating to 3,200BC.

    “As the only two valuable iron artifacts from ancient Egypt so far accurately analysed are of meteoritic origin,” the team that studied the knife wrote, “we suggest that ancient Egyptians attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of fine ornamental or ceremonial objects”.

    The researchers also stood with a hypothesis that ancient Egyptians placed great importance on rocks falling from the sky. They suggested that the finding of a meteorite-made dagger adds meaning to the use of the term “iron” in ancient texts, and noted around the 13th century BC, a term “literally translated as ‘iron of the sky’ came into use … to describe all types of iron”.

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