Science Rocks My Week: Our Most Popular Stories of the Week

Another amazing week in Science!

  • A team of computer scientists try hacking an Android phone while another team releases a completely open source low-power microprocessor;
  • Biologists in Alaska notice a butterfly that’s been under their noses for decades and realize it’s a new species;
  • Medical researchers discover a method that is 100 times more effective for delivering new neurons to the brain;
  • Astronomers explain why our moon has tilted over time;
  • How fish mouths are helping scientists design better filters;
  • New research into a shelved drug yields a potent broad-spectrum antiviral ;
  • And so much more…

Here are this week’s most popular stories on Science Rocks My World as voted by your clicks:

What if the FBI tried to crack an Android phone? We attacked one to find out

smartphone-531250_1280The Justice Department has managed to unlock an iPhone 5c used by the gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, who with his wife killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last December. The high-profile case has pitted federal law enforcement agencies against Apple, which fought a legal order to work around its passcode security feature to give law enforcement access to the phone’s data. The FBI said it relied on a third party to crack the phone’s encrypted data, raising questions about iPhone security and whether federal agencies should disclose their method.

But what if the device had been running Android? Would the same technical and legal drama have played out?


Surprising Discovery of an Ancient Butterfly Species in Alaska

Some might say it takes a rare breed to survive the Alaska wilderness. The discovery of what is possibly the first new species from the Last Frontier in 28 years may prove that theory correct.

Now, researchers think the butterfly, Tanana Arctic (Oeneis tanana), could be the result of a rare and unlikely hybridization between two related species, both specially adapted for the harsh arctic climate, perhaps before the last ice age…


Breakthrough ‘Fiber Islands’ 100 Times More Effective for Treating Brain Diseases

fiber-islandsBiomedical scientists have figured out how to convert adult tissue-derived stem cells into human neurons on 3D “scaffolds,” or tiny islands of fibers.

The technology could someday help treat people with Parkinson’s disease and other devastating brain-related conditions, researchers say.

For a new study, scientists injected the scaffolds, loaded with beneficial neurons to replace diseased cells in mouse brains…


Here’s Why the Moon has Tilted Over Time

Half_moon_in_the_skyThe moon may not have always had the same face pointed toward the Earth. Instead, the “Man in the Moon” nodded up and down, due to heating and volcanic eruptions on the side facing Earth.

Researchers made the discovery while trying to explain maps of lunar polar hydrogen. The hydrogen, discovered by NASA’s Lunar Prospector mission in the 1990s, is believed to represent water ice, protected from the sun’s rays in cold, permanently shadowed craters near the moon’s north and south poles. If ice were exposed to direct sunlight…


Is global warming causing marine diseases to spread?

image-20160322-32306-101jp1tGlobal climate change is altering the world’s oceans in many ways. Some impacts have received wide coverage, such as shrinking Arctic sea ice, rising sea levels and ocean warming. However, as the oceans warm, marine scientists are observing other forms of damage.

My research focuses on diseases in marine ecosystems. Humans, animals and plants are all susceptible to diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. Marine diseases, however, are an emerging field…

Here’s Why Geysers On Saturn’s Moon Have Nonstop Eruptions

casini-eruptionsThe Cassini spacecraft has observed geysers erupting on Saturn’s moon Enceladus since 2005, but the process that drives and sustains these seemingly endless eruptions has remained a mystery.

Now scientists have pinpointed the mechanism by which cyclical tidal stresses exerted by Saturn can drive those long-lived eruptions…


What fish mouths teach us about engineering clog-free filters [Video]

9546645557_3c62860453_kFilter-feeding fish accomplish a feat that human technologies cannot: species including goldfish, menhaden and basking sharks filter tiny algal cells or shrimp-like prey from huge volumes of water without clogging their oral filters.

Since fish have been filtering particles for more than 150 million years longer than human beings, we suspected fish may have evolved filter designs that use unknown processes to remain unclogged. So we decided to investigate…


Every Part of this Microprocessor is Open Source

pulpino_chiptray-768x439Software source code and hardware designs tend to be closely guarded trade secrets. But researchers recently made the full design of one of their microprocessors available as an open-source system.

Luca Benin, a professor at ETH Zurich involved with the project, says making the system open source maximizes the freedom of other developers to use and change the system. “It will now be possible to build open-source hardware from the ground up…



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