This Week In IFLScience - 12th October

Room-Temperature Superconductivity Has Been Achieved After 109 Years – With A Catch 

One of the holy grails of physics research has been reached, but it's not yet everything we've been hoping for. A material has been engineered that conducts electricity with zero resistance at room temperature. Unfortunately, it also requires unimaginably high pressures.  


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Superconductivity can allow magnets to levitate over suitable materials. University of Rochester / J. Adam Fenster



Bird Breaks Non-Stop Journey Record With Epic Flight From Alaska To New Zealand 
A bird has been tracked making a mammoth journey of over 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) from Alaska to New Zealand without a single break, setting a new world record for the longest logged continuous flight by a bird. 


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The record was broken by a migratory Bar-Tailed Godwit. Jacobsen /



Engineered Wasp Venom Could Help Fight Antibiotic Resistance 
Wasps may not be known for being our best friends, but scientists have found a powerful new molecule within their venom that is highly toxic but also contains impressive antimicrobial properties. When engineered by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, the derivative could attack and kill bacterial cells while doing far less damage to human cells than the original molecule. 


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A yellowjacket wasp. Bombman356 / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0



New Technology Allows Circuits To Be Printed Directly On The Skin 

Sensors printed directly on the skin have been inching closer to commercial reality in recent years. The dream of highly sensitive sensors could have a wide array of applications, from robotics to medicine, but the field has been limited by its method of circuit printing. Unfortunately, this process requires a lot of heat. Now, researchers believe they may have solved this problem.  


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Using the new technology, circuits were printed directly onto the hand. Ling Zhang, Penn State/Cheng Lab and Harbin Insitute of Technology



Fossils Of 6.4 Million-Year-Old Monkeys Are Among The Oldest Found Outside Of Africa 

Researchers have just uncovered the remains of an ancient species that lived in what is now China some 6.4 million years ago, suggesting that monkeys had reached the Far East at a time when ancient apes still roamed Asia. 


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Reconstruction of M. pentelicus from Shuitangba. (C) Mauricio Antón



"Superspreaders" Are Driving Covid-19 Spread, Suggests World's Largest Tracking Study Yet 


The findings suggest that the majority of infected people did not appear to pass on the disease, but a small number of infected individuals — so-called “superspreaders” — accounted for most of the new infections. It also hints that children and young adults play a surprisingly important role in the transmitting of the virus, namely within their own households. 


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Mumbai, India/June 17, 2020: Health workers wearing PPE arrive to take part in a check-up camp. Manoej Paateel/




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