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This Week In Science!

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Chris Carpineti

Senior Video Editor

clockJul 16 2021, 14:06 UTC
This week in science IFLScience

Death Valley Hit 54.4°C Last Week, One Of The Hottest Temperatures Ever Recorded 

Death Valley in California is one of the hottest and driest places on Earth due to the geographical features of the region. On Friday July 9, the National Weather Service reported that the area reached a temperature of 54.4°C (130°F) – one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded. This comes amongst many sky-high temperatures being reached in the US and Canada. 

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You There, Satoshi? $21 Million Of Bitcoin Moved From Wallet Inactive For 9 years 

After nine years of inactivity, on July 12, a dormant bitcoin wallet was re-activated to transfer an amount of the cryptocurrency worth $21,104,060. Bitcoin had only been around for three years at the last time the wallet was active, suggesting that the owner was an early adopter of cryptocurrency. Some have even suggested that the person or persons behind this account could be Satoshi Nakamoto, the name that the creator of bitcoin goes by. 

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Chinese Researchers Have A Plan To Deflect A Dangerous Incoming Asteroid Away From Earth 

With a one-in-2,700 chance of hitting us on September 25, 2135, asteroid Bennu is a concerning and potentially dangerous near-Earth object. This has led many researchers to devise plans to deflect the asteroid away from our planet. New plans from Chinese researchers involve around 23 spacecraft being crashed onto the planet, with the impact eventually nudging it away from us. The plans will need a lead-up time of just 10 years. 

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Alcohol Linked To More Than Four Percent Of New Cancer Cases In 2020, Study Claims 

A new study has estimated that in 2020, 741,300 newly diagnosed cancer cases were associated with the consumption of alcohol – 4.1 percent of all cancer diagnoses worldwide. Cancer types such as liver, breast, colon, and mouth cancer all have well-established links to alcohol largely due to a carcinogenic metabolite of alcohol called acetaldehyde and hormone disruption. The researchers say their estimates are “conservative”, meaning that the actual number of cases due to alcohol may be higher. 

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Brainless Slime Mold Is Able To Assess Its Environment To Make Decisions 

A snot-like organism called the slime mold has been found to be able to make decisions based on its environment. A new study assessed whether they can make decisions without food as a signal. In a petri dish, the slime molds favored moving towards three discs placed next to each other rather than stacked on top of each other, indicating that they prefer the more spread-out stimulus. This may be thanks to TRP-like proteins. 

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Featured: Clever Hans: The Horse That Scientists Believed Could Speak German And Do Mathematics 

In the year 1900, mathematics teacher Wilhelm von Osten attempted to train a horse to do mathematics. The project appeared to be a resounding success, with the horse even seemingly able to spell in German. After this clever horse took the country by storm, further testing revealed that the talents of Clever Hans were not all they seemed. 

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