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This Week In Science!

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Philip Brayne

Creative Services Assistant

clockMar 25 2022, 12:54 UTC

Microplastics Found In Human Blood In First-Of-Its-Kind Study

Reporting in the journal Environment International, scientists developed a method to accurately measure concentrations of microplastics in human blood for the first time. Just as they suspected, it showed that microplastics from the outside world are ending up in the bloodstream of humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) currently says there’s “no evidence to indicate human health concern” over microplastics in drinking water, although they note this is based on the limited amount of information currently available.

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Perseverance Reveals The Speed Of Sound On Mars

The Perseverance Mars rover is equipped with both microphones and lasers, and the combination has been used to measure the speed of sound on Mars. Dr Baptiste Chide described combining the two instruments to measure the delay as the sound from the laser hitting rocks was picked up by a microphone. From there, all that was required to measure the local speed of sound was to divide by the distance traveled by the delay.

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The Unexpected Reason Vikings Actually Abandoned Greenland Revealed By New Research

A study published in the journal Science Advances may have the definitive answer for why the Vikings left Greenland. The prevailing theory until now was they just couldn’t handle the cold. “What we discovered is that, while the temperature barely changed over the course of the Norse settlement of southern Greenland, it became steadily drier over time, Boyang Zhao explained. “The causes of Norse settlement abandonment are complex, and it is difficult to simply attribute them exclusively to climate change,” the study concludes.

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Record-Breaking Qubit Storage Brings Quantum Telecommunication Closer

Whereas ordinary computers store information in bits and bytes, quantum computing uses quantum bits, or qubits. Qubits can be transmitted along optical fibers as light, but there is a limit on the distance the photons carrying them can go before repeater stations are required. The solution lies in creating crystals with quantum memory, allowing photons to transfer their quantum state to the atoms in the crystal, which can then be recreated for sending on. 

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New Oral Male Contraceptive Is 99 Percent Effective In Preventing Pregnancy In Mice

Scientists say they have found a compound that could potentially pave the way for a birth control option for men similar to the hormonal pill for women.The non-hormonal male contraceptive works by targeting a protein called the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR-α). Scientists found that the compound, YCT529 inhibits RAR-α. YCT529 dramatically dropped sperm counts and proved to be 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy in mice without any observable side effects.

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How Did The Al Naslaa Rock Formation Get Split In Two?

The 6-meter (20-feet) high rocks sit upon two natural pedestals that make the rocks appear as if they are almost levitating in perfect balance with one another as they don’t lean into their small divide and touch. Most of the scientific theories to explain its existence center around the natural weathering process being responsible for its perplexing formation.

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