Test your smarts on viral mutations and scientific luck

first_img The older the scientist, the fewer citations per paper Endless, just like this election 20 square meters New research reveals this pattern about citations in scientific publishing: Drink more water Question New York City’s Trump Tower China’s Yellow Mountains 2000 square meters How did you score on the quiz? Challenge your friends to a science news duel! 200 square meters The faster you answer, the higher you score! Challenge your friends and sign up for your chance to win a free digital subscription to Science. The world’s first known four-legged snake might not be a snake at all, according to a new study. What do scientists think it might be instead? As long as their entire body! How our DNA is bunched into the nucleus is a miracle of packaging, with very deliberate loops and bends that bring specific parts of each chromosome into contact to help control what genes are active. Now, using sophisticated statistics, imaging, and experimental data, biophysicists have a clearer idea about how all this genetic material is squished into such a tiny space. November 07, 2016 The Science Quiz Take the quiz to enter for a chance to win a FREE digital subscription to Science! Learn More 2 square meters Dubstep 80% Ebola Win a FREE digital subscription to Science! Just submit the required contact information to enter. Enter the information below to enter the sweepstakes:Your information has been submitted.An error occurred submitting the email. Please try again later.This email has already been entered.The email submitted is not a valid email.Incomplete form. Please fill out all fields. 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I would like to receive emails about products and services offered by AAAS advertisers.PRIVACY I have read and accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.Submit Grow a beard Click to enter LOADING Enter for a chance to win. We’ll select a new winner each week. November 07, 2016 Earthquakes 45% Spain’s Canary Islands. The location of the planned Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) remains in the balance over its disputed building permit. But now, at least, astronomers have a backup. The TMT, which will be one of the world’s largest telescopes when it begins operating next decade, got into hot water because Native Hawaiian activists objected to its siting on Mauna Kea, a sacred mountain that also happens to be one of the world’s best sites for optical and infrared astronomy. As long as their forearm As long as their finger Average HIV Pedal faster A marine lizard. The fossil is tiny, fragile thing: a squashed skull barely a centimeter in length, a sinuous curving body about two fingers long, and four delicate limbs with grasping hands. In a major paper last year, researchers called this rare fossil the first known four-legged snake. But last week, another team of scientists weighed in, suggesting instead that it’s a marine lizard. As scientists debate the identity of this controversial specimen, the only one of its kind, it now appears to be inaccessible for further study. And paleontologists are mad as hell. After running into strong local opposition, a huge telescope planned for construction in Hawaii could move where? Last week, scientists said that a new upgrade allows this well-known imaging method to produce color images for the first time: Electron microscopy. Electron microscopes can magnify objects up to 10 million times, letting scientists peer into the inner workings of our bodies’ smallest parts. But they’ve only been able to see in black and white, until now. The new technique—15 years in the making—uses three rare earth metals, which are layered one-by-one over cells on a microscopic slide. When the metals lose electrons, they are marked with a unique color, either red, yellow, or green. With a few more tweaks, scientists hope to add three or four new colors to the mix soon. X-rays Start Quiz A new study suggests that this may weaken Earth’s magnetic field: Radio astronomy Positron tomography New research shows that a recent mutation in this virus may have made it even deadlier: None of the above. You might guess that, over time, a scientist matures and produces better work, with later papers earning more citations. But no such trend emerged in a recent study. Instead, a scientific paper looks more like a lottery ticket, says an author of the new paper, with the number of citations mostly due to luck. “So publishing more papers is like buying more tickets,” she says. “And that’s why you have a bigger impact during your more productive years” as a scientist. 0 Cosmic rays Top Ranker The Science Quiz Pedal slower 35% An error occurred loading the Quiz. Please try again later. The more coauthors over time, the more citations per paper Time’s Up! The Cubbies did it! Now, here’s a question for all you math nerds: Given that Major League Baseball has 30 teams, what’s the approximate chance that another team will have a similarly long losing streak? Results: You answered out of correctly – Click to revisit The older the scientist, the more citations per paper 80%. The Cubs’ streak of 107 seasons without a championship was unparalleled. But as sports leagues continue to expand, the probability that some team or another will suffer an equally long drought is growing right along with them. If one assumes that in any year each team has an equal probability—3.3%—of winning the championship, then simple binomial statistics predict that the probability that any one team will fail to win a championship for 107 years in a row is 2.67%. But with 30 teams in the league, the chance that some team or another will fail to win the championship for 107 seasons in a row is a whopping 79.7%. In fact, the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t won for 68 seasons, have a decent chance of matching the Cubs’ feat. Assuming all teams have equal chances of winning, the probability that the Indians will continue to not win for another 39 years is 26.7%. Dare to dream, Cleveland. You Spain’s Canary Islands 200 square meters, or about the size of an American football field. Since the 1960s, the shrinkage of the ice cap over the Arctic Ocean has advanced in lockstep with the amount of greenhouse gases humans have sent into the atmosphere. Every additional metric ton of carbon dioxide appears to cost the Arctic another 3 square meters of summer sea ice—a simple and direct observational link that has been sitting in data beneath scientists’ noses. If both the relationship and current emission trends hold, the study suggests the Arctic will be ice free by 2045—far sooner than some climate models predict. Stretched end to end, how long is the DNA in the nucleus of a presidential candidate’s cells? None of the above. Citations seem to be random. A flying iguana As long as their entire body A marine lizard Solar storms Solar storms. The sun’s warm glow can sometimes turn menacing. Solar storms can shoot plasma wrapped in bits of the sun’s magnetic field into space, sweeping past Earth and disabling satellites, causing widespread blackouts, and disrupting GPS-based navigation. Now, a new study suggests that one such “coronal mass ejection” in 2015 temporarily weakened Earth’s protective magnetic field, allowing solar plasma and radiation from the same storm to more easily reach the atmosphere. This one weird trick might help you take in less air pollution on your daily (or annual) bike ride: A two-legged snake Electron microscopy Ebola. The sheer size of the Ebola epidemic that engulfed West Africa is still a bit of a riddle. Scientists think the virus spread quickly thanks to poor infrastructure and its sudden appearance in major cities, where it jumped easily from person to person. Now, two new studies add another item to that list: 3 months after the outbreak became a full-blown epidemic, the virus underwent a mutation that made it better suited for humans. 0 / 10 NIAID According to a new study, how much Arctic ice does the average U.S. family destroy in 30 years? Chikungunya Chile’s Atacama Desert Score A finless fish Official rules for the News from Science weekly quiz sweepstakes 3% Every Monday, The Science Quiz tests your knowledge of the week’s biggest science news stories. No matter how much you know, you’re still likely to learn something–give it a try! Pedal slower. If you try to outpace pollutants by pedaling faster, you might want to reconsider. Despite reducing time exposed to toxicants, active commuters—both walkers and bikers—can actually take in up to four times as much air pollution, because they breathe more heavily when they pick up the pace. To find a sweet-spot speed, researchers built a computer model of 10,000 bikers and walkers, based on commuting data. Their answer for the bikers? A comfortable 13-kilometer-per-hour pace. Research into beard filters is ongoing. Zika Share your scorelast_img read more