Life On Venus, Interstellar Clouds, Racial Inequality And Mouse Brains

A month’s worth of cool science stories, summed up.
Alistair Jennings, Contributor

(Inside Science) -- In this monthly recap, Alistair Jennings from Inside Science sums up some of the most interesting recent science topics:

Did researchers find life on the planet Venus? Not likely, but a team of astronomers monitored how light was absorbed or reflected by the planet’s atmosphere and found that a certain wavelength was being absorbed far more than expected. The wavelength is associated with the chemical phosphine, which can be produced by physical processes -- chemical reactions under the ground or lightning in the atmosphere -- or carried in on the back of meteorites and comets.

Planetary nebulae -- interstellar clouds of gas and dust, thrown out by dying stars -- make for pretty pictures. But how do they end up in such incredible formations? Now researchers from Belgium think they know why.

Helping white people understand systemic racial inequality is necessary to confront white privilege and help build a fairer society. When asked about income levels between Black and white Americans, white Americans tend to think incomes levels are closer than they actually are. Scientists from Yale University tried to change that.

And lastly, take a look at a cool video from a Stanford lab where researchers applied a chemical cocktail to a mouse’s skull to turn the bone transparent.

References:

Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-020-1174-4

(Sub)stellar companions shape the winds of evolved stars: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6510/1497

Disrupting Beliefs in Racial Progress: Reminders of Persistent Racism Alter Perceptions of Past, But Not Current, Racial Economic Equality: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167220942625?journalCod...

Deep posteromedial cortical rhythm in dissociation: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2731-9

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Author Bio & Story Archive

Ali Jennings has his PhD in neuroscience from University College London.