• Science

    Western bias in genetic studies is harmful and unfair

    In spite of the efforts made by geneticists to take into account the great variability of humans in their research, the reality is that the western population continues to be over-represented with respect to other more ethnically diverse populations that are hardly considered. This lack of diversity in human genetic studies has serious consequences for science and medicine, according to the manifesto published today by a group of scientists in a special issue of Cell magazine. Data bias limits understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that influence health, as well as the ability to predict disease risk and the development of new treatments. “Leaving entire populations out of human…

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    The colossal superwind of the Cigar galaxy

    The astronomer Rafael Bachiller discovers in this series the most spectacular phenomena of the Cosmos. Themes of palpitating research, astronomical adventures and scientific novelties about the Universe analyzed in depth. Through observations with the SOFIA telescope, astronomers have studied the properties of a very violent superwind that emanates from the center of the Cigar galaxy, very active due to its exuberant star-forming buds. A COSMIC CIGAR Situated 12 million light years away in the constellation of the Big Dipper, the Cigar galaxy (Messier 82) is an irregular galaxy that has experienced spectacular outbreaks of star formation in its central region. This unbridled star-forming activity is thought to have been triggered…

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    NASA detects meteorite explosion 10 times larger than Hiroshima bomb

    NASA today announced the explosion of a meteorite in the Earth’s atmosphere in December that was ten times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (Japan) in 1945. The explosion, which was detected by U.S. military satellites, occurred over the Bering Sea, off the Kamchatka Peninsula, a remote part of Russia. According to NASA, this explosion was the second strongest of its kind in the last 30 years and is the largest meteorite to reach the Earth’s atmosphere from which it hit Chelyabinsk (Russia) in 2013. In that case, the shock wave of the impact caused almost 1,500 injuries. The asteroid that hit the Bering Sea in December…

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    A pregnant Colombian woman discovers that her baby had another undeveloped fetus inside.

    It’s something very rare but it can happen. A seven-month pregnant Colombian woman discovered during an ultrasound that her 37-week-old baby was harboring another undeveloped fetus inside, according to the Colombian network Caracol. The woman was given birth, and once the little Itzamara was born, she underwent an operation to remove her fetus, which belonged to her twin brother. This rare alteration in embryonic development is called ‘fetus in fetu’ or ‘parasitic twin’. It is a phenomenon that occurs when the cells that will conform to the twin brothers do not divide at the right time and the two embryos grow asymmetrically. “Two babies were formed”, but the fetus that…

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    Healthy sheep born from frozen semen 50 years ago

    Sir Freddie, a ram born in 1959, was one of four stallions whose sperm was collected in 1968 in Australia to inseminate Merino sheep, highly prized for the quality of their wool. For half a century, his semen was stored frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196°C until a team of scientists at the University of Sydney decided to find out if the samples would still be viable. According to what they said on Sunday, the answer is yes and to their surprise, the reproductive success achieved with them has been similar to that obtained with semen collected 12 months ago. Of the 56 Merino sheep inseminated in the framework of…

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    More than 1.4 million students joined the climate strike

    More than 1.4 million students in 2,233 cities and 128 countries joined the school climate strike on March 15, according to the organization Fridays for Future. The mobilization was possibly the largest of all those held so far at the global level calling for climate action. “We have proven that everything we do counts and no one is too small to make a difference,” said 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who launched the movement with her Friday sit-ins before the Swedish Parliament. Despite criticism from politicians and education ministers, climate-related absenteeism has received a boost from UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “These school-age kids seem to understand something that elders miss:…

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    The terrifying monster of 4 meters of wingspan that flew

    An international team of scientists, including several Spaniards, has discovered a new species of flying reptile called Iberodactylus andreui. It is a giant pterosaur of great wingspan that, with wings extended, measured about four meters from end to end, more than any current bird. This colossus flew over the skies of the current province of Teruel some 125 million years ago. It is the third and largest species of this group described in the Iberian Peninsula. The rest of the fossil, described in the “Scientific Report” magazine, which has enabled the new species to be described, was found in a site in the town of Obón (some 100 km north…

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    We were all wrong. It is not Venus, but Mercury, the planet closest to Earth.

    We study it in school, we read it in astronomy manuals and we answer almost automatically when someone asks us: among all the planets of the Solar System, Venus is the closest to the Earth. And yet, it is not true. In reality, the planet closest to us is not the Dawn Star, but Mercury. And although it is true that Venus is the world that comes closest to the Earth at specific times of its orbit, it is also true that Mercury is the one that, on average, spends the most time being the nearest world. In a commentary published last week in Physics Today, in fact, Tom Stockman,…

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    March superlune: the rare “worm moon” that will not be repeated until 2030

    We recommend that you pay attention to the sky tonight: there will be a rare phenomenon that hasn’t happened for 19 years and won’t happen again until 2030. It is the coincidence of a superlune with the spring equinox, the so-called “worm moon”. Those who look at our satellite will be able to see it 14% larger and 30% brighter than a normal full moon, reaching its zenith at 2.44 am on 21 March, four hours after the official arrival of spring. A spectacle within reach of anyone who does not require any equipment to be visualized and that will close the cycle of the three superlunas that have occurred…

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    Spring Equinox: Why is this year March 20 instead of March 21?

    It’s been going on for two years in a row, and this will be the third. If in our school textbooks it was clear that spring arrives every March 21, why have the last three seasons of flowers entered the 20th? Is this an anomaly? A phenomenon produced by climate change, perhaps? No. It’s a totally normal situation because, despite what we were told at school, spring has a changing arc of dates that runs from 19 to 21 March. And whether it falls on one day or the other depends only on the path that our planet describes around the Sun. While it is true that the seasons are…