Scientific news in small doses

A few milligrams of all scientific news of the week

Posted at 8:00 am.

Mathieu Perrault

Mathieu Perrault

Cancer sweeteners

Consumption of sweeteners such as aspartame increases the risk of cancer, according to a new French study. In review PLOS one At the end of March, epidemiologists from several French institutes showed that those who consume a lot of sweeteners have a 13% higher risk of developing cancer than those who consume a little. The maximum risk, 22%, was for breast cancer. This is comparable to the risk associated with obesity, which increases the risk of breast cancer by 20-40% in post-menopausal women. High sweetener consumers consumed the equivalent of two cans of sugar-free soft drinks per day, while low consumers consumed only the equivalent of one can per week. About a third of a sample of 100,000 people followed for an average of eight years were taking sweeteners.


What did Italian archaeologists find in an Iraqi temple damaged by the Islamic State?


Bas-reliefs of camels on the temple of Hatra II well as century


Bas-relief of a hybrid camel of the 2nd well as century after the birth of Christ. This is a temple from the kingdom of Hatra, wedged at that time between the Roman and Parthian empires, in northern Iraq. In review Antiquityto In early March, researchers from the University of Padua describe two bas-reliefs of camels with a barely small cavity between the two bulges. Therefore, it is a cross between an Arabian camel with one hump and a two-humped camel from Central Asia with two humps. These crosses started in Iuhcentury, but never seen outside of the Roman and Parthian empires. The Kingdom of Hatra was conquered at the beginning of the 3rd well as centuries by the Sassanids, who ousted the Parthians and were the last Persian empire before the Muslim conquest in the 7th well as century. This temple was looted by the Islamic State soldiers between 2015 and 2017.




common humpback whale

According to Scottish researchers, this is a reduction in the time that common humpback whales spend foraging in the presence of sonic noise. In review PNAS, in mid-March, biologists from the University of St. Andrews reported the reaction of 43 whales from four different species to the sonar used by ships to detect underwater obstacles. They explain that humpback whales think it is the sound of predators. Therefore, they limit the time they need to feed, because this activity makes them vulnerable. The other three species of whales are less affected by sonar, probably because they are less afraid of predators. The least affected species, the sperm whale, reduced the time spent feeding by 48%. The other two species studied are the northern bottlenose dolphin and the pilot whale.

Internet on the Moon


Moon base illustration

The American company Aquarian Space wants to offer high-speed satellite Internet on the Moon from 2024. by 2030, the number of orbiters will increase from 13 to 200. Aquarian, which is aiming for 100 Mbps for its Solnet space network, then wants to offer Internet on Mars.

Popular and prolific dolphins


australian dolphin Tursiops adunkusstudied by biologists from the University of Zurich

The male dolphins with the most babies are the most popular, not the strongest or youngest adults, according to a new Swiss study. In review Current biologyIn early March, biologists from the University of Zurich showed that dolphins with the most social contact with other males had five to ten times as many babies as dolphins with the least social contact. The group of “friends” of dolphins ranged from 4 to 14, and the number of cubs – from 1 in five years to just over 1 per year. Roughly half of one dolphin’s reproductive success over another is due to the size of its male social group. The researchers, who analyzed 30 years of behavioral and genetic research from a group of 85 Australian dolphins, say having lots of friends helps them avoid predators and food shortages.

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