Top stories: Black hole’s first close-up, pseudoarchaeology, and hunting for human pheromones

Science | AAAS | 4/12/2019 | Staff
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This week, astronomers revealed the first image ever of a black hole—the gargantuan mass at the heart of nearby galaxy Messier 87. The image, a ring of fire surrounding the blackest of shadows, is a powerful confirmation of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, or general relativity, which was used to predict black holes 80 years ago. It is also a feat for the team of more than 200 scientists who toiled for years to produce the image by combining signals from eight separate radio observatories spanning the globe.

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Archaeologists alarmed by the rise of what they call “pseudoarchaeology” are taking to Twitter, blogs, podcasts, and YouTube to debunk false claims about ancient civilizations, including claims that aliens helped build the Egyptian and Mayan pyramids, refugees from Atlantis brought advanced technology to cultures around the world, and European immigrants were the original inhabitants of North America. Researchers say almost all such claims depend on the racist assumption that ancient non-European societies weren’t capable of inventing sophisticated architecture, calendars, math, and astronomy on their own.

Chemists - Quest - Pheromone

Can atmospheric chemists rescue the stalled quest for a human pheromone?

For decades, scientists have searched in vain for a human pheromone—a chemical signal in human body odor. Now, atmospheric chemists are using techniques for parsing atmospheric particles to breathe new life into...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Science | AAAS
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