What you might have missed


A new approach to 3D printing human organs, finding the ocean’s missing plastic and the brain’s ability to forge new connections – here are some highlights from a week in science. 


Astronomers using radio telescopes in South Africa have discovered a pair of enormous bubbles of high-energy electrons ballooning 700 light years away from the centre of our galaxy. Read the full story here

SARAO/OXFORD/NRAO

Here's a snapshot of a few stories we particularly enjoyed. Click on the links to read them in full. You can also see all the week's yarns here.


Researchers find the ocean’s missing plastic

Millions of tonnes of plastic is trapped along the world’s coastlines and will eventually find its way into the ocean, according to new research.

And even if we stop dumping it today, the amount of plastic in the marine environment will continue to grow because our shorelines are working like a holding facility for plastic already on its way to sea.

Read the full story here.


Foot painters' toes mapped like fingers in the brain

A study of two British foot painters, both born without arms because their pregnant mums were given Thalidomide, has shown a part of their brains usually devoted to finger activity has been repurposed to help out the toes.

Read the full story here.


Shock me: 200% increase in electric eel species

A source of fascination since it was first described, in 1776 by Carl Linnaeus, the electric eel was long thought to be a single species – Electrophorus electricus – that was widely distributed throughout the Amazon basin.

Now, a team led by C David de Santana of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, US, has published descriptions of two new electric eel species in Nature Communications.

Read the full story here.


Researchers design robot glider that takes off from water

The laws of physics can be brutal, and perhaps nowhere are they more so than in the field of robotics.

Researchers and designers in the field are constantly challenged by size and scale: constructing small robots makes it difficult to include all the necessary sensors and actuators and propulsion units; making large ones means encountering uncomfortable upswings in the force and fuel required to get things to work.

Read the full story here.


A new approach to 3D printing human organs

Scientists have taken cues from the “lost wax” technique for making renaissance bronzes to 3D print human mini-organs with their very own blood vessels.

It’s an advance that moves the field closer to creating life-saving organ transplants for the more than 100,000 people on US waiting lists alone, 20 of whom die each day.

Read the full story here.


Salty tales: new mystery for the Dead Sea Scrolls

Chemical analysis of one of the Dead Sea Scrolls has revealed some surprising findings – and added another layer of mystery to the famous documents.

Read the full story here.


And here's our image of the week

Mollisonia plenovenatrix preserved in dorsal view, showing the large eyes, walking legs and small chelicerae at the front.

Jean-Bernard Caron / Royal Ontario Museum

Palaeontologists working on Canada’s world-renowned Burgess Shale have revealed a new species called Mollisonia plenovenatrix, which is presented as the oldest chelicerate.

Read the full story here.

To view all this week's featured images, click here.

  1. https://cosmosmagazine.com/latest
  2. https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth-sciences/researchers-find-the-ocean-s-missing-plastic
  3. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/foot-painters-toes-mapped-like-fingers-in-the-brain
  4. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/shock-me-200-increase-in-electric-eel-species
  5. https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/researchers-design-robot-glider-that-takes-off-from-water
  6. https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/a-new-approach-to-3d-printing-human-organs
  7. https://cosmosmagazine.com/chemistry/salty-tales-new-mystery-for-the-dead-sea-scrolls
  8. https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/a-tiny-predator-with-a-big-story-to-tell
  9. https://cosmosmagazine.com/sections/image-of-the-day
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