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Robert Walker, Science 2.0
We have been sending missions to Mars since the Mariner 4 flyby in 1964, and our first successful landing was Viking 1 in 1976. So, why can't astrobiologists answer the question definitively, when you ask them if there is life on Mars? Well, perhaps it's because we haven't looked. You might think, "Absurd, what about the Curiosity or Opportunity rovers exploring Mars right now, are they not searching for life " but these aren't looking for life directly. They are looking instead for evidence of past and present water and organics, and testing for habitability.
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Brian Gallagher, Nautilus
Last month, Dan Doctoroff, the C.E.O. of Sidewalk Labs, Google's sibling company under Alphabet, answered a question about what his company actually does during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, replying, The short answer is: We want to build the first truly 21st-century city.
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Erica Klarreich, Quanta

A paper posted online last month has reignited a debate about one of the oldest, most startling claims in the modern era of network science: the proposition that most complex networks in the real world from the World Wide Web to interacting proteins in a cell are scale-free.
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Fred Pearce, Anthropocene
The ramshackle river port of Khulna in southwest Bangladesh is one of the most flood-prone urban areas on Earth. The third-largest city in one of the world's poorest and most populous nations is at constant risk of inundation. It lies 125 kilometers inland from the shores of the Indian Ocean. And yet a tenth of this city of 2 million people is flooded at least ten times a year on average.
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Stephen Skolnick, Physics Central
Life is possible through the transfer of the sun's energy, through photosynthesis, and animals eating and us eating them. Is it possible to measure how much energy a person receives from the sun in order to live an average life, say 85 years being the average? Tall order, yes?
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Chris Bergland, Psych Today
In recent years, there has been a groundswell of science-based evidence linking the triad of (1) brain health, (2) cognitive function, and (3) aerobic fitness. Increasingly, the neuroprotective benefits of staying active and physically fit are impossible to deny. Adding to this mountain of evidence: A new study, Cardiorespiratory Fitness and White Matter Neuronal Fiber Integrity in Mild Cognitive Impairment, identified a link between lower levels of fitness and faster deterioration of white matter (WM) throughout the brain.
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Nicola Davis, The Guardian
The fear I felt was no rational fear, but a panic terror, wrote HG Wells, describing his narrator's response to a Martian invasion in War of the Worlds.But despite such alarming portrayals, researchers say the discovery of alien life is more likely to be welcomed with open arms than panic.
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Ian Goldin, Nature News
Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now builds on his 2011 The Better Angels of Our Nature (Viking) in offering another engaging, compelling set of reasons to be cheerful. In this new combined survey, analysis and manifesto, he convincingly demonstrates that when it comes to health and life expectancy, poverty reduction and income, education, human rights, peace and security, the global data provide solid grounds for optimism.
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George Busby, Conversation
Researchers recently used DNA from the 10,000-year-old Cheddar Man, one of Britain's oldest skeletons, to unveil what the first inhabitants of what now is Britain actually looked like. But this isn't the first time DNA from old skeletons has provided intriguing findings about our ancestors. Rapid advances in genetic sequencing over the past few decades have opened up a whole new window into the past.
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Loren Grush, The Verge
The Trump administration wants to end direct NASA funding for the International Space Station by 2025 but that doesn't necessarily mean the US will stop sending people into orbit around Earth by then. Instead, NASA hopes to transition the domain of lower Earth orbit, where the space station resides, to the commercial space industry over the next seven years. But what would it take for private space companies to take over this area of space and what exactly would they do up there?
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