"For everyday objects and over short distances, the gravitational force — whether as described in Newtonian physics or in Einstein’s more complicated general theory of relativity — reduces to a simple rule: gravitational energy is directly proportional to height, and tennis balls go up and down tracing parabolas. For confined particle that has quantum behaviour, such as the neutron, the energy is still proportional to height, but can only exist at particular levels, rather than over a continuum. Some potential explanations for the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter — which together make up 95% of the Universe — predict subtle deviations from the levels that we would expect if gravity were acting alone.
In this week’s Physical Review Letters, a team led by physicist Hartmut Abele at the Technical University of Vienna shows that the ordinary laws of gravity are still valid even when measured over the scale of a few micrometres. The researchers measured quantized gravitational energy levels with a precision that is 100,000 times better than in previous experiments."
— Bouncing neutrons probe dark energy on a table-top : Nature News & Comment
"Mafia like behavior, where individuals cooperate under the threat of punishment, occurs not only in humans, but is also observed in several animal species. Observations suggest that avian hosts tend to accept a certain degree of parasitism in order to avoid retaliating punishment from the brood parasite. To understand under which conditions it will be beneficial for a host to cooperate, we model the interaction between hosts and parasites as an evolutionary game. In our model, the host’s behavior is plastic, and thus, its response depends on the previous interactions with the parasite. We find that such learned behavior in turn is crucial for the evolution of retaliating parasites. The abundance of this kind of mafia behavior oscillates in time and does not settle to an equilibrium. Our results suggest that retaliation is a mechanism for the parasite to evade specialization and to induce acceptance by the host."
— Nature: Plastic behaviors in hosts promote the emergence of retaliatory parasites (3/4/14)
The sigil of house Lannister shouldn’t be a lion; it should be a cheetah, because cheetahs are seriously inbred.
Edit: Never mind. Redditor beat me to it.
Waaaaaay too many candles. Everywhere. Where are all these candles coming from? Are they lit individually by servants who anticipate where the drama will take place next? Do they replace them constantly? I feel like this would get expensive.
"Ancient DNA sequencing has recently provided high-coverage archaic human genomes. However, the evolution of epigenetic regulation along the human lineage remains largely unexplored. We reconstructed the full DNA methylation maps of the Neandertal and the Denisovan by harnessing the natural degradation processes of methylated and unmethylated cytosines. Comparing these ancient methylation maps to those of present-day humans, we identified ~2000 differentially methylated regions (DMRs). Particularly, we found substantial methylation changes in the HOXD cluster that may explain anatomical differences between archaic and present-day humans. Additionally, we found that DMRs are significantly more likely to be associated with diseases. This study provides insight into the epigenetic landscape of our closest evolutionary relatives and opens a window to explore the epigenomes of extinct species."
Reconstructing the DNA Methylation Maps of the Neandertal and the Denisovan