Tag Archives: science

UK | Ban on killer robots urgently needed, say scientists

Technology now exists to create autonomous weapons that can select and kill human targets without supervision as UN urged to outlaw them.

USA | Silicon Valley is not your friend

Noam Cohen

Early trace of life from 3.95 Ga sedimentary rocks in Labrador, Canada

A group of scientists including Takayuki Tashiro, Akizumi Ishida, Masako Hori, Motoko Igisu, Mizuho Koike, Pauline Méjean, Naoto Takahata, Yuji Sano, Tsuyoshi Komiya find evidence of early life in Canada. The scientists write:

The vestiges of life in Eoarchean rocks have the potential to elucidate the origin of life. However, gathering evidence from many terrains is not always possible, and biogenic graphite has thus far been found only in the 3.7–3.8 Ga (gigayears ago) Isua supracrustal belt. Here we present the total organic carbon contents and carbon isotope values of graphite (δ13Corg) and carbonate (δ13Ccarb) in the oldest metasedimentary rocks from northern Labrador. Some pelitic rocks have low δ13Corg values of −28.2, comparable to the lowest value in younger rocks. The consistency between crystallization temperatures of the graphite and metamorphic temperature of the host rocks establishes that the graphite does not originate from later contamination. A clear correlation between the δ13Corg values and metamorphic grade indicates that variations in the δ13Corg values are due to metamorphism, and that the pre-metamorphic value was lower than the minimum value. We concluded that the large fractionation between the δ13Ccarb and δ13Corg values, up to 25‰, indicates the oldest evidence of organisms greater than 3.95 Ga. The discovery of the biogenic graphite enables geochemical study of the biogenic materials themselves, and will provide insight into early life not only on Earth but also on other planets.

Linux is Running on Almost All of the Top 500 Supercomputers

by Abhishek Prakash

Linux is still running on more than 99% of the top 500 fastest supercomputers in the world. Same as last year, 498 out of top 500 supercomputers run Linux while remaining 2 run Unix.

10 Scientific Ideas That Scientists Wish You Would Stop Misusing

by Annalee Newitz

Many ideas have left the world of science and made their way into everyday language — and unfortunately, they are almost always used incorrectly. We asked a group of scientists to tell us which scientific terms they believe are the most widely misunderstood. Here are ten of them.