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New technique separates industrial noise from natural seismic signals

For the first time, seismologists can characterize signals as a result of some industrial human activity on a continent-wide scale using cloud computing. In two recently published papers in Seismological Research Letters, scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory demonstrate how previously characterized “noise” can now be viewed as a specific signal in a large geographical area thanks to an innovative approach to seismic data analyses.

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Researchers explore quantum computing to discover possible COVID-19 treatments

Quantum machine learning, an emerging field that combines machine learning and quantum physics, is the focus of research to discover possible treatments for COVID-19, according to Penn State researchers led by Swaroop Ghosh, the Joseph R. and Janice M. Monkowski Career Development Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering. The researchers believe that this method could be faster and more economical than the current methods used for drug discovery.

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New ethane-munching microbes discovered at hot vents

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen have discovered a microbe that feeds on ethane at deep-sea hot vents. With a share of up to 15%, ethane is the second-most common component of natural gas. The researchers also succeeded in cultivating this microbe in the laboratory. Notably, the mechanism by which it breaks down ethane is reversible. In the future, these microbes could be used to produce ethane as an energy source. The study has now been published in the journal mBio.

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Bees point to new evolutionary answers

Evolutionary biology aims to explain how new species arise and evolve to occupy myriad niches—but it is not a singular or simplistic story. Rare bees found in high mountain areas of Fiji provide evidence that they have evolved into many species, despite the fact they can’t readily adapt to different habitats.

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