Test your smarts on big brains artificial brains and the fourth domain

first_img It can buy into stereotypes Sucking it from moist sand Start Quiz Top Ranker Giant lobbyist What is the average airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow—in space? Recycling it from human urine Question How warm are Enceladus’s plumes? Score How did you score on the quiz? Challenge your friends to a science news duel! An error occurred loading the Quiz. Please try again later. A sewage treatment plant Nigeria Giant mole rat Too few calories How old are Saturn’s rings? It can buy into stereotypes. One of the great promises of AI is a world free of petty human bias. Hiring by algorithm would give everyone an equal chance at work, and predicting criminal behavior with big data would sidestep prejudice in policing. But a new study shows that computers can also be biased, especially when they learn from us. When algorithms glean the meaning of words by gobbling up lots of human-written text, they adopt stereotypes very similar to our own. “Don’t think that AI is some fairy godmother,” says one scientist. “AI is just an extension of our existing culture.” A pigsty Cuba Just last week, NASA announced that it had found molecular hydrogen—a key ingredient for life as we know it—on which of our solar system’s moons? LOADING Great Britain. Long before Brexit was even a gleam in the eyes of Homo heidelbergensis, Britain was part of Europe. A high ridge of limestone—today exposed as the white cliffs of Dover—extended all the way to what is now France, letting mammoths, hippos, and eventually humans freely pass back and forth. But about 450,000 years ago, this rocky road was cut off by a flood of unimaginable proportions. The Science Quiz By Catherine MatacicApr. 19, 2017 , 11:30 AM Enceladus. In 2005, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied jets of vapor erupting into space from fissures on Enceladus, evidence of a salty ocean beneath the saturnian moon’s placid surface. Now, it turns out that the jets contain hydrogen gas, a sign of ongoing chemical reactions on the floor of that alien sea. Because such chemistry provides energy for microbial life on Earth, Enceladus now becomes the solar system’s top candidate for hosting life beyond Earth—besting even Europa, another icy moon with an ocean. Results: You answered out of correctly – Click to revisit Europa 0 / 10 Giant shipworm You 0 Imperial College London/Chase Stone Scientists now suspect that almost half a million years ago, ice age waterfalls cut off this current island from the rest of its continent: The Science Quiz tests your knowledge of this past month’s biggest science news stories. No matter how much you know, you’re still likely to learn something–give it a try! How old are Saturn’s rings? It’s time to place your bets, for Cassini is swooping close enough to take a look. On 26 April, it will thread the gap between the gas giant and its rings in the first of 22 orbits that will culminate in September with a fiery and fatal plunge into the planet’s atmosphere. The Grand Finale, as NASA is calling it, should help answer whether Saturn’s water ice rings are 4.5 billion years old—nearly as old as the planet—or perhaps even young enough to enjoy the odd Monty Python reference. Test your smarts on big brains, artificial brains, and the fourth domain of life! It can pretend to agree with programmers Sexual competition Giant shipworm. Before this year, the shipworm was known only from the meter-long calcium carbonate tubes it left behind in shallow lagoons in the Philippines. But scientists caught the world’s longest bivalve by digging 3 meters down into the dark mud of a former log storage pond. What they found thrilled them. The giant shipworm, which is related to clams and oysters, lives off noxious hydrogen sulfide expelled by microbes in the lagoon—which other microbes living in the worm’s gills then harness to build carbon. As a result, the shipworm rarely eats—or poops. Group hunting Pulling it directly from the air. Sorry, Dune fans—no stillsuits yet. But wringing water from the desert sky is now possible, thanks to a new spongelike device that uses sunlight to suck water vapor from arid air. The device can harvest nearly 3 liters of water a day using molecule-grabbing powders, and scientists say future versions will be even better. That could—in theory—give homes in the driest parts of the world cheap appliances that can deliver all the water they need.center_img A sewage treatment plant. Tourists visiting the Austrian town of Klosterneuburg often head for the 12th century monastery or the memorial to author Franz Kafka. Virologists and evolutionary biologists, however, may one day pay homage to the town’s sewage treatment plant, which has yielded a genome from one of the most cell-like viruses yet. The genetic material challenges the controversial hypothesis that giant viruses are descendants of a vanished group of cellular organisms—a so-called fourth domain of life. According to a delectable new study, why don’t we eat each other for dinner? Time’s Up! Too few calories. Man may be the most dangerous game, but he’s hardly the most nutritious. A new study based on the calorie count of average humans suggests that man-eating was mostly ritualistic, not dietary, among hominins. The average adult male packs 125,822 calories, enough to meet the daily requirements of some 60 people. But compared with animals like mammoths (3,600,000 calories), wooly rhinoceroses (1,260,000 calories), and aurochs (979,200 calories), it hardly seems worthwhile to hunt those that are just as wily and dangerous—or even more so—than the hunters. Fruit eating. Ask any biologist what makes primates special, and they’ll tell you the same thing: big brains. Those impressive noggins make it possible to use tools, find food, and navigate the complex relationships of group living. But scientists have long disagreed on what drove us to evolve big brains in the first place. Now, a new study finds that the caloric boost of fruit—and the complex foraging needed to find it—provided the energy needed for larger brains. Somalia This week, scientists found the first-ever live specimen of this mud-burrowing creature: Filtering it from seawater How cold is Jupiter’s Great Cold Spot? Japan Pulling it directly from the air Giant Gippsland earthworm It can “forget” birthdays and anniversaries Indirect victims of an ongoing armed conflict, children in this country are experiencing record rates of malnutrition, which is compounding the effects of disease outbreaks like measles and even polio: Fruit eating According to a new study, what behavior likely led to the development of our (relatively) large brains? Share your score Cannibalism Charon A chemical plant As Cassini starts its final mission next week, what question will it seek to answer? April 19, 2017 The Science Quiz Take the Science Quiz and test your knowledge of the month’s hottest science news. The faster you answer, the higher you score! Ganymede Too many communicable diseases Great Britain Iceland A disturbing resemblance to Boca burgers Afghanistan Last month, one of the world’s most complex viruses, a member of the so-called giant virus family, was found in what place? Enceladus Average A new study shows that artificial intelligence (AI) has become more like humans in this way: Nigeria. Of all Africa’s crises, this may be the worst, according to aid workers. Families uprooted from fighting with Boko Haram find themselves crammed into squalid camps and towns already too destitute to deal with the influx. Food, water, and sanitation are scarce or nonexistent. And in a deadly cycle, malnutrition renders children susceptible to infection and less able to fight it. Yet the crisis in Nigeria’s northeast remains remarkably unrecognized and hugely underfunded, leaving aid workers struggling with how to deliver lifesaving interventions when the needs are so great and the resources so paltry. A children’s hospital Pakistan April 19, 2017 A buildup of toxins in the fat tissue A new solar-powered device can produce up to 3 liters of water a day by doing what? It can accurately interpret body languagelast_img