In a paper out this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, scientists described some unusual features on Pluto that might point to a hidden underground ocean. The scientists noticed that some pictures of Pluto showed certain geographical features that occur only when the surface of the planet expands as a result of water expanding when it turns into ice. But if the water were to have completely frozen, then they would have also seen signs that the surface had contracted, which they didn't--making the scientists think that Pluto might have an unfrozen ocean under its surface.
When a virus invades a cell, it uses that cell's machinery to replicate itself by throwing the typical process for replicating genetic material into reverse. This strategy is called reverse transcription, and it's messy, leading to numerous errors in the copied sequences. According to experts, this sloppiness might be a fluke, but it has likely turned into an evolutionary strategy to promote viral diversity and mutation, helping viruses stay ahead of the human immune response.
While vacationing this summer, it's possible you'll be bringing back more than just souvenirs. New Scientist reports on a presentation at the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting that found a small group of travelers picked up new genes that made them resistant to some antibiotics, just two days after they arrived in a new location.
Video streaming service Netflix helped kick off the era of watching television anywhere you want it. By charging viewers around $10 per month to watch all of its content, the company has challenged traditional TV into rethinking its business model, with services like Hulu, and has even inspired traditional channels to go the Netflix pricing route, like HBO's service HBO Now. But Netflix subscribers can't view content unless they're connected to the internet. This may soon change.
Citizens of the United Kingdom must now deal with the fact their country has voted 52 to 48 on a referendum to leave the European Union. It's a decision that scientists like Stephen Hawking have warned will negatively affect the collaborative spirit, which is so deeply connected to scientific progress. The Independent reports that academics warn a new wave of "brexit"--the "brain exit."
Forecasting a volcanic eruption is difficult and nearly impossible with particularly restless volcanoes that constantly shudder and emit gas and steam. But a team of volcanologists led by Diana Roman of the Carnegie Institution for Science has found a way. Like the proverbial "calm before the storm," the researchers say that restless volcanoes go quiet just before they erupt.