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Top stories: itchy salmon, the world's oldest bread, and new hope for a disfiguring disease

July 20,2018 20:16

Young sockeye salmon jump up to 30 centimeters in the air, sometimes skimming along the surface for close to a meter using their tail fins, about nine times a day. The reason, according to a new study, is that they're infested with parasitic sea lice ...and more »



(Left to right): ANDY CLARK/REUTERS/NEWSCOM; JOE ROE; BRIAN CASSEY

Why are these salmon jumping?
Young sockeye salmon jump up to 30 centimeters in the air, sometimes skimming along the surface for close to a meter using their tail fins, about nine times a day. The reason, according to a new study, is that they’re infested with parasitic sea lice—and are trying to splash them off.
This oven was used to make bread—thousands of years before agriculture
Thousands of years before the advent of agriculture, people were already making bread. Archaeologists investigated two sunken fireplaces at a 14,000-year-old site in Jordan and found 24 pieces of charred material with breadlike cellular structures, predating agriculture in the area by 4000 years. The discovery suggests knowing how to grow grains isn’t essential to making bread from them, which could help researchers understand how ancient cultures met their nutritional needs.
On a remote Pacific island, this doctor has revived a 60-year quest to eradicate a disfiguring disease
In 1952, the World Health Organization started a massive international campaign to eradicate yaws, a tropical skin disease that causes severe bone and skin damage and can lead to permanent pain and disfigurement. By the 1990s, cases had dropped dramatically; then, the disease bounced back. In 2012, Oriol Mitjà, a Spanish doctor and scientist working in remote Papua New Guinea, showed that a single dose of a cheap antibiotic, azithromycin, can cure yaws. The discovery put yaws back on the international agenda, led to a wave of new research, and revived the dream of eradication.
A top Chinese brain scientist wonders how he ended up on the U.S. visa blacklist
Frustrated with a string of unexplained U.S. visa denials, Rao Yi, a high-profile Chinese neuroscientist who worked in the United States for 22 years, copied numerous journalists on a 17 July email to officials at the U.S. embassy in Beijing pleading his case. Yi, now a dean at Peking University in Beijing, was invited to a conference hosted by the U.S. National Science Foundation occurring later this month, but he is having difficulty entering the country. He says he cannot think of anything he might have done to get blacklisted.
Ten new moons—including one ‘oddball’—discovered around Jupiter
Jupiter’s orbital family expanded to 79 this week, with scientists from the International Astronomical Union announcing the discovery of 10 new miniature moons around the gas giant, the most of any planet in our solar system. While the moonlets mostly follow Jupiter’s known orbital patterns, one oddball moon, tentatively dubbed “Valetudo,” takes a winding route through the other moons and is likely to cause a collision at some point, the researchers say.

doi:10.1126/science.aau8498

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