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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

Microbes Surpass Low Energy Limit for Life

Microbes have been discovered on the sea floor that have exceptionally low metabolic rates, using so little oxygen that they barely qualify as life. Researchers think that they may have been living at the absolute minimum energy requirement needed to subsist for 86 million years.

In other news of the ancient past, the earliest direct example of insect pollination has been identified by scientists in 100-million-year-old amber blocks from Spain that include tiny invertebrates whose bodies are coated with pollen grains.

And archaeologists working in a rain forest in Guatemala have stumbled on a remarkable discovery: a room full of wall paintings and numerical calculations. The room, about the size of a walk-in closet, is part of the buried Maya city of Xultun.


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PODCAST & VIDEO: Engineering Around Extreme Events

Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.

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