Rare, Super-Deep Diamonds Reveal Secrets of Early Earth

Scientists in Spain have been analyzing so-called super-deep diamonds as a means to learn more about the formation of the Earth itself. The diamonds from deep within the Earth are coughed up in volcanic eruptions and serve as tiny time capsules, trapping minute traces of atmospheric gases from billions of years ago. The scientists say the diamonds indicate a vast reservoir of ancient rock hundreds of miles below the Earth’s surface.

Science educator Rabiah Mayas, associate director of the Science in Society center at Northwestern University, tells us more about that story and others making science headlines.

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Below, learn more about the other stories we discuss.

A map of the brain can tell what you are reading

Neuroscientists at UC Berkeley have created a map that shows where different categories of words activate the brain. Researchers scanned the brains of subjects who were asked to listen and then read stories from “The Moth Radio Hour,” a popular podcast. They then made a map that showed what parts of the brain were activated when hearing or reading about particular words or topics. The results can be viewed in an interactive, 3D brain viewer online.

Optimistic people sleep better

Researchers at the University of Illinois say they have discovered a link between optimism and sleep. A study of more than 3,500 people found that those who were more optimistic slept better.

According to the Centers for Disease Control one in three Americans suffer from poor sleep, which can be a contributory factor in multiple health problems including obesity and hypertension.

Fish reveal limb-regeneration secrets

Scientists at Michigan State have been studying gar – an evolutionary ancient freshwater fish – to study how it is able to regenerate entire fins that have been lost. The researchers say the genes that allow gar to regrow fins are also largely present in humans. The ultimate goal is to learn how we may one day be able to activate those genes to regrow human limbs.

Related stories:

Self-Focusing Glasses and Other News from the World of Science

Northwestern Engineering Team Pioneers New Medical Technologies

Humans Have Been Altering the Planet for at Least 3,000 Years, Study Finds

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