Top stories Human sacrifice a Mekong megadrought and how canvassing can change

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Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) On 26 March, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) lost contact with the Hitomi x-ray observatory. At a press conference in Tokyo this week, JAXA officials said that because of the difficulty of gathering information from the wayward satellite, they couldn’t say how long it might take to figure out what has gone wrong. The satellite seems to be in at least two pieces—but ground stations have intermittently picked up signals apparently from the spacecraft, raising hopes that the main body of the craft might be intact.Mummy genomes reveal just how catastrophic European contact was for New WorldThe earliest Americans have long been shrouded in mystery. For decades, scientists have debated what route they traveled into North America and how long it took for them to spread to every nook and cranny of the New World. Now, a new genetic study traces those ancient populations from their first foray all the way through European contact, which may have been even more cataclysmic for indigenous populations than researchers thought.Mekong megadrought erodes food securityThe worst drought ever recorded in Vietnam is stoking fears of a food security crisis. In a meeting with government officials next week, researchers with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture’s Asia regional office in Hanoi will unveil maps showing how water scarcity and climate change may imperil key crops across the country.Human sacrifice may have helped societies become more complexReligion is often touted as a force for moral good in the world—but it has a sinister side, too, embodied by gruesome rituals like human sacrifice. Now, new research suggests that even this dark side may have served an important function. Scientists have found that these ceremonial killings—intended to appease gods—may have encouraged the development of complex civilizations in maritime Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, though some experts remain unconvinced.center_img For real this time: Talking to people about gay and transgender issues can change their prejudicesLast summer, while media clamored for him to comment on a scientific scandal he had helped reveal, David Broockman was keeping an explosive secret of his own. Just months earlier, he and another researcher had revealed a study published by Science in 2014 as likely resting completely on fake data. Now, however, Broockman’s own work is confirming that the effect claimed by the fraudulent study is real after all.Japan’s damaged x-ray satellite: Space scientists looking for clues Emaillast_img read more