Hail Science!

…I can now close some tabs.

How our brains learned to read
Today we are readers. Evidence suggests that reading – which depends on an alphabet, writing materials, papyrus and such – is only about 5000 years old. The brain in its modern form is about 200,000 years old, yet brain imaging shows reading taking place in the same way and in the same place in all brains. To within a few millimetres, human brains share a reading hotspot – what Stanislas Dehaene calls the “letterbox” – on the bottom of the left hemisphere. [full article]

New global map of Mars suggests Red Planet once had ocean
Further, regions that are most densely dissected by the valley networks roughly form a belt around the planet between the equator and mid-southern latitudes, consistent with a past climate scenario that included precipitation and the presence of an ocean covering a large portion of Mars’ northern hemisphere. [full article]

Dark galaxy crashing into the Milky Way
Called Smith’s cloud, it has managed to avoid disintegrating during its smash-up with our own, much bigger galaxy. What’s more, its trajectory suggests it punched through the disc of our galaxy once before, about 70 million years ago. [full article]

Ripples in space divide classical and quantum worlds
The location of the boundary between the classical and quantum worlds is a long-standing mystery. One idea is that everything starts off as a quantum system, existing in a superposition of states. This would make an object capable of being, for example, in many places at once. But when this system interacts with its environment, it collapses into a single classical state – a phenomenon called quantum decoherence. [full article]