MySci Daily Round-Up, July 6: Boiling Over

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Here at the Daily Round-Up HQ, the air conditioning is sadly inadequate to the task of providing respite from the brutal triple-digit heat wave that is scorching the Northeastern U.S. It’s not a good time to obsess about the eerie parallels with Revelation 16:8-9, in which an angel dumps a fiery bowl on the sun and turns the Earth into a hibachi for the sinful, or to watch this animated time-lapse video of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in map form, spanning from the 18th Century to the present. It might, however, be just the right moment for some ethereal spirit presence to show up and generate one of those paranormal cold spots that we’ve heard so much about. Unfortunately, though, the best we can do is offer you this rundown of really cool dispatches from the strange frontiers of science. So get a Klondike out of the fridge and dig in.

A revolutionary new battery is capable of storing more potential energy than any device other than a nuclear reactor, i09 reports. The battery is made of xenon difluoride, a material previously used to etch semiconductors. We could use one of those right now to power our personal mini-fan.

High concentrations of C02 in ocean water can turn fish into reckless daredevils, ArsTechnica tells us. In the study, Clownfish and damselfish in carbon-rich water — the sort that is being caused by climate change — ignore warning signs of predators and wander dangerously far from shelter. And then they start using Ben Affleck’s role choices as a template for their own acting careers.

Is there an evolutionary neurological connection between cannibalism and a taste for modern art? Maybe, New Scientist thinks. Even the late Claude “The Raw and the Cooked” Levi-Strauss might find that unappetizing.

Scientists may have bridged the theoretical gap between seemingly contradictory quantum physics and the “classical” everyday world, Science Daily reports. And darn it, it’s about time they did, because we were hopelessly befuddled.

A “bat hook” device designed by the military allows you to recharge your phone from overhead power lines, reports. And just when you were hoping to dodge calls from those former significant others of yours, with the excuse that you just bought an iPhone, and everybody knows what battery burners they are. Agggh.

Are we dumbing down ourselves to death? NPR science blogger Adam Frank wonders if the myriad environmental crises facing us are simply too difficult for a public with a seventh-grade science understanding level to make sense of, and if that’s why political leaders have so much difficulty getting us to support doing something about them.

Should we use synthetic biology to redesign life on earth? Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer, better known for penning the firebrand anti-species-ism manifesto Animal Liberation, argues that we should in this Globe and Mail opinion piece.