Unexpected New COVID Symptoms Arise As JN.1 Variant Continues To Spread, OSIRIS Mission Sets Sights On “God Of Destruction” Asteroid At Crucial Time, And Much More This Week

This week we take a closer look at the “Great Wall of Mongolia”, the quest for better energy storage takes a leap forward in the form of time-bending quantum batteries, and a 150-year-old pliosaur skull is examined by Sir David Attenborough as part of a new series for the BBC. Finally, we take a look at why your muscles hurt quite so much after the workout you did three days ago.

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Unexpected New COVID Symptoms Arise As JN.1 Variant Continues To Spread

The JN.1 COVID variant had a rapid spread throughout December 2023 and has now become the most common strain of the virus spreading across the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cases of JN.1 are also creeping up in the UK, as well as China and India. Read the full story here.

OSIRIS Mission Sets Sights On “God Of Destruction” Asteroid At Crucial Time

As NASA struggles to access the treasure obtained by the OSIRIS-REx mission to Bennu, it has also had to decide what to do with the valuable and still-operating spacecraft responsible. Now that decision has been made, confirming a long-standing plan, with the target set for an even more-famous Earth-crossing asteroid, 99942 Apophis, and a tweak to the mission name. Read the full story here.

Mysterious 405-Kilometer-Long “Great Wall Of Mongolia” Studied For First Time

A section of the Great Wall of China that extends into Mongolia has been analyzed for the first time, allowing researchers to present some speculative insights into the history and function of this enormous structure. Spread over 405 kilometers (252 miles), the wall has been dubbed the “Mongolian Arc” due to its curved trajectory.  Read the full story here.

Time-Bending Quantum Batteries Could Surpass Chemical Versions For Energy Storage

Batteries that make use of quantum phenomena that appear to mock our conventional understanding of the laws of physics could be harnessed for energy storage. Although these batteries have only been produced on a small scale in laboratories, one day they might offer advantages over conventional batteries that could see them be the preferred choice in at least some niches. Read the full story here.

Pliosaur Skull Dating Back 150 Million Years May Be A New-To-Science Species

The enormous teeth of a “giant sea monster” were restored by fossil expert Chris Moore after he and Steve Etches endured the painstaking task of removing a huge fossil skull 12 meters (39 feet) up a cliff in Dorset, UK. It belonged to a pliosaur, an ancient marine reptile with a bite force that could’ve bested Tyrannosaurus rex in a fight, according to scientists working on the discovery. Read the full story here

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Feature of the week:

Why Do Your Muscles Start To Ache Days After Working Out?

Exercise can be amazing for you: regularly getting active can reduce your risk of a whole host of ailments, such as heart attacks and strokes, and simply getting out for a walk can reduce your risk of death. Indeed, the World Health Organization states that those who don’t work out enough have a 20-30 percent increased chance of death. But if exercise is so good for you, why can it hurt so much – and why can the pain commence days after you’ve staggered out of the gym? Read the full story here.

More content:

Have you seen our free e-magazine, CURIOUS? Issue 17 December 2023 is out now. Check it out for exclusive interviews, book excerpts, long reads, and more.

PLUS, check out season 3 of IFLScience’s The Big Questions Podcast, so far we’ve asked:

Is Jurassic Park Possible?

How Is Climate Change Affecting Polar Bear Populations?

Why Is Space Junk Such A Big Deal?

Can We Save A Species On The Very Brink Of Extinction?

How Does A Quantum Computer Work And How Will They Change The World?

What Is Space Weather And How Does It Affect Us?

What Is Ancient Ice Telling Us About The Future?

Are E-Fuels The Future Of Aviation?

How Are Glaciers Changing In A Warming World?

Are We Ready For The Next Massive Solar Flare?

Would You Eat Plant-Based Meat For Christmas Dinner?

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