spined soldier bug (Podisus maculiventris) attacking Mexican bean beetle larvae (Epilachna varivestis) (Photo Agricultural Research Service)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” describes a research on a substance produced by spined soldier bugs – species Podisus maculiventris – that could replace some antibiotics in the treatment of certain types of infections. A team of researchers from the University of Zurich and the ETH Zurich discovered that through a mechanism so far unknown this insect produces what was called thanatin. This substance is capable of attacking bac cell walls of bacteria such as the ones of the Escherichia coli family, which includes species that are developing increasing resistance to current antibiotics.

Skeletal reconstruction of Mirarce eatoni. The bones available are in white (Illustration courtesy Scott Hartman)

An article published in the journal “PeerJ” describes the study of some bones of a primitive bird that lived about 75 million years ago in today’s Utah. Nemed Mirarce eatoni, it belonged to the family of enantiornithines, primitive birds that lived in the Cretaceous period and then died out with dinosaurs. This species shows characteristics similar to those of modern birds that show flight skills equivalent to theirs but this makes it even more difficult to understand the reasons for the extinction of the enantiornithines.

Warren Peace by Bob Shaw

The novel “Warren Peace” by Bob Shaw was published for the first time in 1993. It’s the sequel to “Who Goes Here?”.

Warren Peace has become an Oscar and as a result is practically invulnerable. He no longer needs food or water and his new body is asexual with the consequence that very quickly he starts getting terribly bored. The other Oscars he works with are not a great company and this worsens his situation.

Even at a Galactic Jamboree, Warren Peace can enjoy nothing but when he realizes that someone is attempting an attack he intervenes promptly. Unfortunately, the object he intercepts is made of pryktonite, a substance that’s the only weak point of the Oscars. The result is that Warren regresses to the state of a normal human being becoming the target of Jeeves, the most notorious criminal in the galaxy.

Femora from Basturs Poble bonebed (Image Víctor Fondevilla et. al.)

An article published in the journal “PLOS ONE” offers an ontogeny and taxonomy of the remains of hadrosaurids discovered in the Basturs Poble site, Spain. A team of researchers led by Víctor Fondevilla of the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) examined 270 fossils that could all belong to the same species, Pararhabdodon isonensis, and lived about 70 million years ago. The presence of very different specimens offered a lot of information on the life cycle of this duck-billed dinosaur.

Multilayer graphene has interesting electronic properties

Two articles, one published in the journal “Carbon” and one in the journal “Nano Letters”, describe research on the electronic properties of graphene. Two teams of researchers coordinated by the University of Linköping (LiU), Sweden, focused on the possibilities of multilayer graphene for a range of applications connected to electronics, for the possibility of using it as a superconductor and in the production of sustainable fuels.