Amusing Science

We are the Borg.
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Anaxagoras
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How cold was the ice age? Researchers now know
A University of Arizona-led team has nailed down the temperature of the last ice age—the Last Glacial Maximum of 20,000 years ago—to about 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7.8 C).
Only 20,000 years ago. Well, that's sort of a long time ago, but sort of very recent too.
Their findings allow climate scientists to better understand the relationship between today's rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide—a major greenhouse gas—and average global temperature.

The Last Glacial Maximum, or LGM, was a frigid period when huge glaciers covered about half of North America, Europe and South America and many parts of Asia, while flora and fauna that were adapted to the cold thrived.

"We have a lot of data about this time period because it has been studied for so long," said Jessica Tierney, associate professor in the UArizona Department of Geosciences. "But one question science has long wanted answers to is simple: How cold was the ice age?"

Tracking Temperature

Tierney is lead author of a paper published today in Nature that found that the average global temperature of the ice age was 6 degrees Celsius (11 F) cooler than today. For context, the average global temperature of the 20th century was 14 C (57 F).

"In your own personal experience that might not sound like a big difference, but, in fact, it's a huge change," Tierney said.

She and her team also created maps to illustrate how temperature differences varied in specific regions across the globe.
Just 6 degrees Celsius (11 F) is the difference between most of North America being covered in glaciers and the 20th century climate. And we're probably in for at least another few degrees of warming.
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Or a mini ice age
still working on Sophrosyne, but I will no doubt end up with Hubris
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still working on Sophrosyne, but I will no doubt end up with Hubris
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Whatever floats your boat? Scientists defy gravity with levitating liquid

Researchers use vibrations to make toy vessels bob about under floating layer of liquid

Scientists have turned the world upside down with a curious quirk of physics that allowed them to float toy boats the wrong way up beneath a levitating body of liquid.

In a striking demonstration of the mind-bending effect, the boats seem to defy the laws of gravity as they bob about on the water above them with their sails pointing down.

The bizarre phenomenon makes for a nifty trick, but researchers say the finding may have practical implications, from mineral processing to separating waste and pollutants from water and other liquids.

“We were playing around,” said Emmanuel Fort, a researcher on the team that discovered the effect at the Higher School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry in Paris. “We had no idea it would work.”

The scientists made their finding while studying the curious impact vibrations can have on the behaviour of liquids. Researchers already knew that, given the right kind of vibrations, bubbles can plunge downwards in liquids, while heavy particles that would normally settle out float to the surface instead.

Another strange effect of vibrations allows a layer of liquid to float in air, provided it is in a closed container. The explanation lies in the ability of vibrations to stabilise what are otherwise unstable systems.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/202 ... ing-liquid for the rest.

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Track your location through geological epochs: https://dinosaurpictures.org/ancient-earth#220
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Ancient humans had extremely complicated sex lives, evidence shows

Even today's digitally expanded world of modern dating has nothing on the ancient world.

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, there were roughly four species of ancient hominids getting it on with their contemporaries. Thanks to new genetic analysis algorithms, scientists have identified the vestiges of this free-wheeling ancient hookup scene, which lives on inside our DNA.

This includes material from a mysterious "super archaic" ancestor.

Analysis of two Neanderthal genomes, one Denisovan genome, and four modern human genomes revealed new evidence of gene flow between these species, further confirming previous work that suggests that they mated with one another.

The team found that three percent of the Neanderthal genome came from interbreeding with ancient humans. They estimate this intermixing happened between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago — far earlier than previous estimates indicated.

They also found that one percent of the Denisovan genome contained genetic material that came from an unexpected source – an "archaic human ancestor" that was neither human, nor Neanderthal, nor Denisovan.

The authors suggest that 15 percent of genetic regions that came from that archaic ancestor have been passed on to humans today, and there are a few theories as to who it came from and how it got baked into our genetic code.
https://www.inverse.com/science/super-a ... tics-study

The paper: https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/ ... en.1008895
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Bookmarked
still working on Sophrosyne, but I will no doubt end up with Hubris
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↑ Depends on how exactly you define "human". :mrgreen: (Sadly we are kinda orphans nowadays.)





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Yes. Throughout Eastern Europe & Siberia they built their huts with the remains:

Image
The mammoth bone huts at Mezhirich near Kiev are ~15,000 years old. The base of each dwelling is a circle of interlocking woolly mammoth jaw bones. The bones for each dwelling weighed about 20 tonnes.
https://twitter.com/Jamie_Woodward_/sta ... 03/photo/1
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Is there any doubt that humans are why the mammoths are extinct?
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Re: Amusing Science

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A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
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Finnish researchers believe they’ve found a real hangover cure

The results of a new study from the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland suggest that the semi-essential amino acid, L-cysteine, can ease hangover symptoms. L-cysteine, representing a single chemical molecule, is produced in the human body. The researchers recruited 19 men for the study, and they drank cranberry juice and the 10% proof Finnish grain alcohol, Koskenkorva, with the number of drinks each participant received based on his body weight. Each man was given either a placebo, a pill containing 600mg of L-cysteine, or a 1200mg dose of L-cysteine.

The study found that the men who received the 1200mg pill experienced less severe headaches and nausea the following morning, while those who had the smaller dose felt less anxious overall. "The fact of the matter is that higher degree of alcohol-related hangover and stress symptoms lead to more effort ‘curing’ the after-effects by drinking alcohol," they concluded. "L-cysteine would reduce the need of drinking the next day with no or less hangover symptoms: nausea, headache, stress and anxiety. Altogether, these effects of L-cysteine are unique and seem to have a future in preventing or alleviating these harmful symptoms as well as reducing the risk of alcohol addiction."
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/f ... gover-cure

Finland, of course. :mrgreen:
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Witness wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:10 am
Finnish researchers believe they’ve found a real hangover cure
...
Altogether, these effects of L-cysteine are unique and seem to have a future in preventing or alleviating these harmful symptomsas well as reducing the risk of alcohol addiction."
https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/f ... gover-cure
Finland, of course. :mrgreen:
I'm not sure what is amusing about this but ...

'Hair of the dog that bit you' is a significant part of becoming an alcoholic, so yea, I can see that as being true.
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Weird, I'd never drink more because I've drunk too much.





As we're into alcohol:
Thank The Simple Wasp For That Complex Glass Of Wine

The next time you take a sip of your favorite wine, you might want to make your first toast to hornets. Or, more precisely, European hornets and paper wasps.

That's because those big scary flying insects whose stings can be especially painful may be the secret to the wonderful complex aroma and flavor of wine. "Wasps are indeed one of wine lovers' best friends," says Duccio Cavalieri, a professor of microbiology at the University of Florence in Italy.

Cavalieri and his colleagues discovered that these hornets and wasps bite the grapes and help start the fermentation while grapes are still on the vines. They do that by spreading a yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae — commonly known as brewer's yeast and responsible for wine, beer and bread fermentation — in their guts. When the wasps bite into the fruit, they leave some of that yeast behind.

Cavalieri says one of the reasons the discovery is so exciting for him is that it's an example of just how connected the natural world is and how humans rely on this interconnection in ways we simply cannot perceive.

"It's important because it's telling to me it's crucial to look at conservation and the study of biodiversity," says Cavalieri, one of the authors who published his findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently.
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/20 ... ss-of-wine

Save our burgundies, protect the wasps! :x
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Wroclove doc wins international prize for kissing research

A Wrocław scientist has bagged an international prize for her ‘improbable’ research into kissing.

Dr Agnieszka Żelaźniewicz from the University of Wrocław won the Ig Nobel prize as part of an international team after looking into how inequalities in national incomes affect how people kiss.

Image

Entitled ‘National income inequality predicts cultural variation in mouth-to-mouth kissing’, the research published in Nature’s Scientific Reports found that in poorer countries, romantic mouth-to-mouth kissing is more important in long-term relationships.

According to the researchers, mouth-to-mouth kissing is an effective way to check your partner for pathogens, to see if they are healthy and it helps maintain a monogamous relationship which can help survival in harsh environments.
https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/wr ... jEYW7RSVsc

OK, it's an Ig Nobel, but I like it. :)
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"According to the researchers, mouth-to-mouth kissing is an effective way to check your partner for pathogens"

How romantic!
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I went to an Ig Nobel award ceremony once many years ago. It was lots of fun with many paper airplanes flying about. I can’t quite recall the details, but one group won for creating a program to allow communication with your pet. The venue was fantastic with lots of carved wood. There was much laughter from the crowd and the guests.
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Anaxagoras wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:10 am How romantic!
All the ethereal love stuff is just evolution's way of ensuring that humans procreate.
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My best friend's wedding...mom of the bride..."about time, he should have dragged her back to his cave long ago."
... The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light ... The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. It was a kind of religious experience. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me.
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Some spiders may spin poisonous webs laced with neurotoxins

Droplets on the silk strands contain proteins that subdue prey, a study suggests

Image
The impressive webs of banana spiders (Trichonephila clavipes) may help chemically subdue prey, new research suggests.
Orb weaver spiders are known for their big, beautiful webs. Now, researchers suggest that these webs do more than just glue a spider’s meal in place — they may also swiftly paralyze their catch.

Biochemical ecologist Mario Palma has long suspected that the webs of orb weavers — common garden spiders that build wheel-shaped webs — contain neurotoxins. “My colleagues told me, ‘You are nuts,’” says Palma, of São Paulo State University’s Institute of Biosciences in Rio Claro, Brazil. No one had found such toxins, and webs’ stickiness seemed more than sufficient for the purpose of ensnaring prey.
...
Now, thanks in large part to the work of his Ph.D. student Franciele Esteves, Palma thinks he has found those prey-paralyzing toxins. The pair and their colleagues analyzed the active genes and proteins in the silk glands of banana spiders (Trichonephila clavipes) — a kind of orb weaver — and found proteins resembling known neurotoxins. The neurotoxins may make the webs paralytic traps, the team reports online June 15 in the Journal of Proteome Research. The prey-catching webs of other species probably have similar neurotoxins, Palma says.

These neurotoxin proteins also showed up on the silk of webs collected in Rio Claro, packed into fatty bubbles in microscopic droplets on the strands. And when the researchers rinsed substances from webs and injected them into bees, the animals became paralyzed in less than a minute.
...
Paralytic toxins may be just part of the underappreciated complexity of web design. Palma plans to have his students dive deeper into smaller, as of yet unidentified proteins his team found. He thinks they may help keep the prey alive until the spider’s ready for a fresh meal.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/spi ... xins-genes

The never-ending beauties of Nature… :mrgreen:
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Women on Arctic research mission told not to wear tight-fitting clothing

Alfred-Wegener-Institut leads MOSAiC mission, says clothing policy relates to hygiene and occupational safety

A prominent Arctic research mission is coming under fire for a dress code policy that has highlighted concerns about systemic sexism in the polar sciences.

The MOSAiC expedition, an international research mission led by Germany's Alfred-Wegener-Institut, had polar researchers navigating Arctic sea ice for a full year collecting data about the Arctic climate and climate change.

But shortly after the journey began, women on board a support vessel for the mission, the Akademik Fedorov, were told they could not dress in tight-fitting clothing due to safety concerns.

Journalist Chelsea Harvey was on board the ship for six weeks in October 2019 when the policy was first disclosed. She recently wrote about the rules for energy and environmental research trade publication E&E News.

Halfway through her voyage, she said, passengers were told that "thermal underwear" was prohibited as outerwear in common areas. The next day, Harvey said the mission's leaders elaborated to say that "no leggings, no very tight-fitting clothing — nothing too revealing — no crop tops, no hot pants [and] no very short shorts" would be allowed.

"We were told there are a lot of men on board this ship … and some of them are going to be on board this ship for months at a time," Harvey told CBC News. "In my meeting … what we were told was this was a 'safety issue.'
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/mo ... -1.5739547

If the Wegener Institut wasn't so prudish they'd just hire a professional lady – problem solved and she would make a killing. :roll:
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Uh, that shit was tried long ago, it doesn’t work
still working on Sophrosyne, but I will no doubt end up with Hubris
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It's long and perhaps won't interest anybody everybody, but I enjoyed the dude's talk:

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omg
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I want that telescope now
still working on Sophrosyne, but I will no doubt end up with Hubris
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This is pretty interesting:

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How many jobs can be done at home?

Highlights
  • We classify the feasibility of working at home for all occupations.
  • 37% of jobs in the United States can be performed entirely at home.
  • Jobs that can be done at home typically pay more.
  • Lower-income economies have a lower share of jobs that can be done at home.
From the Journal of Public Economics.
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Unparalleled inventory of the human gut ecosystem
  • Scientists gathered and published over 200 000 genomes from the human gut microbiome
  • The catalogue reveals that more than 70% of bacterial species in the human gut have never been grown in the lab
  • This new data resource could be extremely useful to investigate how the bacterial community in the human gut influences human health and disease
...

Biodiversity in the human gut

“Last year, three independent teams, including ours, reconstructed thousands of gut microbiome genomes. The big questions were whether these teams had comparable results, and whether we could pool them into a comprehensive inventory,” says Rob Finn, Team Leader at EMBL-EBI.

The scientists have now compiled 200 000 genomes and 170 million protein sequences from more than 4 600 bacterial species in the human gut. Their new databases, the Unified Human Gastrointestinal Genome collection and the Unified Gastrointestinal Protein catalogue, reveal the tremendous diversity in our guts and pave the way for further microbiome research.

“This immense catalogue is a landmark in microbiome research, and will be an invaluable resource for scientists to start studying and hopefully understanding the role of each bacterial species in the human gut ecosystem,” explains Nicola Segata, Principal Investigator at the University of Trento.

The project revealed that more than 70% of the detected bacterial species had never been cultured in the lab – their activity in the body remains unknown. The largest group of bacteria that falls into that category is the Comantemales, an order of gut bacteria first described in 2019 in a studyled by the Bork Group at EMBL Heidelberg.

“It was a real surprise to see how widespread the Comantemales are. This highlights how little we know about the bacteria in our gut,” explains Alexandre Almeida, EMBL-EBI/Sanger Postdoctoral Fellow in the Finn Team. “We hope our catalogue will help bioinformaticians and microbiologists bridge that knowledge gap in the coming years.”
https://www.ebi.ac.uk/about/news/press- ... -ecosystem
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Regarding the ISS awkward fact of meatbags pissing and pooping in space.
I really tried to find a clip of Heywood Floyd biting his nails using the zero-gee toilet.
... The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light ... The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. It was a kind of religious experience. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me.
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Study Confirms 'Slow Blinks' Really Do Work to Communicate With Your Cat

Image

Cats have a reputation for standoffishness, especially compared with dogs, but if you find your feline friend a little hard to bond with, maybe you're just not speaking their language. Never fear - new research has shown that it's not so difficult. You just need to smile at them more.

Not the human way, by baring your teeth, but the cat way, by narrowing your eyes, and blinking slowly. By observing cat-human interactions, scientists were able to confirm that this expression makes cats - both familiar and strange - approach and be receptive to humans.

"As someone who has both studied animal behaviour and is a cat owner, it's great to be able to show that cats and humans can communicate in this way," said psychologist Karen McComb of the University of Sussex in the UK.

...

In the first experiment, owners slow-blinked at 21 cats from 14 different households. Once the cat was settled and comfy in one spot in their home environment, the owners were instructed to sit about a metre away and slow-blink when the cat was looking at them. Cameras recorded both the owner's face and the cat's face, and the results were compared to how cats blink with no human interaction.

The results showed that cats are more likely to slow-blink at their humans after their humans have slow-blinked at them, compared to the no-interaction condition.

The second experiment included 24 cats from eight different households. This time, it wasn't the owners doing the blinking but the researchers, who'd had no prior contact with the cat. For a control, the cats were recorded responding to a no-blink condition, in which humans stared at the cats without blinking their eyes.

The researchers performed the same slow-blink process as the first experiment, adding an extended hand towards the cat. And they found that not only were the cats more likely to blink back, but that they were more likely to approach the human's hand after the human had blinked.
https://www.sciencealert.com/you-can-bu ... -real-slow
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The slow blink also works with humans
still working on Sophrosyne, but I will no doubt end up with Hubris
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Human 'microevolution' sees more people born without wisdom teeth and an extra artery

Australian researchers found our faces have got shorter over time and our jaws smaller.

Babies now have shorter faces, smaller jaws and extra bones in their legs and feet, a study in the Journal of Anatomy found.

Australian researchers who worked on the paper claim the human race is evolving faster than it has done at any point in the past 250 years.

Over time, human faces have got shorter, which has seen our mouths get smaller, with less room for as many teeth.

As part of natural selection and our increased ability to chew food, this has resulted in fewer people being born with wisdom teeth, Dr Teghan Lucas from Flinders University, Adelaide, said.

"A lot of people thought humans have stopped evolving. But our study shows we are still evolving - faster than at any point in the past 250 years," she added.

An artery in the forearm that supplies blood to the hand has become more prevalent in newborns since the 19th century, the study also found.

The median artery used to form in the womb but disappear after the baby was born and the radial and ulna arteries had grown.

Now, one in three people keep their median arteries for their whole lives, which poses no health risk and increases blood supply to the hand.

Author Professor Maciej Henneberg said: "This is 'micro evolution' in modern humans.
...
The research was carried out by tracking the rate of retainment of different parts of the body through the generations and dissecting preserved corpses of people born throughout the 20th century.
https://news.sky.com/story/human-microe ... y-12099689
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Already here....
Image
Such potential!
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Tracking in Caves

Tracking in Caves is an international archaeology project focusing on reading and understanding human tracks in archaeological contexts. The project combines Western scientific approaches with the indigenous knowledge of present-day trackers from hunter-gatherer societies.

Foundation

Tracking in Caves was organized as a joint project by the African Archaeology (at the Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne),[1] the Neanderthal Museum, the Heinrich-Barth-Institute, the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, the Kalahari Peoples Fund and the Association Louis Bégouën. Financial support came from the German Research Foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

The numerous human footprints still preserved in some rock art caves in southern France were the starting point of the project. These tracks date back to the last Ice Age and originated around 17,000 years ago. In contrast to the rock art, they have so far only been sparsely studied and with purely morphometric, "surveying" approaches. In order to get a deeper understanding of these very individual human traces, two researchers, Tilman Lenssen-Erz (University of Cologne, African Archaeology),[2] and Andreas Pastoors (Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann),[3] invited African trackers to support them. Together with /Ui /Kxunta, /Ui G/aqo De!u and Tsamkxao Ciqae, three highly specialized trackers of the Ju/'hoansi San in Namibia, they investigated various caves in the French Pyrenees in the summer of 2013, including Niaux, Pech-Merle, Fontanet and Tuc d'Audoubert.[4] In all the track fields that were investigated the three San experts were able to determine the age, sex, gait and occasional peculiarities (load, slipping, etc.) of most people who had moved there.[5] Concluding statements on the prehistoric footprints were made after intensive discussion in the consensus of all three trackers. These conversations were recorded for further evaluation. The project was also accompanied by a film team and the resulting 90 minute TV documentary was broadcast on Arte TV on September 6, 2014.[6] In addition to this documentary the project reached a far ranging public also in the following years in particular through media reports in newspapers and journals.[7]

Image
Ui Kxunta and Thui Thao inspect the tracks in Niaux Cave
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracking_in_Caves for the rest.

There is a video, but in German: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYT9-UrLcvA
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Re: Amusing Science

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A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
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Reminded me that reality is fractal
still working on Sophrosyne, but I will no doubt end up with Hubris
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The direct visualization of atom positions is essential for understanding the mechanisms of protein-catalysed chemical reactions, and for studying how drugs bind to and interfere with the function of proteins2. Here we report a 1.25 Å-resolution structure of apoferritin obtained by cryo-EM with a newly developed electron microscope that provides, to our knowledge, unprecedented structural detail. Our apoferritin structure has almost twice the 3D information content of the current world record reconstruction (at 1.54 Å resolution3). We can visualize individual atoms in a protein, see density for hydrogen atoms and image single-atom chemical modifications. Beyond the nominal improvement in resolution, we also achieve a substantial improvement in the quality of the cryo-EM density map, which is highly relevant for using cryo-EM in structure-based drug design.
1.25 Å resolution is apparently quite good. It allows them to actually see individual atoms.

Here is a result:

https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-11668
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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