Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are 10 of the coolest stories in science this week.
A 4,000-year-old henge monument, containing five well-preserved human burials, has been discovered in England, archaeologists announced.
Archaeologists still debate the purpose and the origin of henges, but researchers know that the earthworks started showing up in the British Isles in the third and early second millennia B.C. Most of these monuments contain no traces of everyday activity, and some feature burials or are aligned with cosmic phenomena. So, some researchers believe henges must have had some sort of ceremonial or ritual significance. [Read more about the henge monument.]
Stock up on emergency supplies and get those galoshes ready — this year's hurricane season is likely to be a big one.
This year, there is a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season and just a 20 percent chance of below-normal activity, NOAA reported. [Read more about the upcoming season.]
A spot in England where thousands of Viking warriors and their families spent their winter months was bigger than most contemporary English towns.
"These extraordinary images offer a fascinating snapshot of life at a time of great upheaval in Britain," University of York archaeologist Julian Richards said in a statement. [Read more about the Viking wanderings.]
Mysterious cosmic object
The perplexing cosmic object known as "Boyajian's star" is once again exhibiting a mysterious pattern of dimming and brightening that scientists have tried to explain with hypotheses ranging from swarms of comets to alien megastructures.
The brightness changes exhibited by Boyajian don't show the kind of regularity that is typical of a planet's orbit around its star, and scientists can't see how the changes could be explained by a system of planets. [Read more about the dimming star.]
A quartet of adorable baby squirrels recently got into quite a sticky predicament.
Andrew Day saw the ensemble of squirrels hobbling across the grass with their tails fused "like a giant dreadlock, Day told The Bangor Daily News. After capturing a video of the odd scene, Day took the squirrels to a veterinarian, who liberated them. [Read more about the cute squirrels.]
ER and Drugs
Alcohol and marijuana may be the most commonly used recreational drugs in the world, but "magic" mushrooms appear to be the safest, a new survey finds.
The Global Drug Survey is a London-based research group that's focused on making drug use safer. The results of the 2017 survey were published today (May 24) and included responses from more than 115,000 people from 50 countries. [Read more about the ratings.]
It's a plane, it's a blimp … it's the world's largest aircraft.
On May 10, the Airlander 10 flew for a total of 180 minutes to test the aircraft's handling, improved landing technology and more, according to Hybrid Air Vehicles. This was only the third flight of the Airlander 10. It first debuted as HAV-304, and successfully flew in 2012 as part of the U.S. Army’s Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle program. The reimagined and modified Airlander 10 made its maiden voyage in August 2016, kicking off a flight test program to assess the aircraft's performance and attempting to fly the airship farther away from its base in Cardington, England. [Read more about the large craft.]
A new study finds 52 genes that are related to intelligence — a rousing success in a field that has often struggled to find correlations between smarts and genes.
These genes "are basically a tip of the iceberg," Posthuma told Live Science. "But there are still a lot more genes that are important for intelligence." [Read more about intelligence genes.]
A botulism outbreak has killed one man and sickened nine other people who ate nacho cheese sauce contaminated with the toxic bacterial protein. Heath officials traced the outbreak to a gas station in California's Sacramento County.
The toxin blocks nerve messages, which, in turn, causes people to lose control of their muscles, Chapman told Live Science. For instance, people who have consumed the toxin may have trouble swallowing, droopy eyelids and difficulty breathing, he said. [Read more about the tainted cheese.]
Mouse sperm preserved on the International Space Station for nine months gave rise to healthy pups, a new study reveals.
This work also raises the possibility of a "doomsday vault" for sperm in space that could help preserve animal species from disasters on Earth, much as the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway, does for plant species. The sperm-vault idea is similar to one depicted in a novel by the author of "A Game of Thrones," scientists added. [Read more about the mouse sperm.]