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Science in 140 characters: What scientists are tweeting about

No one thinks they’re going to kill the person they’re fighting with just one punch, but it is a common enough occurrence.

Power of a punch

Steven Pinker, Cognitive scientist | @sapinker

Movies can often give off the impression that fistfights are usually righteous and rather cool. But what kind of damage can a single punch do in real life? Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker tweeted about a documentary called ‘One Punch Homicide’ which traces the lives of five people who are in jail because they killed someone with one punch, and one punch only. It also features interviews from seven people who have lost friends or relatives to one single punch.

No one thinks they’re going to kill the person they’re fighting with just one punch, but it is a common enough occurrence. The documentary focuses on the youth, particularly males, and the increasingly frequent outbreaks of violence among them that can easily lead to someone’s death. “I can’t help but wonder if these inmates would have thrown their deadly punch if they had been raised being taught one punch can kill,” the documentary’s director, Steve Kokette, said.

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According to research by the American Psychiatric Association, by the time we turn 18, we have seen over 200,000 cases of violence on screen. “Aren’t we cheating today’s young by allowing them to watch so much violence without educating them that one punch can kill?” Kokette asks with the documentary.


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Water, yet too far away

Brian Cox, Theoretical physicist | @profbriancox

Until the New Horizons space probe flew past Pluto last year, the dwarf planet had been the centre of massive speculation in the scientific community. The main reason for the speculation stemmed from the general lack of knowledge and data about Pluto prior to the release of high resolution photos from New Horizons. Though the New Horizons fly by of Pluto occurred last year, data from the probe is still being processed and is changing widespread views scientists have held about the former planet.

New photos released in early June have shown that Pluto has a remarkable amount of tectonic activity, which scientists say could be caused by a subsurface ocean, according to an article tweeted by physicist Brian Cox. A study published in Geophysical Research Letters states that a liquid water ocean below the surface is causing the widespread geological activity on Pluto.


“Our model shows that recent geological activity on Pluto can be driven just from phase changes in the ice — no tides or exotic materials or unusual processes are required,” lead study author Noah Hammond said. Hammond’s team at Brown University then loaded a thermal model of Pluto’s subsurface liquid ocean on a computer model of its cooling history, and new data from New Horizons. They found that the results from the planetary simulation lined up perfectly with the new hypothesis.

First published on: 26-06-2016 at 02:50 IST
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