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This Week in Science: Cancer Prediction Test, Farthest Galaxy, a Martian Contest, and the Missing Link?

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Seven days, lots of science in the news. And many of this week’s most notable and quotable items tie directly to our 2015 festival programs. We thought it’d be cool to link the two to show, you know, we have our finger on the pulse of science.

Team of scientists, led by Professor Lee Berger, discovers two-million-year-old skin, thought to possibly be the oldest fossilized skin ever found, near Johannesburg, in South Africa.

Related 2015 WSF program: Lee Berger will be participating in our Pioneers in Science program on Friday, May 29, 2015 and our Planet of the Humans: Leap to the Top program on May 29.

Scientists announced the discovery of a new microbe that’s being called “the missing link between single cells and complex life.

Related 2015 WSF program: How humans evolved from single-celled organisms to walking on the moon is the subject of Planet of the Humans on Friday, May 29.

A blood test may be able to predict cancer years in advance, thanks to new research into telomeres, the end caps on DNA. Such predictions are based on probability, the backbone of science.

Related 2015 WSF program: How well do you understand probability? Find out at our Wizards of Odds event on Saturday, May 30.

New personal gadgets promise to change the way you relax by sending electrical pulses directly to your brain.

Related 2015 WSF program: To learn more about the benefits and potential long-term effects of delivering electric shocks to targeted areas of a healthy brain, join WSF for Spark of Genius? Electrical Stimulation and the Brain.

The day is coming when quantum computers will make your laptop look like an abacus.

Related 2015 WSF program:  Join today’s top quantum physicists for The Next Quantum Leap, where they will discuss quantum computers, quantum cryptography, and quantum teleportation.

A peer reviewer for a scientific journal told two female geneticists that their paper would benefit from having a male co-author.

Related 2015 WSF program: That reviewer should check out our “Spotlight: Women in Science” happy hour, where both women and men are welcome to hear top female scientists share insights about their trailblazing careers.

Astronomers calculated the distance to the farthest galaxy yet.

Related 2015 WSF program: In To Infinity and Beyond: The Accelerating Universe, today’s top physicists discuss dark energy, the mysterious substance that makes up two-thirds of the cosmos.

A new study shows that food is less stimulating to brains at night, which leads to being unable to resist midnight snacks.

Related 2015 WSF program: If your struggles with willpower sometimes make you question whether you actually have free will, check out Mind Over Masters: The Question of Free Will.

NASA is offering three $5,000 prizes for original ideas to help in the future colonization of Mars.

Related 2015 WSF program: With one-way trips into space and space tourism on the horizon, the nature of what it takes to be an astronaut is changing, a topic explored in the WSF2015 program The New Right Stuff.

A new study finds that sleepwalking may be genetic.

Related 2015 WSF program: Join moderator Alan Alda for a scientific look at What Is Sleep?


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