Hi, I’m Scientific American podcast editor Steve Mirsky. And here’s a short piece from the February 2019 issue of the magazine, in the section called Advances: Dispatches From The Frontiers Of Science, Technology And Medicine.

The article is titled Quick Hits, and it’s a rundown of some science and technology stories from around the globe, compiled by editorial contributor Emiliano Rodríguez Mega.    

From Greenland: Scientists spotted a 19-mile-wide crater hidden below Hiawatha Glacier in northwest Greenland. They believe it might represent a meteorite impact, but other experts say more evidence is needed to prove that the crater has an extraterrestrial origin.

From Chile: One of the driest places on earth, the Atacama Desert, is losing its microbial life because of unprecedented rains. Frequent rainfall for the past three years has caused the massive extinction of native bacterial species, research suggests.

From Egypt: An excavation near Cairo yielded dozens of mummified cats. Archaeologists also found two large mummified scarab beetles wrapped in linen and a rare collection of smaller scarab mummies.

From Palau: The tiny Pacific archipelago became the first country to prohibit the use of sunscreens containing coral-toxic ingredients, including oxybenzone and octinoxate. The measure follows a similar legislative decision in Hawaii that takes effect in 2021.

From South Africa: Students in Cape Town made bricks using urine from men’s toilets, in a biochemical process involving bacteria, calcium and sand. The bricks offer a productive—and odorless—way to recycle human urine.

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