This Week in Science: Mind-Reading, Near-Death Experiences, and Accidental Beer

It’s time for “Nerd News,” covering the most important news for your brain.

Here’s a quick rundown of this week in science . . .

1.  It’s National Space Day, so we’ll start there:  For the first time ever, astronomers watched a star expand and swallow an entire planet.  It’s something that’ll happen to Earth too, but not for another five billion years or so.

Also, a study found the Moon has a solid core just like Earth . . . NASA figured out how to extract oxygen from moon dust . . . and the latest SpaceX satellite launch put them over a big milestone.  They now have over 4,000 of them up there.

2.  A.I. might be able to read your mind soon.  Researchers at the University of Texas are training an A.I. to scan people’s brain activity, and translate it into text.  Their goal is to help people like stoke victims communicate again.

3.  Could this explain the “light at the end of the tunnel“?  A study at the University of Michigan scanned people’s brains as they were being taken off life support.

They found there’s a surge of brain activity in the last few minutes before we die.  It’s possible it could cause visualizations and moments of consciousness.

4.  In booze news:  Experts in fluid dynamics finally figured out the physics behind champagne bubbles, and why they tend to rise in straight single-file lines, while bubbles in beer don’t.  (We’d explain, but it’s complicated.)

And a study on beer found that the yeast used to make lager might have been created by MISTAKE 400 years ago.  They think white ale yeast mixed with brown beer yeast in a basement in Germany between 1602 and 1615.

Now four centuries later, lagers account for 90% of beer sales worldwide.