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Sci-News Roundup November 25 - December 01, 2023

General Interest  Cosmos   Innovation   Health  Nature  Environment  Climate

SftPublic programs are recorded, broadcast & distributed by Belmont Media Center Community TV. The videos are uploaded to WGBH Forum Network, SftPublic website.and online channels. SftPublic webinars are produced through the WGBH Forum Network.

Nov 14 2000 Years of Ocean and Climate (Belmont Media Ctr video)

Nov 28 Our Shaking Earth: Understanding & Predicting Earthquakes (FNetwork webinar)

Dec 05 The Urban Future: On Earth...and Elsewhere (Forum Network webinar)

Dec 12 Troubled Waters: Red Tides and Other Algae Blooms Belmont Media Ctr


Who Were the Canaanites? New Insight from 73 Ancient Genomes

Science Daily, May 28, 2020

The people who lived in the area known as the Southern Levant -- which is now recognized as Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Lebanon, and parts of Syria -- during the Bronze Age (circa 3500-1150 BCE) are referred to in ancient biblical texts as the Canaanites. Now, researchers have new insight into the Canaanites' history based on a new genome-wide analysis of ancient DNA collected from 73 individuals.

An Ancient Art Form Topples Assumptions about Mathematics

Scientific American, November 27, 2023

The sand drawings of Vanuatu follow principles from a branch of mathematics known as graph theory

Akhenaten: 7 Secrets of Egypt’s Heretic Pharaoh

The Collector, November 27, 2023

Heretic, Prophet, Madman, King. This article explores 7 fascinating secrets about Akhenaten, the Pharaoh who turned Egypt on its head.

Shock of the Old: 10 Agonizing and Awful Contraceptives

The Guardian, November 29, 2023

Fear of pregnancy is as old as time, as are half-baked attempts at preventing conception. Read on if you dare.

How an Enslaved African Man in Boston Helped Save Generations from Smallpox

History, April 08, 2021

In the early 1700s, Onesimus shared a revolutionary way to prevent smallpox.


The Most Powerful Cosmic Ray Since the Oh-My-God Particle Puzzles Scientists

Nature, November 23, 2023

Scientists spot a particle of intense energy, but explaining where it came from might require some new physics.

Spaceflight Could Exacerbate Erectile Dysfunction, Scientists Discover

Science Alert, November 23, 2023

Even more than a year after the experiment, the rats showed signs of erectile dysfunction – and the culprit seems mostly to be the galactic cosmic radiation streaming through space.

Why Don't We See Robotic Civilizations Rapidly Expanding Across the Universe?

Universe Today, November 28, 2023

Why send a crewed mission on a multi-generational interstellar voyage fraught with hazards and no guarantee of success when you can send self-replicating robots? In addition to not being vulnerable to cosmic radiation, these probes could expand outwards ad infinitum, carrying messages of greetings to anyone they encounter.

Dark Matter Detective Work: A Revolutionary Approach at the Large Hadron Collider

Sci-Tech Daily, November 28, 2023

Researchers investigate whether dark matter particles actually are produced inside a jet of standard model particles.

Mars Needs Insects

New York Times, November 27, 2023

If humans are ever going to live on the red planet, they’re going to have to bring bugs with them.


A Plane Fueled by Fat and Sugar Has Crossed the Atlantic Ocean

Washington Post, November 28, 2023

For the first time ever, a commercial plane flew across the Atlantic Ocean without using fossil fuels.

Pay-What-You-Can Farm Stands Flourish Amidst Soaring Food Insecurity and Inflation in the U.S.

Food Tank, November 2023 issue

While prioritizing food access, the pay-what-you-can model also encourages consumer autonomy, dignity, and community across a range of socioeconomic groups.

The Vast Majority of Us Have No Idea What the Padlock Icon on Our Internet Browser Is – And It’s Putting Us At Risk

The Conversation, November 22, 2023

Do you know what the padlock symbol in your internet browser’s address bar means? If not, you’re not alone.

The Flying, Swimming and Tunneling Robots Inspired by Nature

EU Horizon, November 23, 2023

Drawing inspiration from birds, fish and even worms, researchers in Europe are developing machines to explore places on Earth that are difficult for people to reach.

A New Solar Water Heating System Goes Online as Its Developer Enters the US Market

Inside Climate News, November 23, 2023

Solar thermal energy could be a “sleeping giant” in the push to reduce emissions from heating and cooling.

Why It’s Important to Remember That AI Isn’t Human

Vox, November 23, 2023

ChatGPT can talk like a person. You shouldn’t think of it as one.


Caffeine Could Have a Surprising Effect on The Brain's Ability to Learn

Science Alert, November 29, 2023

Getting through a serious amount of caffeine each day could put the brakes on the brain's ability to rewire itself, according to an analysis of two small but intriguing studies.

Swapping Meat for Plant-Based Foods May Lower Diabetes and Heart Disease Risk

Medical News Today, November 24, 2023

Analyzing over 30 studies, German researchers found that swapping meats for plant-based alternatives may drastically reduce risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality.

It’s Never too Late to Lift Weights: Older Bodies Can Still Build Muscle

Washington Post, November 29, 2023

The new study of resistance exercise and the elderly found that even people in their 80s and 90s — who had never lifted weights before — showed significant gains.

7 Common Nutrient Deficiencies: Know the Signs

Every Day Health June 16, 2023

The hidden cause of common symptoms like fatigue and muscle aches could be a nutrient deficiency.

Doctors Raise Concern Over Quick Brain Function Decline in Soccer Players

Cosmos, November 29, 2023

New research links heading in soccer/football to a measurable decline in brain function among young adult amateur players over a period of just two years.

Can’t Sleep? Try This Proven Alternative to Medication.

New York Times, August 28, 2023

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is considered the most effective treatment for people who continually struggle to fall or stay asleep.


A23a: World's Biggest Iceberg On The Move After 30 Years

BBC, November 23, 2023

At almost 4,000 sq km (1,500 sq miles) in area, it's more than twice the size of Greater London. The past year has seen it drifting at speed, and the berg is now about to spill beyond Antarctic waters.

Why Do We Blink? What Does It Do to Our Eyes and at What Frequency Is Considered Normal?

The Science Times, November 28, 2023

In some situations, a person must keep their eyes open for long periods. This can be difficult for most people because of our instinct to blink. But why do we need to blink?

Our Fascination with Mammoths

Canadian Geographic, November 20, 2023

How the legacy of these woolly giants persists in pop culture, storytelling, ecology and even the controversial idea of de-extinction.

'Missing' Blob of Water Predicted to Be in the Atlantic Finally Found

Space, November 28, 2023

The newly discovered water mass, called the Atlantic Equatorial Water, stretches from Brazil to West Africa.

What Moves the Sailing Stones of Death Valley?

EarthSky, November 28, 2023

How could rocks – driven by some unseen force – slide across the ground, leaving behind a trail? That’s what happens at Racetrack Playa, a dry lake bed at Death Valley National Park in California.


'A Biodiversity Catastrophe’: How the World Could Look in 2050 – Unless We Act Now

The Guardian, November 29, 2023

The climate crisis, invasive species, over-exploitation of resources and pollution could break down crucial ecosystems. Experts lay out the risks and offer some solutions.

Are Sweet Potatoes a Climate-Resilient Crop of the Future?

Yale Climate November 23, 2023

Because of their heat tolerance, sweet potatoes hold promise as a climate-resilient crop. Researchers are trying to breed new high-yielding varieties that can tolerate even more heat and less water.

Recycled Plastics Contain More Chemicals Than Original Plastics, Study Finds

Environmental Health News, November 23, 2023

The study detected 491 chemicals in recycled pellets, with evidence to suggest the presence of an additional 170 compounds. The chemicals found included plastic additives as well as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and industrial chemicals.

The Arctic Permafrost Is 1,000 Years Old. As It Thaws, Scientists Worry What It Might Unleash

USA Today, November 18, 2023

In one troubling case, dozens of people were sickened − and thousands of reindeer were killed − when anthrax spores emerged from the thawing permafrost in an Arctic region of Siberia.

The Impact of Sea Level Rise – Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned

Cosmos, November 24, 2023

A new report has estimated the impacts of rising seas on coral reefs, tidal marshes and mangroves around the world – ecosystems on which millions of people depend for their livelihoods and safety.


What Is COP28 in Dubai and Why Is It Important?

BBC News, November 29, 2023

World leaders are set to discuss tackling climate change at a big UN summit in Dubai. It follows a year of extreme weather events in which many climate records have been broken.

The Road to Dubai

New Yorker, November 23, 2023 (Elizabeth Kolbert)

The latest round of international climate negotiations is being held in a petrostate. What could go wrong?

Here’s a Question Cop28 Won’t Address: Why Are Billionaires Blocking Action to Save the Planet?

The Guardian, November 29, 2023 (George Monbiot)

he recent reporting by Oxfam, the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Guardian gives us a glimpse of how much of the planet the very wealthy now sprawl across. The richest 1% of the world’s people burn more carbon than the poorest 66%, while multi-billionaires, running their yachts, private jets and multiple homes, each consume thousands of times the global average.

The State of the Planet in 10 Numbers

Scientific American, November 20, 2023

Here is a snapshot of the warming world, from sea-level rise to fossil fuel subsidies to renewable energy growth

3 Climate Impacts the U.S. Will See if Warming Goes Beyond 1.5 Degrees

NPR, November 29, 2023

Currently, the world is on track for just under 3 degrees Celsius of warming (more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. While a few degrees of difference may seem small, climate research shows that every tenth of a degree can have a profound effect when it comes to the dangers posed by extreme weather.

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