Selected Sci-News Items Feb 15- Feb 21, 2020
General Interest    Cosmos    Innovation    Health    Nature    Environment    Climate

Science for the Public video (They Didn't Believe It! series)
02/03/20 They Didn't Believe It! The Germ Theory of Disease


The Guardian, February 18, 2020
The industry says its containers are safe but some experts point to a lack of data and warn that plastic and heat aren't a good mix.

New York Times, February 15, 2020
As test scores lag, there's a growing debate between proponents of the "science of reading," which emphasizes phonics, and traditional educators who prefer to instill a love of literature.

Deutsche Welle, February 18, 2020
An abandoned ship washed up on the Irish coast this week. From the Flying Dutchman tale to North Korean ships washing up on the Japanese coast, "ghost ships" occupy space in both folklore and reality.

Washington Post, February 11, 2020
The research into efficacy of air purifiers is inconclusive.

Quanta, February 10, 2020
Mathematicians have studied knots for centuries, but a new material is showing why some knots are better than others.


The Guardian, February 14, 2020
Project is collaboration between privately-funded institute and New Mexico observatory.

Science News, February 17, 2020
Verifying proofs to very hard math problems is possible with infinite quantum entanglement

CNBC February 16, 2020
Debris in space can be a threat to future manned missions to space as well as satellites currently in orbit.

Phys.Org, February 13, 2020
"The discovery shows that when electrons can be made to attract one another, they can form bunches of two, three, four and five electrons that literally behave like new types of particles, new forms of electronic matter."

Quanta, February 18, 2020
By watching for a special kind of flare, astronomers have identified the fingerprints of an Earth-size planet orbiting a distant star.


Cosmos, February 18, 2020
Researchers unveil a new device powered by a microbe.

This Solar Device Converts Seawater to Drinking Water
Eco Watch, February 11, 2020
An international team of scientists has developed a cheap way to provide fresh water to thirsty communities by making seawater drinkable without using electricity.

National Geographic, February 18, 2020
The vision of a "circular economy"-where we use resources sparingly and recycle endlessly-is inspiring businesses and environmentalists alike.

MIT Technology Review, February 13, 2020
The news comes just weeks after a hastily made app fell apart during the Democratic Party's Iowa caucus, a high-profile failure that put a spotlight on how faulty technology can undermine democratic processes.

What Abu Dhabi's City of the Future Looks Like Now
City Lab, February 14, 2020
At the UN's World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, attendees toured Masdar City, the master-planned eco-complex designed to show off the UAE's commitment to sustainability.

FDA Under Scrutiny: Policymakers, Advocates Push For Stronger Science, Regulation of the Chemical BPA
Environmental Health News, February 18, 2020
"The mindless clinging to outdated science is detrimental to public health and to the development of good science."

The Guardian, February 17, 2020
Waking as much as five or seven times a night is not necessarily a cause for concern - the most important thing is how you feel when you get up.

BBC News, January 11, 2019 (archive)
Naturally it reduces the chances of debilitating heart attacks and strokes as well as life-long diseases such as type-2 diabetes.  And it helps keep your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels down. And it's cheap and widely available in the supermarket.

Natural Supplements Can Be Dangerously Contaminated, or Not Even Have the Specified Ingredients
The Conversation, February 14, 2020
More than two-thirds of Americans take dietary supplements. The vast majority of consumers - 84% - are confident the products are safe and effective. They should not be so trusting.

New York Times, February 14, 2020
The same people who should be fixing them.  Major sectors of the health industry have helped to invent this toxic phenomenon, and none of them want to solve it if it means their particular income stream takes a hit. And they have allies in the capital.


Science Daily, February 06, 2020
Findings reveal broad interest in deceased, even in unrelated elephants.

Ancient Societies Deliberately Cultivated Weeds
Cosmos, January 31, 2020
African archaeology shows invasive tendencies in a plant were encouraged by prehistoric hunter-gathers.

Washington Post, February 13, 2020
Rats, better known for inhabiting sewers and dumpsters, also love to settle in the innards of vehicles in cooler months. The warmth and shelter attract them, but it's the wires and hoses that entertain them.

Microbiologists Took 12 Years to Grow a Microbe Tied to Complex Life's Origins
Science News, February 14, 2020
Scientists are hopeful that an archaean may help answer how multicellular life evolved.

Scientists Just Named a New Geological Age: the Chibanian
Washington Post, February 15, 2020
About 770,000 years ago, Earth's magnetic fields reversed, swapping magnetic north and south for the last known time. That ushered in a new geological age - and scientists have now named it.

Deadly Air Pollution Is Blowing Into Your State from a Surprisingly Large Source
Science, February 12, 2020
A detailed analysis of how air pollution moves in the United States reveals that since 2005 premature deaths caused by two of the biggest polluters-power plants and traffic-have fallen significantly. The bad news: Deaths from residential and business emissions, like those from heating and burning trash, grew nearly 40% over the same period.

E&E News, February 12, 2020
Democrats' wide-ranging anti-plastics bill garnered a severe reaction from the plastic industry after Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California introduced the legislation yesterday.

Yale Environment 360, February 13, 2020
Leading scientists and conservationists are proposing that up to 50 percent of the earth's land and oceans be protected in the coming decades. While some view the goal as unrealistic,  proponents say it is essential for preserving the natural systems on which life itself depends.

The Fraught Future of Recycling
Axios, February 15, 2020
The American recycling industry is in crisis - and cities are on the front lines.

Washington Post, February 19, 2020
Facing climate change, Boston must gird itself for an era of rising water - or be inundated


New York Times, February 19, 2020
The findings, published in the journal Nature, add urgency to efforts to rein in methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry, which routinely leaks or intentionally releases the gas into air.

Common Dreams, February 18, 2020
"Humanity sits on the precipice of irreversible loss of biodiversity and a climate crisis that imperils the future for our grandchildren and generations to come."

PRI/Living on Earth, February 11, 2020 (w/audio)
Oslo, the country's capital, is experiencing 21 fewer winter days than it did just 30 years ago.  And by 2050, scientists expect winter in Oslo will last just half as long as today.

Science Daily, February 18, 2020
Study finds Earth's oceans contain just the right amount of iron; adding more may not improve their ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

The Guardian, February 15, 2020
"The Future We Choose", a new book by the architects of the Paris climate accords, offers two contrasting visions for how the world might look in thirty years (read the best-case scenario here).

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