Selected Sci-News Items Aug 01- Aug 07, 2020

General Interest    Cosmos    Innovation    Health    Nature    Environment    Climate
SftPublic zoom recordings are uploaded to SftP website, Belmont Media Center Community TV, and WGBH Forum Network. 
Aug 10:  All about Jellyfish

The Many Symptoms of Covid-19
New York Times, August 05, 2020
From a sniffle or cough that feels like allergies to severe body aches and crippling fatigue, the symptoms of coronavirus can be unpredictable from head to toe.

Covid-19 Apps and Wearables Are Everywhere. Can They Actually Benefit Patients?
STAT, August 04, 2020
The flood of tech tools - and the marketing machinery playing up their potential - promises to give users more timely information and fill key gaps in testing and tracing cases. But it is not
altogether certain that these devices will benefit patients.  
Hydroxychloroquine Can't Stop COVID-19. It's Time to Move On, Scientists Say
Science News, August 02, 2020
An abundance of scientific data shows that the drug isn't an effective COVID-19 treatment.
How the Pandemic Defeated America
The Atlantic, September 2020 issue
The United States is home to just 4 percent of the world's population, but a quarter of its confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. How did we get here?

'Vaccine Nationalism' Threatens Global Plan to Distribute COVID-19 Shots Fairly
Science, July 28, 2020
The United States and Europe are placing advance orders for hundreds of millions of doses of successful vaccines, potentially leaving little for poorer parts of the world.

'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,' Better Known as UFOs, Deserve Scientific Investigation
Scientific American, July 27, 2020
UAP are a scientifically interesting problem. Interdisciplinary teams of scientists should study them. (includes link to the video clips) 
Archaeologists Find Shell Llama and Gold Foil in Inca Offering Box from Lake Titicaca
Sci-News, August 05, 2020
The Incas claimed Lake Titicaca as their place of origin both symbolically and physically, within a logic of legitimization focused on strengthening the empire's new and expanding power.

How Physics Found a Geometric Structure for Math to Play With
Quanta, July 29, 2020
Symplectic geometry is a relatively new field with implications for much of modern mathematics. Here's what it's all about.

Egypt Tells Elon Musk Its Pyramids Were Not Built by Aliens
BBC News, August 02, 2020
The SpaceX boss had tweeted what appeared to be support for conspiracy theorists who say aliens were involved in the colossal construction effort.  But Egypt's international co-operation minister does not want them taking any of the credit.

Why Hurricanes Bring Tornadoes After They Make Landfall
New York Times, August 04, 2020
Tornadoes start in the outer edges of hurricanes. Once a storm is over land, the increase in surface friction can lead to twisters.

How to Figure Out the Mass of a Star
Thought Co., July 03, 2019 (archive)
Why care about its mass? That information is important to know because it reveals clues about a star's evolutionary past, present, and future.
The Quantum Hall Effect Continues to Reveal Its Secrets to Mathematicians and Physicists
Nature, July 29, 2020
A transformative experiment is yielding fresh insights 40 years after the effect's discovery - and energizing trans-disciplinary collaborations.  
NASA's Perseverance Rover Will Seek Signs of Past Life on Mars
Science News, July 28, 2020
The main job of the Perseverance to pick out rocks that might preserve signs of past life and store the samples for a future mission back to Earth. 
Earth's Atmosphere Rings Like a Giant Bell, Say Researchers
Physics World, July 24, 2020
Scientists in Japan and the US have confirmed a nearly two-centuries-old hypothesis of atmospheric resonance. Their research should help improve both weather forecasts and long-term climate forecasts.

Cosmic Tango Between the Very Small and the Very Large
Science Daily, July 29, 2020
Theory of loop quantum cosmology describes how tiny primordial features account for anomalies at the largest scales of the universe.

Origami Microbots: Centuries-Old Art-Form Guides Cutting-Edge Advances in Tiny Machines
TechXplore, July 30, 2020
Origami principles can unlock the potential of the smallest robots, enhancing speed, agility and control in machines no more than a centimeter in size.
New Fabric Could Help Keep You Cool in the Summer, Even Without A/C
Science Daily, July 29, 2020
Air conditioning and other space cooling methods account for about 10% of all electricity consumption in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Now, researchers have developed a material that cools the wearer without using any electricity.
The fabric transfers heat, allows moisture to evaporate from the skin and repels water.

The 'Solar Canals' Making Smart Use of India's Space
BBC Future Planet, August 03, 2020
Solar energy is clean, but it usually takes up huge tracts of land. In India, an alternative is turning the country's canals into glittering trails of solar panels.
'After Boris Johnson's Zoom Call, All Hell Broke Loose' -- Inside the World's Favorite Video App
The Guardian, August 01, 2020
Ten years ago, Silicon Valley had written off Zoom. Now it's used by everyone from princes to piano teachers.

The Quest for Quantum-Proof Encryption Just Made a Leap Forward
MIT Technology Review, August 03, 2020
Quantum computers could make encryption a thing of the past, but 15 contenders are trying to prove they have what it takes to safeguard your data.

Chocolate Helps Keep Heart's Blood Vessels Healthy, Review Suggests
Sci-News, July 28, 2020
"Chocolate contains heart healthy nutrients such as flavonoids, methylxanthines, polyphenols and stearic acid which may reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol." Dr. Krittanawong said.

The 10-Move Dumbbell Workout You Can Do Right at Home
Health, August 05, 2020 (w/video)
Who needs a gym when you've got this total-body routine?

Health Illiteracy Is Nothing New in America. But the Pandemic Magnifies How Troubling It Is.
Washington Post, August 02, 2020
A Michigan library had to ask patrons to stop microwaving books to kill the coronavirus after noticing returned books with scorched pages. The Cleveland Clinic issued a public warning about the danger of using vodka concoctions as a hand sanitizer when recipes started to circulate.

More Bad News for BPA: Novel Analysis Adds to Evidence of Chemical's Health Effects
Environmental Health News, July 16, 2020
Exposure to minuscule amounts of bisphenol-A can cause a multitude of health problems, including effects on the developing brain, heart, and ovaries.
Is Your Blood Sugar Undermining Your Workouts?
New York Times, July 29, 2020
Eating a diet high in sugar and processed foods could dent our long-term health in part by changing how well our bodies respond to exercise.

Science, July 30, 2020
The Hengduan Mountains adjoining Asia's massive Tibetan Plateau are a place of superlatives. And one of the world's richest alpine plant communities, boasting more than 3000 species, cloaks the slopes. 

How Cheese, Wheat and Alcohol Shaped Human Evolution
Smithsonian, March 13, 2020
Over time, diet causes dramatic changes to our anatomy, immune systems and maybe skin color.

Extinction: Quarter of UK Mammals 'Under Threat'
BBC News, July 30, 2020
Different animals face different threats.

Getting Cozy with Your Compost
Particle, June 18, 2020
With COVID-19 inspiring so many to get composting, was it as simple as we thought?
Marie Tharp Pioneered Mapping the Bottom of the Ocean 6 Decades Ago -- Scientists Are Still Learning About Earth's Last Frontier
The Conversation, July 28, 2020
Despite all the deep-sea expeditions and samples taken from the seabed over the past 100 years, humans still know very little about the ocean's deepest reaches.

Meet the People Saving Canada's Native Grasslands
The Narwhal, July 31, 2020
Grasslands sequester billions of tonnes of carbon and support hundreds of plant species and over 60 species at risk. They are also one of the world's most endangered ecosystems

Cutting Forests and Disturbing Natural Habitats Increases Our Risk of Wildlife Diseases
Environmental Health News, August 06, 2020
A new study found that animals known to carry harmful diseases such as the novel coronavirus are more common in landscapes intensively used by people.  
Report: 'Total Decarbonization' Would Create 25 Million Jobs
E&E News, August 03, 2020
The plan needs no new technology breakthroughs, doesn't require any coal or natural gas plants to retire early, and asks for no changes in consumer behavior.
Amazon Gold Mining Wipes Out Rainforest Regeneration for Years
Mongabay, August 04, 2020
The destroyed Amazon forest at mining sites shows no sign of recovery three to four years after a mine pit and tailings pond are abandoned, likely largely due to soil nutrient depletion.
Science Daily, July 29, 2020
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)are found in many household products and food packages. Because the compounds don't break down naturally, they have become environmental contaminants. Now, researchers have studied the transport of 29 PFAS into and out of the Arctic Ocean.

What Can You Do to Fight the Climate Crisis?
The Guardian, August 05, 2020
Individual acts alone won't stop the climate crisis, but there are things we can do. We asked experts what they do in their daily lives to make a difference

'Worst-Cas' Global Warming Scenario Still Best Guide until 2050
Climate Home News, August 03, 2020
UN panel's RCP8.5 scenario of sharply rising emissions matches trends since 2005, PNAS study says, rejecting criticisms that it's "alarmist."

Major Environmental Groups Join Facebook Ad Boycott to Protest Climate Misinformation
PRI/The World, July 29, 2020
Three major environmental groups are demanding that Facebook take steps to curb the spread of racism, extremism and misinformation about climate change on its platform.
Rising Seas Could Menace Millions Beyond Shorelines
New York Times, July 30, 2020
As climate change raises sea levels, storm surges and high tides will push farther inland, a team of researchers says.

Big Oil Took a Big Hit from the Coronavirus, Earnings Reports Show
Inside Climate News, July 31, 2020
Companies report billions in losses and decreased value of assets, but still plan to expand oil and gas production going forward.


Science for the Public is a volunteer organization, whose mission is to provide accurate information about science concepts, innovations and issues from outstanding scientists. 

We produce public lectures, an interview program (Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations), and a mini-documentary series (Working Science).  All of our productions are videotaped and are available on our website and our online channels, as well as on WGBH Forum Network and Belmont Media Center Community TV. 

Visit our website at and sign up for our newsletter. 
Contact us at