Selected Sci-News Items July 18 - July 24, 2020

General Interest    Cosmos    Innovation    Health    Nature    Environment    Climate
SftPublic zoom recordings uploaded to SftP website, Belmont Media Center, and WGBH Forum Network. See videos below 
August events list:  
Nature, July 21, 2020
Scientists caution against comparing immune responses shown in early-stage trials, and say there might be more than one path to an effective vaccine.  
'Super-Spreading' Events, Triggered by People Who May Not Even Know They Are Infected
Washington Post, July 18, 2020
Most spread the virus to only a few people - or none at all. But studies show a small percentage transmit it with alarming efficiency.

CDC: Actual Covid-19 Case Count Could Be 6 to 24 Times Higher Than Official Estimates:
STAT, July 21, 2020
The study...based on serological tests...are different from diagnostic tests, which only detect people who currently have the virus, called SARS-CoV-2.

How to Identify Flawed Research Before It Becomes Dangerous
New York Times, July 20, 2020
Scientists and journalists need to establish a service to review research that's publicized before it is peer reviewed.

'The Virus Doesn't Care About Excuses': US Faces Terrifying Autumn as Covid-19 Surges
The Guardian, July  18, 2020
The breathing space afforded by lockdowns in the spring has been squandered, with new cases running at five times the rate of the whole of Europe. Things will only get worse.

We Know Where the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World Are --Except for One
National Geographic, July 16, 2020
The true location of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon remains an unsolved mystery, but the latest research suggests looking in a different place.

'Celestial Sleuth' Sheds New Light On Vermeer's Masterpiece 'View of Delft'
Phys.Org, July 15, 2020
Widely known today for his "Girl with a Pearl Earring," he was famed for his mastery in rendering the effects of light and shadow. Nowhere is this technical precision more evident than in his masterpiece, "View of Delft." 
The Complex Chemistry of Fire
Chemistry World, July 20, 2020
Despite its ubiquity in human life, chemists have still barely unlocked what's happening amid the flames.

Plato Was Right: Earth Is Made, on Average, of Cubes
Science Daily, July 20, 2020
The ancient philosopher Plato posited the shapes of the building blocks of the universe. According to him, the earth was formed
of cubes. Researchers now find a fundamental truth in that premise.  

How to Know If You've Been Hacked, and What to Do About It
Wired, July 19, 2020
Facebook. Google. Netflix. Sometimes your accounts get compromised, so it's vital to understand the threats.

Mystery over Universe's Expansion Deepens with Fresh Data
Nature, July 15, 2020
A long-awaited map of the Big Bang's afterglow fails to settle a debate over how fast the Universe is expanding.  

Do the TRAPPIST-1 Planets Have Atmospheres?
Universe Today,  July 16, 2020 (w/video)
In a recent study that provides an overview of all observations to date on TRAPPIST-1 planets, a team found that depending on the planet in question, they are likely to have good atmospheres, if any at all.

Spotting Quantum Black Holes in the Lab
Quantum, July 15, 2020
Can we test speculations about how quantum physics affects black holes and the Big Bang?
Pinning Down the Sun's Birthplace Just Got More Complicated
Science News, July 20, 2020
Our star's birthplace might have been a tight, stellar cluster, researchers say.
A Month of Milestones for Mars Missions
EOS, July 14, 2020
Mars launch season has arrived, and it brings the first space exploration mission from the Arab world, China's first Mars landing, and the first powered flight on another planet.

What Is Angora and How Is It Made?
Treehugger, July 21, 2020
Mass production has led to animal cruelty, but ethically made angora is possible.
The Pandemic Could Actually Strengthen the U.S. Food System
National Geographic, July 1`7, 2020
The shock to U.S. food chains from the coronavirus has been a boon to small- and mid-sized farms and distributors. Could it be the start of a new way to get food?

America's Innovation Engine Is Slowing
The Atlantic, July 19, 2020
Universities are in trouble and the influx of brainpower from overseas is shrinking. The long-term consequences could be disastrous. 
Designing to Survive
Washington Post, July 13, 2020
As we try to understand the role of architecture post-pandemic, we have to first better understand the ways we inhabit buildings and move through space

Tracking Misinformation Campaigns in Real-Time Is Possible, Study Shows
TechXplore, July 22, 2020
A research team led by Princeton University has developed a technique for tracking online foreign misinformation campaigns in real time, which could help mitigate outside
interference in the 2020 American election.

Breathe Better With These Nine Exercises
New York Times, July 18, 2020
"You can't be truly healthy unless you're breathing correctly."
What Makes Grass-Fed Beef Different, and Are You Buying the Real Thing?
Discover, July 18, 2020
How grass-fed and grain-fed cattle are raised - and the truth behind the meat labeling requirements.

Environmental Working Group's Tap Water Database: 2019 Update
Check your location (important -and surprising- information)
Since 2012, water utilities' testing has found pollutants in Americans' tap water, according to an EWG drinking water quality analysis of 32 million state water records.

More Bad News for BPA: Novel Analysis Adds to Evidence of Chemical's Health Effects
Environmental Health News, July 16, 2020
"This should change how the FDA and other people look at the safety of BPA."

Our History Is a Battle Against the Microbes
Our World In Data, July 20, 2020
We lost terribly before science, public health, and vaccines allowed us to protect ourselves.

Jellyfish Larger Than Blue Whales?
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, June 26 2020
WHOI scientists weigh in on recent jelly sightings in Massachusetts
Study Reveals Strange Magnetic Behavior 8-11 Million Years Ago
Phys.Org, July 20, 2020
Research...suggests that today's South Atlantic Anomaly is a recurring feature and unlikely to
represent an impending reversal of the Earth's magnetic field.

What Is the Eye of the Sahara?
Thought Co., October 30, 2018 (archive) (great image)
The Blue Eye of the Sahara, also known as the Richat Structure or the Guelb er Richat, is a geological formation in the Sahara Desert that resembles an enormous bullseye, stretching across a 40 kilometer-wide region of the desert in the nation of Mauritania. 
Were Humans Living in a Mexican Cave During the Last Ice Age?
Science, July 22, 2020
At first glance, Chiquihuite Cave in Mexico's Zacatecas state is an unlikely place to find signs of early humans, let alone evidence that might change the story of the peopling of the Americas.
Can Water Be Two Types of Liquid?
Cosmos, July 20, 2020
Researchers offer evidence to support decades-old theory.

EPA Pays Tribute to Rep. John Lewis and Environmental Justice
Colorlines, February 27, 2014 (archive)
In 1992, Rep. Lewis introduced [with Al Gore] the Environmental Justice Act, the first piece of legislation dedicated to abolishing racial disparities in how environmental protection was applied.

Why Limiting PFAS in Drinking Water Is a Challenge in the US
Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) July 20, 2020
The EPA faces legal and other hurdles as it attempts to regulate PFOA and PFOS.

New Emails Show How Energy Industry Moved Fast to Undo Curbs
New York Times, July 21, 2020
The messages, made public in a lawsuit, suggest the E.P.A. rescinded a requirement on methane at the behest of an executive just weeks after President Trump took office.

Court Strikes Down Trump Administration's Methane Rollback
The Hill, July 16, 2020
A federal court has struck down a Trump administration rule that weakened restrictions on methane gas releases from
drilling on public land, restoring an Obama-era rule.  

Changes in Farming Urgent to Rescue Biodiversity
Science Daily, July 20, 2020
Humans depend on farming for their survival but this activity takes up more than one-third of the world's landmass and endangers 62% of all threatened species.

The Climate Expert Who Delivered News No One Wanted to Hear
New Yorker, June 29, 2009 (archive. E. Kolbert)
How James Hansen, a scientist known as the "father of global warming" watched his dire predictions for the planet come true.

How Much Will the Planet Warm if Carbon Dioxide Levels Double?
New York Times, July 22, 2020
hat remains, however, is still an array of effects that mean worldwide disaster if emissions are not sharply reduced in coming years.

World Bank Says Global Gas Flaring Hit Highest in Over a Decade in 2019
Reuters, July 21. 2020
The top four gas flaring countries - Russia, Iraq, the United States, and Iran - continue to account for 45% of all global gas flaring, for three years running (2017-2019), the World Bank said.
Where Will Everyone Go?
ProPublica, July 23, 2020
ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center, have for the first time modeled how climate refugees might move across international borders. 
The Guardian, July 21,2020
Researchers say potent climate-heating gas almost certainly escaping into atmosphere.


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