Selected Sci-News Items Oct 24 - Oct 30, 2020

General Interest    Cosmos    Innovation    Health    Nature    Environment    Climate
SftPublic zoom recordings are uploaded to SftP Website & YouTube, Belmont Media Center Community TV, and WGBH Forum Network. 

Nov 16: From Sea-Sponge to Skyscraper: Bio-inspired Engineering
for additional events check SftP website Coming Events


Washington Post, October 23, 2020
Nation is poised to enter its worst stretch yet of the pandemic, with hospitalizations rising in 38 states.

A Guide to Overcoming COVID-19 Misinformation
National Geographic, October 22, 2020
False information about the pandemic is rampant, but seasoned defenders of climate science can offer tips for how to fight it.

STAT, October 29, 2020
It is important to note that, to date, none of the vaccines being developed for the U.S. market has been proven to be effective in preventing Covid-19 disease.

Nature, October 21, 2020
Why proposals to largely let the virus run its course - embraced by Donald Trump's administration and others - could bring "untold death and suffering".

New York Times, October 21,2020
Even if people coated the inside of their mouths with a coronations-killing chemical, a substantial amount of the virus would still remain in the body.


The Conversation, June 23, 2020
A blood disorder called porphyria, which has has been with us for millennia, became prevalent among the nobility and royalty of Eastern Europe.

Scientific American, October 25, 2020
Do you get excited and energized by the possibility of learning something new and complex?

Quanta, October 26, 2020
From crumpled paper to termite mounds to three-sided coins, L. Mahadevan has turned the whole world into his laboratory. (Note: Dr Mahadevan appearing for SftP in Dec).

Ancient Maya Used Zeolite and Quartz to Filter Drinking Water
Sci-News, October 23, 2020
This filtration system is the oldest known example of water purification in the western hemisphere and the oldest known use of zeolite for decontaminating drinking water in the world.

Cosmos, October 24, 2020
When Lemaitre reviewed Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, he found that not only was the Universe expanding, but that it had originated at a finite point in time. (And Einstein wasn't happy about it).


New Yorker, October 26, 2020
The moon, like every other place in the universe, is covered in hydroxyls-highly reactive ions, each made of a hydrogen atom and an oxygen atom bonded together. You can't make a pile of hydroxyl, or use it to fill a swimming pool. Unfortunately, to many infrared telescopes, the light emitted by a hydroxyl group-OH-looks indistinguishable from the light emitted by H2O.

Scientists in Japan Have Found a Detailed Record of the Earth’s Last Magnetic Reversal, 773,000 Years Ago
Universe Today, October 27, 2020
Every 200,000 to 300,000 years Earth's magnetic poles reverse. What was once the north pole becomes the south, and vice versa. It's a time of invisible upheaval.The last reversal was unusual because it was so long ago.

Quanta, October 22, 2020
Quanta's new series of articles explores the search for fundamental structure at the edge of science. Parts 1 and 2 are available now (just click).

Galaxies in the Infant Universe Were Surprisingly Mature
Phys.Org, October 27, 2020
Massive galaxies were already much more mature in the early universe than previously expected.

Sky & Telescope, October 26, 2020
Astronomers have tallied how star-making material evolved over cosmic time - and predicted how long stars will keep forming before the universe goes dark.


Treehugger, October 27, 2020
The Veridian at County Farm in Ann Arbor is a great demonstration of how it's done.

Science Daily, October 22, 2020
A new tool could diagnose a stroke based on abnormalities in a patient's speech ability and facial muscular movements, and with the accuracy of an emergency room physician -- all within minutes from an interaction with a smartphone.

TechXplore, October 22, 2020
One of the long-standing challenges for artificial intelligence has been to replicate human vision.

Inside Climate Change, October 27, 2020
The company says it is studying three designs for commercial air travel, but a host of complex problems remain related to producing "clean" hydrogen fuel.

Science X, October 28, 2020
Physicists have long thought the maximum possible coherence of a laser was governed by an iron rule known as the Schawlow-Townes limit. Now, however, two theory papers have appeared that overturn [that] limit by re-imagining the laser.


Well + Good, October 15, 2020
To understand why stretching should be part of everyone's routine, physical therapist and yoga teacher Lara Heimann, PT, says you first need to understand what all the toe-touching and  extension actually does for your body.

NPR/Shots, October 26, 2020  (w/audio)
Nearly 70% of respondents said the elections are a significant source of stress, according to a survey out this month from the American Psychological Association.

The Spooky and Dangerous Side of Black Licorice
The Conversation, October 26, 2020
On Sept. 23, 2020, it was reported that black licorice was the culprit in the death of a 54-year-old man in Massachusetts. How could this be?

Think You Have 'Normal' Blood Pressure? Think Again
New York Times, October 19, 2020
Even levels of blood pressure that are generally considered "normal" may be high enough to foster the development of heart disease, new research shows.

What Is Wind Chill, and How Does It Affect the Human Body?
Smithsonian, January 30, 2020 (archive)
While wind will not change the ambient temperature of the air, it will change the temperature of your body.


No Grumpy Old Men in the World of Chimps
New York times, October 22, 2020
Older male chimps follow a pattern that researchers also see in humans, preferring to have positive relationships with a few good friends.

BBC News, October 27. 2020  (w/photos)
Scientists on a 12-month mission found the structure, detached from the Great Barrier Reef off Cape York, last week.

Sci-Tech Daily, October 26, 2020
For much of Earth's four and a half billion years, the planet was barren and inhospitable; it wasn't until the world acquired its blanket of oxygen that multicellular life could really get going. But scientists are still trying to understand exactly how-and why-our planet got this beautifully oxygenated atmosphere.

Public Integrity, October 20. 2020
Health workers see Vibrio as a rare danger, if they've heard of it at all. But it's already causing more cases of flesh-eating disease. And it's poised to get worse.

National Science Foundation, October 26, 2020
Two decades of data document a dwindling of mussels, barnacles and snails.


Ensia, October 14, 2020
Though less common than in the past, microbes that contaminate tap water continue to sicken - and sometimes kill - Americans.

Mongabay, October 26, 2020
The Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction, leaving humanity in a critical time to safeguard global biodiversity.

With Justice Barrett, a Tectonic Court Shift on the Environment
Yale Environment 360, October 26, 2020
The accession of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court will cement a conservative majority that is likely to give polluting industries freer rein, limit the ability of citizens to sue, and call into question the very basis of the EPA to issue and enforce regulations.

Intensifying Hurricanes Are Helping Invasive Species Spread Across the U.S.
National Geographic, October 27, 2020
More than a hundred species-including Asian swamp eels and zebra mussels-hitched a ride on Hurricane Isaias' floodwaters, scientists say.

The Guardian, October 18, 2020
From coral farming to 3D printing, scientists are using novel methods to save a vital part of our ecosystem.


Grist, October 21, 2020
Despite setting ambitious targets in 2010 to protect endangered ecosystems, we've lost a gut-wrenching 68 percent of species since 1970. This isn't just bad news for wildlife - it's bad for us humans.

E&E News, October 26, 2020
The discoveries by General Motors and Ford Motor Co. preceded decades of political lobbying by the two car giants that undermined global attempts to reduce emissions while stalling U.S. efforts to make vehicles cleaner.

New York Times, October 27, 2020
The administration is imposing new limits on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that would undercut action against global warming.

The Guardian, October 27, 2020
Exclusive: expedition discovers new source of greenhouse gas off East Siberian coast has been triggered.

Science News, October 26, 2020
It's not yet clear if a small increase in temperature is the result of climate change.


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