Selected Sci-News Items  July 27 - August 02,  2019
General Interest    Cosmos    Innovation    Health    Nature    Environment    Climate

SftPublic July 10 (video)   Nectar and the Health of Bees 
SftPublic July 16 (video)   Mathematical Prediction of Sixth Mass Extinction   

The Other Greens in Your Bagged Lettuce: Frogs, Snakes and Lizards
Washington Post, July 27, 2019
You probably don't want to know what's in your salad kit or green beans, but these researchers want to tell you.

Decades-Old Computer Science Conjecture Solved in Two Pages
Quanta, July 25, 2019
The "sensitivity" conjecture stumped many top computer scientists, yet the new proof is so simple that one researcher summed it up in a single tweet.

An Ancient Egypt-to-Black Sea Route? Adventurers to Test Theory
Phys.Org, July 31, 2019  (w/ship images + map)
The 8-nation team is specifically seeking to prove a hypothesis lent credence by Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian.

The Geoengineering of Consent: How Conspiracists Dominate YouTube Climate Science Content
TechXplore, July 25, 2019
"Searching YouTube for climate-science and climate-engineering-related terms finds fewer than half of the videos represent mainstream scientific views," says study author.
"It's alarming to find that the majority of videos propagate conspiracy theories about climate science and technology."

Japan Approves First Human-Animal Embryo Experiments
Nature, July 26, 2019
The research could eventually lead to new sources of organs for transplant, but ethical and technical hurdles need to be overcome.

Newly Discovered Exoplanet Trio Could Unravel the Mysteries of Super-Earth Formation
Science, July 29, 2019
The exoplanets are of a type that does not exist in our solar system, being between the Earth and Neptune in size.

Gravity's Waterfall
Symmetry, July 30, 2019
Proponents say these models have confirmed theoretical predictions about black holes. But many physicists still doubt that analogs can predict what happens where gravity warps spacetime so violently.
Debate Over Universe's Expansion Rate May Unravel Physics. Is It a Crisis?
Science News, July 30, 2019
Scientists tackle disagreements about the Hubble constant.
'It Snuck Up On Us': Scientists Stunned by 'City-Killer' Asteroid That Just Missed Earth
Washington Post, July 26, 2019
According to NASA, the craggy rock was an estimated 57 to 130 meters wide (187 to 427 feet), and moving fast along a path that brought it within about 73,000 kilometers (45,000 miles) of Earth -- "uncomfortably close." 
Sun's Puzzling Plasma Recreated in a Laboratory
Quanta, July 29, 2019
The twisting loops of the sun's magnetic field control the flow of charged particles throughout the solar system. For the first time, researchers have created a scale model of this mysterious environment.

Soon There Will Be Unlimited Hair
The Atlantic, July 25, 2019
New uses of stem cells and 3-D printing could make baldness obsolete (for the wealthy).

In Brazil, Mending an Urban Fabric With Geometry and Bamboo
New York Times, July 29, 2019 (see photos!)
She made models with strips of paper, grew curious about the difference between biaxial and triaxial weaves (with two or three straight strips) and studied how non-Euclidean geometry could be applied to weaving.

Energy from Seawater
Science Daily, July 29, 2019
The technology could make coastal wastewater treatment plants energy-independent and carbon neutral.

Madagascar Spider Silk 10 Times Stronger Than Kevlar
Cosmos, July 26, 2019
Protein discovery has implications for biomechanics and manufacturing.

Space Junk: a Recycling Station Could Be Cleaning Up in Earth Orbit by 2050
The Conversation, July 26, 2019
With more satellites and rockets launching each year, collisions with space junk are becoming more likely. Losing a satellite could mean --among other effects-- poor TV reception, unreliable weather forecasting, plane navigation.

Health Websites Are Notoriously Misleading. So STAT Rated Their Reliability
STAT, July 26, 2019
More than 1 in 10 news websites accessed by Americans includes bad information about health.

The 8 Best Plant-Based Sources of Complete Protein
Prevention March 21 2019
These meat-free options are also rich in fiber, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients.
In Older Adults, Some Drugs May Produce Symptoms That Imitate Dementia
New York Times, July 31, 2019
An estimated 1 in 4 older adults take anti-cholinergic drugs --a wide-ranging class of medications used to treat allergies, insomnia, leaky bladders, and many other problems. Older adults are highly susceptible to negative responses to these medications.
Bayer Faces Skyrocketing US Lawsuits Over Glyphosate
Deutsche Welle, July 30, 2019
The number of plaintiffs in the US claiming they are contracting cancer after using the weedkiller Roundup has leapt to over 18,000.

Families Seek Answers for US Rise in Childhood Cancers
The Guardian, July 30, 2019
Cases of pediatric cancer in the United States surged by almost 50% from 1975 to 2015, according to alarming but under-reported statistics by the National Cancer Institute.

Where You Grew Up, What You Ate  --Your Bones Record Your Life
National Geographic, July 18, 2019
Archaeologists use isotopic analysis to determine population movements and diets from chemical signatures in ancient human remains.

How Mosquitoes Changed Everything
New Yorker, July 29, 2019
They slaughtered our ancestors and derailed our history. And they're not finished with us yet.

Canada's Forgotten Rainforest
The Narwhal, July 27, 2019
Less than one-third of the world's primary forests are still intact. Deep in the interior of British Columbia, a temperate rainforest that holds vast stores of carbon and is home to endangered caribou is being clear-cut as fast as the Amazon.

How do Sherpas Thrive Up Here?
Cosmos, July 31, 2019
The ability of sure-footed Sherpas to scale the oxygen-rare slopes of the Himalayas without losing puff has enthralled the world since Tenzing Norgay summited Everest with Edmund Hillary in 1953.

Grasshopper Invasion of Las Vegas May Last for Weeks
New York Times, July 27, 2019
An unusually wet year is responsible for the biblical-seeming swarm of pallid-winged grasshoppers, according to entomologists.

To Better Manage Groundwater, First Understand It
Cosmos, July 29, 2019
Water hidden beneath the earth's surface comprises 98% of the planet's fresh water. On average, this groundwater provides a third of all total water consumed, and its preciousness is ever more palpable.

Amazon Deforestation Accelerating Towards Unrecoverable 'Tipping Point'
The Guardian, July 25, 2019
Data confirms fears that Jair Bolsonaro's policy encourages illegal logging in Brazil

Seabed Mining Is Coming  --Bringing Mineral Riches and Fears of Epic Extinctions
Nature, July 24, 2019
Plans are advancing to harvest precious ores from the ocean floor, but scientists say that companies have not tested them enough to avoid devastating damage.

Dozens of Scientists Pushing the UN to Make Environmental Destruction a War Crime
Mother Jones, July 27, 2019
The proposed new convention would add certain types of environmental destruction-like the extinction of megafauna and poisoning of water sources-to the list of unacceptable acts.

America's Farmers, Reeling From Floods, Face a New Problem: No Water
New York Times, July 29, 2019
The breach of an irrigation canal left more than 100,000 acres of farmland in Nebraska and Wyoming without water at a critical point in the growing cycle.

The Bizarre, Peaty Science of Arctic Wildfires
Wired, July 29, 2019
Peat is the organic material that gives Scotch its characteristic taste. But it's also a potent fuel that's powering unprecedented Arctic wildfires.

Greenland Ice Sheet Is In the Throes Of One of Its Greatest Melting Events Ever Recorded
Washington Post, July 31, 2019
The fate of Greenland's ice sheet is of critical importance to every coastal resident in the world, since Greenland is already the biggest contributor to modern-day sea level rise. The pace and extent of Greenland ice melt will help determine how high sea levels climb and how quickly.

40 Years Ago, Scientists Predicted Climate Change. And Hey, They Were Right
The Conversation, July 28, 2019
It doesn't sound as impressive as landing on the Moon, and there certainly weren't millions waiting with bated breath for the deliberations of the meeting.  But the Charney Report is an exemplar of good science, and the success of its predictions over the past 40 years has firmly established the science of global warming.

Lost Cities and Climate Change
Scientific American, July 29, 2019
Some people say "the climate has changed before," as though that should be reassuring. It's not.

Oceans Are Melting Glaciers from Below Much Faster than Predicted
Inside Climate News, July 25, 2019
Tidewater glaciers are being 'eaten away on both ends' as global warming worsens, suggesting faster sea level rise and ice melt that can alter ocean ecosystems.  


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