Selected Sci-News Items Oct 03 - Oct 09, 2020

General Interest    Cosmos    Innovation    Health    Nature    Environment    Climate
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How Do Pandemics End?
BBC News, October 07, 2020
We are in the grip of a pandemic like none other in living memory. While people are pinning their hopes on a vaccine to wipe it out, the fact is most of the infections faced by our ancestors are still with us.

Beware of These Covid-19 Dodgy Schemes, Quack Remedies
Washington Post, October 05, 2020
The covid-19 pandemic has fostered fear and uncertainty, which has led to a proliferation of dodgy products marketed as helpful.

This Scientist Made a Google Doc to Educate the Public About Airborne Coronavirus Transmission
MIT Technology Review, October 02, 2020
The evidence that the coronavirus spreads through the air has been mounting for months-but official guidance has barely shifted. Jose-Luis Jimenez has had enough.

New Document Reveals Scope and Structure of Operation Warp Speed and Underscores Vast Military Involvement
STAT, September 28, 2020
Operation Warp Speed is largely an abstraction in Washington, with little known about who works there other than its top leaders, or how it operates.
New York Times, October 01, 2020
You won't be buying a rapid spit test anytime soon. But nose-swab versions might be on the way.


Do Students Need Calculus Anymore?
Popular Mechanics, October 02, 2020
Americans act very protective of math curricula despite having low or even bottom rankings among peer nations in even basic math literacy.

Ancient Hominins Used Fire to Make Stone Tools
Phys.Org, October 06, 2020
Early humans who made stone tools may have had a good understanding of the effects of heating the stone before flaking it into blades, and they may even have used different temperatures to create different types of tools.

A Brief History of Mashed Potatoes
Mental Floss, September 28, 2020
In mid-18th century France, potatoes were considered feed for livestock, and believed to cause leprosy in humans. The fear was so widespread that the French passed a law against eating potatoes in 1748.

Our Theory of Very Nearly Everything: the Particles
Plus Maths, February 15, 2019
Is there anything in the Universe that is not made out of quarks and electrons?

A Four-Year Timeline of Trump's Impact on Science
Nature, October 05, 2020
From travel bans to human spaceflight to the coronavirus pandemic, US President Donald Trump's policies and actions have changed science.

Nobel Prizes: Chemistry, Medicine, Physics

Why Astronomy Is Considered the Oldest Science
Astronomy, October 06, 2020
Initially a cosmic curiosity, the night sky was eventually decoded by ancient peoples, making astronomy one of (if not the) oldest science.
Work, Float, Eat, Dream: Life on the International Space Station
Air and Space, October, 2020
We asked some of the people who've spent the most time on the ISS: What's it like up there?
Scientists Identify 24 Potentially 'Super-habitable' Exoplanets
Sci-News, October 05, 2020
Those alien worlds are older, a little larger, slightly warmer and possibly wetter than our own planet.

Alchemy Arrives in a Burst of Light
Quanta, September 30, 2020
Researchers have shown how to effectively transform one material into another using a finely shaped laser pulse.
With To-Do List Checked Off, U.S. Physicists Ask, 'What's Next?'
Science, October 02, 2020
Seven years ago, the often fractious community hammered out its current research road map and rallied around it.


This Year's SN 10 Scientists Aim to Solve Some of Science's Biggest Challenges
Science News, September 30, 2020
Many are chasing answers to the myriad challenges that people face every day, and revealing the rewards in the pursuit of knowledge itself.

Two's a Crowd: Nuclear and Renewables Don't Mix
Science Daily, October 5, 2020
Only the latter can deliver truly low carbon energy, says new study

'Green Hydrogen' from Renewables Could Become Cheapest 'Transformative Fuel' Within a Decade
The Guardian, October 02, 2020
Government has nominated 'clean hydrogen' using gas and CCS but for many countries 'clean' already means without fossil fuels

Of Hemp's Many Uses, One of the Most Promising Could Be in Construction
Ensia, October 06, 2020
"Hempcrete," made from the woody core of hemp, is showing promise as an environmentally friendly building material

DOE Study: Solar-Hydro Projects Could Power 40 Percent of World
E&E News, October 02, 2020
The research found that by constructing solar panels on the surface of hydro reservoirs and feeding the power they generate into the same substation, both energy resources might become cheaper, more efficient and more reliable.

How the Pandemic Is Changing Our Exercise Habits
 New York Times October 07, 2020
Many of us have been moving less since the pandemic began. But some, including many older men and women, seem to be moving more.

California Passes Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act
Treehugger, October 02, 2020
It's the nation's first state-level ban of 24 toxic ingredients.

Subway Bread Is Not Bread, Irish Court Rules
The Guardian, October 01, 2020
Judge finds that sugar content of US chain's sandwiches exceeds stipulated limit and they should thus be classified as confectionery

Lack of Key Considerations in FDA Food Chemical Safety Process Leaves Consumers at Risk of Chronic Diseases
Endocrine News, September 2020
A group of health, environmental, and consumer organizations challenged the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) practice of not accounting for the cumulative health effect of chemicals in the diet when allowing new chemicals in food.

It Is Time to Protect Kids' Developing Brains from Fluoride
Environmental Health News, October 07, 2020
Mounting evidence suggests fluoride may be hampering brain development and reducing kids' IQ. The US needs to rethink this exposure for pregnant women and children.

Around the World in Rare and Beautiful Apples
Atlas Obscura, January -6, 2020 (archives)
From the sweet to the offbeat. And some really weird examples.

Online Reptile Trade Is a Free-for-All That Threatens Thousands of Species
Scientific American, September 29, 2020
More than one third of all reptile species, including highly endangered ones, are sold internationally, primarily as pets.

How Planetary Forces Shape Earth's Surface
Cosmos, September 30, 2020
Geophysicists explain rocky icebergs and deep anchors.

How to Track Migratory Birds Near You
Treehugger, October 05, 2020
These websites can help you figure out which migratory birds will be coming through your area.

Alien Species to Increase by 36 Percent Worldwide by 2050
Science Daily, October 1, 2020
The number of alien (non-native) species is expected to increase globally by 36 percent by the middle of this century, compared to 2005, finds new research.


Floodgates in Venice Work in First Major Test
New York Times, October 03, 2020
The fiercely contested floodgate system was used to stop a high tide from flooding Venice's fragile streets. The system held, but will it work as the climate worsens?

State of the World's Plants and Fungi
Kew Organization, October 2020
This fourth Kew report in the State of the World's series combines plants and fungi for the first time. (check out the Kew Gardens link also)
At One of America's Most Toxic Superfund Sites, Climate Change Imperils More Than Cleanup
Inside Climate News, October 01, 2020
The Diamond Alkali Co. in Newark, New Jersey, a maker of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, polluted the Passaic River with dioxin, a highly toxic carcinogen.

Trump plan to Allow Seismic Blasts in Atlantic Search for Oil Appears Dead
Washington Post, October 01, 2020
During a long battle in a South Carolina court, several government permits that allowed seismic testing and harming marine animals slowly expired

New 'Forever Chemicals' Contaminating the Environment, Regulators Say
The Guardian, October 01 2020 (co-published with Consumer Reports)
Efforts in the US to oversee one PFAS compound from chemical company Solvay illustrate challenges officials face

Got Beef? Here's What Your Hamburger Is Doing To The Climate
Forbes, October 05, 2020
In recent years, the looming specter of climate change has given meat eaters an additional dilemma to consider: cattle and dairy farming, climate scientists have warned, is unsustainable, generating high levels of greenhouse gases at every stage of the production process.

Has the World Started to Take Climate Change Fight Seriously?
BBC News, September 30, 2020
You probably missed the most important announcement on tackling climate change in years. It was made at the UN General Assembly.

Three Scenarios for the Future of Climate Change
New Yorker, October 05, 2020 (Elizabeth Kolbert)
Had the warnings of either James Hansen or Bill McKibben been heeded three decades ago, the world today would be a very different place-incalculably better off in innumerable ways.

Inside Clean Energy: Net Zero by 2050 Has Quickly Become the New Normal for the Largest U.S. Utilities
Inside Climate News, October 01, 2020
New plans from Ameren and Entergy show the trend to renewables is accelerating because coal just can't compete. Some activists want it to go even faster.

Greenland to Lose Ice Far Faster This Century Than in the Past 12,000 Years
Carbon Brief, September 30, 2020
The rate of mass loss still depends heavily on future greenhouse gas emissions, the study shows - the ice sheet could lose ice up to four times faster if global emissions are very high than if global climate goals are met.

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