How a pending Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action could affect the scientific workforce
20,277 articles from ScienceNOW
Destruction of Ukrainian dam threatens nature reserves, rare species
U.S. higher education officials, including those trying to diversify the scientific workforce, have spent the past year pondering how to respond if the U.S. Supreme Court bans the use of race as a factor in undergraduate admissions.
Such a ruling, in related cases involving
University of North Carolina
Lava comes in two ‘flavors.’ Scientists may have finally figured out why
As emergency managers in southern Ukraine evacuate people there from disastrous flooding caused by this week’s mysterious breach of a major dam, conservation scientists are pondering the effects on the region’s plants and animals. The collapse of a section of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam has released a torrent that is only beginning to subside, leaving downstream nature reserves...
While on a family vacation in 2018, Jenny Suckale was rambling across an old Hawaiian lava flow when an abrupt change in the jet-black rocks caught her eye. On one side was the smooth, undulating lava type called pahoehoe (pronounced pah-hoy-hoy); on the other was the sharp, jagged kind known as aa (pronounced ah-ah). Ever since that day, a deceptively simple question has nagged at...
THURSDAY 8. JUNE 2023
Lab safety and research productivity are not at odds
Amino acid in energy drinks makes mice live longer and healthier
Prioritizing lab safety doesn’t hamper research productivity. That’s the main takeaway of a
working paper published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research
and accepted for publication in
Safety experts are cautiously optimistic these results may help support further cultural and institutional change to...
News at a glance: Weather radar, solar energy beamed from space, and an ode to Europa
Researchers first sifted the amino acid taurine from a sample of ox bile in 1827. Today, it’s better known as one of the main ingredients in many energy drinks. But it may do more than drive sales of these beverages. A study published today in
boosting taurine levels increases life span in mice and improves the physical condition of middle-aged...
Can ‘toxic’ bilirubin treat a variety of illnesses?
Tweak of shape clinches discovery of nonrepeating tiling
This time it’s final: Mathematicians have found a single shape for an abstract 2D tile that, in theory, can cover an infinite plane without leaving any gaps and without producing a repeating pattern. The first such “aperiodic tiling” was discovered in the 1960s and comprised 104...
Chief of CDC’s ‘weather service’ strives to help local health agencies use infectious disease forecasting
Generations of medical and biology students have been instilled with a dim view of bilirubin. Spawned when the body trashes old red blood cells, the molecule is harmful refuse and a sign of illness. High blood levels cause jaundice, which turns the eyes and skin yellow and can signal liver trouble. Newborns can’t process the compound, and although high levels normally subside, a...
Crops grown without sunlight could help feed astronauts bound for Mars
In August 2021, amid criticism for bungling its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched an ambitious effort to prevent a similarly poor performance going forward. The Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA) is intended to become the nation’s pandemic “weather service.” It aims to forecast the location, scale,...
Postdocs and staff researchers go on strike at the University of Washington
Plants modified to grow in the dark could also provide fresh produce in extreme environments on Earth
After months of negotiations, 2400 postdocs and staff researchers at the University of Washington (UW) went on strike today, arguing that the university’s proposed contract terms don’t amount to a fair wage. The roughly 6000 graduate students at UW won’t be on strike, but some of them—as members of the same union that represents postdocs and staff researchers—have pledged to not...
WEDNESDAY 7. JUNE 2023
Could fused neurons explain COVID-19’s ‘brain fog’?
Did a ‘nasty’ publishing scheme help an Indian dental school win high rankings?
Of all of COVID-19’s symptoms, one of the most troubling is “brain fog.”
Victims report headache, trouble concentrating, and forgetfulness
. Now, researchers have shown that SARS-CoV-2 can cause brain cells to fuse together, disrupting their communication. Although the study was only done in cells in a lab dish, some scientists say it could help explain one of the...
Biden wants new national lab to study impact of climate change on disadvantaged communities
Each year, the 500 undergraduates at
Saveetha Dental College
in Chennai, India, participate in 4-hour
that require them to write a 1500-word manuscript on research they have conducted. After faculty and students review and revise the papers, they use an online tool to add references to previously published work. Many of the papers are then submitted to...
Wildlife tracking collar powers itself as animals roam
President Joe Biden is asking Congress for $35 million to begin planning a new national laboratory to study the impact of climate change on poor communities. The proposal for the lab, which would join the 17 basic science, energy, and weapons labs run by the Department of Energy, is
buried in the fiscal year 2024 budget for DOE that the president submitted this spring
How did cholesterol evolve? Oil trapped in ancient rocks hides clues
Replacing worn-out batteries in animal tracking devices can be a time-consuming, expensive duty for wildlife scientists. It’s stressful for the animals, too. Now, inspired by the technology behind a self-charging smartwatch, researchers have invented a tracker powered by the animals’ own movement. The approach could help researchers monitor animals across their entire life spans,...
Watch snow flies amputate their own legs to avoid freezing to death
Ancient life forms may have left traces of oily molecules in rocks more than 1 billion years ago, providing new insights into the evolution of cholesterol. The molecular fossils, described today in
, suggest early organisms that relied on precursors of cholesterol were widespread on ancient Earth. Later, rising levels of oxygen allowed organisms to make the more...
Will Brazil’s Supreme Court deal a blow to Amazon protection efforts?
Snow flies patrolling the frozen mountains of North America in search of mates have developed a unique adaptation to their hostile environment. When temperatures plummet below 7°C and ice crystals begin to form in their legs, the insects shed these appendages to prevent the ice from fatally spreading to the rest of their body.
To make the discovery, researchers placed four...
How a geneticist led the effort to free a mother convicted of killing her kids
Brazil’s Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this week that could determine the fate of controversial legislation that conservationists fear will undermine efforts to protect the nation’s forests.
Indigenous and environmental groups are urging the court to reject a long-standing legal bid to weaken the ability of Brazil’s roughly 300 Indigenous groups to lay claim...
Carola Vinuesa woke up early yesterday in London, around 3 a.m., when colleagues from Australia called the clinical geneticist with big news: Kathleen Folbigg, who on only circumstantial evidence was famously convicted of killing her four young children and jailed 2 decades ago, had just been pardoned by New South Wales and set free.
Her freedom is in large part due to the...
TUESDAY 6. JUNE 2023
Satellite beams solar power down to Earth, in first-of-a-kind demonstration
Hello kitty, goodbye kittens? Gene therapy spays cats without surgery
Researchers have taken a small but necessary step toward realizing a long-standing dream: harvesting solar energy in space and beaming it down to Earth. A satellite launched in January has steered power in a microwave beam onto targets in space, and even sent some of that power to a detector on Earth, the experiment’s builder, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech),...
Experts call it the holy grail of pet contraception: a single shot or pill that would permanently sterilize cats and dogs without the need for expensive and time-consuming spay/neuter surgery. Scientists have struggled to develop such a product for more than 20 years, but every effort has failed—until now.
In a study published today in
MONDAY 5. JUNE 2023
Psychedelic-inspired drugs could relieve depression without causing hallucinations
Was a small-brained human relative the world’s first gravedigger—and artist?
Psychedelic drugs, best known for causing hallucinations, can also lift users’ moods, preliminary results from clinical trials suggest. But the risks that come with the trip are an obstacle to using the drugs as antidepressants. Hallucinations might trigger psychosis in people with certain risk factors, and because of their unpredictable effects, clinicians have to closely monitor...
Air pollution sensors can double as biodiversity monitors
A trio of papers posted online and presented at a meeting today lays out an astonishing scenario. Roughly 240,000 years ago, they suggest, small-brained human relatives carried their dead through a labyrinth of tight passageways into the dark depths of a vast limestone cave system in South Africa. Working by firelight, these diminutive cave explorers dug shallow graves, sometimes...
Imagine being able to get a “DNA report” that, based on traces of genetic material in the environment, lists all the plants and animals in the area, the way a daily weather forecast tallies precipitation, wind, and temperature. A pipe dream, scientists might once have said. But a paper published today shows that
routine, remote biodiversity monitoring may soon be a reality...
FRIDAY 2. JUNE 2023
EPA decision to tighten oversight of gene-edited crops draws mixed response
Biden’s plan to tap former North Carolina health chief as CDC director wins praise
When the CRISPR gene editor landed in U.S. plant science labs a decade ago, allowing researchers to tweak a crop’s own DNA instead of pasting in foreign genes, hopes rose that it would pave the way for looser regulation of genetically modified crops. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave plant scientists much of their wish, exempting certain gene-edited changes to...
Public health advocates today applauded the news that President Joe Biden intends to name Mandy Cohen, a physician and public health expert with broad government experience, to lead the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Biden will appoint Cohen by the end of the month to replace current CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who will step down on 30 June,...