The latest selection for our “Now Read This” book club, Jessica Bruder’s “Nomadland,” documents a growing phenomenon in the country — a “wandering tribe” of seasonal workers. It has inspired a new movie of the same name. The film was the big winner at the British Academy Film Awards, and has multiple Oscar nominations. Jeffrey Brown has the latest for our ongoing arts and culture series, CANVAS.
It’s no secret that warming temperatures are transforming landscapes in extreme northern regions. In Alaska, where wildfires have burned through many old-growth spruce forests in the past half decade, deciduous trees—such as aspen and birch—are starting to take over. But little is known about the impact these changes will have on how much carbon the forests release and store.
To find out, researchers trudged through the Alaskan taiga, seeking out wildfire sites where spruce once dominated. They mined these sites for information on carbon and nitrogen stores and forest turnover over time. What they found surprised them: In the long run, their estimates suggest that intensifying heat and more wildfires may lead to more carbon sequestration in Alaskan forests, they report today in Science. It’s impossible to know for sure that the flames will subside, but it’s a bit of good news as the fires burn out the old growth and bring in the new.
Read the research: https://scim.ag/3soUc4e
Host Sarah Crespi talks with Staff Writer Adrian Cho about a new measurement of the magnetism of the muon—an unstable cousin of the electron. This latest measurement and an earlier one both differ from predictions based on the standard model of particle physics. The increased certainty that there is a muon magnetism mismatch could be a field day for theoretical physicists looking to add new particles or forces to the standard model.
Also on this week’s show, Charles Marshall, director of the University of California Museum of Paleontology and professor of integrative biology, joins Sarah to talk about his team’s calculation for the total number of Tyrannosaurus rex that ever lived. In a sponsored segment from the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Sean Sanders interviews Imre Berger, professor of biochemistry at the University of Bristol, about his Science paper on finding a druggable pocket on the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and how the work was accelerated by intensive cloud computing. This segment is sponsored by Oracle for Research.
SpaceX’s broadband satellite internet, Starlink, is still in beta, but already has over 10,000 customers. The fledgling service is expected to be a cash cow for SpaceX, bringing in as much as $30 billion a year — more than 10 times the annual revenue of its existing rocket business. This revenue will be used to fuel Elon Musk’s ultimate goal of building a colony on Mars. Eventually, Starlink may even keep us connected on the Red Planet.
Laos is a Southeast Asian country traversed by the Mekong River and known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. Vientiane, the capital, is the site of the That Luang monument, where a reliquary reportedly houses the Buddha’s breastbone, plus the Patuxai war memorial and Talat Sao (Morning Market), a complex jammed with food, clothes and craft stalls.
Bears are able to live and sometimes thrive from the North Pole to the tropical rainforests around the equator and although they are largely confined to the forests nowadays, in the not too distant past they dominated grassy plains as well. And in overcoming the challenges of each new habitat they migrated into presented, they have evolved to drastically change diets. Bears evolved from small carnivorous animals and yet have become omnivorous, insect eaters, or have a diet occupied entirely of plant foods. So how have bears been able to evolve to eat almost any food in a very small amount of time.
The risk of dying from COVID is much higher than getting a blood clot from a vaccine. But even more concerning is a new report from Oxford University that shows catching the coronavirus puts you at even more risk of a deadly blood clot. Each delay puts more lives at risk, as the coronavirus spreads. It’s a balancing act between speed and caution in the fight against COVID-19.
Presented by British art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar, A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021 celebrates the work of the top winners in one of the world’s biggest photography competitions. Including interviews and behind-the-scenes footage with distinguished photographers, rising talents, and industry-leading experts, this 60-minute feature takes viewers on a journey across the globe to explore powerful contemporary stories and artistic excellence. View our full digital programme by visiting our website at https://www.worldphoto.org/announceme…
Big Tech Fight Night: Cook vs. Zuck A new privacy feature in Apple’s iOS 14.5 requires apps to request permission to track you. And Facebook isn’t happy about it. WSJ’s Joanna Stern put Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook into the ring to explain why this software update has kicked off a tech slugfest. Photo illustration: Preston Jessee for The Wall Street Journal Personal Technology With Joanna Stern Technology is overwhelming and making decisions about what gadget to buy is harder than ever. WSJ personal tech columnist Joanna Stern makes it all a bit easier in her lively and informative videos.