Category Archives: Science

Cover Previews: Science Magazine – August 12, 2022

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Death’s-head moths correct course based on an internal “compass,” a new study finds, revealing insights into how insects traverse such long distances during seasonal migrations.

Scientists scramble to set up monkeypox vaccine trials

Logistical and ethical challenges are complicating the design of efficacy studies

Harassment researchers decry proposed reporting rule

U.S. Title IX law update requiring mandatory reporting of sexual misconduct would cause harm, they say

Star’s midlife crisis illuminates our Sun’s history—and future

Long magnetic lull mimics Maunder Minimum, when sunspots largely disappeared 400 years ago

Star marine ecologist guilty of misconduct, university says

University of Delaware finding vindicates whistleblowers

Webb reveals early universe’s galactic bounty

Star formation after the big bang appears much faster than models had forecast

Read that research and more this week in Science. https://fcld.ly/zebukkw

Cover Preview: Nature Magazine – August 11, 2022

Volume 608 Issue 7922

Cover Preview: Science Magazine – August 5, 2022

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The unrecognized value of grass

Marram grass, or beachgrass, grows on and stabilizes coastal sand dunes on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula. Grasses, whether terrestrial or submarine, tend to be undervalued but have influenced the trajectory of human history through their domestication as food staples, as well as natural ecosystems worldwide. If restored and conserved appropriately, grasslands can benefit climate change mitigation efforts. See the special section beginning on page 590.

A new special issue of Science explores the unrecognized value of grass: https://fcld.ly/bo80dpr

Cover Preview: Nature Magazine – August 4, 2022

Volume 608 Issue 7921

Capital gains

An individual’s social network and community — their ‘social capital’ — has been thought to influence outcomes ranging from earnings to health. But measuring social capital is challenging. In two papers in this week’s issue, Raj Chetty and his colleagues use data on 21 billion friendships from Facebook to construct a Social Capital Atlas containing measures of social capital for each ZIP code, high school and college in the United States. The researchers measure three types of social capital: connectedness between different types of people, social cohesion and civic engagement. They find that children who grow up in communities where people of low and high socio-economic status interact more have substantially greater chances of rising out of poverty. The team then examines what might limit social interactions across class lines, finding a roughly equal contribution from lack of exposure — because children in different socio-economic groups go to different schools, for example — and friending bias, the tendency for people to befriend people similar to them.

Summer 2022: New Books

5 New Books Adam Grant Thinks You Should Read This August

1. If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal by Justin Gregg 

Rarely have I heard of a book with a weirder title, but Grant explains this book about how animals think is actually as useful as it is interesting. “A dazzling, delightful read on what animal cognition can teach us about our own mental shortcomings,” he writes. “I tore through his book in one sitting. I dare you to read it without rethinking some of your basic ideas about intelligence.” (It’s out August 9th.)  

2. The Neuroscience of You by Chantel Prat 

“Move over, outer space–this book is a stunning tour through inner space. This neuroscientist has a rare, remarkable gift for making neurons sing and dendrites dance. She’s written the smartest, clearest, and funniest book I’ve ever read about the brain,” Grant enthuses about The Neuroscience of You. (Out August 2nd.) 

3. What We Owe the Future by Will MacAskill 

Grant isn’t the only public thinker raving about this book by an Oxford philosopher about our “moral responsibility to do right by our grandchildren’s grandchildren.” “This book will change your sense of how grand the sweep of human history could be, where you fit into it, and how much you could do to change it for the better. It’s as simple, and as ambitious, as that,” says Ezra Klein. (Out August 16th.) 

4. Longpath by Ari Wallach 

Next on the list is another book about long-term thinking (apparently a preoccupation of Grant’s at the moment). He explains his second pick on the topic this way: “This book is an antidote to nearsightedness. A futurist offers an actionable guide for planning multiple generations in the future.” (Also out August 16th.) 

5. Both/And Thinking by Wendy Smith and Marianne Lewis 

This book by a pair of business school professors is specifically aimed at leaders trying to navigate uncertain times. “Life is full of paradoxes, and too often we ignore them or try to erase them when we should be learning how to manage them. Two top scholars of paradox examine how to embrace tensions and overcome tradeoffs,” says Grant. Fellow business writer Tom Peters is more succinct: “This book is, pure and simple, a masterpiece.” (Out August 9th) 

Read more at Inc. Magazine

Covid-19: Heart Disease Risks Rise After Infection

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In December 2020, a week before cardiologist Stuart Katz was scheduled to receive his first COVID-19 vaccine, he came down with a fever. He spent the next two weeks wracked with a cough, body aches and chills. After months of helping others to weather the pandemic, Katz, who works at New York University, was having his own first-hand experience of COVID-19.

On Christmas Day, Katz’s acute illness finally subsided. But many symptoms lingered, including some related to the organ he’s built his career around: the heart. Walking up two flights of stairs would leave him breathless, with his heart racing at 120 beats per minute. Over the next several months, he began to feel better, and he’s now back to his normal routine of walking and cycling. But reports about COVID-19’s effects on the cardiovascular system have made him concerned about his long-term health. “I say to myself, ‘Well, is it really over?’” Katz says.

In one study1 this year, researchers used records from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to estimate how often COVID-19 leads to cardiovascular problems. They found that people who had had the disease faced substantially increased risks for 20 cardiovascular conditions — including potentially catastrophic problems such as heart attacks and strokes — in the year after infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Researchers say that these complications can happen even in people who seem to have completely recovered from a mild infection.

Some smaller studies have mirrored these findings, but others find lower rates of complications. With millions or perhaps even billions of people having been infected with SARS-CoV-2, clinicians are wondering whether the pandemic will be followed by a cardiovascular aftershock. Meanwhile, researchers are trying to understand who is most at risk of these heart-related problems, how long the risk persists and what causes these symptoms.

Read more

Cover Previews: Science Magazine – July 29, 2022

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Surprise virus tied to pediatric hepatitis cases

Two viruses plus a child’s genetic background may explain a recent surge in the United Kingdom

NSF grant decisions reflect systemic racism, study argues

Success rates for white scientists far exceed the NSF average, whereas Black and Asian researchers do worse

Ancient Europeans farmed dairy—but couldn’t digest milk

Giant study of ancient pottery and DNA challenges common evolutionary explanation for lactase persistence

A small marine isopod plays a role in fertilizing red seaweed, according to a new report that presents evidence of animal-mediated “pollination” in the marine environment. Read that study and more this week in Science: https://fcld.ly/fhhe8ba

Previews: New Scientist Magazine – July 30, 2022

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COVER STORIES

  • FEATURES – Your essential guide to the many breathtaking wonders of the universe
  • FEATURES – Daydreaming has a dark side – is your fantasising holding you back?
  • NEWS – No link between depression and serotonin, finds major analysis

Grab a copy from newsstands now or get our app to download digital and audio editions. https://newscientist.com/issue/3397/

Science Previews: Nature Magazine – July 28, 2022

Volume 607 Issue 7920