Also this week, Sarah talks with Science Senior Correspondent Jon Cohen about his story on Chinese scientist Shi Zhengli, the bat researcher at the center of the COVID-19 origins controversy—and why she thinks President Donald Trump owes her an apology.
Finally, Geert Van der Snickt, a professor in the conservation-restoration department at the University of Antwerp, talks with Sarah about his Science Advances paper on a new process for peering into the past of paintings. His team used a combination of techniques to look beneath an overpainting on the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan Van Eyck—a pivotal piece that showed the potential of oil paints and even included an early example of painting from an aerial view.
The Economist updates Covid-19 rates spiking around the world, McDonald’s fast food profits plunge and other top international business and economic news.
This week, lawmakers in Capitol Hill are trying to piece together the next stimulus package as many benefits like unemployment insurance and forgiving evictions expire. Democrats and Republicans both agree that a new bill is necessary but there’s been a lot of back and forth about the specifics. And they’re running out of time.
Guests: Axios’ Alayna Treene, Sam Baker, and Sara Fischer.
Scientists are working at breakneck speed to develop an effective vaccine for the coronavirus. Their ultimate goal: to immunize enough of the world’s population to reach herd immunity. WSJ explains.
Illustration: Jacob Reynolds
Dexamethasone, a steroid that appears promising for COVID-19 patients, has a long and storied history in medicine. We talk with experts about its many uses, and explore how it might save lives in this pandemic. Writer, Reporter, Editor, Narrator: Sara Reardon Animator: Donald Pearsall
NPR News reports on Federal Agents being sent to states to stem violent crime, Covid-19 and the possibilities for ‘natural herd immunity, federal funding for public lands and more.
When did people arrive in the Americas? New evidence stokes debate. New evidence may push back the date on human arrival to the Americas, and an examination of science’s flaws.
In this episode:
00:59 Ancient Americans
Two papers suggest that humans were present in the Americas thousands of years before many people have thought. We examine the evidence. Research Article: Ardelean et al.; Research Article: Becerra-Valdivia and Higham; News and Views: Evidence grows that peopling of the Americas began more than 20,000 years ago
We discuss the latest results from vaccine trials around the world, and controversy in the US as COVID-19 data collection moves out of the CDC. News: Coronavirus vaccines leap through safety trials — but which will work is anybody’s guess
24:38 Research Highlights
How being green makes things easy for some frogs, and how waves will be affected by climate change. Research Highlight: How frogs became green — again, and again, and again; Research Highlight: Extreme Arctic waves set to hit new heights
27:11 How can science improve?
A new book highlights some of the flaws of how science is done. We caught up with the author to find out his thoughts on how science can be cleaned up. Books and Arts: Fraud, bias, negligence and hype in the lab — a rogues’ gallery
35:54 Briefing Chat
We take a look at some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time we discuss a puzzling new insight into the expansion of the Universe, and an update to Plan S that will allow open-access research to be published in any journal. Nature News: Mystery over Universe’s expansion deepens with fresh data; Nature News: Open-access Plan S to allow publishing in any journal
It’s one of the tiniest machines on the planet — about a hundred times smaller than the average cell. It’s so small that no scientist can spot it through a typical light microscope. Only with an electron microscope can we see its spiky surface. It’s not alive, and it’s not what most of us would think of as “dead.” This teensy machine seems to survive in a kind of purgatory state, yet it has traveled across continents and oceans from host to host, and brought hundreds of nations to a standstill. Despite its diminutive size, the novel coronavirus, dubbed SARS-CoV-2, has seemingly taken the world by surprise with its virulence.