Bloglikes - Science en-US Sun, 24 Oct 2021 06:37:10 +0000 Sat, 06 Apr 2013 00:00:00 +0000 FeedWriter Leos are most likely to get vaccinated, say Utah officials. Is it written in the stars? Health authorities compared vaccination rates with Zodiac signs, but the results may require further investigation

Exciting news for people who believe in science enough to want mass vaccination, but not enough to think horoscopes are made up: Utah’s Salt Lake county health department says there’s a big difference in vaccination rates depending on your Zodiac sign.

At least, that’s what officials found when they analysed anonymised data on 1.2million residents, providing a table of the least and most vaccinated star signs.

How many people of each Zodiac sign are vaccinated: Salt Lake county did this using anonymized state data. That’s likely quite accurate.

How many people of each Zodiac sign live in the county overall: They estimated this by looking at the nationwide distribution of Zodiac signs, using data from the University of Texas-Austin. Then they assumed their county would have a similar distribution.

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Sun, 24 Oct 2021 01:00:02 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Health Utah Science Life and style Society US news Vaccines and immunisation Salt Lake County University of Texas Austin Leos Coronavirus Utah 's Salt Lake county
People who've had COVID-19 are facing memory problems months after contracting the disease, new study says: 'They can't think' Registered nurse Janet Gilleran prepares to treat coronavirus patient Mike Mokler with Bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody, in the Respiratory Infection Clinic at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts on December 31, 2020.

Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

  • A new study reveals that people who've had COVID-19 in the past may exhibit cognitive impairments months after an infection.
  • Those impairments can include problems with memory, as well as slower processing speed.
  • One of the longterm effects of COVID-19 is "brain fog," or difficulty thinking and concentrating, the CDC says.

People who've recovered from the coronavirus are experiencing problems with their memory, new research and data reveal.

A study, published Friday in medical journal JAMA Network Open, says nearly a quarter of individuals who've been infected with the coronavirus have problems retaining information and focusing months after contracting the disease. Researchers, examining 740 patients at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, found that it's relatively common for people who've had COVID-19 before to struggle with things like multitasking.

"In this study, we found a relatively high frequency of cognitive impairment several months after patients contracted COVID-19. Impairments in executive functioning, processing speed, category fluency, memory encoding, and recall were predominant among hospitalized patients," Jacqueline Becker and other researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York said, according to the study.

The patients were tested between April 2020 and May 2021, the study says. They were all at least 18 years old and had no history of dementia. Researchers found that the patients, about seven or eight months after having contracted the disease, exhibited signs of cognitive impairment.

That includes problems with memory recall and the ability to store new memories, the study says, as well as with making judgment calls and planning.

Some of these patients "cannot function," psychiatry professor Dr. Helen Lavretsky told NBC News. "They can't think; their memory is impaired; they get confused when they drive places, that they don't know how they got there."

The research showed that patients most likely to show signs of cognitive impairment had been hospitalized for COVID-19. But some patients who received treatment in the emergency department of the hospital also presented with a decrease in brain function.

One of the longterm effects of COVID-19 is "brain fog," or difficulty thinking and concentrating, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions," the CDC website says. "Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19."

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Yelena Dzhanova)]

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 15:05:50 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Health New York Science Cdc Memory Trends Mount Sinai Boston Globe Boston Massachusetts Centers for Disease Control Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai Health System Tufts Medical Center Craig F Walker JAMA Network Open Coronavirus Yelena Dzhanova COVID-19 COVID Coronavirus Symptoms Bamlanivimab Janet Gilleran Mike Mokler Respiratory Infection Clinic Jacqueline Becker Helen Lavretsky
How time of day affects learning ability, and how to use it to your advantage ]]> Sat, 23 Oct 2021 15:00:34 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science Trends Features Back To School Health & Fitness Back to School 2021 Good vibrations: tapping in to ASMR ASMR, the euphoric tingling certain sounds provoke, has created online superstars with millions of followers. Is it just a weird fad, or could it help people with anxiety and depression?

When I was five years old something strange happened. After a busy afternoon finger-painting and running around, we were gathered by our teacher on the classroom carpet to listen to a story. I can’t remember which book she read – only that she began to do so in a soft voice, pitched somewherejust above a whisper.

Suddenly, a euphoric, tingling sensation started at the crown of my head and then travelled down my neck and back in waves. The more she read, the stronger the feeling became. I glanced at my friends, expecting to see them in a similar state of rapture, but they weren’t. So I kept the feeling a secret and soon forgot all about it.

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Individuals who are fully vaccinated now might not be considered so in the future without a COVID-19 booster shot, CDC says Booster shots are being offered to some adults in the US who got Pfizer's vaccine, called Comirnaty.

Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

  • As booster shots rollout, the definition of fully vaccinated might change, the CDC says.
  • Currently, being fully vaccinated in the US means an individual has both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the J&J vaccine.
  • About 6% of the total US population has so far received a booster dose, according to CDC data.

The definition of fully vaccinated might be subject to change in the future now that COVID-19 booster shots are out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

"We have not yet changed the definition of 'fully vaccinated.' We will continue to look at this. We may need to update our definition of 'fully vaccinated' in the future," CDC director Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a news conference.

Currently, being fully vaccinated in the United States means that an individual has either both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

With the rollout of booster shots, that definition might change. So far, the CDC has recommended that certain groups of people like those who are 65 or older get one.

"If you're eligible for a booster, go ahead and get your booster and we will continue to follow," Walensky said during the Friday news conference.

People who are at least 18 years old and either work in high-risk settings or have underlying medical conditions are also eligible to receive a booster shot at this time.

The Food and Drug Administration earlier this week authorized booster shots for both Moderna and Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccines. Individuals are able to mix and match booster doses with their original COVID-19 vaccination, the FDA said.

In a Friday press briefing, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said the booster shot will be available for more than 120 million Americans "in the coming months."

"This includes over 60 million vaccinated with Moderna and J&J, on top of the 60 million vaccinated with Pfizer," he said.

Nearly 58% of the total US population is currently fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. And about 6% of the total population has received a booster dose, CDC data says.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Yelena Dzhanova)]

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 12:05:17 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Health Science News Cdc White House US Trends United States Food And Drug Administration Fda Pfizer Johnson Vaccines Centers For Disease Control And Prevention J J Johns Hopkins University Jeff Zients Moderna Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Coronavirus Yelena Dzhanova COVID-19 COVID Rochelle Walensky Walensky Booster Shot Comirnaty Jens Schlueter Getty
Excavating the role of Africans in the creation of the modern world

Europe would have been a marginal player in world history without the continent’s natural resources and centuries of cheap African labour

The post Excavating the role of Africans in the creation of the modern world appeared first on The Mail & Guardian.

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Coffee Europe Books Science Technology Guns Opinion Africa Wealth Cotton Web Development History War Diplomacy Christianity Slavery Manufacturing Sugar Caribbean Ghana Natural Resources Openaccess Industrial Revolution State Power The West Du Bois NonFiction African Americans Slave Trade Kongo Haitian Revolution The New World Modernity Slave Labour Born in Blackness Howard French the Atlantic World
Austrian chancellor says the unvaccinated could be forced to lockdown in their homes if COVID-19 cases worsen Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg in October 2021.

Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

  • Austria's chancellor on Friday warned of possible restrictions for people not vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Restrictions for unvaccinated people would begin if ICU capacity reaches 25%, he said, according to the Associated Press.
  • If more than 600 people require treatment in the ICU, health authorities will require the unvaccinated to remain in their homes.

People in Austria who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 could soon be forced to enter a mandatory lockdown in their homes if COVID-19 cases worsen in the country, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said.

"The pandemic is not yet in the rearview mirror," Schallenberg said Friday, according to the Associated Press. "We are about to stumble into a pandemic of the unvaccinated."

According to the AP report, Schallenberg said restrictions on the unvaccinated would go into effect if 500 patients were being treated for COVID-19 in intensive care units in the country, which would make up 25% of its ICU capacity. These restrictions would include introducing vaccine requirements for businesses like restaurants and hotels, he said, per the report.

If another 100 people required admission to the ICU to treat COVID-19, which would make up one-third of all of the ICU beds in the country, officials would impose further restrictions on the unvaccinated, allowing them to leave their homes for just a few reasons, Schallenberg said.

There are about 220 COVID-19 patients in Austrian ICUs, about half the number required to trigger the restrictions, the AP reported.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been 784,429 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. Just about 11,000 people have died from the disease, according to the WHO data. Over 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Austria, the WHO reports.

About 62% of the population is fully vaccinated against the disease, the AP reported.

Cases of the disease have increased by more than 20,000 in the past week, per the AP, bringing the seven-day average of infections to 228.5 out of 100,000 people.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Connor Perrett)]

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 10:34:55 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science News International Trends Ap Austria Who World Health Organization Associated Press Connor Perrett Coronavirus COVID Alexander Schallenberg Schallenberg
I knew that was going to happen… The truth about premonitions Uncanny and creepy, premonitions that turn out to be authentic can feel profound. But is there science to explain them?

Around seven years ago, Garrett, was in a local Pizza Hut with his friends, having a day so ordinary that it is cumbersome to describe. He was 16 – or thereabouts – and had been told by teachers to go around nearby businesses and ask for gift vouchers that the school could use as prizes in a raffle. There were five other teenagers with Garrett, and they’d just finished speaking to the restaurant manager when suddenly, out of nowhere, Garrett’s his body was flooded with shock. He felt cold and clammy and had an “overwhelming sense that something had happened”. He desperately tried to stop himself crying in front of his peers.

“It was like I’d just been told something terrible,” the now 23-year-old from the southwest of England says (his name has been changed on his request). “I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was, but I just knew something had happened.” Garrett returned home and tried to distract himself from a feeling he describes as grief. The phone rang. His mum answered it. A few hours earlier – around the time Garrett was in the restaurant – his grandfather had died from a sudden heart attack while on a cruise.

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Sat, 23 Oct 2021 10:00:43 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Psychology Health England Science Life and style Mental Health Health & wellbeing Garrett
Pregnant women pass fewer coronavirus antibodies to unborn boys than girls - a clue as to why men are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 A pregnant woman wears a mask during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charles Krupa/AP Photo

  • Pregnant women carrying baby boys have fewer coronavirus antibodies than those carrying girls, a study found.
  • Pregnant women also transferred fewer antibodies to male fetuses than females, the findings showed.
  • The research offers a hint about how the male immune system responds to COVID-19.

It's one of the pandemic's most persistent mysteries: Why are men and boys more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 than women and girls?

A new study from Boston-based researchers suggests it may have to do with innate differences in their immune responses.

The study looked at 38 women who were infected with the coronavirus during pregnancy, half of whom were carrying baby boys. Most of the women had mild or moderate COVID-19. The researchers measured the levels of antibodies in the expectant mothers' blood, and the fetuses' antibody levels using placenta tissue and blood samples from the umbilical cords.

The results showed that the women pregnant with baby boys had fewer antibodies than those carrying girls. Additionally, pregnant women seemed to pass along fewer coronavirus antibodies to male fetuses than to females.

"There's obviously some crosstalk that's happening between the fetus and mother's immune system," Andrea Edlow, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital who co-led the study, told Insider.

The findings may hint at broader differences in how men and women respond to COVID-19. Male fetuses seemed to develop an inflammatory response to the virus that wasn't detected among female fetuses. Edlow said that inflammation may be interfering with a mother's ability to pass coronavirus antibodies to her unborn baby boy.

The male fetus 'lives dangerously on the edge of inflammation' Woman holding her newborn after birth in hospital. A woman holds her newborn after giving birth in hospital.

Guido Mieth/Getty Images

Researchers aren't sure if male fetuses respond to the coronavirus in the same way boys or adult men do, but there are some parallels.

The recent study found that in the placentas of women carrying male babies, there was an over-expression of interferon stimulated genes, which promote inflammation. But those same genes were under-expressed in the placentas of women with female fetuses.

"Those types of responses have been shown to be important in protecting the placenta and the fetus against infection when the mom has a viral infection," Edlow said. But she added that "it can also spill over into a harmful impact if it becomes too much."

Researchers have observed a similarly heightened immune response among men with COVID-19. A 2020 study found that infected men had higher levels of cytokines - proteins that can promote inflammation - than women with COVID-19. That could make them more vulnerable to severe disease.

Indeed, men represent the majority of COVID-19 deaths in the US (54%), despite making up the minority of recorded COVID-19 cases (48%). This pattern holds true across multiple age groups.

"There is a lot that has been written about how the male fetus - and maybe this extends later into male life - lives dangerously on the edge of inflammation, sort of skating by with just the right amount," Edlow said.

"I don't think that can fully explain the sex bias in COVID," she added, "but it does give us some hints into male immunity in general that starts in utero."

Researchers are looking at the effects of exposure to the virus in the womb young boy temperature A young child has his temperature taken in Surrey, England in November 2020.

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

None of the fetuses examined in Edlow's study inherited a coronavirus infection, a finding that's consistent with her previous research. The babies were also delivered at a normal birth weights, and none of the pregnancies resulted in a miscarriage or stillbirth.

"What we don't know is: What are the longer-term impacts on the fetus who's developing in that inflammatory environment?" Edlow said.

So she's working with other researchers to see if exposure to the coronavirus in the womb has any effect on a child's development. Studies have shown that other diseases contracted by pregnant women could predispose their kids to neuro-developmental conditions like ADHD or autism, which are more common in boys.

"Whatever's happening in development seems to drive sex-biased risk for the child," Edlow said.

It's also unclear whether coronavirus antibodies inherited by the fetus translate into protection against COVID-19 outside the womb.

Health officials advise both pregnant women and vaccine-eligible kids to get COVID-19 vaccines regardless of whether they've been exposed to the virus before. The risk of dying from COVID-19 is nearly twice as high for pregnant women as it is for nonpregnant women of the same age.

Edlow's research has also shown that pregnant women develop a weaker-than-average immune response to the first dose of Pfizer's or Moderna's vaccine, rendering a second dose especially necessary.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Aria Bendix)]

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 07:47:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science News Boston US Trends Pfizer Antibodies Pregnant Mother Massachusetts General Hospital Immunity Charles Krupa Surrey England Moderna Fetus Aria Bendix Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID Peter Dazeley Getty Guido Mieth Getty Andrea Edlow Edlow
A 193-million-year old nesting ground with more than 100 dinosaur eggs offers evidence they lived in herds An artist's reconstruction of a Mussaurus patagonicus nest.

Jorge Gonzalez

  • Paleontologists found 100 eggs and 80 skeletons from a dinosaur called Mussaurus at a nesting ground in Patagonia.
  • The fossils were grouped into clusters of adults and juveniles, suggesting Mussaurus lived in herds.
  • The nesting ground is 193 million years old, making it the earliest evidence of dinosaur herds.

A 193-million-year-old nesting ground containing more than 100 dinosaurs eggs is upending paleontologists' understanding of an early dinosaur species.

Research published Thursday describes a collection of eggs and juvenile and adult skeletons from a dinosaur called Mussaurus patagonicus, which were found in Patagonia, Argentina. The dino is an ancestor of long-necked herbivores called sauropods, such as Brachiosaurus.

Most of the chicken-sized eggs were discovered in clusters of eight to 30, suggesting they resided in nests as part of a common breeding ground. Researchers also found Mussaurus skeletons of similar sizes and ages buried together. Combined, these patterns offer evidence that the dinosaurs lived in herds.

"I went to this site aiming to find at least one nice dinosaur skeleton. We ended up with 80 skeletons and more than 100 eggs (some with embryos preserved inside!)" Diego Pol, a researcher with the Egidio Feruglio paleontology museum in Patagonia and the lead author of the new study, told Insider via email.

He called the site "one of a kind."

Before this discovery, researchers thought herding behavior was restricted to dinosaurs that came much later, in the very late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods. That's because the earliest fossil evidence of sauropod herds only dates back 150 million years. This nesting ground, however, pushes that timeline back more than 40 million years. It's the earliest known evidence of social groups among dinosaurs, the study authors said.

X-rays offer a peek into fossilized dinosaur eggs mussasaurus eggs patagonia A fossilized Mussaurus egg that's more than 190 million years old, found in southern Patagonia, Argentina.

Roger Smith

Argentine paleontologists discovered the first Mussaurus skeletons at this Patagonian site in the late 1970s. The dinosaurs they found were no more than 6 inches long. Unaware that they'd uncovered newborns, the researchers named the creature "mouse lizard" because of the skeletons' tiny size.

Pol decided to reexplore the area starting in 2002, and by 2013, he'd helped find the first adult Mussaurus fossils there. Those bones revealed that full-grown versions of these "mouse lizards" were closer in size to modern-day hippos. They grew to weigh about 1.5 tons, reaching lengths of 26 feet from nose to tail tip. But infants could fit in the palm of a human hand.

mussasaurus eggs patagonia A screen shot from a video showing how scientists like Diego Pol used high-energy X-rays to peek inside a Mussaurus egg without destroying it.

Vincent Fernandez/Diego Pol/European Synchrotron

Since then, Pol's team has also uncovered and studied the contents of the nesting ground, which measures just under half a square mile. In 2017, he took 30 of the eggs to a lab in France, and his group then used X-ray technology to peek inside and confirm the species of the embryos without breaking the shells.

By analyzing the sizes and types of bones in the nesting ground, the researchers determined that the animals were buried near counterparts of a similar age. Some clusters had juveniles less than a year old, others consisted of individuals that were slightly older but not yet fully grown, and finally, there were smatterings of adults that had died solo or in pairs.

That type of age segregation, the researchers said, is a key sign of herds: Juveniles hung out with others their age while adults looked for food and protected the community.

"They were resting together and likely died during a drought," Pol said. "This is compatible with a herd that stays together during many years and within which the animals get close to each other to rest, or to forage, or do other daily activities."

Another strong indication of herd behavior is a nesting ground itself: If Mussaurus lived as a community, it would make sense that they'd lay eggs in a common area.

Living in herds may have helped Mussaurus survive mussasaurus eggs patagonia Nest with Mussaurus eggs dated to more than 190 million years ago, found in Patagonia.

Diego Pol

To figure out the fossils' ages, researchers examined minerals in volcanic ash that was scattered around the eggs and skeletons, and determined that the fossils were about 193 million years old.

Previously, scientists thought this type of dinosaurs lived during the late Triassic period, about 221 million to 205 million years ago. But the new date suggests instead that Mussaurus thrived during the early Jurassic period. That, in turn, is evidence that Mussaurus' ancestors survived a mass extinction event 200 million years ago.

The key to that survival, the study suggests, may have been their herding behavior.

"These were social animals and we think this may be an important factor to explain their success," Pol said.

mussasaurus eggs patagonia An artist's depiction of the nesting ground of a Mussaurus herd of in what is now Argentina.

Jorge Gonzalez

Communal living likely helped Mussaurus find enough food, perhaps by making it easier for them to forage over larger areas.

Mussaurus of the same size would likely "group together to coordinate their activities," Pol said, given that larger adults and tinier juveniles moved at different speeds.

He added that given the size difference between newborns and adults, it probably took these dinosaurs many years to reach full size. So young Mussaurus might have been vulnerable to predation.

By staying in herds, adults could better protect their young.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Aylin Woodward)]

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 06:51:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science News France Eggs Trends Argentina Patagonia Dinosaurs Fossils Paleontology Patagonian Roger Smith Diego Pol Pol Patagonia Argentina Jorge Gonzalez Aylin Woodward Mussaurus Vincent Fernandez Diego Pol Patagonia Diego
Covid testing failures at UK lab ‘should have been flagged within days’ Senior scientists say problems at Immensa site show private firms should not be carrying out PCR tests

Health officials should have known about major failings at a private Covid testing lab within days of the problem arising, rather than taking weeks to shut down operations at the site, senior scientists say.

About 43,000 people, mostly in south-west England, are believed to have wrongly been told they did not have the virus by Immensa Health Clinic’s laboratory in Wolverhampton in a debacle described as one of the worst scandals in the UK’s Covid crisis.

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Vikings beat Columbus across the Atlantic by 470 years. Astrophysics and tree rings helped scientists nail down the timeline. L'Anse aux Meadows was a North American landing point for the Vikings and is now part of Canada's National Park system. The indentations in the earth show evidence of rows of Viking houses.

Gail Shotlander/Getty Images

  • The Vikings inhabited Newfoundland 470 years before Columbus landed in North America, research found.
  • Scientists previously dated a Viking settlement in Canada to the 11th century.
  • But tree-ring dating and astrophysics revealed that Vikings were there in 1021.

History buffs and scientists have long known that a Viking settlement on the northern tip of Newfoundland dates back to at least the 11th century. Today, that spot, called L'Anse aux Meadows, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But until this week, the exact dates the Vikings inhabited it was a mystery.

Now, thanks to a surprising combination of tree-ring dating and astrophysics, scientists have pinpointed the precise year the Vikings inhabited Newfoundland. It turns out they beat Christopher Columbus' 1492 voyage across the Atlantic by 470 years, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature.

The Vikings who lived at L'Anse aux Meadows came to Canada from Greenland, marking the first time that Europeans crossed the Atlantic Ocean. It was the first and only Viking outpost in North America outside of Greenland.

"One of the most exciting things about this research is the potential of the method for future studies. The timelines of many early civilizations are still very difficult to pin down, and this offers a way to connect human activity directly to calendar time without the need for written records," Michael Dee, a coauthor of the paper and geoscientist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, told Insider.

Astrophysics and archaeology collide A wood fragment from the Norse layers at the L’Anse aux Meadows Viking settlement established 1,000 years ago near Hay Cove, Newfoundland, Canada, is seen in an undated microscopic image. A wood fragment from the Norse layers at the L’Anse aux Meadows Viking settlement established 1,000 years ago near Hay Cove, Newfoundland, Canada, is seen in an undated microscopic image.

Petra Doeve/REUTERS

In 1021, exactly 1,000 years ago, the Vikings cut down at least three trees in L'Anse aux Meadows.

Dee and his teammates pinpointed that precise year by counting the growth rings of pieces of wood from those trees, which were discovered in L'Anse aux Meadows in the 1970s. The wood came from two fir trees and one juniper.

Previous age estimates of the wood were less precise and had been calculated using carbon dating. To complicate matters, indigenous people inhabited the L'Anse aux Meadows settlement both before and after the Vikings did, so made nailing down the precise dates the Vikings arrived was tricky.

But scientists saw that the wood had been cut cleanly with metal tools, and the local indigenous people were not manufacturing metal tools at the time the trees were felled.

A tourist photographs the Viking replica ship the Islendingur as it arrives in the fishing village of L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland July 28, 2000. A tourist photographs the Viking replica ship the Islendingur as it arrives in the fishing village of L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, July 28, 2000.


So the researchers turned to a relatively novel technique for dating wood - using cosmic radiation as a time marker. The researchers were aware that what's known as a cosmic ray event occurred in the year 993. These events are characterized by a surge in the radiocarbon concentration in the atmosphere, possibly caused by a large solar storm.

So trees that were alive in 993 have evidence of radiocarbon in their growth rings from that cosmic ray event.

Such events, though, are exceedingly rare: "At the moment, we only have three or four in all of the last 10,000 years," Dee told The New York Times.

So it was easier to narrow the timeline from there. Once the researchers had established the radiocarbon marker in the wood, they counted the rings after that, until they reached the bark. When the bark edge is present in a wood sample, the paper explains, "it becomes possible to determine the exact felling year of the tree."

That's how the team determined the year the Vikings ended the trees' growth by chopping them down - and confirmed that they lived in Canada at that time.

Having a precise date for the Vikings' occupation of Newfoundland is crucial to understanding their history, the researchers point out in the paper.

"More importantly, it acts as a new point-of-reference for European cognizance of the Americas, and the earliest known year by which human migration had encircled the planet," Dee and his coauthors wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Erin Schumaker)]

Fri, 22 Oct 2021 15:09:44 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science News Environment Americas Trends Canada Atlantic Netherlands Newfoundland The New York Times Greenland North America Columbus Vikings National Park Atlantic Ocean Astrophysics Erin Schumaker Christopher Columbus Dee University of Groningen Michael Dee Anse aux Meadows L Anse aux Meadows Gail Shotlander Getty Nature The Vikings L'Anse aux Meadows Viking Hay Cove Newfoundland Canada Petra Doeve Anse aux Meadows Dee
How it feels to go into space: ‘More beautiful and dazzling and frightening than I ever imagined’ Chris Boshuizen was one of four astronauts – including William Shatner – who flew into space with Blue Origin. Here he describes the wonder of the journey

It was a balmy morning in the west Texas desert when Chris Boshuizen stepped into Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket capsule for a journey most of us will never experience.

He waved a quick goodbye to the Amazon billionaire and took his seat next to William Shatner as the capsule door bolted shut.

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The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 91% effective in 5- to 11-year-olds, new study results show The FDA is now considering authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds.


  • Pfizer's vaccine was 91% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in 5- to 11-year-old kids.
  • The new results come from Pfizer's trial, which enrolled more than 2,200 children in this age range.
  • The FDA is reviewing Pfizer's application to offer its two-dose vaccine to younger children.

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was 91% effective in preventing symptomatic illness in younger children, according to new study results released Friday.

The latest data comes as the Food and Drug Administration enters the final stages of reviewing Pfizer's application to offer its shot to 5- to 11-year-olds. Currently, the two-dose vaccine is OK'd for use in people 12 years and older. The FDA's expert panel is set to meet Tuesday to discuss and vote on Pfizer's application.

This is the first look at effectiveness data for Pfizer's vaccine in the 5- to 11-year-old age group. In September, the companies described immune responses from this study, but did not have enough COVID-19 cases at the time to calculate the vaccine's efficacy.

The results come from Pfizer's summary of its data submitted to the FDA. The results have been submitted to a medical journal but have yet to be published. The FDA will also publish its own review of the data ahead of Tuesday's meeting.

Vaccinated volunteers had fewer COVID-19 cases, reported less symptoms than kids who got placebo shots

Overall, the study tallied 19 COVID-19 cases, with 16 cases among those getting placebo shots and three cases in the vaccinated group.

The trial enrolled 2,268 volunteers, randomly giving two-thirds the Pfizer vaccine and the other third placebo shots. The study's population was about equally split by gender and was 79% white, 6% Black, 6% Asian, and 21% Hispanic.

While the case numbers are small, the three COVID-19 cases among the vaccinated group were mild with four or fewer symptoms, such as headache, cough, sore throat, and nausea.

COVID-19 cases among the placebo group had more symptoms. Eight of the 16 cases had five or more symptoms. Ten of these kids recorded fevers.

Across both the vaccinated and placebo groups, there were no severe COVID-19 cases and no deaths. The most common side effects from the shot were injection site pain, fatigue, and headache.

In its study in kids 5 to 11, Pfizer used a smaller dose than its original vaccine. While older children and adults receive two 30-microgram doses, these younger children were tested with two 10-microgram doses.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Andrew Dunn)]

Fri, 22 Oct 2021 08:42:53 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Health Science News Trends Healthcare Food And Drug Administration Fda Pfizer Biotech Pharmaceutical Andrew Dunn BioNtech ORLANDO SIERRA Coronavirus Coronavirus Vaccine Dispensed ORLANDO SIERRA AFP Getty Images Pfizer
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 91% effective in 5- to 11-year-olds, new study results find The Food and Drug Administration is considering authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds.


  • A study found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in kids.
  • The study, a Pfizer trial, found 91% efficacy for the jab among more than 2,200 kids ages 5 to 11.
  • The FDA is reviewing Pfizer's application to offer its two-dose vaccine to kids in that age group.

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was found to be 91% effective in preventing symptomatic illness in younger children in a study.

The new data was released Friday as the Food and Drug Administration entered its final stages of reviewing Pfizer's application to offer its shot to 5- to 11-year-olds. Currently, the two-dose vaccine is allowed for use in people ages 12 and older. The FDA's expert panel is set to meet Tuesday to discuss and vote on Pfizer's application.

This is the first look at efficacy data for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the 5- to 11-year-old age group. Pfizer and BioNTech described immune responses from this study in September but didn't have enough COVID-19 cases at the time to calculate the vaccine's efficacy.

The results come from Pfizer's summary of its data submitted to the FDA. The results have been submitted to a medical journal but have yet to be published. The FDA will also publish its own review of the data ahead of Tuesday's meeting.

Vaccinated volunteers had fewer COVID-19 cases, reported fewer symptoms than kids who got placebo shots

Overall, the study tallied 19 COVID-19 cases, with 16 cases among those getting placebo shots and three cases in the vaccinated group.

The trial enrolled 2,268 volunteers, randomly giving two-thirds the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the other third placebo shots. The study's population was about equally split by gender and was 79% white, 6% Black, 6% Asian, and 21% Hispanic.

While the case numbers are small, the three COVID-19 cases among the vaccinated group were mild with four or fewer symptoms, such as headache, cough, sore throat, and nausea.

COVID-19 cases among the placebo group had more symptoms. Eight of the 16 cases had five or more symptoms. Ten of these kids recorded fevers.

Across both the vaccinated and placebo groups, there were no severe COVID-19 cases or deaths. The most common side effects from the shot were injection-site pain, fatigue, and headache.

In its study in kids ages 5 to 11, Pfizer used a smaller dose than its original vaccine. While older children and adults receive two 30-microgram doses, these younger children were tested with two 10-microgram doses.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Andrew Dunn)]

Fri, 22 Oct 2021 08:42:53 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Health Science News Trends Healthcare Food And Drug Administration Fda Pfizer Biotech Pharmaceutical Andrew Dunn BioNtech ORLANDO SIERRA Coronavirus Coronavirus Vaccine Dispensed ORLANDO SIERRA AFP Getty Images
Age of Viking settlement revealed using trees and astrophysics

The Vikings reached North America long before Columbus' enslavement and brutalization of the Americas' Indigenous population, the Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, was discovered six decades ago. Though many of the settlement's structures have been recreated, as accurately as dig site evidence and historical research could allow, the settlement's date has been difficult to place exactly. — Read the rest

Fri, 22 Oct 2021 08:29:39 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Post Science News History Newfoundland North America Vikings Fun with astrophysics Anse aux Meadows Newfoundland
A half-mile plastic-trapping device in the Pacific caught 64,000 pounds of trash - including a fridge, mannequin, and toilet seats Workers with The Ocean Cleanup empty plastic onto the deck of one of the organization's vessels.

The Ocean Cleanup

  • The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization, launched a device into the Pacific Ocean to remove plastic.
  • The device brought back 64,000 pounds of trash in two-and-a-half months.
  • The organization found a mannequin, refrigerator, and toilet seats among the debris.

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, around 1,200 miles from shore, sits a giant vortex of trash known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The site is home to more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic - the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world.

Over the summer, a nonprofit organization called The Ocean Cleanup ventured into the patch to test out a new device it had built. In essence, it's an artificial floating coastline that catches plastic in its fold like a giant arm, then channels it into an attached funnel-shaped net. Two vessels tow the entire contraption through the water at about 1.5 knots (slower than normal walking speed) - enough for the ocean current to push floating garbage into the net. Once that net fills with plastic (every few weeks or so), a crew hauls it up out of the water and empties the garbage onto one of the vessels.

The device, which the group calls "Jenny," recently collected nearly 64,000 pounds of plastic over the span of two-and-a-half months. Then a crew hauled it to shore for recycling.

The team found some strange items among the debris, including a mannequin, refrigerator, and toilet seats.

"Toilet seats are very, very common at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch," the organization's founder, Boyan Slat, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

He called the patch a modern-day archaeological site.

"Most of the stuff we collect is fishing gear - that has the highest probability of actually making out to the garbage patch to last there," Slat said. "So you see a lot of buoys and crates and nets, but we also see some stuff that clearly comes from land. We see things like toothbrushes. You see handles of umbrellas. We see toys."

The Ocean Cleanup A plastic bottle collected by The Ocean Cleanup's "Jenny" device.

The Ocean Cleanup

The garbage patch is accumulating plastic over time as more enters the ocean from storm drains, canals, or rivers. Wind can also carry trash from landfills or garbage bins toward the ocean.

The Ocean Cleanup has built a fleet of catamarans to remove plastic from rivers before it reaches the ocean, but Jenny is its flagship invention. It's the first device that has proven capable of cleaning the garbage patch - an ambition many scientists previously deemed impossible.

Starting Thursday, The Ocean Cleanup announced, it plans to start removing plastic from the garbage patch routinely, rather than as part of a technology test, as it had done thus far. Slat estimated that 95% of the plastic items Jenny catches can be recycled. The organization hopes to partner with consumer brands to turn the trash into recycled products, then funnel proceeds back into the cleanup efforts.

The Ocean Cleanup came close to failure The Ocean Cleanup A haul of plastic collected by "Jenny."

The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup has set itself an ambitious goal to remove 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040. But until recently, it struggled to develop a device that could actually make headway on that.

The organization launched its first attempt at a plastic-catching device in 2018, after five years of research, but the prototype broke in the water. A newer model, released in 2019, did a better job of collecting plastic, but The Ocean Cleanup estimated that it would need hundreds of those devices to clean the world's oceans.

So scientists and engineers began to question whether the group could deliver on the tens of millions of dollars it had acquired in funding.

"From the very beginning we had a lot of doubters and, honestly, I think they were kind of right about that because we really didn't know what we were doing those first years," Slat said on Wednesday. "Honestly, I, too, doubted many times whether we would ever make it, ever get to this point. We had so many close calls. We almost ran out of money a few times. We had these tests that kept failing."

ocean cleanup The Ocean Cleanup's new plastic-catching system, "Jenny."

The Ocean Cleanup

Jenny, however, showed promise almost as soon as the device entered the water. During its first two-hour test, it collected 220 pounds of plastic. Slat said he started to feel optimistic after the third test, when his team texted him a picture of a mountain of plastic Jenny had captured.

"I still get goosebumps just thinking back about that moment," he said. "I don't think I've ever been happier."

At peak performance, Slat added, Jenny could probably collect around 4,400 pounds of plastic per day. But there are 220 million pounds of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. So The Ocean Cleanup estimates that it would need about 10 Jennys to clean up 50% of the patch in five years.

Slat acknowledged that his team has only made a tiny dent so far - but it's progress, he said.

"It's really hard to imagine that all that stuff just used to float out there in the middle of the ocean, 2,000 kilometers offshore," Slat said. "It still would have floated out there 10 years from now, 50 years from now, probably even 100 years from now. This stuff is so persistent."

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Aria Bendix)]

Fri, 22 Oct 2021 07:59:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science News Trends Plastic Recycling Pacific Pacific Ocean Great Pacific Garbage Patch Boyan Slat Ocean Cleanup Jenny The Ocean Cleanup Slat Ocean Cleanup The Ocean Cleanup Aria Bendix Ocean Cleanup Jenny
How to retrain your frazzled brain and find your focus again Are you finding it harder than ever to concentrate? Don’t panic: these simple exercises will help you get your attention back

Picture your day before you started to read this article. What did you do? In every single moment – getting out of bed, turning on a tap, flicking the kettle switch – your brain was blasted with information. Each second, the eyes will give the brain the equivalent of 10m bits (binary digits) of data. The ears will take in an orchestra of sound waves. Then there’s our thoughts: the average person, researchers estimate, will have more than 6,000 a day. To get anything done, we have to filter out most of this data. We have to focus.

Focusing has felt particularly tough during the pandemic. Books are left half-read; eyes wander away from Zoom calls; conversations stall. My inability to concentrate on anything – work, reading, cleaning, cooking – without being distracted over the past 18 months has felt, at times, farcical.

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Here’s one reason why SMEs aren’t meeting sustainability targets
According to the UN, we now have five times the number of recorded weather disasters than we had in 1970, from wildfires across Greece and Turkey to flash flooding in Indonesia, Germany, and Belgium. As Secretary General António Guterres said earlier this year, “we have reached a tipping point on the need for climate action.”  The EU has set ambitious targets with its new Green Deal, namely the goal to cut emissions by 55% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030. But the solution is much more complex than simply setting targets. SMEs in particular are finding it hard to keep…
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Countdown to ecstasy: how music is being used in healing psychedelic trips Jon Hopkins timed his upcoming album to the length of a ketamine high, while apps are using AI music to tailor drug experiences. Welcome to a techno-chemical new frontier

Two hundred psychedelic enthusiasts have converged in Austin, Texas for a “ceremonial concert” on the autumn equinox. People sprawl on yoga mats around a circular stage as staffers pace the candlelit warehouse, jingling bells and spritzing essential oils. While psychedelic drugs are prohibited, some attenders seem in an altered state, lying on their backs and breathing heavily as rumbles of bass from Jon Hopkins’ upcoming album, Music for Psychedelic Therapy, shakes the hushed space.

This is the first time Hopkins – known for acclaimed solo electronic albums as well as production for Coldplay and Brian Eno – has played his new record in public, and the crowd is visibly moved. As recordings of spiritual guru Ram Dass’s teachings fill the room on the final song, the woman next to me begins silently weeping.

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CDC advisors vote unanimously to give boosters to everyone with a J&J shot and some with Moderna. Here's how to know if you should get one. A woman gets her Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccine at a Safeway in San Rafael, California on October 1, 2021.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • Advisors to the CDC voted Thursday to recommend booster shots for everyone who's had Johnson & Johnson's vaccine.
  • The committee also recommended Moderna boosters for adults 65 and up, and said other vulnerable adults may want to get a boost too, depending on their circumstances.
  • The CDC director will make the final call, allowing boosts to hit arms.

Free booster shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are almost here.

An influential advisory committee to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just unanimously voted to recommend booster shots for some Moderna vaccine recipients and all Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients.

A final OK from the CDC - which would allow booster shots into tens of millions more arms across the country - is likely hours away.

Boosters were far more heartily recommended for everyone who's gotten J&J, whereas for Moderna, the committee emphasized that it's important to weigh the potential risks and benefits of a third shot, especially for younger adults.

How the committee voted

The independent committee voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to recommend a booster shot should be given to:

  • Everyone who's gotten J&J's vaccine (at least 2 months after their first shot)

The committee also voted unanimously to recommend a booster shot should be given to:

  • People 65 & up who've had Moderna (at least 6 months after their first two shots)
  • People ages 50-64 who've had Moderna and have certain underlying medical conditions (at least 6 months after their first two shots)
  • People who live in long term care settings like prisons and nursing homes who've had Moderna (at least 6 months after their first two shots)

The committee gave a more mild endorsement of boosters for some other groups of people who've been vaccinated with Moderna (in line with previous Pfizer booster recommendations).

Moderna boosts may be provided (after 6 months) to:

  • People ages 18-64 who've had Moderna who live or work somewhere that puts them at increased risk of catching COVID-19
  • People ages 18-49 who've had Moderna with underlying conditions

But the doctors, nurses, and other public health experts on the committee were somewhat conflicted about that advice. Whether booster vaccines are really necessary for younger adults who've had Moderna and Pfizer's shots is up for debate.

The definition of who's fully vaccinated isn't going to change, at least for now. (Though there was some discussion about making J&J a two shot vaccine, eventually.)

A new, more flexible approach to boosters

A nurse draws a dose from a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Instead of insisting that people get the exact same brand of shot for their booster, the committee opted for a more flexible approach, letting doctors, pharmacists, and individuals decide which booster to use.

Their decisions came after hours of data presentations from the two pharmaceutical companies, as well as input from independent vaccine researchers. Though not many Moderna and J&J recipients have received boosters yet, the data presented suggests that boosts are both safe, and work well to amp up the immune protections afforded by the COVID-19 vaccines.

Boosters for J&J recipients are top priority

Boosters are a higher priority for J&J recipients, since many real world studies show that the single shot vaccine is not protecting people as well from infection, hospitalization, or death, as Pfizer and Moderna's two-shot vaccines.

"It appears as if the Moderna vaccine protection has longer legs," Dr. Sarah Long, a pediatrician on the advisory committee said during the meeting, summing up her own takeaways. "There is a real need to protect people who have received Janssen [J&J] vaccine."

(Fewer than one in 10 people vaccinated in the US have had J&J.)

Specific advice for young men and young women

Dozens of Moderna Covid-19 vaccines sitting on a tray.

Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

The advisory committee also spent several hours in the afternoon pouring over safety data on vaccines. CDC representatives shared information on the rare, but heightened risk of myocarditis after mRNA vaccines in young men, and the extremely rare, but heightened risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS) in young women after J&J's shot, a condition that has been fatal in a few women.

Committee member Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot from Vanderbilt University said mix and match boosters will be "priceless" for these groups. Young women who originally got a J&J vaccine might opt for an mRNA booster, while young men who got mRNA shots could decide they'd prefer to have J&J.

"We can take the time to be much more thoughtful and careful when we weigh the benefits and risks," she said.

"Those that are not at high risk [of severe COVID-19] should really be thoughtful."

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Hilary Brueck)]

Thu, 21 Oct 2021 17:23:58 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science News Cdc US Trends Public Health Pfizer Committee Afp Safeway Johnson Johnson Vanderbilt University J J US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Janssen San Rafael California TTS Moderna Sarah Long Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Hilary Brueck Coronavirus Covid-19 Vaccine Michael Ciaglo Getty Apu Gomes Booster Shot Helen Keipp Talbot Justin Sullivan Getty Images Advisors
Female African elephants evolved toward being tuskless over just a few decades as poachers sought ivory A tusked African elephant in South Africa's Kruger National Park.


  • During the civil war in Mozambique, armies hunted African elephants to near extinction to collect ivory tusks.
  • A study shows that the proportion of tuskless animals born during and after the war rose dramatically.
  • The research suggests elephants quickly evolved to increase their chances of survival.

Shane Campbell-Staton, an evolutionary biologist at Princeton University, spent most of his career researching lizards. But at 3:00 a.m. one morning in 2016, he was browsing YouTube and came across a video about African elephants. It described a bizarre trend: Many female elephants in Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park lacked tusks.

That was unusual, since usually just 2% of female African elephants are tuskless. Intrigued, Staton-Campbell reached out to colleagues who researched elephants, but found no one had looked into the mystery. But Princeton biologist Robert Pringle invited him to the park to study the phenomenon himself.

"It took me 1.5 seconds to say, 'Yea I'll definitely do that,'" Staton-Campbell told Insider.

Seven months after watching that video, he found himself in a helicopter, counting elephants. After comparing current populations to historical video footage from Gorongosa park, he and Pringle came to a disturbing conclusion: The number of tuskless females had increased dramatically over about three decades. Between 1977 and 2004, the proportion of females who lacked tusks jumped from 18.5% to 33%.

The results of their research were published Thursday in the journal Science.

Victims of a civil war

The start of the trend away from tusks is no coincidence, the new study says.

african elephants poaching A carcass of an elephant killed by ivory poachers at Tsavo East Park in Kenya, 1988.

William F. Campbell/Getty

Mozambique entered a bloody civil war in 1977. Armies on both sides hunted African elephants for their tusks, selling the ivory to finance war efforts over 15 years. By 1992, the elephant population in Gorongosa had declined by more than 90%. During the war, the frequency of tuskless females in the park almost tripled, to the point where one in every two females lacked tusks.

Given that poachers targeted tusked elephants, it made sense that the animals' rare tuskless counterparts had a greater chance of survival.

That advantage persisted even once the civil war ended, though the proportion of tuskless females being born did go down somewhat. Between 1995 and 2004, one in every three females born in the park were tuskless, compared to about one in every five born before the war. Overall between 1972 and 2000, the researchers calculated, five tuskless females survived for every one tusked female.

That suggested to Campbell-Staton's group that poaching had driven a rapid evolution.

"It's extremely, extremely improbable to get that magnitude of change just from chance alone," he said.

A lethal trait for males

The researchers were puzzled, however, as to why tusklessness was a trait limited to females.

african elephants mozambique An African elephant stands in a watering hole at the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique on May 28, 2016.

John Wessels/AFP via Getty

Even in areas with large African elephant populations outside of Gorongosa park, there are only scattered anecdotes of tuskless males. That pattern suggests a genetic origin for tusklessness that is linked to an elephant's sex.

After sequencing the genomes of both tusked and tuskless females in the park, the researchers identified a dominant gene that could be responsible for tusklessness, called AMELX.

AMELX gets passed from mothers to their offspring on the X chromosome, and humans have the gene, too. In people, the disruption of that gene causes brittle teeth and diminishes tooth growth in females, Campbell-Staton said. But if a human male inherits a disrupted AMELX gene on his X chromosome, he usually dies.

The study authors think it could be the same with African elephants: If a male elephant inherits a disrupted AMELX gene, he dies; but the mutated gene would only result in tusklessness in a female elephant.

The loss of tusks could create ripples through entire ecosystems african elephants A tuskless African elephant in Kruger National park, South Africa.


Tusklessness might seem like a non-critical issue, Campbell-Staton said, but the trend could impact African elephants' whole ecosystems.

"Tusks are multi-purpose tools to strip bark from trees, dig up valuable minerals, or uncover subterranean water sources," he said. "If you don't have your tusks, your behavior shifts - you're no longer pushing trees over because you can't strip their bark."

Other animals in the African savanna are dependent on those elephant behaviors. When elephants push over trees, that creates new space for other grassland plants, which in turn create habitats for other species. A decline in tusked elephants hampers that process.

"This is an example of how human activity is changing the evolutionary trajectory of species all across the tree of life," Campbell-Staton said, adding, "humans are the most influential evolutionary pressure in history besides the five major mass extinction events."

african elephants A group of African elephants cross a road in Kruger National Park, South Africa.


Although Mozambique's civil war is long over, it may take a century for the proportion of tuskless females to drop back to pre-war levels.

"It'll probably take five, six, or seven generations to get back to the 2% that you would expect absent any poaching pressure," Campbell-Staton said.

That, of course, is far longer than the one generation that "it took to mess it up," he added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Aylin Woodward)]

Thu, 21 Oct 2021 14:41:19 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science News Animals Africa Trends Elephants South Africa Kenya Evolution Mozambique Princeton Poaching Ivory trade Princeton University Pringle Kruger National Park South Africa Gorongosa Kruger National Aylin Woodward John Wessels Gorongosa National Park Kruger National Park Getty Shane Campbell Staton Staton Campbell Robert Pringle Tsavo East Park Campbell Getty Mozambique Campbell Staton South Africa Getty Tusklessness
Researchers have found why some people are fans of ultra-rich individuals like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, but not billionaires in general A mobile billboard calling for higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy with an image of billionaire Jeff Bezos, near the US Capitol on May 17.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • People tend to have negative views of massive wealth inequality and billionaires as a class.
  • But a focus on individual billionaires leads people to change their minds, researchers found.
  • The findings help explain why the world's richest people have fans who rush to defend them.

America's top-five richest men now have twice as much combined wealth as they did in March 2020 - and the rest of the country's billionaires aren't far behind them in doubling their fortunes.

Before the pandemic, a majority of US adults told Pew Research that America's levels of wealth inequality are too high, and things have only gotten more extreme since then.

On average, people tend to hold a negative view of inequality as a phenomenon and billionaires as a group, according to a new paper by researchers from Cornell and Ohio State.

"When you think about 'the wealthy' or 'the 1%,' the mind goes to situational attributions much more readily," said Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich, according to Ohio State News. "You think about the system being rigged, the privileges they have, and therefore you're much more willing to support, for example, an inheritance tax to deal with growing income inequality."

But Gilovich and his co-authors found that people are less bothered by concerns of fairness or privilege when it comes to individual billionaires.

"When we look at one person at the top, we tend to think that person is talented and hard-working and they're more deserving of all the money they made," Ohio State marketing professor Jesse Walker said.

This perception has a dramatic impact on policy and public life, the authors write.

When billionaires were viewed as a group, study participants were more likely to be supportive of redistribution measures, such as higher taxes. But presenting participants with Forbes magazine profiles of individual billionaires, correlated with a significant decline in their support for those policies.

"Participants thought that individuals at the top were more deserving of their successes and, in turn, were less likely to support redistribution when inequality was represented by individual success," the authors wrote.

In the world beyond the confines of the study, critiques of these superrich individuals' fortunes or their well-documented stinginess often draw ire from fans looking to defend them.

In a recent example, one Bezos supporter told Insider that he believed early Amazon employee McKenzie Scott - who was Amazon's first accountant and instrumental in its founding and growth - did not deserve the wealth she received in her divorce from Jeff Bezos, saying that her philanthropy is "purely from Jeff's hard work."

Interestingly, the researchers found that presenting billionaires in groups as small as seven was enough to break the spell from presenting them as individuals.

"As consumers, we need to pay attention to how we react to news about the rich and inequality," Walker said. "How that information is presented to us can influence us, even our policy preferences, in ways that we may not always consciously realize."

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Dominick Reuter)]

Thu, 21 Oct 2021 14:16:46 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Amazon Elon Musk Science News US America Trends Billionaires Inheritance Tax Jeff Bezos Ohio State Cornell Forbes Jeff Bezos Walker Pew Research US Capitol Jesse Walker Tech Insider Thomas Gilovich Gilovich DOMINICK REUTER Wealth Tax McKenzie Scott Ohio State News Ohio State When
China brought the first moon rocks back to Earth in 45 years. They hint at mysterious volcanic eruptions. Lunar samples from the Chang'e-5 mission at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, October 15, 2021.

Jin Liwang/Xinhua/Getty Images

Volcanoes on the moon were spewing lava much more recently than scientists thought. But precisely how that happened is a mystery.

That's what researchers concluded after analyzing rocks that China's Chang'e-5 spacecraft gathered from the moon in late 2020 and delivered back to Earth.

They're the first lunar samples brought back since the Apollo missions in 1976. But they undermine the findings from analyses of those earlier samples. The Apollo rocks, along with some samples from the Soviet Union's Luna 24 mission, indicated that the moon cooled off and its volcanoes stopped erupting roughly 3 billion years ago.

"The general assumption was that the moon is such a small body compared to Earth and Mars, for example, so it cooled off more quickly and stopped producing volcanics," Bradley Jolliff, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis who helped conduct the research, told NBC News.

But the rocks that Chang'e-5 brought back are about 2 billion years old, and they're volcanic. That means lava flows must have paved over the region where the spacecraft landed, nearly 1 billion years later than scientists thought was possible.

chang'e 5 pano A panoramic image taken by Chang'e 5 after it landed.


That surprising finding was published earlier this month in the journal Science. Then on Tuesday, a new study of the Chang'e-5 samples published in the journal Nature also determined those rock samples to be 2 billion years old.

What's more, two accompanying studies this week showed that the new moon samples are surprisingly low in water and radioactive elements - both of which make volcanic eruptions easier. Water lowers the melting point of rock, and radioactive potassium, uranium, and thorium provide heat to melt magma. Both were present in higher concentrations in the Apollo and Luna moon samples.

Altogether, the new papers pose "a real conundrum," according to Qing-Zhu Yin, a geochemist at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the research. Yin told Science that these studies raise questions about how a body as small as the moon could "support volcanic eruptions in the late stage of life."

The reason the findings are baffling is that the moon has no atmosphere or magnetic field to retain the heat needed for volcanic activity. But a few ideas are circulating as to how heat stuck around so long. One is that the moon's soil might have been thick enough to hold onto heat for a billion years longer than scientists initially thought. Another is that the moon might have been heated by tidal forces from Earth, since the planet's gravity could have stretched and relaxed the moon's interior as it orbited. A third possible explanation is an impact from a large asteroid or comet, since in some cases that can cause a volcanic eruption.

Moon samples are critical for decoding lunar history

Chang'e-5 launched to the moon in November. It landed near an inactive volcano in a region called Oceanus Procellarum, which is paved in a type of black volcanic rock called basalt. The lander then gathered more than 4 pounds of lunar rock, taking some material from the surface and some from 6 feet deep into the lunar crust.

crowd takes pictures of moon samples in glass case Visitors to the National Museum in Beijing look at a display of lunar rock samples from China's Chang'e 5 mission, March 12, 2021.

Ng Han Guan/AP Photo

Chang'e-5 then packaged the samples inside a capsule and launched it back to Earth. The capsule landed in Mongolia in December.

Since past missions harvested so little rock from the moon, scientists expect to learn much more from future samples like the Chang'e-5 rocks. China's next lunar mission, Chang'e-6, aims to launch to the far side of the moon in 2024 and return even more samples.

"If the moon was a continent-sized object, the Apollo and Luna samples would be like sampling only one state. Imagine if that's all we know about an entire continent," Jolliff said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Morgan McFall-Johnsen)]

Thu, 21 Oct 2021 14:09:17 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science News China Trends Earth Beijing Moon Volcanoes Mars St Louis Mongolia Luna Soviet Union Chang University of California Davis National Museum Washington University Chinese Academy of Sciences Yin Institute of Geology and Geophysics Jolliff Morgan McFall Johnsen Chang'e-5 Jin Liwang Xinhua Getty Bradley Jolliff Qing Zhu Yin
Ivory poaching has led to evolution of tuskless elephants, study finds Researchers say findings in Mozambique demonstrate impact of human interference in nature

Ivory poaching over decades has led to the evolution of tuskless elephants, researchers have found, proving that humans are “literally changing the anatomy” of wild animals.

A previously rare genetic mutation causing tusklessness has become very common in some groups of African elephants after a period in which many were killed for their tusks, according to a study published in the journal Science.

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Thu, 21 Oct 2021 14:00:12 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science Biology Africa Environment World news Wildlife Conservation Evolution Mozambique
Natural habitats of 30 cities around the world at risk due to ‘coastal hardening’, study suggests Researchers estimate 1m sq km of seascape globally has been modified by coastal structures which bring in invasive species and damage habitat

Artificial structures have replaced more than half of the coastline of 30 cities around the world, according to new research suggesting coastal infrastructure will have a significant ecological impact if not well managed.

“Coastal hardening” – replacing natural coastal habitats with seawalls, breakwalls, wharves and other structures – is “consistently extensive” across cities in North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, finds a study published on Friday.

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Largest triceratops ever unearthed sold for €6.6m at Paris auction US collector ‘falls in love’ with 8-metre-long dinosaur found in South Dakota and reassembled in Italy

An 8-metre-long dinosaur skeleton has sold at auction for €6.6m (about £5.5m), more than four times its expected value, to a private collector in the US said to have fallen in love with the largest triceratops ever unearthed.

The 66m-year-old skeleton, affectionately known as Big John, is 60% complete, and was unearthed in South Dakota, in the US, in 2014 and put together by specialists in Italy.

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UK Covid: over 50,000 cases reported for first time since July as Johnson rejects calls to move to ‘plan B’ – live Latest updates: infections in UK at highest level since July but prime minister says ‘we are within the parameters of what the predictions were’

Jeremy Hunt made his comments earlier (see 11.12am) during a Commons urgent question on Covid. During the exchanges Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said the government should be aiming to get booster vaccinations up to 500,000 a day. He told MPs:

On current trends we won’t complete boosters until March 2022. Instead of doing just 165,000 booster jabs a day, why not set a commitment to do 500,000 jabs a day and get this programme completed by Christmas, mobilising pop-up clinics and making better use of community pharmacies?

The third dose for immuno-compromised has been described as chaotic by charities. Why not allow them to use walk-in centres?

Historically, around 5% of school is missed due to absence during the spring term, but in spring this year 57.5% of sessions (half a day) were recorded as missed due to circumstances relating to coronavirus.

This represents 219m school days, according to Department for Education (DfE) data out today.

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Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:29:45 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Health Politics UK Science UK News Farming Labour Schools Health policy Tony Blair Leicester Johnson Jonathan Ashworth Javid Department for Education DfE Trade Policy Jacob Rees-Mogg Coronavirus
There's an ideal window to get your flu shot for the best protection: late October or the first week of November A man walks past an ad for free flu shots outside a CVS drugstore in New York on August 19, 2020.

Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

  • The CDC recommends getting a flu shot in September or October.
  • But getting vaccinated in late October or the first week of November could maximize your protection.
  • That's because flu shots get less effective each month, and flu cases usually peak from December to March.

Pharmacies start advertising flu shots as soon as they become available in August. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot in September or October. But a narrower window may give the best chance of maximizing the vaccine's protection: late October or the first week in November.

An August study from CDC researchers found that on average, flu shots become 8-9% less effective at preventing hospitalization each month, based on data from four flu seasons between 2015 and 2019. Since flu vaccines are usually 40% to 60% effective in preventing illness (depending on the year), that means people can lose a significant amount of their protection after four to six months.

In the US, flu season can last as long as 8 months, from October to May.

David Cennimo, an infectious-disease expert at Rutgers Medical School, said the first week of November is probably a "sweet spot." People who get the flu shot much earlier run the risk of not having good protection during peak flu season - which is usually from December to March. People who get vaccinated later won't have enough time to develop protection once flu cases ramp up in late fall or early winter.

"It takes two weeks for the vaccine to be fully protective," Michelle Barron, medical director of infection prevention and control at UCHealth in Colorado, told Insider.

Barron said the first week of November is the latest she'd recommend. Late October is also ideal, she added.

"If you get it by the end of October, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you should have optimal protection when you're gathering with your family or getting on planes or other types of public transport," she said.

Peak flu season is tough to predict Community health center flu shot Ana Martinez, a medical assistant at the Sea Mar Community Health Center in Seattle, gives a patient a flu shot on January 11, 2018.


The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated in September or October for two reasons, experts said: The agency wants to get as many people immunized as possible before flu season starts, so flu strains have less opportunity to spread. But it also recognizes that flu season is unpredictable, so cases could always take off earlier than average. The CDC anticipates "an early and possibly severe flu season" this year, for example, because fewer people got the flu last year.

Barron said she can recall years when flu cases took off in early November, prompting a "mad dash to get people vaccinated."

Cennimo said that although the most common peak is in February, "it's really almost impossible to predict when flu will peak in any given place in any given year."

This year's forecasts are especially difficult, since many areas still have COVID-19 restrictions that also reduce the spread of flu. What's more, countries in the Southern Hemisphere, which go through flu season first each year, recorded fewer cases than average.

"Australia is probably the one that we get our most robust data from, and Australia has still been basically in lockdown, so they haven't seen a significant amount of flu," Barron said.

Disease experts also aren't sure which areas of the US will get hit first.

"Influenza is a very local pandemic," Cennimo said. "Traditionally, California peaks weeks before [New York]. Flu tends to go west to east, though this year who really even knows?"

So public-health experts make the message simple: Get vaccinated before the end of October.

"The more confusing we make it, the more areas for error," Cennimo said.

A second shot or higher dose could offer more lasting protection flu shot elderly Evelyn Adams receives a flu shot at a CVS pharmacy in Kendall, Florida, on September 2, 2009.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

One group in particular may benefit from a delayed flu vaccine: adults age 65 and up. The CDC advises this group not to get vaccinated in July or August, since immunity wanes more quickly in older people. The August study found that flu shots are 10-11% less effective at preventing hospitalization each month for adults 65 and older.

But Cennimo said it's better for elderly people to get a high-dose flu vaccine than to play with the timing of the shot. A 2014 study found that the high-dose flu shot was 24% more effective in adults age 65 and older than the standard dose.

"I would go out of my way to find that [shot] in the store," Cennimo said.

In the future, he added, it's worth considering whether people would benefit from a two-dose flu shot, which might offer more long-term protection. He's also holding onto what he calls the "pipe dream" of a universal flu vaccine that could protect against all strains of influenza - perhaps for life.

"If we could get a universal vaccine, then we don't even have to do this every year," he said. "That would be amazing."

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Aria Bendix)]

Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:24:50 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs New York Science News Colorado Australia California Cdc US Trends Public Health Vaccinations Influenza Seattle Centers For Disease Control And Prevention Cvs Southern Hemisphere Barron Bryan R Smith Kendall Florida Ana Martinez Evelyn Adams UCHealth Rutgers Medical School Flu Shots Aria Bendix Sea Mar Community Health Center Michelle Barron David Cennimo Cennimo
South Korea launches its first homemade space rocket President hails ‘excellent’ test, as rocket gets high enough, but fails to put dummy payload into orbit

South Korea’s first domestically produced space rocket reached its desired altitude but failed to deliver a dummy payload into orbit in its first test launch.

The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, still described the test as an “excellent accomplishment” that takes the country a step further in its pursuit of a space launch programme.

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