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    (Ottawa) A few hundred scientists and researchers gathered on Parliament Hill on Thursday to demand that the federal government increase funding for science. Posted at 5:13 p.m. Emily Bergeron Canadian Press One of the main demands of the organizers of the “Support Our Science” event is an almost 48% increase in the value of graduate scholarships and post-graduate scholarships awarded by Ottawa-funded institutions. According to a group of protesters, funding for graduate students has not increased since 2003. The alleged increase would equal the rate of inflation seen since that year, the coalition argues. “Most of our salaries have almost doubled since 2003, so living on (the income) 20 years ago was unimaginable,” said Janet Whitten, a professor in the Department of Botany at the University of British Columbia who attended the rally. The latter said he hears financial concerns “too often” from the young scientists he meets. “I have a student currently in her bachelor’s degree who wants to do a master’s, but she can make more...
    By Rachel Ramirez | CNN Dry lightning has ignited some of the most destructive and costly wildfires in California history, a new study shows. Researchers found that over the past few decades, nearly half of the lightning strikes that hit the ground during spring and summer had been dry — there was no rain falling nearby. Dry lightning tends to happen in storms over areas of extreme drought, like the one California has been in for the past several years. The air is so dry that the rain evaporates before it hits the ground. And the conditions that favor dry lightning are becoming more widespread and more frequent as the climate crisis fuel’s the West’s megadrought. Dmitri Kalashnikov, lead author of the paper and a doctoral student at Washington State University, pointed to the wildfires that scorched California in 2020 — particularly the August Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in the state’s history — as the motivation for the research. The August Complex Fire was originally more than three dozen fires that were sparked by dry lightning. Those fires merged...
    (CNN)Dry lightning has ignited some of the most destructive and costly wildfires in California history, a new study shows. Researchers found that over the past few decades, nearly half of the lightning strikes that hit the ground during spring and summer had been dry — there was no rain falling nearby. Dry lightning tends to happen in storms over areas of extreme drought, like the one California has been in for the past several years. The air is so dry that the rain evaporates before it hits the ground.And the conditions that favor dry lightning are becoming more widespread and more frequent as the climate crisis fuel's the West's megadrought.Dmitri Kalashnikov, lead author of the paper and a doctoral student at Washington State University, pointed to the wildfires that scorched California in 2020 — particularly the August Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in the state's history — as the motivation for the research.Californias McKinney fire has destroyed nearly 90 homes and is only 40% containedThe August Complex Fire was originally more than three dozen fires that were sparked by dry...
    By September 2021, the task force organized by the Lancet's COVID-19 Commission was disbanded because of EcoHealth's conflict-of-interest issues. Sachs said at the time, "I just didn't want a task force that was so clearly involved with one of the main issues of this whole search for the origins, which was EcoHealth Alliance." Last week, Sachs told Current Affairs that he appointed Daszak to the task force dedicated to discovering the origins of COVID-19 because he said to himself, "Well, here’s a guy who is so connected, he would know." Sachs added, "And then I realized he was not telling me the truth. And it took me some months, but the more I saw it, the more I resented it." Sachs revealed that he disbanded the task force because other members were "part of this thing." He noted that the NIH had been hiding documents from the public – which were later revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request. Emails exposed by a FOIA request revealed that officials with the NIH and the National Institute of Allergy and...
    (CNN)Research on ancient footprints has previously challenged what's known about when people arrived in North America, and a new discovery could shed more light on the story.Scientists have found 88 fossilized prints belonging to adults and children, likely dating back 12,000 years, in shallow riverbeds on the US Air Force Utah Test and Training Range. This is only the second set of human tracks from the Ice Age to be identified in what is now the United States. Footprints record a specific type of evidence that most people cannot get from other types of archaeological or fossil records, said Kevin Hatala, paleoanthropologist at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was not involved in the discovery. "You can understand how large these individuals were," Hatala said. "You can understand how they were moving. When you see multiple trackways of footprints within the same site, you can start to understand how many people were likely there.""Were they likely traveling together or were they moving in different ways?" he added.Read MoreDaron Duke shows visitors footprints discovered on the Air Force's Utah Test and...
    Human-caused climate change made last week’s deadly heat wave in England and Wales at least 10 times more likely and added a few degrees to how brutally hot it got, a study said. A team of international scientists found that the heat wave that set a new national record high at 40.3 degrees Celsius (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit) was made stronger and more likely by the buildup of heat-trapping gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. They said Thursday that temperatures were 2 to 4 degrees Celsius warmer (3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in the heat wave than they would have been without climate change, depending on which method scientists used. The study has not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal yet but follows scientifically accepted techniques, and past such studies have been published months later. “We would not have seen temperatures above 40 degrees in the U.K. without climate change,” study senior author Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College of London, said in an interview. “The fingerprint is super strong.” World Weather...
    Raising taxes on e-cigarettes by just $1 could lead to more youngsters in their early 20s taking up smoking, a new study finds. Researchers at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, monitored 38,000 youngsters and found raising the price of e-cigarettes triggered a rise in the number smoking by 3.7 percent once the increase was implemented. They said the results showed taxes should be raised on both cigarettes and e-cigarettes at the same time to avoid youngsters switching to 'more lethal' cigarettes. They also pointed out the early 20s is a period when many switch from 'experimental' to 'daily' nicotine use. A total of 30 American states and Washington D.C. already tax e-cigarettes in the hopes of putting off more youngsters. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also cracking down on certain brands that are accused of driving a spike in nicotine use among young adults. Researchers at Georgia State University warned raising the price of e-cigarettes by $1 would lead to 3.7 percent of youngsters switching to more lethal cigarettes Pictured above are the states that have rules in...
    As the number of shark sightings and attacks continues to increase in waters up and down the Atlantic Coast research scientists say to expect more and point to climate change, and the rebounding of the shark population as the reasons. Researchers say shark populations, which declined as much as 90 percent from the 1970s to the 1990s are now rebounding as the ecosystem resettles, Robert Hueter, the chief scientist of Ocearch, told The New York Times. But, Hueter also points to climate change at work, saying sharks have moved up the coast to the New York Bight, a wedge formed by the shorelines of Long Island and New Jersey, the Times wrote.  See Earlier Story: Suffolk On Alert As Brand-New Shark Bite Incident Brings Number To Six In Two Weeks Other environmental engineers agree, including Dr. Tracy Fanara, who told the Daily Mail, that climate change, added with La Niña has caused sharks to migrate in large numbers and come earlier than usual. "La Niña can supercharge the effects of climate change in some locations, in the short term, resulting in...
    Dogs were first domesticated around 29,000 years ago and have since become one of the most popular species of companion animals around the world. But until now, exactly why the animals became 'man's best friend' has remained unclear. Now, scientists from Azabu University in Japan believe they have the answer, having discovered two key gene mutations in dogs. These mutations may have played a role in their domestication by lowering stress and making pups more comfortable interacting with humans, according to the team. Dogs were first domesticated around 29,000 years ago and have since become one of the most popular species of companion animals around the world Dogs have been bred to have facial expressions like HUMANS Researchers from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh recently found that dogs have similar muscles in their faces to humans, allowing them to form facial expressions close to our own. Their findings suggest that these features have been selectively bred by humans over the last 33,000 years, since our ancestors first started breeding wolves. 'Throughout the domestication process, humans may have bred dogs selectively based...
    Parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah are drying out due to climate-driven changes in stream flows, and these states will shift to become more like the most arid states of the Southwest, federal researchers found in a scientific study published this week. The lead author of the study said Colorado will experience a 50% to 60% reduction in snow by 2080. “We’re not saying Colorado is going to become a desert. But we see increased aridity moving forward,” said hydrologist Katrina Bennett at the federal government’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The researchers used an artificial intelligence “machine learning” system that allowed them to analyze massive amounts of data collected over 30 years including soil moisture, volumes of water in streams, evapotranspiration rates, temperature and precipitation across the varying landscapes within the Colorado River Basin. Tracking the West’s hydrology on such a scale previously would have taken years. They concluded that large losses of snow will transform high elevation areas and that the phenomenon of melting snow that creates water will disappear entirely in some areas as temperatures...
    Tall people are at greater risk of more than 100 health problems, according to the largest study of its kind. Researchers looked at more than 1,000 conditions among 250,000 white, Hispanic and black men and women in the US. They found being tall was associated with a higher risk of irregular heartbeats, varicose veins, nerve damage and foot ulcers. Tall people — defined as those 5ft 9 or above — were also more prone to skin and bone infections. Scientists from the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Centre did not look at why tall people suffer more health issues. But one theory is that blood must be pumped a longer distance, which may cause reduce flow - essential for keeping the body healthy. Carrying more body mass may also put more pressure on the bones, muscles and feet, the researchers said. However, tall people were found to be at lower risk of some major comorbidities, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. US researchers have found height could be linked to health conditions from a study of 250,000...
    With the help of NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope, scientists are learning more about exoplanet "55 Cancri e," which is about 41 light years away from Earth -- and it's a scorcher.The super-Earth orbits a star called Copernicus, which is 1/25th the distance mega-hot planet Mercury is from our sun.Just how steamy is it? We're talking about a surface covered in oceans of lava.The side of the planet that faces its sun has temperatures around 3,100 degrees Fahrenheit -- hot enough to melt iron.Conditions on the hot side of the exoplanet are so extreme that it may have caused the atmosphere to completely evaporate, according to researchers."55 Cancri e" was discovered in 2011, and has since been extensively studied by NASA researchers and others.To learn more about "55 Cancri e," click here.
    The deep ocean could warm by a further 0.36°F (0.2°C) in the next 50 years, as it continues to absorb the vast majority of 'excess heat' created by humans, a new study warns. Oceans have already absorbed about 90 per cent of the warming caused by humans since the Industrial Revolution began.  Much of this heat is stored in the 'deep ocean' – defined as water more than 2,300ft (700m) below the surface. The resulting underwater temperature increase could cause sea levels to rise and have devastating consequences for ecosystems, the researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of Brest warn. Deep-sea plants and animals which depend on oxygen may no longer be able to survive, and the change will also affect the sea's currents and chemistry. Much of the 'excess heat' stored in the subtropical North Atlantic is in the deep ocean, below 2,300ft, new research suggests.  Extreme storms could help PROTECT beaches from sea level rise  Extreme storms could help protect beaches from sea level rise by bringing in new sand from deeper waters, a new study claims....
    Eight hours is no longer the ideal duration of sleep each night in middle age, according to science. Cambridge University researchers are now recommending people get seven hours — which they say is the sweet spot for general health and warding off dementia. The downgrade comes after studying the sleep pattern of half a million Britons aged 38 to 73. People who got more than eight or less than six hours per night scored worse in tests for thinking speed, attention span, memory and problem-solving. Until now, getting eight hours of undisrupted sleep was thought to be the Goldilocks zone for sleep, providing the best overall health benefits. But disruption to sleep — which happens to both those who sleep too little and for too long — is associated with a buildup of plaque in the brain — a tell-tale sign of dementia. The Cambridge University study shows the link between hours of sleep per night and different measures of brain function (blue lines), including memory and reaction time, as well as mental health, including depression and anxiety. The...
    (CNN)A kilo is a kilo is a kilo, right?Wrong. Monday marks World Metrology Day, and this year's edition sees a big change in the way the kilogram unit is defined. In November last year, scientists and policy makers from around 60 nations voted unanimously to redefine the kilogram, and Monday is the day their decision takes effect.The new definition is based on the Planck constant -- a physical constant observed in the natural world -- rather than the precise weight of a piece of metal kept under lock and key.For more than 100 years Paris has been home to Le Grand K -- or the International Prototype Kilogram, as it is officially known -- a block of metal that previously defined the weight of a kilogram.Read MoreUntil now, everything from kitchen scales to gym weights around the world was manufactured to the standard set by the cylinder of platinum iridium, which has been kept in a high-security vault in the French capital since 1889.The new definition of the kilogram will be based on the Planck constant.Different countries have their own...
    Whether they're part of a Full English or simply in a bun, sausages are known and loved for their distinctive 'crunch' in the mouth. Now, scientists have revealed exactly what gives meat sausages this texture. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research compared meat, vegan and vegetarian sausages at a molecular level and found that muscle proteins emulsify fats and oils in a different way than plant proteins, leading to the crunch.  The team hope the findings could be applied to plant-based sausages to make them more realistic in the future. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research compared meat, vegan and vegetarian sausages at a molecular level and found that muscle proteins emulsify fats and oils in a different way than plant proteins, leading to the 'crunch' Whether they're part of a Full English or simply in a bun, sausages are known and loved for their distinctive 'crunch' in the mouth (stock image) How going vegan could 'save the planet' A total elimination of meat production around the world in 15 years could slash global carbon...
    A recent Vanity Fair magazine report described heavy-handed tactics and what was claimed to be “a siege mentality” at the National Institutes of Health when evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom presented the draft of an unpublished scientific paper about the origins of the COVID-19 virus he had written to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci and two of his colleagues, evolutionary biologist Kristian Andersen and virologist Robert Garry. Bloom’s paper suggested the virus came from a lab, contradicting Fauci’s stated belief. The article described a contentious exchange among a group of scientists over a Zoom call. Friday on FNC’s “The Ingraham Angle,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) reacted to the Vanity Fair piece and described the behavior of the NIH-affiliated scientists as “more like when you see from a mafia don than from a government bureaucrat or scientist.” “Well, this expose in Vanity Fair shows Dr. Fauci and his acolytes once again, trying to suppress and trying to block any scientists who disagree with them,” Paul said. “So there’s this Jesse Bloom, who’s an evolutionary virologist, who thinks...
    "In this moment of climate emergency," five scientists began a new open letter to U.S. President Joe Biden, "we write with utmost urgency to advise you and your administration to halt recent moves towards increasing fossil fuel production and instead take bold action to rapidly reduce fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure." Biologist Sandra Steingraber—who is leading the effort with Peter Kalmus, Robert Howarth, Michael Mann, and Mark Jacobson in conjunction with Food & Water Watch—shared a link to the letter on Twitter Wednesday and urged fellow scientists to add their signatures. "We say the White House call for more drilling and fracking is a climate calamity," Steingraber said. "Sign with us!" The letter—which its initiators plan to present to the president next month after collecting "a critical mass" of signatures—follows a similar message from October and comes as Biden works to ramp up U.S. gas shipments to Europe in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine. Kalmus, who also shared the document Wednesday, tweeted that "the president's fossil fuel expansion takes us deeper into climate catastrophe." The...
    (CNN)With 61% of the contiguous US in drought, wouldn't it be nice if we could just "make it rain" or just "make more snow?"Well, certain parts of the country are doing just that, sort of. It's called cloud seeding, and it's nothing new.It's been around since the 1940s and countries all over the world have been doing it for various reasons (most notably China), but it's a growing practice in the US, especially in the drought-stricken West.It's also surrounded with controversy.We spoke with Julie Gondzar who is the program manager for Wyoming's Weather Modification Program, who admits she gets lots of calls about what they are doing.Read MoreGondzar said some people say "you're playing God," others say "you are stealing moisture from the storm," making other areas drier than they normally would be, kind of like robbing Peter to pay Paul.There are also environmental factors to consider, as well as the cost-effectiveness versus the reward, which in the West these days water is liquid gold."Think about it like water storage, but in the winter on mountaintops," is how Gondzar described...
    The scientific community has increased calls on the Biden administration to funnel more resources into the study of long COVID-19, while Republicans are putting up a fight over requests for additional pandemic funding. TRANSPARENCY PROBLEMS PLAGUE WHITE HOUSE’S REQUEST FOR MORE COVID-19 FUNDING Long COVID-19 has become a catch-all term for a little-understood malady that is estimated to have affected up to 23 million Americans who were infected with the coronavirus and still experience troubling symptoms. Some of them include brain fog, chronic fatigue, muscle and nerve pain, and problems with cognition. “We knew pretty early on that we were starting to see some signs of a more persistent state of COVID and yet most of our attention continued to focus on the acute phase of this infection because people were dying, people were being hospitalized, and our hospitals were being overrun,” said Dr. Priya Duggal, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Symptoms of long COVID-19 cannot always be identified using clinical tools such as MRI tests and CT scans....
    The coronavirus mutant widely known as “stealth omicron” is now causing more than a third of new omicron cases around the world, but scientists still don’t know how it could affect the future of the pandemic. Researchers are slowly revealing clues about the strain, a descendant of omicron known as BA.2, while warily watching it become ever more prevalent. “We’re all keeping an eye on BA.2 just because it has done particularly well in some parts of the world,” including parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, said Dr. Wesley Long, a pathologist at Houston Methodist in Texas. This week, a technical advisory group for the World Health Organization advised public health authorities to monitor it as a distinct omicron strain. Early research suggests it spreads faster than the original omicron and in rare cases can sicken people even if they’ve already had an omicron infection. There’s mixed research on whether it causes more severe disease, but vaccines appear just as effective against it. Overall cases are falling in some places where the variant is becoming more prevalent,...
    Fresh suspicion that Covid may have been tinkered with in a lab emerged today after scientists found genetic material owned by Moderna in the virus's spike protein. They identified a tiny snippet of code that is identical to part of a gene patented by the vaccine maker three years before the pandemic.    It was discovered in SARS-CoV-2's unique furin cleavage site, the part that makes it so good at infecting people and separates it from other coronaviruses. The structure has been one of the focal points of debate about the virus's origin, with some scientists claiming it could not have been acquired naturally.   The international team of researchers suggest the virus may have mutated to have a furin cleavage site during experiments on human cells in a lab. They claim there is a one-in-three-trillion chance Moderna's sequence randomly appeared through natural evolution.  But there is some debate about whether the match is as rare as the study claims, with other experts describing it as a 'quirky' coincidence rather than a 'smoking gun'.  SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid, carries all the information needed...
    OLDER women who are receiving hormone replacement therapy are a significantly less risk of dying from covid according to new research. Swedish scientist have revealed that women who are taking HRT were less likely to be wiped out by the killer virus. 1Women who take HRT are less likely to die from the virusCredit: Getty Studies have shown that women have had a consistently lower death rate than men throughout the pandemic, with oestrogen understood to be playing a role in the difference. Researchers monitored 2,500 women in their 60s who had been taking HRT, with most being menopausal, who tested positive for Covid during the first wave. They then compared then to 12,000 women of the same age who had not been taking HRT, and 200 cancer survivors on oestrogen-blockers. The group who were not taking oestrogen were half as likely to die compared to those who had been taking HRT. Anyone who had been taking the blockers were discovered to be at double the risk of dying from the virus. The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), followed...
    From a blind salamander to a tap-dancing spider, scientists have revealed a new list of the '25 most wanted lost species' around the world. Drawn up by Austin, Texas-based organisation Re:wild, the list sheds light on global species that are evading detection – and could possibly be extinct.  One of the most fascinating entries is the blanco blind salamander, native to the US known from only a single specimen, collected in the 1950s.  Meanwhile, Fagilde's trapdoor spider from Portugal, known for tap dancing in front of potential mates, hasn't been seen since before 1931.  And the 'fat catfish' from Colombia has an uncanny resemblance to the Michelin man, according to experts, due to its flabby folds.  Scroll down for the full list The new list sheds light on species around the world that are evading detection – and could possibly be extinct. Note: some of these photos show close relatives of the 25 'lost' species  EIGHT NEW 'WILD AND WHIMSICAL LOST SPECIES'Fat catfish (Rhizosomichthys totae): Colombia - Togo mouse (Leimacomys buettneri): Togo/Ghana - Dwarf hutia (Mesocapromys nanus): Cuba - South Island kōkako...
    Instead of our memories decaying with time, forgetting is actually an active form of learning that helps our brain to access more important information. This is the conclusion of experts from Trinity College Dublin and the University of Toronto, who said that 'lost' memories are not really gone, just made inaccessible. Memories, they explained, are stored permanently in sets of neurons, with our brains deciding which ones we keep access to and which irrelevant ones are locked away. These choices, they said, are based on environmental feedback, theoretically allowing us flexibility in the face of change and better decision-making as a result. If correct, the findings could lead to new ways to understand and treat memory loss associated with disease — such as is seen, for example, in patients with Alzheimer's. Instead of our memories decaying with time, forgetting is actually an active form of learning that helps our brain to access more important information. Pictured: forgetfulness (stock) The study was undertaken by neuroscientists Tomás Ryan of Trinity College Dublin and Paul Frankland of the University of Toronto. 'Memories are stored...
    Vitamin D may help fight off coronavirus after all, a study suggests.  The jury has been out on the 'sunshine vitamin' since early in the pandemic, with conflicting findings muddying the waters. Papers that did find a link were deemed not rigorous enough and not definitive. But a new study — this time in Israel — claims to have the most conclusive evidence yet. Previous research has been criticised for only looking at vitamin D levels when the Covid patient was already in hospital. Being ill is known to make levels of the vitamin drop, which may have skewed findings, according to critics.   To overcome this limitation, in their latest study, researchers from Bar Ilan University and the Galilee Medical Center looked at patient records up to two years before they were diagnosed with Covid. They found people who were consistently deficient in the vitamin were up to 14 times more likely to suffer severe disease, even after adjusting for age and other underlying health woes. The patients were in hospital before Israel's vaccine rollout was widespread and scientists said its...
    A material that is as light as plastic yet stronger than steel and 4–6 times harder to damage than bulletproof glass could soon be used to protect smartphone screens. The substance created by experts from Massachussets Institute of Technology achieves something long thought impossible — polymerisation in two dimensions. Polymerisation is a process by which small atoms called monomers are joined together, usually to form long, spaghetti-like chains called polymers.  These can then be shaped into three-dimensional objects such as water bottles, by means of injection moulding.  The researchers, however, have succeeded in creating a material that self-assembles instead into two-dimensional sheets that are more like lasagne than spaghetti.  These sheets, dubbed polyaramides, stack on top of each and are held together by robust hydrogen bonds, making the overall material extremely sturdy. Alongside enhancing phone casings, the polymer could also be used as a protective coating on car parts, or as a large-scale construction material.   A material that is as light as plastic yet stronger than steel and 4–6 times harder to deform than bulletproof glass could soon be used to protect smartphone...
    Rainforest in Brazil.DDurrich/Getty Images This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. There are an estimated 73,300 species of tree on Earth, 9,000 of which have yet to be discovered, according to a global count of tree species by thousands of researchers who used second world war codebreaking techniques created at Bletchley Park to evaluate the number of unknown species. Researchers working on the ground in 90 countries collected information on 38 million trees, sometimes walking for days and camping in remote places to reach them. The study found there are about 14 percent more tree species than previously reported and that a third of undiscovered tree species are rare, meaning they could be vulnerable to extinction by human-driven changes in land use and the climate crisis. “It is a massive effort for the whole world to document our forests,” said Jingjing Liang, a lead author of the paper and professor of quantitative forest ecology at Purdue University in Indiana, US. “Counting the number of tree species worldwide is like a puzzle with...
    WHO Technical lead head COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove attends a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland July 3, 2020.Fabrice Coffrini | Reuters The World Health Organization on Tuesday said there's no indication omicron's new sister variant, BA.2, causes more serious infections than the original version, though initial data shows it's more transmissible. The WHO and other researchers around the world have found that omicron generally doesn't make people as sick as the delta variant, though it does spread faster than previous strains of the virus and can evade some of the immune protection provided by vaccines. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's Covid-19 technical lead, indicated on Tuesday that those findings likely hold true for the omicron sister variant, labelled BA.2 by scientists. Van Kerkhove said information is limited, but initial data indicates that BA.2 is "slightly" more transmissible than the original omicron variant, what scientists formally refer to as BA.1, which is currently the dominant version worldwide. However, there's...
    Bangkok, ThailandA devil-horned newt, drought-resilient bamboo and a monkey named after a volcano were among 224 new species discovered in the Greater Mekong region in 2020, a conservation group said on Wednesday, despite the "intense threat" of habitat loss.The discoveries listed in a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) include a new rock gecko found in Thailand, a mulberry tree species in Vietnam, and a big-headed frog in Vietnam and Cambodia that is already threatened by deforestation.Some of the more curious creatures include the Popa Langur, a monkey with long limbs and a long tail, named after the extinct volcano Mount Popa, home to about 100 of these monkeys -- the largest population of the species.There's the cavefish discovered in Myanmar, colored a pale yellow-white, which is so unusual and different from other fish in the same family that scientists decided to create a whole new genus for it. Then there's the iridescent snake, its scales shifting through blues and greens in the light. The 224 discoveries underlined the rich biodiversity of the Mekong region, which encompasses Thailand, Myanmar,...
    Fully-vaccinated people who catch Covid end up with 'super immunity', scientists have claimed. Oregon Health and Science University experts say the same is also true for people who get infected before getting two jabs.  Academics took blood samples from more than 100 fully-vaccinated volunteers and exposed them against three different strains of coronavirus.   Volunteers with 'hybrid' immunity produced an 'amazingly high' antibody response, tests showed. Their antibodies were 10 times more potent than proteins made by participants who managed to dodge Covid completely. Despite the study being carried out before the emergence of Omicron, the authors believe the findings will hold up against the highly-transmissible variant. And the high levels of protection among those with hybrid immunity could see the virus become a 'mostly mild' infection and bring about the end of the pandemic, the researchers said. Author Dr Fikadu Tafesse said: 'It makes no difference whether you get infected-and-then-vaccinated, or if you get vaccinated-and-then-a-breakthrough infection. 'In either case, you will get a really, really robust immune response – amazingly high.' He added: 'The likelihood of getting breakthrough infections is...
    It's often said that men and women's brains work so differently that one sex is from Venus and the other is from Mars. Well now a new study supports this hypothesis after finding 1,000 genes that are much more active in one gender than the other. It looked into how male and female mouse brains differ by probing areas that are known to program 'rating, dating, mating and hating' behaviours.  The behaviours — for example, male mice's quick determination of a stranger's sex, females' receptivity to mating, and maternal protectiveness — help the animals reproduce and their offspring survive. These differences are also likely reflected in the brains of men and women, the researchers from Stanford Medicine said.  A new study looked into how male and female mouse brains differ by probing areas that are known to program 'rating, dating, mating and hating' behaviours. These differences are also likely reflected in the brains of men and women, the researchers from Stanford Medicine said Scientists studied female mice in different phases of their estrous cycle and male mice. They probed four different...
    SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tsunami advisories have been lifted here in the Bay Area and all of California after that undersea volcanic eruption Saturday near the Pacific nation of Tonga. That eruption Saturday sent a plume of ash, gas, and steam 12 miles into the air. Huge waves also had a significant impact on Tonga's capital, washing boats ashore, and damaging ships along the coast. New Zealand officials haven't received any reports of deaths or injuries in Tonga.Scientists are now reacting to what we've been witnessing there.RELATED: Tsunami advisory is a wake-up call for Bay Area to be prepared for disasters, experts say"There must have been a very large amount of magma that was exposed, somehow maybe from an underwater landslide or something, that then encountered the sea water and exploded really violently," said Wendy Stovall.Stovall is a volcanologist with the USGS. She says the power of this eruption was incredible, saying that loud booms were heard nearly 6,000 miles away in Alaska.Tsunami advisories were issued along the West Coast. Santa Cruz saw flooding, a boat dock was ripped off...
    Get ready to learn more Greek letters. Scientists warn that omicron's whirlwind advance practically ensures it won't be the last version of the coronavirus to worry the world.Every infection provides a chance for the virus to mutate, and omicron has an edge over its predecessors: It spreads way faster despite emerging on a planet with a stronger patchwork of immunity from vaccines and prior illness.That means more people in whom the virus can further evolve. Experts don't know what the next variants will look like or how they might shape the pandemic, but they say there's no guarantee the sequels of omicron will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them.They urge wider vaccination now, while today's shots still work."The faster omicron spreads, the more opportunities there are for mutation, potentially leading to more variants," Leonardo Martinez, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Boston University, said.MORE: What's the difference between N95 and KN95 masks? Expert explains what you need to know EMBED More News Videos Experts are now recommending medical grade masks to protect yourself against COVID-19 -...
    COVID-19 has been a wakeup call for people to become more scientifically literate. It’s not uncommon to hear people casually talk about spike proteins and vaccine efficacy over drinks or lunch. For all its devastating consequences, the pandemic has also opened up new opportunities for spreading scientific research across the globe and conscripting the public into these endeavors. But these are opportunities we are quickly squandering, preventing the development of new world-class scientists who could help guard us against current and future public health crises. Citizen science games that bring scientists and ordinary people together online to collaborate on engaging research are emerging as a huge tool that could make scientific studies a regular part of our communities. But to realize this potential, aid agencies and foundations must be willing to re-envision science as a form of diplomatic assistance. Philanthropy and foreign aid are meant to transform socioeconomic-political systems, not just provide charity to those in need. In this vein, citizen science games are creating a new model for how to conduct scientific research while also promoting open science, where...
    Get ready to learn more Greek letters. Scientists warn that omicron’s whirlwind advance practically ensures it won’t be the last version of the coronavirus to worry the world. Every infection provides a chance for the virus to mutate, and omicron has an edge over its predecessors: It spreads way faster despite emerging on a planet with a stronger patchwork of immunity from vaccines and prior illness. That means more people in whom the virus can further evolve. Experts don’t know what the next variants will look like or how they might shape the pandemic, but they say there’s no guarantee the sequels of omicron will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them. It’s why they urge wider vaccination now, while today’s shots still work. “The faster omicron spreads, the more opportunities there are for mutation, potentially leading to more variants,” Leonardo Martinez, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Boston University, said. Since it emerged in mid-November, omicron has raced across the globe like fire through dry grass. Research shows the variant is at least...
    Scientists have discovered a gene that more than doubles the risk of becoming severely ill with Covid.  Researchers from the Medical University of Bialystok in Poland found that the gene is the fourth most important factor determining how seriously a person suffers from Covid, after age, weight and gender.  The gene is present in around 14 per cent of the Polish population, compared to 8-9 per cent in Europe as a whole and 27 per cent in India, they say.   Its discovery could help doctors identify those who are most at risk from the disease and prioritise them for vaccinations. Poland and several other countries in central and eastern Europe are battling their latest surges of coronavirus cases and deaths while continuing to record much lower vaccinations rates than in western Europe.  Polish scientists have found a gene that they say more than doubles the risk of becoming severely ill with Covid (stock image) The new study was led by Professor Marcin Moniuszko, a professor at Medical University of Bialystok.  The gene might not be a specific 'Covid gene' as...
    Another Covid variant has been found in France, according to scientists. The mutant strain has 46 mutations that are thought to make it both more vaccine-resistant and infectious than the original virus. Some 12 cases have been spotted so far near Marseille, with the first linked to travel to the African country Cameroon. But there is little sign that it is outcompeting the dominant Omicron variant, which now makes up more than 60 per cent of cases in France. The strain was discovered by academics based at the IHU Mediterranee Infection on December 10, but has not spread rapidly since. Pictured above is an image of the French Covid variant, scientifically named B.1.640.2. It may be more vaccine resistant and infectious than the old virus It is yet to be spotted in other countries or labelled a variant under investigation by the World Health Organization. Professor Philippe Colson, who heads up the unit that discovered the strain, said: 'We indeed have several cases of this new variant in the Marseille geographical area. 'We named it "variant IHU". Two new genomes...
    More than half of the scientists at a remote Antarctic research station have been infected with Covid-19 and are in isolation.  The Princess Elizabeth Polar Station has reported that 16 of the 25 crew have caught the virus since the first reported case on December 14.   All members of staff at the facility have been vaccinated and all tested negative before joining the station.  More than half of the scientists at the Princess Elizabeth Polar Station on Antarctica have tested positive for Covid-19 since the middle of December when new crew members joined the team More than half of the scientists at an Antarctic research station have tested positive for Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated and living in one of the most remote places on the globe, file photograph However, the first positive cases were reported seven days after some new members of crew arrived.  The affected crew members have been placed in isolation - although the virus managed to infect at least half of the people at the station.  The Princess Elizabeth Polar Station is run by the International...
    (CNN)Shrimplike creatures, an extinct dinosaur called the "hell heron" and colorful beetles are among the 552 new species described this year by scientists at the Natural History Museum in London. The researchers were largely restricted from traveling to international field sites or visiting other museum collections due to the pandemic, but they persevered to reveal a wealth of species new to science, both living and extinct. The museum, which holds 80 million specimens in its collections, has a staff of 300 scientists.Dinosaur discoveries included giant carnivorous predators called spinosaurs, armed with crocodile-like skulls that helped them hunt down prey in the water as well as on land on the Isle of Wight 125 million years ago. Two new species of spinosaurid dinosaurs were discovered from fossils found on the Isle of Wight: one named "hell heron" and the other the "riverbank hunter."The first of the two spinosaurids was named Ceratosuchops inferodios, which means "horned crocodile-faced hell heron." In life, the dinosaur sported horns and bumps across its brow region. The spinosaurid also likely hunted in a way similar to...
              by Ross Pomeroy   Ever since humans gave millipedes their name, the leggy arthropods have had a ‘false advertising’ problem. The prefix “milli-” refers to a “thousand,” while “pede” means feet, yet no millipede had ever been found with more than a thousand legs. Until now, that is. Announcing their discovery in the journal Scientific Reports, a team of American and Australian scientists describes a millipede with 1,306 legs, firmly trouncing the previous record holder, which only mustered 750. Eumillipes persephone was spotted sixty meters below ground in a drill hole created for mineral exploration in the Goldfields region of Western Australia. The pale, cream-colored animal measures about a millimeter wide and extends up to ten centimeters long. It lacks eyes (an emblematic trait for creatures that dwell deep underground), has a distinctive cone-shaped head with plump, girthy antennae, and is adorned with an almost bird-like beak for feeding. Like a few other millipedes, E. persephone likely feeds on fungi in the soil. Marek et al. / Scientific Reports E. persephone‘s discovery extends millipedes’ lead over centipedes’ in their competition for the title of...
    Women are 15 percent more likely to die or suffer a serious injury if they're operated on by a man than a surgeon who is their own gender, a study shows.  Researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and the University of Toronto, in Canada, investigated the likelihood of someone to suffer either death or another severe complication based on the gender of their surgeon. They found that when women operate on women, men on men, or women or men, there was no increased risk of death or other complications. When men operate on women, though, the person receiving the procedure is at a 15 percent increased likelihood to either die, or suffer another negative outcome. Researchers cannot explain why exactly this happens, and say further research is needed into why being operated on by a man is more dangerous for a female patient.  Researchers found that women who were operated on by a male surgeon were 15% more likely to either die or suffer severe complications as a result of the operation. There was no increased risk found if...
    LONDON (AP) — The British government may need to introduce tougher restrictions to slow the growth of the omicron variant and prevent a new surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, British scientists said Saturday. U.K. health officials say omicron is spreading much more quickly than the delta strain and is likely to replace it and become the dominant variant in Britain within days. The U.K. recorded 58,194 coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number since January, though what portion were the omicron variant is unclear. Concerns about the new variant led Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government to reintroduce restrictions that were lifted almost six months ago. Masks must be worn in most indoor settings, vaccine certificates must be shown to enter nightclubs and people are being urged to work from home if possible. Many scientists say that’s unlikely to be enough. Modeling released Saturday by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggested omicron is likely to cause a large wave of infections by January, and could cause between 25,000 and 75,000 deaths in England...
    UP TO 75,000 more Brits will die of Covid this winter as Omicron sweeps the country, doom-mongering scientists have warned. Even under the most optimistic scenario, the projected wave of infection could lead to a peak of more than 2,000 daily hospital admissions before April. 1Nearly 25,000 Brits could die from the mutant virus between now and April, scientists saidCredit: LNP There could be a total of 175,000 hospital admissions and 24,700 deaths between December 1 this year and April 30, 2022. This is if no additional control measures are implemented over and above the current Plan B introduced by the Government in England. More to follow... For the latest news on this story keep checking back at Sun Online. Thesun.co.uk is your go to destination for the best celebrity news, football news, real-life stories, jaw-dropping pictures and must-see video. Download our fantastic, new and improved free App for the best ever Sun Online experience. For iPhone click here, for Android click here.  Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thesun and follow us from our main Twitter account at @TheSun.
    Many of the world’s richest countries have spent the past year hoarding coronavirus vaccines, buying up enough doses to vaccinate their populations several times over and consistently failing to deliver on their promises to share doses with the developing world. The World Health Organization said the approach was “self-defeating” and “immoral.” It might be starting to bite. A new and potentially more transmissible variant of the virus likely emerged from a region with low vaccination rates. The new variant, known as Omicron, was first identified in South Africa, although it is unclear whether it originated there or whether it was brought into the country from elsewhere in the region. What scientists do know is that the virus is much more likely to mutate in places where vaccination is low and transmission high. “It has probably emerged in another country and has been detected in South Africa, which has very, very good genomic sequencing capacity and capability … it might well be a consequence of an outbreak, probably in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where there’s not a huge amount of...
    (CNN)Many of the world's richest countries have spent the past year hoarding coronavirus vaccines, buying up enough doses to vaccinate their populations several times over and consistently failing to deliver on their promises to share doses with the developing world. The World Health Organization said the approach was "self-defeating" and "immoral."It might be starting to bite. A new and potentially more transmissible variant of the virus likely emerged from a region with low vaccination rates.The new variant, known as Omicron, was first identified in South Africa, although it is unclear whether it originated there or whether it was brought into the country from elsewhere in the region. What scientists do know is that the virus is much more likely to mutate in places where vaccination is low and transmission high."It has probably emerged in another country and has been detected in South Africa, which has very, very good genomic sequencing capacity and capability ... it might well be a consequence of an outbreak, probably in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where there's not a huge amount of genomic surveillance going...
    (CNN)The United States is working to quickly learn more about the newly identified coronavirus variant B.1.1.529, which was first identified in South Africa.South Africa's health minister announced Thursday the discovery of the variant, which appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country.A new Covid-19 variant with high number of mutations sparks travel bans and worries scientistsCurrently, "there's no indication" that B.1.1.529 is in the United States right now -- and US scientists are working closely with colleagues in South Africa to learn more about the emerging variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday.The virus seems to be spreading "in a reasonably rapid rate," Fauci told CNN's Brianna Keilar. The variant so far has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, in a traveler to Hong Kong from South Africa -- and Belgium became the first European country to confirm a case.US scientists are in "very active communication" with South African scientists to learn more about the molecular makeup of the variant so...