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What’s a Narwhal’s Tusk For?

Deep beneath the frozen surface of the Arctic swims a sea unicorn. In reality, it’s a whale with a spiral tusk sprouting from its head—the narwhal. Biologists have long debated the purpose of male narwhals’ tusks. The tusk, like those of elephants, are actually elongated teeth. And since narwhals are usually below the sea ice, […]

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Thousands of Coronavirus Tests Are Going Unused in U.S. Labs

As the United States struggles to test people for COVID-19, academic laboratories that are ready and able to run diagnostics are not operating at full capacity. A Nature investigation of several university labs certified to test for the virus finds that they have been held up by regulatory, logistic and administrative obstacles, and stymied by the fragmented […]

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If the World Fails to Protect the Economy, COVID-19 will Damage Health Long into the Future

The COVID-19 pandemic is, first and foremost, a health crisis. However, it is rapidly becoming an economic one too. This is not, of course, the first global economic crisis. However, this time it is different. The 20th century experienced the 1929 Wall Street crash and the 1973 oil-price shock, as well as numerous regional crises […]

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Rising Temperatures May Push Ecosystems Past Their Limits

Climate change is testing Earth’s limits. It’s altering weather patterns, intensifying natural disasters and breaking temperature records left and right. Eventually, many parts of the world may settle into a “new normal” as climate conditions shift beyond anything the planet has experienced in human history. That could be devastating for the planet’s ecosystems. A grave study warns […]

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Whatever Helps You Feel Less Afraid, Tired and Lonely, Do That

Research on positive psychology may help prevent burnout Credit: Scientific American MIND, May 2020 Advertisement In the past several weeks I’ve often wondered what Bruce McEwen would make of the current state of the world. McEwen was a neuroscientist and endocrinologist at the Rockefeller University who spent his career studying how stress impacts the brain. […]