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Why Social Media are Crucial for Frontline Physicians in the Fight Against COVID-19

The first wave of patients in Brooklyn were what we call the worried well, who arrived at the emergency room with cough, fever and flulike symptoms, concerned they had coronavirus. We would perform a nasal swab, or not, depending on whether we had COVID-19 tests available that day, and send them home with isolation precautions […]

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How Sewage Could Reveal True Scale of Coronavirus Outbreak

More than a dozen research groups worldwide have started analysing wastewater for the new coronavirus as a way to estimate the total number of infections in a community, given that most people will not be tested. The method could also be used to detect the coronavirus if it returns to communities, say scientists. So far, […]

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Climate Change Has Doubled Riskiest Fire Days in California

Climate change has doubled the number of extreme-risk days for California wildfires, according to research released yesterday. An analysis led by Stanford University found that temperatures rose about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit statewide while precipitation dropped 30% since 1980. That doubled the number of autumn days—when fire risk is highest—with extreme conditions for the ignition of […]

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Mathematical Proof that Rocked Number Theory Will Be Published

After an eight-year struggle, embattled Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki has finally received some validation. His 600-page proof of the abc conjecture, one of the biggest open problems in number theory, has been accepted for publication. Acceptance of the work in Publications of the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (RIMS)—a journal of which Mochizuki is chief editor, published […]

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Squid’s Glowing Skin Patterns May Be Code

More than 1,500 feet below the surface of the ocean, it’s darker than a moonless night. But even in this murky world, there’s constant activity—including groups of Humboldt squid, each the size of a small adult human, darting around in search of fish. “You can think of them as little rocket ships. They jet through […]

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Coronavirus Disrupts Vital Field Research–Including Disease Transmission Work

Thomas Gillespie was supposed to be in Tanzania to train local researchers how to blow antibiotic-containing darts into endangered primates at just the right angle. But the global coronavirus pandemic has left him stuck in his home office in Atlanta, where he is trying to coordinate the effort via video chat. Tanzania was only one […]

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Note to Polluters: Salmon Are Sensible Fish

Originally published in July 1857 Credit: Scientific American Advertisement “We wish to impress upon the minds of those who wish to re-stock our streams with an abundance of good fish, that they must keep the streams clean and pure, if they expect to succeed. It is true that salmon and other fish have been banished […]

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Why the Coronavirus Slipped Past Disease Detectives

In 2009 the U.S. government launched a program to hunt for unknown viruses that can cross from animals to humans and cause pandemics. The project, called PREDICT, was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and it worked with teams in 31 countries, including China. It was just one part of an emerging global […]

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The Challenge of Finding Genome-Based Cancer Treatments

A few years ago, I attended the dauntingly large American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, which has been held in Chicago for the last decade or so. The event attracts some 40,000 scientists, medical oncologists, radiologists, industry representatives, and journalists every year. Much of the world’s most important cancer research is released there—with […]

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U.N. Postpones Global Climate Summit Over Pandemic Concerns

The United Nations postponed an important year-end climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, because of concerns about the novel coronavirus pandemic. U.N. climate leaders bowed yesterday to mounting pressure to delay the summit that attracts thousands of delegates and observers. The gathering will be held in 2021, and a midyear meeting that would have been held […]