Friday, July 03, 2020

science news 3.7.2020

Today's selection of science news. Links are normally to press releases on EurekAlert (at the bottom end I may also add a couple of newspaper stories). I include quotes from the summary in italics in cases where the title alone doesn't reveal what the story is about. My own thoughts appear without italics if I have any.



astrobiology

Unprecedented ground-based discovery of two strongly interacting exoplanets


evolution

The secret double life of histone H3 as a copper reductase enzyme
In a study that takes another look at histones' origins, researchers report these proteins, known for DNA-packing, may have evolutionary roots in early life in helping to maintain the use of metals like copper - fundamental for biological processes, but which became toxic to eukaryotes as they adapted to global oxygenation.


ecology

Twenty-year study tracks a sparrow song that went "viral" across Canada
PR includes video with the very lovely sparrow song, both old and new version.



This image shows a white-throated sparrow.
Credit: Scott M. Ramsay

Climate change threat to tropical plants
Half of the world's tropical plant species may struggle to germinate by 2070 because of global warming, a new UNSW study predicts.



Covid-19

Newer variant of COVID-19-causing virus dominates global infections

Study supports link between COVID-19 and "COVID Toes"

Evolution of loss of smell or taste in COVID-19
This survey-based study examines the clinical course of the loss of sense of smell and taste in a case series of mildly symptomatic patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection.


sustainability

Global threats: How lessons from COVID-19 can prevent environmental meltdown
COVID-19, climate emergencies, and mass extinction all share striking similarities, especially with regard to their 'lagged impacts.' In each, early intervention can prevent further damage.


humans

Fans love musicians' personalities as much as their music
I guess we all knew that anyway ...

(US) States with highest income inequality experienced a larger number of COVID-19 deaths


dystopian futures

Science fiction becomes fact -- Teleportation helps to create live musical performance


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From the news media:

An interesting long read from William Davies on how WhatsApp is breeding conspiracy theories and extremism.

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