Wednesday, April 29, 2020

science news 29.4.2020

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

Hubble watches comet ATLAS disintegrate into more than 2 dozen pieces


evolution

Micro-CT scans give clues about how hero shrews' bizarre backbones evolved


ecology

Study reveals important flowering plants for city-dwelling honey bees

Understanding deer damage is crucial when planting new forests


Life on the edge

Arctic wildlife uses extreme method to save energy
Birds in Svalbard shut down their immune system in the arctic winter to save energy, apparently. Don't try this at home.

Shrinking instead of growing: how shrews survive the winter



The common shrew is a survivor: to save energy, it does not hibernate, but simply becomes smaller.
Credit: Christian Ziegler


humans

Two-person-together MRI scans on couples investigates how touching is perceived in the brain


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From the news media:

Iceland tested 12% of its population for coronavirus and spotted the outbreak in the faraway Austrian ski resort Ischgl before anybody else did. Interview with the prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir

Meanwhile, in countries that didn't do so well, the official hospital deaths are only the tip of an iceberg of additional deaths - analysts at the Financial Times are now looking at the excess deaths over the long-term seasonal average and some of these results are quite scary.



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