Wednesday, May 06, 2020

science news 6.5.2020

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.



ecology

Yellow-legged gull adapts its annual lifecycle to human activities to get food
Intrigued to see the species is called Larus michahellis - it puts the hell into michael since 1840!



The experts warn it is necessary to better know the ecological impact of opportunist species in natural ecosystems
Credit: Isabel Afán (EBD-CSIC)


nanoworld

An artificial 'tongue' of gold to taste maple syrup
a new test using gold nanoparticles to establish the flavour profile of maple syrup and help producers evaluate its quality.


biomedical

Unraveling one of prion disease's deadly secrets
In a new paper in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology by Tricia Serio, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at UMass Amherst, and others, report an unanticipated role for prion nucleation seeds that enhances their ability to appear and resist curing.


Covid-19

Coronavirus structure clue to high infection rate

Mutations in SARS-CoV-2 offer insights into virus evolution
By analyzing virus genomes from over 7,500 people infected with COVID-19, a UCL-led research team has characterized patterns of diversity of SARS-CoV-2 virus genome, offering clues to direct drugs and vaccine targets, in a study published today in Infection, Genetics and Evolution.

Early government intervention is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19
Researchers compared the spread of COVID-19 infections between Hunan province in China and Italy. They found early and strict government intervention is a key factor in reducing the number of infections caused by the novel coronavirus. The team developed a mathematical model that demonstrated how the speed of the transmission can change as governments implement different preventive measures at varying timeframes.


sustainability

Oceans should have a place in climate 'green new deal' policies, scientists suggest

Fossil fuel-free jet propulsion with air plasmas


humans

Spending time in the garden linked to better health and wellbeing


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From the news media:

A very interesting obituary appeared belatedly in yesterday's print edition of the Guardian: William Frankland, pioneer of allergy treatments and the pollen count. He was 108 years old and still worked at age 105. The obit is a bit messy, I assume it's been sitting in the files for 40 years and was just dug out and updated a bit. I wanted to know, for instance, what happened to Frankland's identical twin.



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