Climate surprise: Warming planet helps Florida mangroves conquer oysters
ORLANDO, Fla. — Within a coastal refuge of tiny islands and sea water saltier than the ocean is a climate battle among natural Florida’s titans. It’s happening in Central Florida’s remote and alluring Mosquito Lagoon, which nearly abuts Kennedy Space Center launch pads at the Atlantic Ocean. Reigning guardians of the lagoon are oysters. They assemble in fortresses of low mounds, or reefs that appear above water at low tide. Their closely clustered shells suggest an invincible bristle of daggers and shields. Invaders of Mosquito Lagoon are mangroves. Leafy and leggy, they are the only tree spec...
Yes, the coronavirus mutates. No, that doesn’t spell doom for vaccines
SAN DIEGO — From South Africa to Brazil to California, the list of locations linked to new strains of the coronavirus is growing — and so are concerns that viral variants could undo the vaccine rollout. The worries come at a time when most Americans still haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine. That could change by the end of May, when President Joe Biden says there will be enough vaccine for all adults in the U.S. But by then, new and faster-spreading coronavirus strains will likely account for nearly all cases. Does that mean this whole effort is for naught? Not according to local researchers w...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Boeing CEO gave up millions in pay last year, though future stock awards loom large
With Boeing in crisis due to the grounding of the 737 MAX and the coronavirus pandemic's hit to air travel, chief executive Dave Calhoun chose last March to forgo his base salary for the rest of the year and his annual incentive bonus for 2020, leaving aside $3.6 million that he could have taken. With that, his direct take-home pay last year was just over $269,000 (his base salary up to March 20), according to a Boeing regulatory filing Friday. Adding the value of standard personal benefits for Boeing executives — including the use of aircraft and limousines for personal travel, life insurance...
The Seattle Times
Mars rover Perseverance gets its first test drive
It crept at a speed that rush-hour veterans could appreciate — all of 21.3 feet in 33 minutes — but Perseverance has executed its first drive on the surface of Mars, NASA announced Friday. “I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see wheel tracks in my life,” Anais Zarifian, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Southern California, said at a news briefing. The vehicle also managed to drive in reverse for 8 feet. NASA said that the rover’s adventure on Thursday foreshadows regular trips of 650 feet or more, and eventually the plan is for it to gather rock samples that can be anal...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Amazon’s telehealth arm quietly expands to 21 more states
An Amazon telehealth outfit that started as a pilot service for Seattle-area employees and their families has quietly filed paperwork to operate in 21 more states, a signal of Amazon’s expanding ambitions for the $3.8 trillion medical sector. The service, Amazon Care, launched a year ago as an app providing on-demand chat and video consultations with medical professionals for Amazon’s then-54,000 Puget Sound employees. Users can also book in-person visits at their home or office with clinicians. Payment for the service routes through Amazon.com. In recent weeks Amazon Care has incorporated in ...
The Seattle Times
Massive ‘space hurricane’ captured spinning over Earth for the first time
ORLANDO, Fla. – While Florida is no stranger to hurricanes at ground level, the Earth once experienced a 620-mile-wide “space hurricane.” That’s what researchers were calling a phenomenon that formed over the North Pole in 2014 captured for the first time by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Instead of wind and rain, though, the “space hurricane” was whipping around electrons. Made up of plasma, the vortex spun counter-clockwise and lasted about eight hours, according to the research compiled by scientists from the University of Reading and Shandong University in China. They publis...
Wildfire smoke up is to 10 times more harmful to breathe than other air pollution, new study finds
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Choking smoke from record wildfires blanketed Northern California last summer and fall. It turned Bay Area skies an otherworldly orange, raising health concerns over a hazard that is increasing as temperatures continue to climb and poorly managed forests burn out of control each year across the West. With this winter being extraordinarily dry, the chances of another big wildfire year are high. But the flames may not pose the biggest danger to the most people: A new study published Friday found that tiny particles of soot from wildfires, which millions of Californians are bre...
The Mercury News
Cuba launches Phase 3 trial of its COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier test results are still unknown
Cuba became the first country in Latin America to launch a Phase 3 trial with a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, although the government has not yet released data from earlier testing. “Our Sovereign, the first Latin American phase III vaccine!” wrote Cuban leader Miguel Diaz-Canel on Twitter Thursday, referring to the vaccine known as Soberana in Spanish. Other countries in the region have purchased vaccines or joined COVAX, a World Health Organization-backed initiative to ensure equitable distribution of shots worldwide. Cuba has an experienced biotechnology industry and is betting on th...
The pandemic is crushing sleep. Here are 5 tips to help you get better shut-eye
This pandemic has impacted everything, so it is no surprise that it also has interrupted our sleep. We’re worried about everyone in our lives, we’re drinking too much alcohol and coffee, and even when we are in bed, we often are not experiencing good quality sleep. Those are just a few reasons that psychologist Michael Breus notes it makes perfect sense people are facing sleep issues. Studies have revealed insomnia and other sleep issues during the pandemic. “We’re just not able to handle this level of stress, and of course it’s coming out in our sleep,” Breus said. Most adults need 7 to 8 hou...
SpaceX sticks landing of Starship prototype, but then it explodes
SpaceX finally got its latest Starship prototype to land without blowing up. Well at least for a little bit. “Starship SN10 landed in one piece!” said company founder and CEO Elon Musk on his Twitter account. The company launched its SN10, as in serial number 10, version of its next-generation rocket from its Boca Chica, Texas, facility on Wednesday evening on a successful 10 km flight that finished with the rocket hitting its target landing pad without suffering the catastrophic fireball that beset the two previous Starship prototype flights. “Third time’s the charm as the saying goes,” said ...