Monarch butterfly population down so it’s not too early to plan your urban monarch garden, researchers say
CHICAGO – First, the bleak butterfly news: The population of monarchs passing the winter in Mexico appears to have fallen. Now, the good news for Illinois’ state insect: The Field Museum in Chicago is trying to figure out what makes a successful urban monarch garden, and it’s not too early to start preparing for this summer. The area covered by monarchs in Mexico has decreased by more than a quarter compared with last season, according to Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Natural Areas and World Wildlife Fund. Because the butterflies mass together on fir trees at their southern roostin...
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
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...
Former Cuomo aide defends governor as others call for investigation into sexual harassment allegations
ALBANY, N.Y. — A longtime adviser and ally of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his old boss Thursday as someone who “demands excellence” and said he has “never seen anything of the like” when asked about allegations of sexual harassment made by a former aide. Steve Cohen, the current chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, stood by Cuomo a day after Lindsey Boylan dropped bombshell accusations against the governor, alleging he once kissed her on the mouth against her will. “I can tell you never in my time working with the governor, the former attorney general, private citizen ...
New York Daily News
‘Like a horror movie’: Caterpillar silences tomato’s cry for help, scientists find
While there’s a famous horror-movie spoof about killer tomatoes, no one seems to have made one about caterpillars — the insect pests that eat the juicy red fruits of summer. Perhaps the time is ripe, with inspiration from a new study at Pennsylvania State University. Scientists found that a caterpillar called the tomato fruit worm not only chomps on tomatoes and their leaves, but also deposits enzyme-laden saliva on the plant, interfering with its ability to cry for help. If it all sounds a bit improbable, starting with the concept of plants crying for help, scientists also scoffed at that ide...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
COVID-19 led to a drop in heart surgery, with grim consequences
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, heart surgeons warned that fewer people were coming in for bypass operations, valve replacements, and other cardiac procedures, in some cases dying as a result. In a new nationwide analysis, researchers determined that the consequences may have been even worse than many realized — particularly in hard-hit hot spots in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. During April, the number of heart surgeries plunged by 71% in those three states and by 53% in the country as a whole, when compared with monthly averages in 2019. And those who did undergo heart surge...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
10,000-year-old dog bone found in Alaska offers answers for when species arrived in Americas
Researchers have fetched an ancient dog fossil that provides new context for when the species arrived to the Americas. The small fragment of a dog’s femur was recently found in Alaska and belonged to a canine that roamed the region about 10,150 years ago, according to a study by the University at Buffalo that was released online Tuesday. Further analysis of the finding determined the dog was likely part of a species “whose evolutionary history diverged from that of Siberian dogs as early as 16,700 years ago,” the study says. The newly uncovered dog bone is believed to be the oldest ever found ...
New York Daily News
Her great-grandfather was in Tuskegee Study, but she's getting vaccine
ATLANTA — Peggy Fitzpatrick Tatum recently spent two weeks trying to book an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine before eventually landing a date. Tatum's decision to get the vaccine may raise some eyebrows. The 65-year-old retired federal employee is the great-granddaughter of one of hundreds of Black men in Macon County, Alabama, who were part of a controversial U.S. Public Health Service study on syphilis, commonly known as the Tuskegee Study or Tuskegee Experiment, which began in 1932 and lasted 40 years. Blacks and Latinos have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in te...
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
New research: Why Zoom can wipe you out
COVID-19 pandemic has moved our lives into a virtual space. Why is that so exhausting? The tiredness doesn’t feel earned. We’re not flying an airplane, teaching toddlers or rescuing people trapped in burning buildings. Still, by the end of the day, the feeling is so universal that it has its own name: Zoom Fatigue. Stanford University professor Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, has some answers. In research published Tuesday in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior, he describes the psychological impact of spending hours every day on Zoom, G...
The Mercury News
Disgusted? Good. It could be beneficial to your health, a new study shows
SEATTLE — Eww, gross! There's no need to feel there's something wrong with you if you recoil when foodie friends talk about the interesting delicacies they've tried: still-beating cobra hearts, soft-boiled fetal duck or even the more banal chocolate-covered crickets. And you don't need to change — in fact, these reactions could keep you healthy. Disgust, it turns out, is good for you, according to a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that suggests revulsion could be the body's way of avoiding infection. The idea is not new: Charles Darwin hypot...
The Seattle Times