Food for thought: New maps reveal how brains are kept nourished

Scientists have created new brain maps featuring unprecedented detail. The insights provided by the new maps are helping answer questions about blood supply and how more active parts of the brain are kept nourished versus less demanding areas. …

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Disruption of lung biological clock in premature babies may raise later flu risk

Disruptions in the circadian rhythms in lung cells may explain why adults who survived premature birth are often more at risk of severe influenza infections, suggests a new study. …

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How Green Are Electric Vehicles?

In short: Very green. But plug-in cars still have environmental effects. Here’s a guide to the main issues and how they might be addressed. …

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How Do Virus Variants Get Their Names?

B.1.351 may sound sweet to a molecular epidemiologist, but what’s the alternative, other than stigmatizing geographical names? …

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As Senate Debates Interior Nominee, the Department Moves on Climate Change

As Deb Haaland, President Biden’s choice for Interior secretary, heads toward a showdown vote, the department she would head is moving ahead on environmental policies. …

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Vaccine development software shows promise in influenza effort, could help defeat coronavirus

A novel computer algorithm that could create a broadly reactive influenza vaccine for swine flu also offers a path toward a pan-influenza vaccine and possibly a pan-coronavirus vaccine as well, according to a new paper. …

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New Technique Unfolds Centuries of Secrets in Locked Letters

M.I.T. researchers have devised a virtual-reality technique that lets them read old letters that were mailed not in envelopes but in the writing paper itself after being folded into elaborate enclosures. …

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Miami Says It Can Adapt to Rising Seas. Not Everyone Is Convinced.

Officials have a new plan to manage rising water. Succeed or fail, it will very likely become a case study for other cities facing climate threats. …

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Once Upon a Time on Mars

A dune buggy is about to set off on behalf of its human owners to fulfill a primordial yearning. …

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Rarest seal breeding site discovered

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown breeding site used by the world’s rarest seal species. …

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The time is ripe! An innovative contactless method for the timely harvest of soft fruits

In agriculture, there are many mechanical methods to indirectly measure a fruit’s ripeness through its firmness. However, most fall short for soft fruits, which do not exhibit the same types of measurable vibration as harder ones. Now, scientists have developed an innovative method to measure fruit firmness using laser-induced plasma shockwaves. Their contactless, non-destructive approach works on mangoes and should be useful for other soft fruits as well. …

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Repurposed arthritis drug did not significantly improve severe COVID-19 pneumonia

A repurposed drug used to treat arthritis did not significantly improve the outcomes of patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Tocilizumab did not significantly improve clinical status or mortality rate at 28 days for participants who received it compared to a placebo, according to a new study. …

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High Turnover at Nursing Homes Threatens Residents’ Care

A new study highlights the persistent problems caused by an unstable work force, an underlying threat that may have led to staggering death tolls in the pandemic. …

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This Bird Wasn’t Seen for 170 Years. Then It Appeared in an Indonesian Forest.

The black-browed babbler has long been one of Indonesia’s most enigmatic birds. …

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A Covid Vaccine Side Effect, Enlarged Lymph Nodes, Can Be Mistaken for Cancer

The condition is becoming more common as immunization rates increase. Experts are suggesting ways to ease patients’ fears and avoid needless testing. …

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Making new fabric from old textiles

A lot of us recycle our old textiles, but few of us know that they are very difficult to re-use, and often end up in landfills anyway. Now, researchers have developed a method that converts cotton into sugar, that in turn can be turned into spandex, nylon or ethanol. …

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Bottling the world’s coldest plasma

Physicists have discovered a way to trap the world’s coldest plasma in a magnetic bottle, a technological achievement that could advance research into clean energy, space weather and solar physics. …

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Surf’s Up. The Temperature Isn’t.

Growing numbers of surfers are taking to the Great Lakes — even when the weather is well below freezing. …

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Covid Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson’s shot authorized by F.D.A.

The authorization of a third Covid-19 vaccine will bring millions more doses within days. But health officials worry that some people will see the vaccine as the inferior choice. …

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Vulnerable Inmates Left in Prison as Covid Rages

At a federal compound in Connecticut, inmates in precarious health “are like sitting ducks,” one lawyer said. …

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Imaging space debris in high resolution

Researchers have introduced a new method for taking high-resolution images of fast-moving and rotating objects in space, such as satellites or debris in low Earth orbit. They created an imaging process that first utilizes a novel algorithm to estimate the speed and angle at which an object in space is rotating, then applies those estimates to develop a high-resolution picture of the target. …

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When using pyrite to understand Earth’s ocean and atmosphere: Think local, not global

Scientists have long used information from sediments at the bottom of the ocean to reconstruct the conditions in oceans of the past. But a study raises concerns about the common use of pyrite sulfur isotopes to reconstruct Earth’s evolving oxidation state. These signals aren’t the global fingerprint of oxygen in the atmosphere, according to new research from Washington University in St. Louis. …

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Meteorites remember conditions of stellar explosions

A team of international researchers went back to the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago to gain new insights into the cosmic origin of the heaviest elements on the periodic table. …

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Want to Buy a Scrunchie Mask? Great. But Forget About That N95.

Scientists are urging Americans to upgrade their face coverings. But Amazon, Google and Facebook restrict the sale of medical-grade masks. Critics say the rules are outdated. …

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Measuring the tRNA world

Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) deliver specific amino acids to ribosomes during translation of messenger RNA into proteins. The abundance of tRNAs can therefore have a profound impact on cell physiology, but measuring the amount of each tRNA in cells has been limited by technical challenges. Researchers have now overcome these limitations with mim-tRNAseq, a method that can be used to quantify tRNAs in any organism and will help improve our understanding of tRNA regulation in health and disease. …

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