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Reliable COVID-19 short-term forecasting

Researchers have developed a new model for making short-term projections of daily COVID-19 cases that is accurate, reliable and easily used by public health officials and other organizations. …

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New NASA visualization probes the light-bending dance of binary black holes

A pair of orbiting black holes millions of times the Sun’s mass perform a hypnotic pas de deux in a new NASA visualization. The movie traces how the black holes distort and redirect light emanating from the maelstrom of hot gas – called an accretion disk – that surrounds each one. …

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How the humble woodchip is cleaning up water worldwide

Australian pineapple, Danish trout, and Midwestern U.S. corn farmers are not often lumped together under the same agricultural umbrella. But they and many others who raise crops and animals face a common problem: excess nitrogen in drainage water. Whether it flows out to the Great Barrier Reef or the Gulf of Mexico, the nutrient contributes to harmful algal blooms that starve fish and other organisms of oxygen. …

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From smoky skies to a green horizon: Scientists convert fire-risk wood waste into biofuel

Reliance on petroleum fuels and raging wildfires: Two separate, large-scale challenges that could be addressed by one scientific breakthrough. Researchers have developed a streamlined and efficient process for converting woody plant matter like forest overgrowth and agricultural waste – material that is currently burned either intentionally or unintentionally – into liquid biofuel. …

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Little swirling mysteries: Uncovering dynamics of ultrasmall, ultrafast groups of atoms

Exploring and manipulating the behavior of polar vortices in material may lead to new technology for faster data transfer and storage. …

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New evidence suggests sexual division of labor as farming arose in Europe

A new investigation of stone tools buried in graves provides evidence supporting the existence of a division of different types of labor between people of male and female biological sex at the start of the Neolithic. …

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To improve climate models, an international team turns to archaeological data

To improve climate models, an international team turned to archaeological data. The resulting classification from the project, called LandCover6k, offers a tool the researchers hope might generate better predictions about the planet’s future and fill in gaps about its past. …

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Lower COVID-19 rates seen in U.S. states with higher adherence to mask wearing

A new state-by-state analysis shows a statistical association between high adherence to mask wearing and reduced rates of COVID-19 in the United States. …

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Suppression of COVID-19 waves reflects time-dependent social activity, not herd immunity

Scientists developed a model showing that a fragile, temporary state of immunity emerged during the early epidemic but got destroyed as people changed their social behaviors over time, leading to future waves of infection. …

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World’s protected areas need more than a ‘do not disturb’ sign

More than 4 million square kilometers have been designated as protected areas globally in the past decade, without documentation of how effective such areas across the globe are at protecting. …

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Stellar feedback and an airborne observatory; scientists determine a nebula younger than believed

Researchers studied RCW 120 to analyze the effects of stellar feedback, and found that RCW 120 must be less than 150,000 years old, which is very young for such a nebula. …

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Unlocking richer intracellular recordings

A forward-thinking group of researchers has identified a flexible, low-cost, and biocompatible platform for enabling richer intracellular recordings. …

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Engineer cautions pregnant women about speed bumps

Slow down. Baby on board. Future baby on board. New research determines that accelerating over speed bumps poses a danger for pregnant women and their fetuses. …

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COVID-19 in our dust may help predict outbreaks, study finds

A study done in rooms where COVID-19 patients were isolated shows that the virus’s RNA can persist up to a month in dust. The study did not evaluate whether dust can transmit the virus to humans. It could, however, offer another option for monitoring COVID-19 outbreaks in specific buildings, including nursing homes, offices or schools. …

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Ocean bacteria release carbon into the atmosphere

Researchers have discovered that deep-sea bacteria dissolve carbon-containing rocks, releasing excess carbon into the ocean and atmosphere. The findings will allow scientists to better estimate the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere, a main driver of global warming. …

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Road salts and other human sources are threatening world’s freshwater supplies

When winter storms threaten to make travel dangerous, people often turn to salt to melt snow and ice. Road salt is an important tool for safety, but a new study warns that introducing salt into the environment — for de-icing roads, fertilizing farmland or other purposes — releases toxic chemical cocktails that create a serious and growing global threat to our freshwater supply and human health. …

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Spanking may affect the brain development of a child

A new study linking spanking and child brain development shows spanking could alter a child’s neural responses to their environment, in similar ways to a child experiencing more severe violence. …

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Unusual fossil reveals last meal of prehistoric pollinator

An amber fossil of a Cretaceous beetle has shed some light on the diet of one of the earliest pollinators of flowering plants. …

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Shift in diet allowed gray wolves to survive ice-age mass extinction

Gray wolves are among the largest predators to have survived the extinction at the end of the last ice age. A new study analysing teeth and bones shows that the wolves may have survived by adapting their diet over thousands of years — from a primary reliance on horses during the Pleistocene, to caribou and moose today. …

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New research reveals secret to Jupiter’s curious aurora activity

Jupiter’s polar cap is threaded in part with closed magnetic field lines rather than entirely with open magnetic field lines, new research finds. …

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Unsettling currents: Warm water flowing beneath the ‘Doomsday Glacier’

Researchers have been able to obtain data from underneath Thwaites Glacier, also known as the ‘Doomsday Glacier’. They find that the supply of warm water to the glacier is larger than previously thought, triggering concerns of faster melting and accelerating ice flow. …

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