The Daily Dose: New York City ready to reopen; New Zealand clears COVID-19 from its shores

Sign up for Scientific Inquirer’s Steady State Newsletter for the week’s top stories, exclusive interviews, and weekly giveaways. Plenty of value added but without the tax.

Today represents a major test of the United States’s coronavirus response. The early epicenter of the the COVID-19 outbreak in America is taking its first step toward normalcy. “After three bleak months, New York City will try to turn a page when it begins reopening Monday after getting hit first by the coronavirus, then an outpouring of rage over racism and police brutality… With the virus in check — at least for now — New York is easing restrictions that shut down schools, businesses and much of city life in March… Construction, manufacturing, wholesalers and previously ‘nonessential’ retailers can resume work, with restrictions. Retailers can reopen for delivery and pickup, though customers can’t yet browse inside.” Let’s hope the massive protests and looting haven’t given the coronavirus second life in the city. We’ll know in roughly two weeks.

New Zealand has reported that it has cleared the coronavirus from within its borders. According to the Associated Press, “New Zealand has eradicated the coronavirus from its shores after the final person known to have been infected recovered. It has been 17 days since the last new case was reported in New Zealand, and Monday also marked the first time since late February that there have been no active cases.” The island nation will continue to practice strict border controls for the near future. The news gives everyone hope for a similar outcome.

Corn is a food staple for communities around the world. It hasn’t been clear exactly where and when the crop was first grown and consumed. A recent study of the Maya Mountains in Belize has shed new light on the matter, narrowing the possible date range. According to the study, “Individuals dating before ~4700 calendar years before present (cal B.P.) show no clear evidence for the consumption of maize. Evidence for substantial maize consumption (~30% of total diet) appears in some individuals between 4700 and 4000 cal B.P. Isotopic evidence after 4000 cal B.P. indicates that maize became a persistently used staple grain comparable in dietary significance to later maize agriculturalists in the region (>70% of total diet).”

Technology can often cause seismic-shifts in specific fields as varied as art conservation to nuclear physics. In archaeology, nothing has had a bigger effect in recent years as the airborne application of a remote-sensing technique called light detection and ranging (lidar). It has allowed researchers to conduct topographical studies that often reveals outlines of settlements and structures invisible to the naked eye. A team of researchers applied lidar to a long-neglected region that has been difficult to study. They report their findings in Nature, specifically, “the discovery of massive, ancient platforms made of clay and earth, measuring about 400 metres across and 1,400 metres in length, at Aguada Fénix in the Usumacinta region of Tabasco, which lies at the western boundary of the Maya lowlands.”

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

Words matter. Images matter. The Scientific Inquirer needs your support. Help us pay our contributors for their hard work. Visit our Patreon page and discover ways that you can make a difference.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: