The Daily Dose: World leaders pledge to combat wildlife extinctions; The face of COVID-19 misinformation belongs to…

If taken at face value, world leaders may finally be ready to take the world’s wildlife extinction crisis seriously. At least, that’s what it sounded like at the United Nations yesterday. Per the BBC, “As nearly 150 global leaders lined up – virtually – to address Wednesday’s UN biodiversity summit, the stakes could not have been higher. ‘The house is on fire and we are all locked in, because of a disease that came from our mismanagement of nature.’ This was how Inger Anderson, head of the UN Environment Programme, put it in a briefing the day before the event.” Of course, we’ve heard this all before in terms of climate change, global emissions, and the move away from dirty coal. So forgive us if we don’t hold our breath.

Now here’s a shocker for you. U.S. president, Donald Trump has been cited as the single most persistent source of COVID-19 misinformation since the global pandemic began. A paper recently published scoured millions of articles in order to quantify where questionable information originated. President Trump was the runaway winner. Per the New York Times, “That is the conclusion of researchers at Cornell University who analyzed 38 million articles about the pandemic in English-language media around the world. Mentions of Mr. Trump made up nearly 38 percent of the overall “misinformation conversation,” making the president the largest driver of the “infodemic” — falsehoods involving the pandemic.” Of course, businessman-turned-reality-star-turned-American-president has been enabled by his supporters, the Republican Party, and other right-wing groups. (Not that we’re giving Left-wing anti-vaxxers a free pass… We see you.)

When a scientist peered deep into DNA’s structure using new, cutting-edge 3D imaging technology, she was amazed at what she saw. Per the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “As her initial euphoria faded, O’Shea realized the shapes she saw were wholly unexpected. Based on widely accepted notions about how genetic material organizes in vitro, researchers had anticipated that the DNA strands would be neatly wound into regular fibers of 30, 120, and 300–700 nanometers in diameter. Instead, in the intact nucleus, chromosomes appeared as an amorphous tangle—at least at first glance.” It’s nice to know that science can still amaze veteran scientists.

And finally for today, there’s more good news coming from the Open Access front. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, one of the world’s most generous research philanthropies, said that it will require all of its scientists to make their research free to read immediately. Per Science, “After the policy takes effect in January 2022, the move could block the institute’s scientists, who include some of the biggest names in biomedical research, from publishing in top-tier, subscription-only journals such as Cell, Nature, and Science. Work by more than 4700 staff members, including 256 investigators and nearly 1700 postdoctoral researchers at laboratories across the United States, could be affected, HHMI says. But if elite journals continue to join the movement toward open-access publishing, HHMI authors may gain new options for compliance.” The article must have been fun for the journal’s editorial staff to put together, since they are part of the problem and all tha.

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