Potentially good news came from the World Bank regarding the environment. according to a report in Reuters, “The World Bank on Tuesday agreed to boost the amount of money it spends to tackle climate change to 35% from a previous target of 28% and to release annual progress reports after its draft climate change action plan came under fire for lack of a clear implementation strategy. The global development bank said it would also provide a roadmap to show how it will help developing countries meet their Paris climate accord targets.” this is, of course, all on paper. It remains to be seen what actually happens. Not only that, there is still much more work to be done In terms of combating climate change. https://reut.rs/3vQIKjH
With a quick and successful development of the Pfizer – BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines, it’s easy to take for granted the amount of hard work and expertise that were needed to produce the drugs. The difficulties of developing an mRNA covid-19 vaccine were on full display late last week when CureVac’s mRNA vaccine failed to impress. Now, researchers are trying to ubderstand why. Per Science, “It relies on essentially the same novel mRNA technology as vaccines from the Pfizer-BioNTech collaboration and Moderna, which had more than 90% efficacy in their trials, and it holds some practical transportation and storage advantages over those rival shots. But preliminary data released Wednesday evening and discussed on a call with investors yesterday suggest the efficacy of the CureVac vaccine is a lackluster 47%—low enough that, if further data are equally disappointing, health regulators likely won’t authorize it for emergency use.” According to the pharmaceutical company, the low efficacy was due to the emergence of new variants and their altered spike proteins. https://bit.ly/3gJRLqu
An investigation into possible bias in the algorithms that make much of healthcare’s stock Square run Has shown that there are big problems. According to STAT, “Researchers at the University of Chicago found that pervasive algorithmic bias is infecting countless daily decisions about how patients are treated by hospitals, insurers, and other businesses. Their report points to a gaping hole in oversight that is allowing deeply flawed products to seep into care with little or no vetting, in some cases perpetuating inequitable treatment for more than a decade before being discovered.” if you’ve ever wondered why there is a lot of hand-wringing about artificial intelligence, This is why. https://bit.ly/3gTyMIQ
A potentially game-changing covid-19 vaccine development has been announced. According to Al-jazeera, “The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is setting up a hub in South Africa to give companies from poor and middle-income countries the know-how and licences to produce COVID-19 vaccines, in what President Cyril Ramaphosa called an historic step to spread lifesaving technology.” If this truly pans out, it will be a major step towards controlling the pandemic. https://bit.ly/3j4DI04
Although you probably never thought of it, dirty laundry has been a massive problem for astronauts in the International Space Center. Until now, they have pretty much just warn their clothes until they stink so much and then they change and throughout the old clothes. Per the Associated Press, “NASA wants to change that — if not at the International Space Station, then the moon and Mars — and stop throwing away tons of dirty clothes every year, stuffing them in the trash to burn up in the atmosphere aboard discarded cargo ships. So it’s teamed up with Procter & Gamble Co. to figure out how best to clean astronauts’ clothes in space so they can be reused for months or even years, just like on Earth. The Cincinnati company announced Tuesday that it will send a pair of Tide detergent and stain removal experiments to the space station later this year and next, all part of the galactic battle against soiled and sweaty clothes.” https://bit.ly/2TYXOhK
Butterflies with transparent wings have been One of the truly amazing sites in nature. Up until now, how those wings are Made has not been well understood. Now, research researchers believe they know the secret. According to a report in Science News, “Using confocal and electron microscopes, Pomerantz and colleagues found that the black rims of G. oto’s wings were densely packed with flat, leaflike scales. But the transparent areas sported narrow, bristle-like scales spaced farther apart. As a result, only about 2 percent of the underlying clear wing membrane was visible in black regions, but about 80 percent of the membrane was exposed in transparent areas.” https://bit.ly/3gSkico
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.