DAILY DOSE: Scientists accused of money laundering; South Korea joins the space race.


Scientists are voicing support for researchers in Mexico who have been accused by the Mexican government of very serious crimes. According to Nature, “The accusations centre on a formerly independent scientific advisory board to the government called the Scientific and Technological Consultative Forum — or Foro Consultivo — that was largely funded by Mexico’s top science agency, the National Council for Science and Technology (Conacyt), and has since been brought under that agency’s auspices. The prosecutor alleges that between 2012 and 2018, before current Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador was in office, Conacyt and the Foro partnered to funnel 471 million pesos (US$22.9 million) of the agency’s money into the Foro.” Normally, those charges are used against drug cartels and the implications are very serious. http://go.nature.com/30HO6DX


After being battered by the Delta wave, India has set an example of how to administer vaccines on a major scale. That said, there are concerns among local public health officials that the gap between vaccines is too long. According to the Associated Press, “India has administered 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, officials said Thursday, a milestone for the South Asian country where the delta variant fueled a crushing surge earlier this year. About 75% of India’s total eligible adult population has received at least one dose, while around 30% is fully immunized. The country of nearly 1.4 billion people is the second to exceed a billion cumulative doses after China, the most populous country, did so in June. Still, there remains a worrying gap between those who have received just one shot and those fully immunized. Ramping up the second dose is ‘an important priority,’ V.K. Paul, the head of the country’s COVID-19 taskforce, said last week.” http://bit.ly/3G690Nf

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The international space race has yet another entrant from Asia, According to Al-Jazeera, “South Korea has conducted the first test launch of its domestically built rocket, joining the ranks of advanced space-faring nations. The three-stage rocket, emblazoned with South Korea’s flag and carrying a dummy satellite, blasted off from a launch site in Goheung at 4pm (07:00 GMT) on Thursday, but failed to put its payload into orbit, according to President Moon Jae In.” They are still a few steps away from the main event but are close to making out of qualifying. http://bit.ly/2ZeX6A8


A recent study estimated the time when crabs first made the transition fromo being strictly ocean animals to hybrid land-sea creatures. According to the paper published in Science, “We present the first record of true crabs (Brachyura) in amber—from the Cretaceous of Myanmar [~100 to 99 million years (Ma)]. The new fossil preserves large compound eyes, delicate mouthparts, and even gills. This modern-looking crab is nested within crown Eubrachyura, or “higher” true crabs, which includes the majority of brachyuran species living today. The fossil appears to have been trapped in a brackish or freshwater setting near a coastal to fluvio-estuarine environment, bridging the gap between the predicted molecular divergence of nonmarine crabs (~130 Ma) and their younger fossil record (latest Cretaceous and Paleogene, ~75 to 50 Ma) while providing a reliable calibration point for molecular divergence time estimates for higher crown eubrachyurans.” True crabs, or Eubrachyura, are among the animal groups that have conquered land, brackish water, and freshwater multiple times independently, although much more recently than other arthropod groups. http://bit.ly/3ppTkyn

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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