Climate Change Bloviating
The United Nations Climate Change Conference is supposed to be a big deal, so we’re covering it here. Per the Associated Press, “More than one world leader says humanity’s future, even survival, hangs in the balance when international officials meet in Scotland to try to accelerate efforts to curb climate change. Temperatures, tempers and hyperbole have all ratcheted up ahead of the U.N. summit. And the risk of failure looms large for all participants at the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, which begins Sunday and runs until Nov. 12.” Six years ago, the nations met and pledged and made individual plans to lower emissions. To date, global carbon emissions have increased. Did you expect anything else? https://bit.ly/3bkBXXG
An Own-Goal If There Ever Was One
At the height of the Trump Administration’s China-virus-kung-flu-Anti-Asian demagoguery, the United States government implemented a directive called the “China Initiative.” It was designed to put a check on Beijing’s influence in American scientific research by monitoring Chinese and Chinese-American academics. Two recent surveys have now established how it is harming American research. While there were a number of observations and conclusions, this is our key takeaway: “The rising violence against Asians living in the United States and the current political climate may result in a reverse brain drain in U.S. higher education. At UM, 42% of Chinese faculty said those factors have made them consider taking a job in another country, and roughly one-third of a national sample of Chinese scientists say their race or country of origin has been an impediment to their success.” The United States has never experienced significant brain drain. The best and brightest have always flocked to the country to learn and live. An outflow of those people would do irreparable harm to the country’s competitiveness. So yeah D.C., keep it up. https://bit.ly/3bpvOcW
Tragedy in the Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo has a serious problem with lead poisoning, stemming from the recycling and repurposing of old automobile batteries. Per Al-Jazeera, “While the world celebrated the end of the era of leaded petrol in August, studies show lead poisoning is increasing in much of the developing world, propelled by a rise in the use of other products that contain the substance. Driven mostly by the battery industry, demand for lead has grown as much as 10-fold in a decade. Although there is much hype about the role of lithium-ion batteries – which have a longer lifespan, are lighter and less toxic – in the future of energy storage, experts say this does not herald the demise of their cheaper and recyclable cousins, the lead-acid batteries.” https://bit.ly/3bkCf0I
An archaeological mystery is no longer a mystery in the deserts of China. Per Nature, “Since their discovery a century ago, hundreds of naturally preserved mummies found in China’s Tarim Basin have been a mystery to archaeologists. Some thought the Bronze Age remains were from migrants from thousands of kilometres to the west, who had brought farming practices to the area. But now, a genomic analysis suggests they were indigenous people who may have adopted agricultural methods from neighbouring groups. As they report today in Nature1, researchers have traced the ancestry of these early Chinese farmers to Stone Age hunter-gatherers who lived in Asia some 9,000 years ago. They seem to have been genetically isolated, but despite this had learnt to raise livestock and grow grains in the same way as other groups.” A tantalizing mystery has given way to a fascinating discovery. Science at its best. https://go.nature.com/3GyWje1
$10 Data Visualization in VR
We love doing science of all kinds and levels at home. Whether it’s peering into a starter microscope with your kids or taking them on nature walks to collect all sorts of goodies, it’s a perfect way to stimulate curiosity and have a good time. That’s why the news about doing some serious single-cell imaging at home for the price of a craft beer really gets us going. Per the FrontiersIn blog, “A team of scientists has developed a free, open-access VR program that allows anyone to interact with single-cell datasets using a headset costing less than $10. Previous tools used to view single-cell data visualizations in VR have been limited to the most expensive hardware, costing upwards of $2,500. The team’s findings have been published in Frontiers in Genetics.” Sign us up! https://bit.ly/3jO8eLu
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.
IMAGE CREDIT: Screenshot.