DAILY DOSE: The battle for Ukraine begins; Largest bacterium identified and can be seen with the naked eye.

After weeks of assembling its soldiers around the perimeter of Ukraine, Russian forces have finally started the incursion which they’ve been telegraphing for the world to see. Per Reuters, “Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Thursday in a massed assault by land, sea and air, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two. Missiles rained down. Ukraine reported columns of troops pouring across its borders from Russia and Belarus and landing on the coast from the Black and Azov seas. 

“Ukrainian troops fought Russian forces along practically the entire border, and fierce fighting was taking place in the regions of Sumy, Kharkiv, Kherson, Odessa and at a military airport near Kyiv, an adviser to the presidential office said…

“’Russia treacherously attacked our state in the morning, as Nazi Germany did in the WW2 years,’ tweeted Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. ‘Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself & won’t give up its freedom no matter what Moscow thinks.’” https://reut.rs/3sfGQdM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of all Covid-19 restrictions put in place in England. Per the Associated Press, “All government-mandated coronavirus restrictions in England were lifted Thursday, including the legal requirement for people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate at home. Officials say that those who tested positive will still be advised to stay at home for at least five days. But from Thursday they are not legally obliged to do so, and those on lower incomes will no longer get extra financial support to make up for a loss of income due to isolation. The routine tracing of infected people’s contacts has also been scrapped.” Consider this Step 1 in their “Living with Covid” strategy, whatever that is. https://bit.ly/3pfqeAW

The abortion landscape in the United States is changing almost as quickly as new coronavirus variants appear. Thanks to the pandemic, a major shift has occurred thanks to the increased use of telemedicine. Now, the majority of procedures occur through a pill as opposed to surgery. Per the Associated Press, “More than half of U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery, an upward trend that spiked during the pandemic with the increase in telemedicine, a report released Thursday shows. In 2020, pills accounted for 54% of all U.S. abortions, up from roughly 44% in 2019. The preliminary numbers come from the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. The group, by contacting providers, collects more comprehensive abortion data than the U.S. government.” Use of abortion pills has been rising since 2000 when the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone — the main drug used in medication abortions. https://bit.ly/3vfh7E8

In amazing (and slightly creepy) news, the largest bacterium has been identified in the Caribbean… and it’s massive. According to Science, “By definition, microbes are supposed to be so small they can only be seen with a microscope. But a newly described bacterium living in Caribbean mangroves never got that memo (see video, above). Its threadlike single cell is visible to the naked eye, growing up to 2 centimeters—as long as a peanut—and 5000 times bigger than many other microbes. What’s more, this giant has a huge genome that’s not free floating inside the cell as in other bacteria, but is instead encased in a membrane, an innovation characteristic of much more complex cells, like those in the human body.” Aside from upending ideas about how large and complex microbes can become, some researchers are suggesting that this bacterium may be the missing link between simple and complex cells.  https://bit.ly/3LY7Xlx

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


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