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DAILY DOSE: We’re doomed thanks to climate change; Questions about Covid-19 origins lingers.


There are more climate change reports than any normal human being can keep track of. The latest one issued by the United Nations comes to particularly stark conclusions. Per the Associated Press, “The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said Monday if human-caused global warming isn’t limited to just another couple tenths of a degree, an Earth now struck regularly by deadly heat, fires, floods and drought in future decades will degrade in 127 ways with some being ‘potentially irreversible.’

‘The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health,’ says the major report designed to guide world leaders in their efforts to curb climate change. Delaying cuts in heat-trapping carbon emissions and waiting on adapting to warming’s impacts, it warns, ‘will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.’” It’s not quite screaming “We’re doomed!” but it’s getting there.


The origins of Sars-CoV-2 continues to be a mystery. That said, two recent studies continue to narrow the range of possibilities. Per Nature, “Scientists have released three studies that reveal intriguing new clues about how the COVID-19 pandemic started. Two of the reports trace the outbreak back to a massive market that sold live animals, among other goods, in Wuhan, China1,2, and a third suggests that the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spilled over from animals — possibly those sold at the market — into humans at least twice in November or December 20193. Posted on 25 and 26 February, all three are preprints, and so have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“These analyses add weight to original suspicions that the pandemic began at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which many of the people who were infected earliest with SARS-CoV-2 had visited. The preprints contain genetic analyses of coronavirus samples collected from the market and from people infected in December 2019 and January 2020, as well as geolocation analyses connecting these samples to a section of the market where live animals were sold. Taken together, these different lines of evidence point towards the market as the source of the outbreak — much like animal markets were ground zero for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2002–2004 — says Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and an author on two of the reports. ‘This is extremely strong evidence,’ he says.”

The more time passes, the less likely a definitive answer becomes. This may be as good as it gets.


For as long as agriculture has existed, farmers have struggled against pests and parasites that destroy their crops. One particular potato pest has proven particularly difficult to tame. Now, researchers have created a natural pesticide from bananas. Per Science, “Researchers have shown a simple pouch made of paper created from banana tree fibers disrupts the hatching of cyst nematodes and prevents them from finding the potato roots. The new technique has boosted yields fivefold in trials with small-scale farmers in Kenya, where the pest has recently invaded, and could dramatically reduce the need for pesticides. The strategy may benefit other crops as well.”

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


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