DAILY DOSE: Covid-19 is surging globally… again; Chimps make us look less unique by the day.

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WILL IT EVER END?

It’s worse than Groundhog Day when it comes to Covid-19 surges. According to some reports Asia is in the middle of a pretty significant one. According to Reuters, “A new wave of coronavirus infections is rapidly spreading through Asia, prompting warnings for residents from New Zealand to Japan to take precautions to slow the outbreak and help prevent healthcare systems from being overwhelmed. The renewed surge in cases, mostly of the BA.4/5 Omicron variants, provides a further challenge for authorities grappling with the economic fallout of earlier waves of the pandemic while trying to avoid extending or reintroducing unpopular restrictions.” Japan reported almost 95,000 cases on Wednesday and newly infected patients have increased by 2.14-fold compared to the last week, according to a government spokesperson. https://bit.ly/3O7R87A


PROBABLY NOT.

While we’re on the topic of new waves of Covid-19, it seems as if California is also on the verge of one of its own. The Associated Press is reporting, “Nick Barragan is used to wearing a mask because his job in the Los Angeles film industry has long required it, so he won’t be fazed if the nation’s most populous county reinstates rules requiring face coverings because of another spike in coronavirus cases across the country. ‘I feel fine about it because I’ve worn one pretty much constantly for the last few years. It’s become a habit,’ said Barragan, masked up while out running errands Wednesday… Nationwide, the latest COVID-19 surge is driven by the highly transmissible BA.5 variant, which now accounts for 65% of cases with its cousin BA.4 contributing another 16%. The variants have shown a remarkable ability to get around the protection offered by vaccination.” To say that this virus has been unrelenting is an understatement. https://bit.ly/3O7R87A


CHIMPS LIKE US.

Just when you thought chimpanzees couldn’t get more human-like, think again. Researchers have observed the primates doing something you never would expect. Digging a well. According to the Smithsonian, “The young female named Onyofi arrived at her new group in 2015. Soon after, researchers noticed she began digging wells. Scientists think that she grew up in a well-digging community of chimps before joining the Waibira group in the rainforest, Jason Goodyer reports for Science Focus. Upon seeing Onyofi digging wells, other chimpanzees—both young and full-grown—were interested in the behavior. Dominating males watched her dig and drink from a well, before they drank from it as well. Other female chimpanzees in the Waibira group followed Onyofi’s lead and dug, per Science Focus.” So chalk that up to one more thing that makes us less special as human beings. Funny that. https://bit.ly/3o91itS


NEW HORIZONS, NEW FRONTIERS.

There is no shortage of spacecrafts making trips to the Moon, Mercury, or Mars… you name it. But the most intriguing has to be the New Horizons satellite which is now well past Pluto. An article in space.com takes a look at the new objectives on the satellites mission. “New Horizons is still on duty in extended mission mode, diving ever deeper into the Kuiper Belt to examine ancient, icy mini-worlds in that vast region beyond the orbit of Neptune…  in heliophysics, the spacecraft will study ‘pickup ions.’ These charged particles dominate the pressure of the outer heliosphere — the huge bubble of magnetic fields and particles that the sun blows around itself — and control where the boundary with the interstellar medium is situated. In astrophysics, New Horizons will study the cosmic optical and ultraviolet background, getting a nice view beyond the obscuring dust and other scattered light sources of the solar system’s inner regions. New Horizons has already produced the most sensitive measurements of these backgrounds to date, with ‘deep implications for cosmology,’ Stern noted. In the planetary science column, the probe is slated to study Uranus and Neptune from unique ‘high phase angle’ geometries, shedding light on the important energy balances of those planets.” Very very cool. https://bit.ly/3O6pQhJ

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


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