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DAILY DOSE: Even sustainable energy comes at a cost; What does science say about transgender women competing in women’s sports?

India is quickly growing into a global powerhouse and development is increasing at a furious clip. This means that the country’s desire for energy is near insatiable. The government has tried to ensure a steady supply of energy while minimizing the environmental impact. As a result, they have turned to hydroelectric technologies. The decision has had unintended consequences. Per the Associated Press,

A favorite initiative of Indian governments, the push for dams has skyrocketed as the nation looks for round-the-clock energy that doesn’t spew planet-warming emissions. Hydropower commonly is produced when fast-moving water spins turbines to generate electricity.

But natural water systems have been altered by dams in this region that receives little rainfall, and farmers are struggling to irrigate their orchards. Spring waters from melting glaciers they’ve historically relied on also are drying up with climate change.

Farmers found themselves turned into activists fighting against more dams, with thousands protesting last August after a fatal landslide in the district. Carving mountains to build tunnels that funnel river water has made deadly landslides more common — a risk scientists and locals have flagged, although authorities say they take precautions.

India’s federal ministries for renewable energy and environment didn’t respond to an email request for comment.

Unfortunately, as India continues developing, the balancing act between providing energy while also addressing environmental concerns will only become trickier.

Participation of transgender women in women’s sports has been a controversial topic, especially as conservatives have taken it upon themselves to protect the world’s moral soul and attack anything related to transgender rights. Recently a series of rulings by governing athletic bodies have set down guidelines regarding how and when transgender women can compete. Science took a look at what science says about transgender women in women’s sports.

World Athletics (WA), the governing body for track and field and other running competitions, announced last month that transgender women who went through male puberty can no longer compete in women’s events at international competitions. The policy took effect on 31 March.

WA also ruled that to compete as a woman, athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD), who have congenital conditions that cause atypical sex development, must have a testosterone level below 2.5 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) for at least 24 months before an international competition.

WA said its rules prioritized fairness and “integrity of female competition.” The organization’s president, Sebastian Coe, said, “We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years.”

But Joanna Harper, a Ph.D. student at Loughborough University who studies transgender athletes’ performance, questions whether the WA fully considered the scientific evidence. “I was disappointed with the decision,” says Harper, who is transgender. “The idea that it was necessary to ban trans women to protect the female category seems so far-fetched.”

She says the new rules discriminate against trans athletes and will likely hinder research on transgender women’s athletic performance.

People opposed to transgender women participating in women’s sport won’t be swayed by the evidence presented here.

Artificial intelligence has already proven its abilities with words and images. It makes all the sense in the world we’d soon discover how it fares with moving images. Wired took a look in a recent article,

The short videos give the impression of a flipbook, jumping shakily from one surreal frame to the next. They’re the result of internet meme-makers playing with the first widely available text-to-video AI generators, and they depict impossible scenarios like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson eating rocks and French president Emmanuel Macron sifting through and chewing on garbage, or warped versions of the mundane, like Paris Hilton taking a selfie.

This new wave of AI-generated videos has definite echoes of Dall-E, which swept the internet last summer when it performed the same trick with still images. Less than a year later, those wonky Dall-E images are almost indistinguishable from reality, raising two questions: Will AI-generated video advance as quickly, and will it have a place in Hollywood?

Can you guess how competent AI proved to be?

Plants are full of surprises. They have their own behavior. They can communicate with each other. They can move from one place to another (albeit extremely slowly). They even have rudimentary memory. Now, recent research has shown that when they are stressed, some plants let out high-itched screams. Per the Smithsonian Magazine,

Stressed plants that have been damaged or dehydrated do not go quietly—some emit high-pitched sounds, according to a study published last week in the journal Cell.

In an experiment, researchers denied water to some tomato and tobacco plants and cut the stems of others, then they placed microphones nearby. The devices picked up on noises coming from the plants that were outside the range humans can hear. However, researchers say other animals could theoretically detect the sounds from about 10 to 15 feet away, according to the paper.

The researchers found no evidence that the plants were making the sounds on purpose—the noises might be the plant equivalent of a person’s joints inadvertently creaking, Tom Bennett, a plant biologist at the University of Leeds in England who did not contribute to the study, tells Science News’ Meghan Rosen. “It doesn’t mean that they’re crying for help.”

But the sounds the plants made did hint at the specific types of stresses they were experiencing. A machine learning algorithm was able to distinguish between the sounds of a cut plant and the sounds of a dehydrated plant 70 percent of the time.

Crazy, huh?

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

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