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Cleaner air as a result of pandemic lockdown During the first lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic, soot concentrations in the atmosphere over Western and Southern Europe almost halved. This is apparent from the comparison of two measurement campaigns carried out by the German research aircraft HALO in 2017 and 2020. A new study suggests that around 40 percent of the reduction can be attributed to a decrease in anthropogenic emissions. These findings reflect the major impact of human activity on … ⌘ Read more

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In a win for endangered piping plovers like Chicago’s Monty and Rose, the Great Lakes has record breeding season Monty and Rose, who achieved local fame in 2019 as the first federally endangered piping plovers to raise a family in Chicago in almost 60 years, are gone from the North Side beach where they spent three summers. ⌘ Read more

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Thousands more species at risk of extinction than currently recorded, suggests new study New research suggests the extinction crisis may be even worse than we thought. More than half of species that have so far evaded any official conservation assessment are threatened with extinction, according to predictions by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. ⌘ Read more

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Gun violence can be reduced with a strategy focused on deterrence Canada has seen an increase in gun violence in recent years. In the past few months, Montréal and its suburbs have seen numerous shootings, with some fatalities, including bystanders. There have also been several shootings near Vancouver and Toronto. ⌘ Read more

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Women are too tired and time-strapped for board games due to shrinking leisure time Women don’t enjoy as much leisure time as men, and during the pandemic, it’s been particularly bad. According to the American Time Use Survey, women have nearly an hour less leisure time than men each day. ⌘ Read more

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Ancient source of oxygen for life hidden deep in the Earth’s crust Scientists at Newcastle University have uncovered a source of oxygen that may have influenced the evolution of life before the advent of photosynthesis. ⌘ Read more

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Austrian scientists race to reveal melting glaciers’ secrets Jumping from rock to rock to rock over a creek formed off Austria’s Jamtal glacier, scientist Andrea Fischer worries that precious scientific data will be irreversibly lost as the snow and ice melt faster than ever. ⌘ Read more

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New Pompeii finds highlight middle-class life in doomed city A trunk with its lid left open. A wooden dishware closet, its shelves caved in. Three-legged accent tables topped by decorative bowls. These latest discoveries by archaeologists are enriching knowledge about middle-class lives in Pompeii before Mount Vesuvius’ furious eruption buried the ancient Roman city in volcanic debris. ⌘ Read more

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Chances of climate catastrophe are ignored, scientists say Experts are ignoring the worst possible climate change catastrophic scenarios, including collapse of society or the potential extinction of humans, however unlikely, a group of top scientists claim. ⌘ Read more

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Rare flooding traps 1,000 people in US Death Valley Major flooding in California’s Death Valley on Friday stranded approximately 1,000 people, buried cars and shut down all roads into and out of the famously parched national park. ⌘ Read more

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Going once, going twice… Pakistan lions up for auction A Pakistan zoo is auctioning off a dozen lions to private collectors next week to free up space for a pride that won’t stop growing. ⌘ Read more

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Research team first to develop 3D structure of twinkle protein Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have developed a three-dimensional structure that allows them to see how and where disease mutations on the twinkle protein can lead to mitochondrial diseases. The protein is involved in helping cells use energy our bodies convert from food. Prior to the development of this 3D structure, researchers only had models and were unable to determine how these mutations contribute to disease. Mitochondri … ⌘ Read more

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Gases from Iceland’s volcano threaten nearby village Noxious gases from an Icelandic volcano threaten to pollute the air of a nearby village and risk spreading to the capital Reykjavik, the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said on Friday. ⌘ Read more

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Tijuana sewage spill shutters Imperial Beach and Coronado shorelines, yet again Adam Wraight pulled a blue sewage “warning” sign out of the sand near Imperial Beach Pier on Thursday morning, replacing it with the more ominous yellow and red placard telling beachgoers that waters were officially closed. ⌘ Read more

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Machine learning reveals hidden components of X-ray pulses Ultrafast pulses from X-ray lasers reveal how atoms move at timescales of a femtosecond. That’s a quadrillionth of a second. However, measuring the properties of the pulses themselves is challenging. While determining a pulse’s maximum strength, or ‘amplitude,’ is straightforward, the time at which the pulse reaches the maximum, or ‘phase,’ is often hidden. A new study trains neural networks to analyze the pulse to reveal these hidden … ⌘ Read more

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Irreplaceable roles of crocodiles and relatives are at risk of being lost As the risk of extinction for crocodilians grows, these well known species are not the only thing we stand to lose. New research in the British Ecological Society’s journal Functional Ecology highlights the unique roles these reptiles fulfill in their respective ecosystems are also at risk. ⌘ Read more

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Data-driven discovery of NbOI2 as a high performance layered piezoelectric Piezoelectric materials can convert mechanical energy to electrical energy, and vice versa. In recent years, there has been growing interest in the search for two-dimensional (2D) layered piezoelectrics. Such layered van der Waals piezoelectrics are particularly useful for niche applications such as actuators with atomic-scale precision and wearable sensors. In addition, 2D piezoelectrics can function as nanoscale powe … ⌘ Read more

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A simple, cheap material for carbon capture, perhaps from tailpipes Using an inexpensive polymer called melamine—the main component of Formica—chemists have created a cheap, easy and energy-efficient way to capture carbon dioxide from smokestacks, a key goal for the United States and other nations as they seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ⌘ Read more

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Complex coacervate droplets as a model material for studying the electrodynamic response of biological materials Manipulating solid particles of a few micrometers in size using an electric field has been of great interest to physicists. These controllable particles can be assembled into dynamic chains that can effectively control the flow of liquids in thin tubes like capillaries. Replacing these solid particles with liquid droplets would allow for previously unachievable electrorh … ⌘ Read more

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Oft-overlooked grasslands build biodiversity, resilience over centuries Grasslands’ biodiversity and resilience to disturbances such as fire, heat and drought is the result of a slow process over hundreds of years, like that of old growth forests, finds new CU Boulder-led research. ⌘ Read more

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Fruit flies: Summer pests or scientific marvel? Fly-swatting season is here. No sooner will you place your fresh strawberries on the kitchen counter than will the first fruit fly arrive. It won’t take long for a platoon of Drosophila buddies to be hovering about the spoils. ⌘ Read more

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Sponge-like electrodes inspired by sugar cubes could improve medical monitoring To monitor heart rhythms and muscle function, doctors often attach electrodes to a patient’s skin, detecting the electrical signals that lie beneath. These impulses are vital to the early diagnosis and treatment of many disorders, but currently available electrodes have limited function or are expensive to manufacture. Researchers reporting in ACS Nano, however, have now developed a low-cost, spongy version with … ⌘ Read more

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New crystal engineering strategy to design ultrabright fluorescent solid dyes When it comes to designing ultrabright solid-state fluorescent materials, bridged crystal designs might be the key to enabling monomeric emission and accessing novel crystalline systems, reveals a new study. A research team from Tokyo Institute of Technology prepared ultrabright fluorescent dyes using di-bridged distyrylbenzenes (DSBs) with flexible alkylene bridges, using a novel crystal engineering study. Th … ⌘ Read more

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Beluga whale spotted in France’s Seine river A Beluga whale, a protected species usually found in cold Arctic waters, has been seen in France’s Seine river, with authorities urging people to keep their distance to avoid distressing the animal. ⌘ Read more

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Spectators flock to Iceland volcano Curious onlookers made their way Thursday to the site of a volcano erupting near Iceland’s capital Reykjavik to marvel at the bubbling lava, a day after the fissure appeared in an uninhabited valley. ⌘ Read more

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