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Sci-News Roundup June 15 - June 21, 2024

General Interest  Cosmos   Innovation   Health  Nature  Environment  Climate

SftPublic programs are recorded, broadcast & distributed by Belmont Media Center TV & are uploaded to SftPublic website event pages and YouTube channel

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Upcoming Events

No events will be scheduled during July and August

Recent Events

June 18 New Directions in Particle Physics (Forum Network webinar)

June 11 The Battle for the Future of Food (Forum Network video)

May 14 Our Expanding Universe: The DESI Project's First Results (FN video)

May 06 Kingdom of Play (Forum Network video)

Apr 23 How Effective Are Vitamin D Supplements? (Belmont Media Ctr video)

Mar 19 Biodiversity in the Sixth Mass Extinction (Belmont Media Ctr video)


The Japanese Way to Multiply Is So Much Cooler Than Ours

Popular Mechanics, August 18, 2020 

Some mathematicians say it’s “Vedic multiplying,” its real origins aren’t exactly clear. Sometimes it’s Japanese, sometimes it’s Chinese, and sometimes it’s called line or stick multiplication. Article includes TikTok & YouTube demos + links to other multiplication systems.

The One Reason That Physicists Won’t Give Up On Supersymmetry

Big Think, June 18, 2024

Almost 100 years ago, an asymmetric pathology led Dirac to postulate the positron. A similar pathology could lead us to supersymmetry.

The Secrets of Maya Child Sacrifice at Chichén Itzá Uncovered Using Ancient DNA

The Conversation, June 14, 2024

After analyzing the remains of 64 ancient sacrificed individuals, most of whom were children, researchers have revealed new details about human sacrifice at the ancient Maya site of Chichén Itzá.

Differential Privacy: Keeping Your Data Safe

Plus Maths, June 07, 2024

When private data about people is made available to third parties there's always a chance that individuals' data can be identified even if the data is anonymized. Differential privacy is a way of measuring the extent to which releasing information about a database poses a risk to privacy.

Former CDC Director Predicts Bird Flu Pandemic

The Hill, June 16, 2024

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said he predicts a bird flu pandemic will happen — it’s just a matter of when that will be.


Rare Sky Explosion Coming Soon: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Event Visible to The Naked Eye

Science Alert, June 19, 2024

Astronomers are on tenterhooks waiting for this thing to blow, not just because it will be amazing, but for the wealth of data we'll be able to collect on a type of star explosion called a classical nova.

The Sun's Magnetic Field Is About To Flip. Here's What to Expect.

Live Science, June 17, 2024

When the sun reaches its period of peak activity, known as solar maximum, our star's magnetic field will suddenly reverse. But why does it happen, and will it impact Earth?

JWST Detects the Earliest, Most Distant Galaxy in the Known Universe—And It’s Super Weird

Scientific American, June 13, 2024

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope observed an unusually large and highly luminous galaxy at a record-breaking 290 million years after the big bang.

Shaking the Box for New Physics: CMS Collaboration Reports Findings on Rare B⁰ Meson Decay

Phys.Org, June 13, 2024

The physics process that drives the decay of a particle into lighter ones can be influenced by new, unknown particles, which might be too heavy to be produced at the LHC. This influence could change the decay process in ways that can be measured and compared to predictions of the Standard Model of particle physics.

Scaling Up the Dark Matter Search

Symmetry, June 06, 2024

Physicists are preparing for the next generation of dark-matter experiments.


Modern Surgery Began With Saws and Iron Hands – How Amputation Transformed the Body in the Renaissance

The Conversation, June 17, 2024

The human body today has many replaceable parts, ranging from artificial hearts to myoelectric feet. What makes this possible is not just complicated technology and delicate surgical procedures. It’s also an idea — that humans can and should alter patients’ bodies in supremely difficult and invasive ways.

New Air-Conditioning Technology Could Be the Future of Cool

Scientific American, August 129, 2023

Standard AC units cool buildings but contribute to global warming. New technology aims to change that.

Zero-Waste Grocery Stores in Growth Mode as Consumers Seek to Ditch Plastic

Civil Eats, June 10, 2024

Food packaging is a significant contributor to the plastic pollution crisis. These stores offer shoppers an alternative.

People Struggle to Tell Humans Apart from ChatGPT in Five-Minute Chat Conversations, Tests Show

TechXplore, June 16, 2024

Large language models (LLMs), such as the GPT-4 model underpinning the widely used conversational platform ChatGPT, have surprised users with their ability to understand written prompts and generate suitable responses in various languages. Some of us may thus wonder: are the texts and answers generated by these models so realistic that they could be mistaken for those written by humans?

China Could Start Building World’s Biggest Particle Collider in 2027

Nature, June 17, 2024

The US$5 billion facility would be cheaper, bigger and faster to build than a similar one proposed by European scientists.


The High Price of a Suntan

Chemistry World, June 10, 2024

Since the early 1990s, melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have more than doubled in the UK. The latest figures show that there are more than 16,500 new cases of melanoma skin cancer each year – around 46 new cases every day.

Evening Exercise Works Best for Lowering Blood Sugar Levels

EveryDay Health, June 14, 2024

Experts emphasize that all activity lowers blood sugar and that the best time to exercise is whenever you can fit it in.

Think You’re Cleaning Your Water Bottle Enough? Wrong.

Washington Post, June 14, 2024

Here’s how often you should be cleaning your water bottle, and how to do it correctly.

What Are the Most Healthful Vegetables?

Medical News Today, November 29, 2023

There is no single most healthy vegetable, but eating a variety of vegetables can improve health and well-being. Nutritious options to add to the diet include spinach, peas, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

Fantasyland General

The American Prospect, June 13, 2024

Hospital pricing is impenetrable to consumers and regulators alike. The result: increased costs and profits, and wasteful reliance on armies of middlemen.


Drones Reveal Antarctic Whale 'Acrobatics'

BBC, June 14, 2024 (w/videos)

As BBC News filmed with scientists in the Antarctic Peninsula, one whale used its four-meter-long fin to sweep a net of bubbles around its prey and trap them, known as "bubble-netting". "The flick of that of that flipper really shows how adaptable, how creative, these animals can be," said Dr Ari Friedlaender from the University of California Santa Cruz.

The Enduring Mystery of How Water Freezes

Quanta, June 17, 2024

Making ice requires more than subzero temperatures. The unpredictable process takes microscopic scaffolding, random jiggling and often a little bit of bacteria.

Deep-Sea Vent Tubeworms Grow on Carbon Dioxide

Cosmos, June 16, 2024

Deep down on the floor of the Pacific Ocean a species of giant tubeworm – Riftia pachyptila – dwells near hydrothermal vents. Despite living in an environment of extreme temperatures, crushing pressures, and zero sunlight these animals thrive and grow as tall as 1.8 meters.

What Happens in the Troposphere Doesn’t Stay in the Troposphere

EOS, June 17, 2024

A new study suggests that spillover of tropospheric ozone is affecting measurements of stratospheric ozone recovery more than previously realized.

10 Cool Animals That Stand Out in a Crowd

How Stuff Works, June 17, 2024

Here's a spotlight on 10 of the coolest animals, showcasing their incredible traits and the challenges they face in their natural habitats.


States Are Eyeing Bird-Friendly Wetlands to Help Rid the Great Lakes of Toxic Algae

Audubon, June 17, 2024

A decade after Toledo’s water crisis, harmful blooms remain a stubborn reality. Swamps and marshes alone can’t fix the problem, but they have an important role to play, experts say.

Who Funds Conservative Green Groups?

E&E News, June 17, 2024

The conservative groups, such as Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions and the American Conservation Coalition, eschew policies like regulation and big spending to fight climate change. They dismiss such actions as partisan ideas that won’t spur innovation to transform the planet. And donors are fine with that.

Agriculture ‘Major Driver’ of Rise in Nitrous Oxide Emissions Over Past 40 Years

Carbon Brief, June 11, 2024

Nitrogen fertilizers, manure and other agricultural sources drove almost three-quarters of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions in recent years.

California Bees and Birds to Receive Increased Protections from Toxic Insecticide

The Hill, June 11, 2024

Specifically, the action will forbid the application of neonicotinoid pesticides — often called “neonics” — which pose a threat to birds, bees and other critical pollinators. The ban will pertain to “Department lands,” some of which include state wildlife refuges.

Wildlife Experts Urge Action on Pesticides as UK Insect Populations Plummet

The Guardian, June 14, 2024

Campaigners say next government must reduce use and toxicity of pesticides before it is too late


G7 Countries Must Deliver on COP28 Promise to Cut Fossil Fuels

Climate Home News, June 13m 2024

Pacific Island communities are unwilling witnesses of the climate crisis – emitting minuscule amounts of greenhouse gases while bearing the brunt of the extreme and devastating consequences of the world’s failure to break its addiction to fossil fuels. 

Analysis: What Record Global Heat Means for Breaching the 1.5C Warming Limit

Carbon Brief, June 13, 2024

The findings show that, while the best estimate for crossing 1.5C has moved up by approximately two years compared to Carbon Brief’s earlier 2020 analysis, it remains most likely to happen in the late 2020s or early 2030s – rather than in the next few years.

Far-Right Fossil Fuel Company Allies Pressure US Supreme Court to Shield Firms in Unprecedented Campaign

The Guardian, June 09, 2024

Groups linked to billionaire Leonard Leo, who seems to have ties to Chevron, are pressing the court to intervene in lawsuits that could cost billions.

The Atlantic Is Starting to Bubble

Yale Climate Connections, June 12, 2024

As of midday Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center, or NHC, was highlighting three areas of potential development over the next five days, including two in the Atlantic and one in the Eastern Pacific. Both systems in the Atlantic are positioned along a weak frontal zone stretching from the central Florida peninsula to the Bay of Campeche.

Far-Right Gains in European Elections: What They Mean for Climate Goals

Nature, June 10, 2024

A political shift to the right in Europe could make it harder to bring in more ambitious green policies, but key net-zero commitments should remain.

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We produce public lectures, an interview program (Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations), and a mini-documentary series (Working Science). All of our productions are videotaped and are available on our website and our online channels, as well as on WGBH Forum Network and Belmont Media Center Community TV. 

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