Weekly Science Newsletter: July 15, 2021

Also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/hotscience

For each article, the title is in bold, the URL is blue, and my comment is italic.

Top News

Climate collapse: Amazon Forest carbon emissions exceed uptake as SE Amazon burns and dies
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/7/15/2040008/-Climate-collapse-Amazon-Forest-carbon-emissions-exceed-uptake-as-SE-Amazon-burns-and-dies
I this is a tipping point; Amazon changes from carbon sink to carbon source?

Coronavirus

Mexico enters 3rd wave of coronavirus, infections up 29%
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-mexico-3rd-coronavirus-infections.html
Maintain safe behavior, masking and distancing, indoor gathering. Complete vaccinations.

Study shows benefits of early anticlotting therapy in moderate COVID-19
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210713184404.htm
If you or your friend gets COVID ask the doc about anticlotting therapy.

‘Long COVID’: More than a quarter of COVID-19 patients still symptomatic after 6 months
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210713165300.htm
Long COVID is much more common than I had thought, more than 25%. More reason to keep safe.

Quarter-dose of Moderna COVID vaccine still rouses a big immune response
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01893-0
Results hint that dose stretching could help to address the world’s acute vaccine shortage.

Short chain fatty acids: An ‘ace in the hole’ against SARS-CoV-2 infection
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210714131913.htm
In your microbiome, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), produced by bacteria in the gut have beneficial effects in allergy and viral infections. Can we turn this into a treatment?

Technology/EVs/AI/3D printing

Why electric cars will take over sooner than you think
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57253947
What makes the end of the internal combustion engine inevitable is technological revolution. And technological revolutions tend to happen very quickly.

Vietnam’s Vinfast to launch electric cars in US, Europe next year
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-07-vietnam-vinfast-electric-cars-europe.html
This demonstrates that starting EV manufacturing is much easier. So new competitors will come.

Will drivers get burned by EU ban on ICE cars?
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-07-drivers-eu-ice-cars.html
The conversion to EV will be bumpy. What do you do with 1 billion used internal combustion engine cars?

World’s first 3D-printed steel footbridge unveiled by robot
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-07-world-3d-printed-steel-footbridge-unveiled.html
The 12-meter long pedestrian bridge is a first, and, built by researchers, there are many sensors to track how well the bridge handles traffic and weather stress.

New electronic paper displays brilliant colours
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-electronic-paper-brilliant-colours.html
Maybe this electronic color paper will be a nail in the coffin of traditional newspapers. Why get delivery when you can read your paper with electronic paper? Cutting out clippings will be a problem, though.

Business use of avatars
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210714110506.htm
These avatars are computer-generated representations of people. Can they handle customer and sales prospect interactions? Why do we need people anymore?

Physicists take big step in race to quantum computing
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210709104157.htm
The first working quantum computer was a 3-bit one, in 1998. 12 bits in 2006, now 256 bits.

Materials/Graphene/2-D Materials

Developing lactose-free milk with graphene oxide based nano filtration membranes
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-lactose-free-graphene-oxide-based-nano.html
I didn’t see this coming: graphene-based filters to remove lactose from milk.

Flight/Space/Astronomy/Physics

Final frontier: Billionaires Branson and Bezos bound for space
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-frontier-billionaires-branson-bezos-bound.html
Billionaires in space: How much energy does it take to launch their egos into space? People voted and thought Bezos should stay there.

Environment/Energy/Agriculture

2020’s make it or break it decade to address climate crisis
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/7/12/2039415/-2020-s-make-it-or-break-it-decade-to-address-climate-crisis
This is the time we must act. Push congress to pass the $3.5T infrastructure bill.

Our climate change turning point is right here, right now
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/12/our-climate-change-turning-point-is-right-here-right-now
This is the time we must act. Push congress to pass the $3.5T infrastructure bill.

EU unveils sweeping climate change plan
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57833807
“It is our generational task…  the wellbeing of not only our generation, but of our children and grandchildren. Europe is ready to lead the way.”

California Is Planning Floating Wind Farms Offshore to Boost Its Power Supply – Here’s How They Work
https://www.ecowatch.com/california-floating-wind-farms-offshore-2653780541.html
California has lots of ocean, but in some of the best places for wind, the seafloor drops off sharply. So they have embarked on the first big USA floating wind farm.

German coal plant closes after just six years, to produce green hydrogen from wind
https://reneweconomy.com.au/german-coal-plant-closes-after-just-six-years-to-produce-green-hydrogen-from-wind/
I bet this coal plant never paid back the investment it took to build it. Caught by the end of coal.

Direct air capture is a crucial bipartisan climate policy
https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/562473-direct-air-capture-is-a-crucial-bipartisan-climate-policy
The Hill is a pretty conservative site, and here are they calling for big action on climate change.

Global wind and solar power capacity grew at record rate in 2020
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jul/08/bp-global-wind-and-solar-power-capacity-grew-at-record-rate-in-2020
If we can do this every year for this decade, that will take care of much of the problem. The renewable boom brings a slump in demand for oil.

Renewables met 97% of Scotland’s electricity demand in 2020
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-56530424
Scotland is showing the word how to do it. Offshore wind is more than 2/3 of it.

Singapore unveils one of world’s biggest floating solar farms
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-07-singapore-unveils-world-biggest-solar.html
Singapore does not have enough land for solar power, so they are building it floating on a reservoir.

Study Projects a Surge in Coastal Flooding, Starting in 2030s
https://climate.nasa.gov/news/3093/study-projects-a-surge-in-coastal-flooding-starting-in-2030s/
But with everything we are doing now, ocean’s water continue their inexorable rise. We must do more.

Elevated warming, ozone have detrimental effects on plant roots, promote soil carbon loss
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210709193531.htm
One tipping point is when it gets so hot that plants and soil use less carbon.

Study of global climate-related mortality links five million deaths a year to abnormal temperatures
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210707185329.htm
5 million deaths/year is a lot more than with COVID. Maybe we should treat this as worse than the pandemic. Would this get politicians moving?

US heatwave: Wildfires rage in western states as temperatures soar
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57794263
Gee, I wonder if global warming has anything to do with the hot weather and drought?

Drought is stressing California’s power grid
https://www.theverge.com/2021/7/12/22573648/drought-california-power-grid-electricity-hydro-energy
The drought creates a loss in the state’s hydroelectric power, one crisis on top of another.

It’s hard to make chickenless chicken delicious. Has Beyond Meat cracked the code?
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/22567478/beyond-meat-chicken-tenders-vegan-review
This is an environmental story, since chicken farming has big environmental impact.

Heat pumps on the rise after Minnesota passes new energy law
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-07-minnesota-energy-law.html
Governments can do things to support the changes that are needed for climate.

New 3D printable phase-changing composites can regulate temperatures inside buildings
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210709130401.htm
Conventional power-guzzling cooling and heating systems need a more innovative, energy-efficient alternative. This novel 3D printable phase-change material (PCM) composites that can regulate ambient temperatures inside buildings is effective. And it can even be painted on.

Every spot of green space counts
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210712102235.htm
Save the planet. Plant something, anything, and help it grow.

Farm robots are the future; let’s start preparing now, researcher argues
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-farm-robots-future.html
Imagine: rich, green fields, streams, and wild flora and fauna, where fleets of small robots fueled by sustainable energy flit around the fields, their whirrs intermixed with insect chirps and birdsong. This is possible, but we need to push it this way.

Biology/Genetics

WHO should lead on genome-editing policy, advisers say
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01922-y
Genome editing could bring catastrophe, and it can bring cures to terrible diseases. It could be a way for the rich to create a generation of super-children, or for biologist find ways to feed the world. Maybe it should be controlled. What do you think? And can we, even if we want to?

Human/Anthropology/Brain

‘Neuroprosthesis’ restores words to man with paralysis
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210714174148.htm
Loss of speech is a terrible thing bringing loss of human relationships. Now there is a working AI/Brain Computer Interface (BCI) translating signals from his brain to the vocal tract directly into words.

California passes US’s first state-backed guaranteed income plan
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/15/california-guaranteed-income-pregnant-ubi
California is just giving monthly cash payments to qualifying pregnant people and young adults leaving foster care. I expect to hear from Republicans just how terrible this is.

Amazon wants to monitor you in your sleep
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-07-amazon.html
Coors want to advertise in your dreams, now Amazon wants to be the world’s sleep monitor. They got government approval to use a radar sensor to sense motion and “enable contactless sleep tracing functionalities.” I am not sure about 24/7 monitoring by big companies. It makes me afraid. I don’t trust them.

‘Hydrogel-based flexible brain-machine interface’
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210713093659.htm
Speaking of intrusive technology, this BCI interface is easy to insert when dry.

Trust me, I’m a Chatbot
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210714131902.htm
More companies are using chatbots in customer services. But consumers react negatively when they learn that the person they are talking to is, in fact, a chatbot.

Commuters escape Mexico City gridlock in new cable car
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-07-commuters-mexico-city-gridlock-cable.html
Commutes in Mexico City are slow and stressful. Not so with the new cable car system, floating in air.

Neuroscience and a Dose of Emotional Intelligence Reveal a Simple Trick to Learn More With Less Effort
https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/neuroscience-a-small-dose-of-emotional-intelligence-reveal-a-simple-trick-to-learn-a-whole-lot-more-with-a-lot-less-effort.html
When you first learn something there is a ‘forgetting curve’ and within a few minutes, you have lost much of what you just learned. But “spaced repetition” overcomes the ‘forgetting curve.’ I do this when I present HOT Science; first I carefully study the articles then put them down. In a few hours I review, so I am ready to present them.

Resilience, not collapse: What the Easter Island myth gets wrong
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-resilience-collapse-easter-island-myth.html
I have always heard the collapse story, but now careful analysis shows steady population growth from its initial settlement until European contact in 1722. Not a collapse, even with environmental changes.

Health/Medical/Diet

Species of gut bacteria linked to enhanced cognition and language skills in infant boys
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210713145850.htm
I bet someone is already researching this as an additive to their baby food.

Unlocking the ‘gut microbiome’ – and its massive significance to our health
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jul/11/unlocking-the-gut-microbiome-and-its-massive-significance-to-our-health
Scientists are only just discovering the enormous impact of our gut health – and how it could hold the key to everything from tackling obesity to overcoming anxiety and boosting immunity.

A fermented-food diet increases microbiome diversity and lowers inflammation, study finds
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210712122151.htm
Want a diverse microbiome? Eat fermented. Here are some:  Kefir, Plain Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Fermented Vegetables, Tempeh (choose gluten free) , Miso (refrigerated), Sauerkraut (choose refrigerated) , Kimchi, Kombucha (no sugar), Other probiotic drinks like apple cider.

New study links moderate alcohol use with higher cancer risk
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210714110410.htm
Cancer and alcohol; there is risk even for moderate drinkers.

Personalized 3D printed knee implant could help thousands of arthritis sufferers
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210714110546.htm
If I needed a knee implant, I would want one made just for me that fits perfectly.

‘Inflammation clock’ can reveal body’s biological age
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01915-x
I am very interested in this. I tried to find the test on-line and I couldn’t. If you can find it, let us know.

Vocal music boosts the recovery of language functions after stroke
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210709104224.htm
Listening to vocal music is a simple and cost-efficient way of promoting recovery after a stroke.

Meta-analysis finds that omega-3 fatty acids improved cardiovascular outcomes
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210708083854.htm
Take your daily omega-3 supplement, EPA alone rather than EPA+DHA supplements.