Tuesday, September 27

Science

Science

News at a glance: Bringing kids along to field sites, restricting EU trawling, and calling the pandemic ‘over’ | Science

TAXONOMY Bacteria naming method relies on DNA A controversial new system for naming bacteria and other prokaryotes relies only on their DNA, rather than laboratory cultures, to identify them. The approach, dubbed SeqCode and described this week in Nature Microbiology, promises to relieve a backlog created because so many microbial species are being revealed through DNA analyses. Under an existing protocol, the scientific community accepts a bacterium, or a prokaryote known as an archaeon, as real only if microbiologists grow the species in the lab and submit a pure “type” culture to at least two of the world’s facilities that keep microbes in perpetuity. Instead, SeqCode accepts a full or comprehensive set of a bacterium’s genome sequence data a...
How Colonialism Spawned and Continues to Exacerbate the Climate Crisis
Science

How Colonialism Spawned and Continues to Exacerbate the Climate Crisis

How Colonialism Spawned and Continues to Exacerbate the Climate Crisis A comparison of forest cover before the British established a colony in New Zealand (left) versus today (right). Image: Decolonial Atlas We currently live in an epoch that geologists call the Holocene, which began soon after the last major ice age ended around 11,700 years ago. But for over two decades, some scientists have argued that the label is far too antiquated. In 2000, the term “Anthropocene” — ‘anthropo’ for human and ‘cene’ for new — gained prominence. It highlights how human activities dominate the Earth’s land, atmosphere, and oceans, significantly impacting its climate and nat...
Science

News at a glance: Immunotherapy for lupus, near-instant health effects of racism, and forest loss from mining | Science

ASTRONOMY The Sun’s kinky magnetism New images from the European Solar Orbiter may shed light on mysterious shifts in the Sun’s magnetic field and could help explain why the solar wind blows at two different speeds. In March, the spacecraft spotted an S-shaped vortex of ejecting plasma in the Sun’s corona—an observation that jibes with previous predictions that the star’s looping magnetic field lines sometimes crash into rarer straight ones, causing straight lines of emanating plasma to develop a telltale kink known as a switchback. Scientists had previously seen evidence of switchbacks in magnetic field data, but the images of them reported last week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters are a first. The findings support the idea that slower sol...