‘The spark has ignited.’ Latin American scientists intensify fight against sexual harassment
Feb. 20, 2020
Universities across Latin America are struggling to protect women within cultures that have long tolerated, and even celebrated, male privilege and a set of attitudes known as machismo. Such masculine demography has helped promote a sometimes toxic atmosphere for women in academia—including faculty and students in the sciences—according to dozens of researchers from across Latin America who spoke with Science. But now, the tide might be turning.
Pools in the Mexican desert are a window into Earth’s early life
June 30, 2020
Deep in Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert, the turquoise-blue pools of Cuatro Ciénegas host ancient microbes and provide a "window into early Earth." But this "lost world" has been endangered since the 1970s. The intensive drainage of the precious water to grow alfalfa—a water-intensive crop—for cattle fodder is gradually drying the improbable oasis.
News about new discoveries
This is the oldest scorpion known to science
Scientists have revealed the oldest known scorpion—and arachnid—on Earth: a mysterious species more than 430 million years old uncovered near Waukesha, Wisconsin, about 29 kilometers west of Milwaukee.
Jan. 16, 2020
The microbes in your gut could predict whether you’re likely to die in the next 15 years
The microbes in our guts have been linked to everything from arthritis to autism. Now, scientists say they can even tell us about our future health. Two new studies find that our “microbiome”—the mix of microbes in our gut—can reveal the presence of many diseases better than our own genes can—and can even anticipate our risk of dying within the next 15 years.
Jan. 22, 2020
How to donate a piece of your brain to science—while you’re still alive
Feb. 15, 2020
SEATTLE—Donating a piece of your brain to biomedical research has never been easier. Scientists have developed a successful live donor program, where patients undergoing brain surgery can contribute a piece of their brain that would otherwise be tossed away. The researchers—led by neuroscientist Ed Lein at the Allen Institute for Brain Science—presented their approach here yesterday at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science.
Body composting promises a sustainable way of death
Feb. 18, 2020
SEATTLE—Death is not environmentally friendly. Cemeteries take up about 500 square kilometers in the United States. Embalming the dead consumes millions of liters of chemicals each year. And cremation takes large amounts of natural gas, producing plentiful greenhouse emissions. So why not take a cue from consumers who recycle their food waste into soil, and do the same to our mortal remains?
News about science policy and academia
Doomsday Clock is reset to 100 seconds until midnight, closest ever
Jan. 23, 2020
Information warfare and a looming space arms race are among the emerging threats that led a group of scientists today to reset their iconic Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it has been since the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists started the annual exercise in 1947. Midnight on the clock marks the symbolic moment when humankind could annihilate itself.
Colombia’s first ever science minister faces calls to resign over fungi-based cancer treatment
In December 2019, when Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez appointed molecular biologist Mabel Gisela Torres Torres to be the first head of the newly created Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, only a few of the nation’s researchers knew who she was.
Feb. 3, 2020
Colombian university fires prominent biologist accused of sexual harassment
A prestigious Colombian university has fired a prominent biologist for sexually harassing students and other violations. Yesterday’s decision by the University of Los Andes (Uniandes) in Bogotá is the latest turn in a 15-month controversy that has divided the private school’s biology department, catalyzed protests, and attracted the attention of Colombia’s media.
Feb. 7, 2020
Top neuroscientist leaves Mexican university as former trainees allege sexual harassment
Mar. 17, 2020
Earlier this month, Mexico’s leading university, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), announced that renowned neuroscientist Ranulfo Romo Trujillo would leave his position after being disciplined for an unspecified offense.
According to a 4 March press release from UNAM, Romo Trujillo voluntarily asked to be separated from his job at UNAM’s University City campus in Mexico City. Sources close to the case say he had been temporarily suspended because a female worker made a formal complaint of sexual harassment against him following an incident in January. But current and former UNAM students and staff say that reports of inappropriate behavior by Romo Trujillo had circulated for years before his departure.
Visually-driven science news
Highlighting reporting from other outlets
Human body temperature has declined steadily over the past 160 years
Jan. 10, 2020
It’s a number everybody knows by heart—our bodies are supposed to be an average 37°C. But that number may be outdated, according to a new analysis of body temperature records going back to 1860. The study suggests the body temperature of the average U.S. man has dropped by 0.6°C since the Civil War, KQED reports.
Ancient viruses found in Tibetan glacier
Jan. 17, 2020
In 2015, when researchers embarked on an expedition to retrieve the oldest ice on the planet, they were doing it to look for clues about past climate. But during the journey—to the Guliya ice cap in China’s Tibet (above)—they also found 15,000-year-old viruses—some of them new to science, Vicereports.
Unusual Arctic warming explained by overlooked greenhouse gases
Jan. 21, 2020
The same gases that caused holes in Earth’s ozone layer in the past century are responsible for the rapid warming of the Arctic as well, according to a new study published in Nature. Scientists looked at the effect of these gases in climate simulations between 1955 and 2005. They found that the gases accounted for up to half of the warming and sea-ice loss of the Arctic during that period, Nature reports.
This is the only known animal that doesn’t need oxygen to survive
Breathing is essential for animals to stay alive. Or so we thought. In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have now identified the first animal that doesn’t use oxygen to breathe: Henneguya salminicola, an 8-millimeter white parasite that infects the flesh of Chinook salmon.
Feb. 26, 2020
Whales strand more on days with higher solar activity
It is still a mystery why more than 200 whales washed up on beaches along the west coast of North America last year. But among the possible culprits are sunspots, a new study published Monday in Current Biology suggests.
Feb. 27, 2020