Volcanoes Have Shaped Human History Since the Beginning

popularmechanics.com – This week scientists announced that the eruption of Okmok, a volcano located in Alaska, likely contributed to the fall of the Roman Republic in 43 B.C. But that's only one example of volcanoes subtle-yet-powerful influence on history.

Source: Joseph R. McConnell, et al. Extreme climate after massive eruption of Alaska’s Okmok volcano in 43 BCE and effects on the late Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020.

Neck gaiters may be worse than not wearing a mask at all, study finds

digitaltrends.com – A new study found that neck gaiters were the least effective face covering in containing droplets when speaking.

Source: Low-cost measurement of facemask efficacy for filtering expelled droplets during speech. Science Advances, 2020.

Powerhouses: nanotechnology turns bricks into batteries

theguardian.com – Research could pave way for cheap supercapacitor storage of renewable energy

Source: Hongmin Wang, et al. Energy storing bricks for stationary PEDOT supercapacitors. Nature Communications, 2020.

Mars may not have been the warm, wet planet we thought it was

technologyreview.com – New findings suggest the planet may have been covered in ice sheets and glaciers, not oceans. That’s still good news for finding signs of Martian life.

Source: Anna Grau Galofre, A. Mark Jellinek, Gordon R. Osinski. Valley formation on early Mars by subglacial and fluvial erosion. Nature Geoscience, 2020.

Marsquakes reveal hidden InSights into the Red Planet’s interior

zmescience.com – Seismic activity on Mars shows that there are three boundary layers between the planet's surface and iron-rich core.

Source: Sizhuang Deng, Alan Levander. Autocorrelation Reflectivity of Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 2020.

We just figured out why shaving soft hair blunts steel razor blades

newscientist.com – Cutting soft materials like hair can blunt even the sharpest blades surprisingly quickly, and now we know why – offering clues to designing longer-lasting razors

Source: How hair deforms steel. Science, 2020.

At Least 97,000 Children in the U.S. Tested Positive in Last 2 Weeks of July

nytimes.com – Trump’s unilateral economic relief actions come under fire. Ohio’s governor urges use of rapid tests, but with caution after his false positive.

Source: Nina Le Bert, et al. SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity in cases of COVID-19 and SARS, and uninfected controls. Nature, 2020.

For Mates to Fuse Bodies, Some Anglerfish Have Lost Immune Genes

the-scientist.com – In most vertebrates, the absence of adaptive immunity would be catastrophic, but in some deep-sea angler fish species, it enables their "wild" and "wacky" mating habits.

Source: Jeremy B. Swann, Stephen J. Holland, Malte Petersen, Theodore W. Pietsch, Thomas Boehm. The immunogenetics of sexual parasitism. Science, 2020.

“Invisible” words used in stories tell a story themselves

zmescience.com – There's a common structure to most stories, going through three phases

Source: Ryan L. Boyd, Kate G. Blackburn, James W. Pennebaker. The narrative arc: Revealing core narrative structures through text analysis. Science Advances, 2020.