Gravitational wave detectors have found their biggest black hole yet

newscientist.com – Gravitational wave observatories LIGO and Virgo have spotted their biggest black hole yet at 142 times the mass of the sun, the first hard proof that black holes this size exist

Source: R. Abbott, et al. GW190521: A Binary Black Hole Merger with a Total Mass of 150 M ⊙. Physical Review Letters, 2020.

Covid-19 Live Updates: Latest News and Analysis

nytimes.com – A study offered an explanation for children’s ability to fight off the virus. Thousands protested new lockdown measures in London.

Source: Carl A. Pierce, et al. Immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in hospitalized pediatric and adult patients. Science Translational Medicine, 2020.

Russia's top space official tried to claim that the planet Venus belongs to the Kremlin

businessinsider.com – The head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, also said the country plans to send its own mission to Venus.

Source: C. J. Bierson, X. Zhang. Chemical Cycling in the Venusian Atmosphere: A Full Photochemical Model From the Surface to 110 km. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 2020.

With less noise during lockdown, Bay Area sparrows sang 'sexier' songs

upi.com – New research suggests the male white-crowned sparrows in San Francisco took advantage of noise pollution reductions during lockdown by singing softer and "sexier" songs.

Source: Elizabeth P. Derryberry, Jennifer N. Phillips, Graham E. Derryberry, Michael J. Blum, David Luther. Singing in a silent spring: Birds respond to a half-century soundscape reversion during the COVID-19 shutdown. Science, 2020.

A Man Died After Eating a Bag of Black Licorice Every Day

nytimes.com – Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital said the unusual case highlighted the risk of consuming too much glycyrrhizic acid, which is found in black licorice.

Source: Richard C. Cabot, et al. Case 30-2020: A 54-Year-Old Man with Sudden Cardiac Arrest. New England Journal of Medicine, 2020.

Scientists use DNA to expose the origins of Vikings

zmescience.com – Vikings weren’t a group of barrel-chested, blond-haired, bearded men. Instead, they comprised many ethnicities and groups of people with different ancestries.

Source: Ashot Margaryan, et al. Population genomics of the Viking world. Nature, 2020.

Immune Cell and Its Cytokine Control Exploratory Behavior in Mice

the-scientist.com – Gamma delta T cells in the meninges of the brain release a cell signaling molecule that does more than protect mice from microbial pathogens.

Source: Kalil Alves de Lima, et al. Meningeal γδ T cells regulate anxiety-like behavior via IL-17a signaling in neurons. Nature Immunology, 2020.

Most COVID-19 Infections Spread By Air, Not Surfaces

medicaldaily.com – COVID-19 may not be spread as easily on surfaces as originally thought. The real culprit is the air we breathe.

Source: Eric A. Meyerowitz, Aaron Richterman, Rajesh T. Gandhi, Paul E. Sax. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: A Review of Viral, Host, and Environmental Factors. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2020.

First-ever treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease may be on horizon, researchers say

upi.com – Researchers have identified a potential new drug to treat enterovirus 71, a common cause of hand, foot and mouth disease, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: Jesse Davila-Calderon, et al. IRES-targeting small molecule inhibits enterovirus 71 replication via allosteric stabilization of a ternary complex. Nature Communications, 2020.

Australian stinging tree inflicts agonizing pain with a spider-like venom

zmescience.com – The tree’s leaves contain a previously unidentified neurotoxin that latches on to fundamental mammalian pain receptors.

Source: Edward K. Gilding, et al. Neurotoxic peptides from the venom of the giant Australian stinging tree. Science Advances, 2020.