Could quick COVID 'antigen' tests break the back of the pandemic? – A new study suggests frequent rapid antigen testing could control the spread of the virus within weeks.

Source: Test sensitivity is secondary to frequency and turnaround time for COVID-19 screening. Science Advances, 2020.

Climate change is affecting fall foliage, but not in the way you think – The arboreal shift from green to gold marks the beginning of autumn for many in temperate climes, a color change that goes hand in hand with pumpkin spice lattes and cozying up as the weather cools. But, like countless natural processes, this much-loved seasonal indicator is subject to disruption as the Earth’s temperature steadily warms.

Source: Deborah Zani, Thomas W. Crowther, Lidong Mo, Susanne S. Renner, Constantin M. Zohner. Increased growing-season productivity drives earlier autumn leaf senescence in temperate trees. Science, 2020.

Masks Help, but We May Never Know How Much – The impact of face coverings is not just unknown, it’s unknowable. Still, uncertainty should be no impediment to action.

Source: Henning Bundgaard, et al. Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2020.

‘Blue ring nebula’ turns out to be two colliding stars caught in the act – It lies 6,300 light-years away in the constellation Hercules. Now, we finally know its story.

Source: Keri Hoadley, et al. A blue ring nebula from a stellar merger several thousand years ago. Nature, 2020.

How Mars brine could produce breathable air and fuel for a colony – We absolutely need this if we're to ever establish a colony on the Red Planet.

Source: Pralay Gayen, Shrihari Sankarasubramanian, Vijay K. Ramani. Fuel and oxygen harvesting from Martian regolithic brine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020.

Genes controlling warbler colors evolved through two separate processes – Two genes that dictate the unique colors and plumage patterns of New World warbler species evolved via two distinct processes.

Source: Marcella D. Baiz, Andrew W. Wood, Alan Brelsford, Irby J. Lovette, David P.L. Toews. Pigmentation Genes Show Evidence of Repeated Divergence and Multiple Bouts of Introgression in Setophaga Warblers. Current Biology, 2020.

The UK government must be honest with students – tests can miss coronavirus | Sian Taylor Phillips – Mass rapid university testing will help some, but there is a real risk of potentially devastating false-negative results, says professor of population health Sian Taylor-Phillips

Source: Bianca Nogrady. What the data say about asymptomatic COVID infections. Nature, 2020.

The Coronavirus Won't Stop Evolving When the Vaccine Arrives – The coronavirus is not a shape shifter like the flu virus, but it could become vaccine resistant over time. That prompts researchers to urge vigilance.

Source: David A. Kennedy, Andrew F. Read. Monitor for COVID-19 vaccine resistance evolution during clinical trials. PLOS Biology, 2020.

There are microplastics near the top of Mount Everest too – Researchers analyzing snow and stream samples from the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition have found evidence of microplastic pollution on Mount Everest. While the highest concentrations of microplastics were around Base Camp where hikers and trekkers spend the most time, the team also found microplastics as high up as 8,440 meters above sea level, just below the summit. The findings appear November 20 in the journal One Earth.

Source: Imogen E. Napper, et al. Reaching New Heights in Plastic Pollution—Preliminary Findings of Microplastics on Mount Everest. One Earth, 2020.

Stanford Increases Solar Cell Production Rates by Four Times and Up to Ten Times Lower Cost – Using rapid-spray plasma processing, the Stanford team was able to produce 40 feet (12 meters) of perovskite film per minute – about four times faster than it takes to manufacture a silicon cell. &quo

Source: Nicholas Rolston, et al. Rapid Open-Air Fabrication of Perovskite Solar Modules. Joule, 2020.

Who Will Get the Coronavirus Vaccine First? – A C.D.C. advisory panel will decide on its recommendations on Tuesday afternoon. Here’s what we expect, along with answers to other questions about the new shot.

Source: Meredith Wadman. Fever, aches from Pfizer, Moderna jabs aren’t dangerous but may be intense for some. Science, 2020.