Finger sweat can power wearable medical sensors 24 hours a day

newscientist.com – Small biofuel cells can harvest enough energy from the sweat on a person’s fingertips to continuously power wearable medical sensors that track health and nutrition

Source: Lu Yin, et al. A passive perspiration biofuel cell: High energy return on investment. Joule, 2021.

Potty Party: Researchers Show Young Cows Can Be Toilet-Trained

the-scientist.com – Ethologist Jan Langbein and his team trained the cattle as a way to keep solid and liquid cattle waste separate--with the goal of reducing ammonia emissions coming from livestock.

Source: Neele Dirksen, et al. Learned control of urinary reflexes in cattle to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Current Biology, 2021.

Confirmed: A duck named Ripper learned how to say “You bloody fool!”

arstechnica.com – "At first I thought, 'It's a hoax, it can't be true.' But it turned out to be true."

Source: Carel ten Cate, Peter J. Fullagar. Vocal imitations and production learning by Australian musk ducks ( Biziura lobata ). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2021.

The gene that gives tabby cats their adorable stripes

zmescience.com – Cheetahs and tigers too, most likely.

Source: Christopher B. Kaelin, Kelly A. McGowan, Gregory S. Barsh. Developmental genetics of color pattern establishment in cats. Nature Communications, 2021.

A Football-Shaped Animal Species Is Discovered In A 500-Million-Year-Old Shale

npr.org – The Titanokorys gainesi, which is now extinct, was a 1 1/2-foot-long sea animal — gigantic for its time — with a large protective shell over its head, a toothed mouth and a pair of spiny claws.

Source: J.-B. Caron, J. Moysiuk. A giant nektobenthic radiodont from the Burgess Shale and the significance of hurdiid carapace diversity. Royal Society Open Science, 2021.

The pick of the strange science that won Ig Nobel prizes this year

newscientist.com – Chewing gum forensics, sex as a decongestant and attempts to find the smell of fear all scooped accolades at the 2021 Ig Nobel award ceremony, with Feedback watching on

Source: Leila Satari, Alba Guillén, Àngela Vidal-Verdú, Manuel Porcar. The wasted chewing gum bacteriome. Scientific Reports, 2020.

Humans were using to tools to make clothes more than 100,000 thousands years ago

upi.com – Humans living on the Atlantic coast of what's now Morocco were making clothes from animal hides between 120,000 and 90,000 years ago, according to a new study.

Source: Emily Y. Hallett, et al. A worked bone assemblage from 120,000–90,000 year old deposits at Contrebandiers Cave, Atlantic Coast, Morocco. iScience, 2021.

To Booster or Not: Scientists and Regulators Debate

the-scientist.com – President Biden's planned rollout of additional COVID-19 vaccine doses is set to begin next week, but questions remain about who should get them.

Source: Stephen J. Thomas, et al. Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine through 6 Months. New England Journal of Medicine, 2021.

Solar cells that last 30 years could turn buildings into power plants

futurity.org – Transparent solar cells that are highly efficient and last up to 30 years could get us one step closer to windows that generate power.

Source: Yongxi Li, et al. Non-fullerene acceptor organic photovoltaics with intrinsic operational lifetimes over 30 years. Nature Communications, 2021.

To Booster or Not: Scientists and Regulators Debate

the-scientist.com – President Biden's planned rollout of additional COVID-19 vaccine doses is set to begin next week, but questions remain about who should get them.

Source: Yinon M. Bar-On, et al. Protection of BNT162b2 Vaccine Booster against Covid-19 in Israel. New England Journal of Medicine, 2021.

New programmable gene editing proteins found outside of CRISPR systems

mit.edu – MIT scientists have discovered a new class of compact DNA modifying systems called OMEGAs that naturally shuffle DNA in bacteria and can be engineered to work in human cells.

Source: Han Altae-Tran, et al. The widespread IS200/605 transposon family encodes diverse programmable RNA-guided endonucleases. Science, 2021.