Red bricks can be charged, store energy

upi.com – Chemists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a method for converting red bricks, the ubiquitous building material, into "smart bricks" that can be charged and store energy like a battery.

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

Scientists find evidence of multiple underground lakes on Mars

engadget.com – Scientists believe they’ve found more evidence confirming the presence of a large reservoir of liquid water under the surface of Mars first discovered back in 2018. In fact, they believe they’ve found three more subsurface saltwater lakes surrounding that main one — a huge discovery, seeing as those lakes are potential habitats for life. The team used data from a radar instrument on the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft to investigate the planet’s southern polar region.

Source: Sebastian Emanuel Lauro, et al. Multiple subglacial water bodies below the south pole of Mars unveiled by new MARSIS data. Nature Astronomy, 2020.

Four Buried Lakes on Mars

nextbigfuture.com – Tesearchers have confirmed the presence of a lake discovered two years ago and found three more lakes. Radar data from the European Space Agency Mars Express was analyzed to reveal the lakes. The Mars

Source: Jonathan O'Callaghan. Water on Mars: discovery of three buried lakes intrigues scientists. Nature, 2020.

Rare case of black licorice poisoning kills man in Massachusetts

arstechnica.com – The licorice plant naturally contains a toxin called glycyrrhizin.

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

Bird songs got sexier during the COVID-19 shutdown

popsci.com – Early in the pandemic in March and April (or what feels like 10 years ago), there were reports around the world of animals moving into previously busy cityscapes, and a rising chorus of bird calls. But the question remained: was that just because traffic noise was down and people were paying more attention? Or were the birds actually changing their tunes?

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.

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.

New measurements show moon has hazardous radiation levels

cbc.ca – Future moon explorers will be bombarded with two to three times more radiation than astronauts aboard the International Space Station, a health hazard that will require thick-walled shelters for protection, scientists reported Friday.

Source: Shenyi Zhang, et al. First measurements of the radiation dose on the lunar surface. Science Advances, 2020.

New genetic knowledge on the causes of severe COVID-19

eurekalert.org – A proportion of the most severe COVID-19 cases can be explained by genetic defects in the patients' immune system. Professor Trine Mogensen from Aarhus University, Denmark, is participating in an international research consortium as the only Danish researcher, and thereby helping to generate new knowledge which may in the future lead to early and improved treatment of those who are affected by severe COVID-19.

Source: Qian Zhang, et al. Inborn errors of type I IFN immunity in patients with life-threatening COVID-19. Science, 2020.