People living in the Atacama desert once traded exotic parrots

newscientist.com – The remains of birds from between AD 1100 and 1450 suggest that people once transported parrots and macaws to trade them at an oasis in Chile’s Atacama desert

Source: José M. Capriles, et al. Pre-Columbian transregional captive rearing of Amazonian parrots in the Atacama Desert. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021.

Prominent scientists call for more investigation into origins of coronavirus

livescience.com – The authors argue that current evidence is not strong enough to determine if the virus originated from nature or from a lab leak.

Source: Jennifer Sills, et al. Investigate the origins of COVID-19. Science, 2021.

Chernobyl's nuclear fuel is smoldering again and there's a 'possibility' of another accident, scientists say

businessinsider.com – Researchers at the site of the catastrophic 1986 nuclear explosion in Ukraine have detected a spike of neutrons in an underground room at the power plant.

Source: Richard Stone. ‘It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit.’ Nuclear reactions are smoldering again at Chernobyl. Science, 2021.

CDC officials made a breakthrough decision on masks. This is what convinced them.

nbcnews.com – The CDC said the decision to lift mask mandates was driven by scientific evidence that the vaccines play a major role in curbing infections and transmission.

Source: Laith J. Abu-Raddad, Hiam Chemaitelly, Adeel A. Butt. Effectiveness of the BNT162b2 Covid-19 Vaccine against the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 Variants. New England Journal of Medicine, 2021.

Mammals Can Use Their Intestines to Breathe

the-scientist.com – Researchers show that both mice and pigs are capable of oxygenating their blood via the colon--a capacity that, if shared by humans, could be leveraged in the clinic to minimize the need for mechanical ventilation.

Source: Ryo Okabe, et al. Mammalian enteral ventilation ameliorates respiratory failure. Med, 2021.

Why It’s So Important That Twelve-Year-Olds Can Now Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

newyorker.com – We are in a pandemic from which, as much as one might wish it, children have never been exempt.

Source: Justin Lessler, et al. Household COVID-19 risk and in-person schooling. Science, 2021.

Rare plutonium from space found in deep-sea crust

livescience.com – The plutonium-244 hints at how heavy metals form in stars.

Source: A. Wallner, et al. 60 Fe and 244 Pu deposited on Earth constrain the r-process yields of recent nearby supernovae. Science, 2021.

How Hospitals Can Help Patients and the Planet

nytimes.com – Health care systems are trying to answer the central question of how to care for patients when climate change threatens their ability to remain open.

Source: Christopher W. Tessum, et al. PM 2.5 polluters disproportionately and systemically affect people of color in the United States. Science Advances, 2021.

The buried truths that say so much about our ancestors | Kenan Malik

theguardian.com – The discovery of a child laid to rest in Africa 78,000 years ago indicates a value placed on life that we share

Source: María Martinón-Torres, et al. Earliest known human burial in Africa. Nature, 2021.

Neural implant lets paralyzed person type by imagining writing

arstechnica.com – A paralyzed individual hit 90 characters per minute, 99% accuracy.

Source: Francis R. Willett, Donald T. Avansino, Leigh R. Hochberg, Jaimie M. Henderson, Krishna V. Shenoy. High-performance brain-to-text communication via handwriting. Nature, 2021.