Bumblebees speed up flowering

eurekalert.org – When pollen is in short supply, bumblebees damage plant leaves in a way that accelerates flower production, as an ETH research team headed up by Consuelo De Moraes and Mark Mescher has demonstrated.

Source: Foteini G. Pashalidou, Harriet Lambert, Thomas Peybernes, Mark C. Mescher, Consuelo M. De Moraes. Bumble bees damage plant leaves and accelerate flower production when pollen is scarce. Science, 2020.

Could a Blood Test Show if a Covid-19 Vaccine Works?

nytimes.com – A new monkey study offers a ray of hope for speeding up clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines.

Source: Katherine McMahan, et al. Correlates of protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques. Nature, 2020.

Bionic Eye Tech Learns Its ABCs

sciam.com – An experiment stimulates monkeys' brains to generate shape perceptions

Source: Xing Chen, Feng Wang, Eduardo Fernandez, Pieter R. Roelfsema. Shape perception via a high-channel-count neuroprosthesis in monkey visual cortex. Science, 2020.

Climate change is affecting fall foliage, but not in the way you think

popsci.com – 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.

Computer developed by Chinese researchers achieves 'quantum supremacy'

upi.com – A new type of quantum computer, developed by a team of scientists from several Chinese research institutions, has achieved "quantum supremacy."

Source: Quantum computational advantage using photons. Science, 2020.

The most life-friendly places on ancient Mars were deep below its surface

popsci.com – Whether ancient Mars was warm and wet or cold and arid, conditions could have been at least toasty enough to create a moist habitable environment that reached several miles below the planet’s surface.

Source: Lujendra Ojha, Jacob Buffo, Suniti Karunatillake, Matthew Siegler. Groundwater production from geothermal heating on early Mars and implication for early martian habitability. Science Advances, 2020.

Underground Brine Could Be a Source of Oxygen on Mars

wired.com – A new study tests a device that can efficiently split the resource’s water into pure oxygen and hydrogen in Martian conditions.

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

Carbon Life: Triple-Alpha Reaction Inside Stars May Be Much Faster Than Thought

science20.com – Nearly all of the atoms that make up the our planet and us were forged in stars and the carbon most important to life as we know it was made by the triple-alpha process. The process starts with alpha particles, cores of helium atoms, with each alpha particle is made up of two protons and two neutrons.

Source: Shilun Jin, Luke F. Roberts, Sam M. Austin, Hendrik Schatz. Enhanced triple-α reaction reduces proton-rich nucleosynthesis in supernovae. Nature, 2020.

Toxic tire additive blamed for massive coho salmon die-offs

upi.com – After decades of research, scientists know what's killing salmon who venture too close to urban centers -- 6PPD-quinone, the derivative of a chemical additive that keeps rubber tires from breaking down too quickly.

Source: Zhenyu Tian, et al. A ubiquitous tire rubber–derived chemical induces acute mortality in coho salmon. Science, 2020.

E-Waste Is Declining, Government Needs To Change Laws To Keep Up - And Get Out Of The Recycling Business

science20.com – When your Xbox is a gaming console and a 4K Blu-Ray player, you don't need two devices, and when your phone is a camera and a video recorder, there are two fewer things to buy - and eventually throw away.As smart devices have become more integrated, and more commodities like a dishwasher than technology events, people own fewer things and keep them

Source: Shahana Althaf, Callie W. Babbitt, Roger Chen. The evolution of consumer electronic waste in the United States. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2020.

The Journey of Electronic Bottles and the Ocean Plastic Crisis

wired.com – Researchers loaded containers with trackers and released them in the Ganges and the Bay of Bengal, giving new insight into how plastic pollution travels.

Source: Emily M. Duncan, et al. Message in a bottle: Open source technology to track the movement of plastic pollution. PLOS ONE, 2020.