An interactive map updated with daily COVID data can help to assess the risk of meeting up with other people. The map estimates the chance that someone is infected at an event with a number of attendees that you define. It has detailed information for the United States and a handful of European countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Spain. “In a way it’s like a weather map,” says urban-analytics researcher Clio Andris. “It can tell you what the risk is that it will rain, but it can’t tell you if you’ll get wet. That depends on if you carry an umbrella, or if you choose not to go outside at all.”
Scientists aren’t too concerned about a series of coronavirus mutations found circulating in Danish mink and people. They say data released this week suggests there is little evidence that the mutations make the virus spread more easily, or might jeopardize potential vaccines. Danish authorities had suggested those concerns when they announced last week plans to cull the country’s mink population. But researchers say the cull is probably necessary to stop uncontrolled spread of the virus in mink, which could lead to problematic mutations in future that could easily pass to people.
Hydroxychloroquine is a time-tested treatment for malaria, a failed drug candidate for COVID and one of the pandemic’s most notorious political footballs. Starting with the drug’s origin as a traditional remedy in Peru, Wired explores the laundry list of clinical trials that struggled to test it in an atmosphere of distrust, its role in the Surgisphere scandal and the collision between science and the White House.
Caloric materials, which change temperature under pressure, offer a promising replacement for the powerful greenhouse gases inside air conditioners. Magnetic and electrical fields, or some combination of these forces, also sometimes do the trick.
Sailors are coming back from the waters off Portugal with tales of orcas attacking their boats. Marine scientists are investigating what is driving behaviour that they initially found hard to even believe. A gang of three young males, covered in scars, is playing with the boats, say the researchers — which is not to say there’s no element of aggression. “The real truth is not either one of those things,” says whale neuroscientist Lori Marino. “They’re capable of cruelty, they’re capable of kindness, they’re capable of all kinds of things just like humans.”
Higher education researcher Gemma Derrick’s work focuses on building a more respectful and inclusive research culture by modifying one of its harshest processes, peer review. On World Kindness Day, I’m revisiting her words in Nature from April about how COVID-19 lockdowns could lead to a kinder research culture.