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‘Hallelujah!’: Science museum reopens to relieved visitors

‘hallelujah!’: science museum reopens to relieved visitors

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Marianne Sniatecki snaps a photo of a mummy cover for a young girl in the Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibit on the first day of the re-opening of the Buffalo Museum of Science in Buffalo Friday, July 10, 2020.

Mark Mulville

Katherine Hellerman had an immediate, one-word response to the reopening of the Buffalo Museum of Science Friday after being closed since March 14 due to Covid-19.”Hallelujah!” “It’s nice to get the kids out and have them do something besides sitting at home,” said Hellerman, returning with her husband and two children to see “Golden Mummies of Egypt” for a second time. “My son’s very interested in the mummies, and it’s a great experience,” she said.The museum reopened its second floor, which includes the world premiere of the mummy exhibit that has been extended to Oct. 18 after being shuttered five weeks into its run. The more interactive floors are closed until they can be modified to meet new safety protocols. Occupancy has been kept below New York State’s phase four 25% capacity mandate to give staff time to evaluate procedures. Colorful styluses were given out to keep hands from touching museum surfaces. “I’m really pleased with the pacing and the flow,” said …

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NSF campaign will drill for ice capturing West Antarctica’s last collapse

nsf campaign will drill for ice capturing west antarctica’s last collapse

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The West Antarctic Ice Sheet may have collapsed as recently as 125,000 years ago.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

By Paul VoosenJul. 10, 2020 , 3:50 PM

Scientists have long suspected that 125,000 years ago, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed, drowning a world not much warmer than today in 3 meters of rising tides. But hard evidence of whether such a collapse occurred—and if it did, how fast the melt went—has remained scarce.

Next week, the National Science Foundation will fund a 5-year project, costing more than $3 million, that will seek evidence of this collapse from gases trapped in tiny bubbles encased in a 2.5 kilometer-long tube of ice. The core drilling, likely to start in 2023, will target Hercules Dome, an expanse of ice 400 kilometers from the South Pole. Hercules sits at the saddle between the continent’s western and eastern ice sheets; if the western one collapsed, “Hercules Dome would be sitting on the waterfront, so to speak,” says Eric Steig, the project’s principal investigator and a glaciologist at the University of Washington, Seattle.

The Eemian, the last warm period between the ice ages, lasting from 129,000 to 116,00 years ago, is one of the best analogs for modern Earth. Temperatures were about 1° warmer than now, …

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NOAA watchdog chides agency for how it handled Hurricane Dorian’s ‘Sharpiegate’

noaa watchdog chides agency for how it handled hurricane dorian’s ‘sharpiegate’

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President Donald Trump holds the altered Hurricane Dorian forecast map that led to “Sharpiegate.” 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

By Nick Sobczyk, E&E NewsJul. 10, 2020 , 3:35 PM

Originally published by E&E News

The scandal that has become known as “Sharpiegate” damaged NOAA’s credibility and may have undercut public trust in the agency’s apolitical weather forecasting, Commerce Department Inspector General Peggy Gustafson said in a long-awaited report released yesterday.

“Instead of focusing on NOAA’s successful hurricane forecast, the Department unnecessarily rebuked [National Weather Service] forecasters for issuing a public safety message about Hurricane Dorian in response to public inquiries—that is, for doing their jobs,” the report said.

The report details a series of incidents that snowballed over the course of a week after President Trump falsely declared in September of 2019 that Hurricane Dorian was set to hit Alabama.

The National Weather Service’s Birmingham office corrected the president’s statement, leading NOAA to issue a statement undermining its own scientists at the behest of the White House and Commerce’s political officials.

The report comes after a long political back-and-forth with Capitol Hill and after Gustafson, an Obama appointee, said in an unusual statement last week that Commerce officials were “claiming amorphous and generalized …

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Committee votes to block Trump’s ‘secret science’ EPA rule

committee votes to block trump’s ‘secret science’ epa rule

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The House Appropriations Committee on Friday voted to block a controversial Trump Administration transparency rule that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) own independent board of science advisers criticized.”This rule would place new crippling limits on what studies can be utilized when EPA crafts new regulation,” said the amendment’s sponsor, Rep. David Price David Eugene Price189 House Democrats urge Israel to ‘reconsider’ annexation Partisan divide on annexation complicates US-Israel relationship National service will give thousands of Americans a chance to recover and rebuild their communities MORE (D-N.C.), citing a slew of experts and scientific associations.Scientists have decried the 2018 rule, which the administration sought to broaden in March, as an effort to block the EPA from being able to use significant amounts of research in its rulemaking.ADVERTISEMENT”The problem is throwing up impossible standards of reproducibility that make it exclude huge swaths of research from being considered for the scientific rulemaking enterprise,” Price said.The Trump administration has argued that the rule, which gives preference to studies based on public data, will increase transparency by banning “secret science.”But the EPA’s own independent Science Advisory Board said there was no justification for the rule and raised “concerns …

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An Uncrowned Tudor Queen, the Science of Skin and Other New Books to Read

an uncrowned tudor queen, the science of skin and other new books to read

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England’s most notorious dynasty owes much to the trials of a 13-year-old girl: Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond. On January 28, 1457, the young widow—her first husband, Edmund Tudor, had died at age 26 several months prior—barely survived the birth of her only child, the future Henry VII. Twenty-eight years later, in large part due to Margaret’s tenacious, single-minded campaign for the crown, she saw her son take the throne as the first Tudor king.

Margaret never officially held the title of queen. But as Nicola Tallis argues in Uncrowned Queen: The Life of Margaret Beaufort, Mother of the Tudors, she fulfilled the role in all but name, orchestrating her family’s rise to power and overseeing the machinations of government upon her son’s ascension.

The latest installment in our series highlighting new book releases, which launched in late March to support authors whose works have been overshadowed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, centers on the matriarch of the Tudor dynasty, the oft-conflicting science of skin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet’s tragic past, the twilight years of Japanese isolationism and a Supreme Court decision with lasting implications for the criminal justice system.

Representing the fields of history, science, arts …

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The Science About Whether It’s Safe to Send Kids Back to School Is a Total Mess

the science about whether it’s safe to send kids back to school is a total mess

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Dobrila Vignjevic/Getty

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.Ask any parent in the Mother Jones office and it’s clear they are eager to get their kids back to school. But as more schools move to reopen this fall—and as President Trump increasingly pressures and even threatens schools to reopen—experts warn there’s still quite a lot we don’t know about kids and COVID-19. What role do children play, for instance, in spreading this virus? Are they just as likely to get infected as adults? Are they just as infectious? And why have a small number of children developed a potentially deadly inflammatory illness after testing positive for COVID-19? 

Reopening schools may very well be a risk worth taking—after all, so much of our economic recovery depends on it—but it’s unlikely that we’ll have clear answers to many of these questions in the near future and know with any certainty just how safe schools would be for kids, teachers, and communities. While it feels like we’ve been living with the coronavirus forever, we’re still in the early phase of understanding it; the …

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Ask Ethan: What Is The Science Behind Wearing A Mask?

ask ethan: what is the science behind wearing a mask?

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A 2-layer, homemade face mask shows how particles escape when the wearer coughs at times of 0.2s,… [+] 0.47s, and 1.68s after the cough’s initiation. This particular mask reduced the maximum average distance droplets traveled from 8 feet to 2.5 inches.

S. Verma, M. Dhanak, and J. Frankenfield, Physics of Fluids 32, 061708 (2020)

It’s not very often that a physics problem becomes a politicized issue, but that’s exactly what’s happened when it comes to the science of wearing a mask during the current coronavirus pandemic. Viruses are tiny particles; if you’re infected, they exist within your body. Every time you breathe out, speak, sing, sneeze, cough, or otherwise exhale, some of those particles can escape along with the droplets that leave your body. A mask serves as a barrier, capturing a fraction of those droplets, while slowing the motion of the remaining ones that get through. But how effective are they, and what’s the full science behind them? That’s what Patreon supporter Josiah Wolf wants to know, asking:

I’d love for you to really break down mask science. How effective they are from bandanas through proper respirators. How particles are slowed down and can’t travel as far and how [viruses] and bacteria attach …

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Leader Art and Science Challenge – Is pepper afraid of water?

leader art and science challenge – is pepper afraid of water?

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Today’s Leader Art and Science Challenge is answering a question. Is pepper afraid of water? Thanks to Tracy LaRose. The Leader Art and Science Challenge is sponsored by the Twin City Area Optimist Club and Leader Publications.To enter:Take a photo or a short video of your completed art challenge project. One per person per day. Multiple people from the same household can enter. No age limit.Email the photo or video to news@leaderpublications.biz with “Leader Art and Science Challenge” in the subject line.We will choose one entry at random to receive a $20 gift card from a local business.

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