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Urban foxes may be self-domesticating in our midst

urban foxes may be self-domesticating in our midst

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A fox on the prowl in its Bristol, U.K., home

Sam Hobson/Minden Pictures

By Virginia MorellJun. 2, 2020 , 7:01 PM

In a famous Siberian experiment carried out the 1950s, scientists turned foxes into tame, doglike canines by breeding only the least aggressive ones generation after generation. The creatures developed stubby snouts, floppy ears, and even began to bark.

Now, it appears that some rural red foxes in the United Kingdom are doing this on their own. When the animals moved from the forest to city habitats, they began to evolve doglike traits, new research reveals, potentially setting themselves on the path to domestication.

“I’m not so much surprised as delighted,” by this study, says Lee Dugatkin, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Louisville, who has written about the Russian fox experiment but was not involved with the new work. “This is a ‘natural experiment’ that is very much in line with what the Russian experiment has found.”

The renowned Siberian study immediately came to mind when Kevin Parsons heard about a large collection of red fox skulls at National Museums Scotland. A native Canadian and evolutionary biologist at the University of Glasgow, Parsons had already been struck by the …

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Capital Factory Launches 100K Challenge for Tech Startups

capital factory launches 100k challenge for tech startups

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[Video still: Harvard Biodesign Lab]
Capital Factory, which calls itself “the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas,” has opened applications for the Human Performance Investment Challenge, which will close on June 28.
The finalists will be judged by a panel of entrepreneurs, defense industry leaders, and venture capitalists with $100,000, which will be awarded by Capital Factory on a convertible note, and a “new home” at Capital Factory’s Center for Defense Innovation on the line, according to a blog post.
The challenge will take place on July 15 during the first-ever Fed Supernova virtual conference, which is a “first-of-its-kind interactive experience” bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, and thought leaders in the defense industry, according to the post.
The two-day conference will also include keynotes, lightning talks, “Epic Office Hours,” and panel discussions. Army Futures Command’s Innovation Combine and xTechSearch programs have partnered with Capital Factory for the event.
To qualify for the Human Performance Investment Challenge, a tech startup must be based in the United States and developing hardware and/or software applications that improve a person’s physical or cognitive capabilities. You can apply for the challenge here.
Capital Factory’s Center for Defense Innovation
Last year, Capital Factory …

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Insect wings evolved from legs, mayfly genome suggests

insect wings evolved from legs, mayfly genome suggests

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No bigger than a mosquito, this mayfly swarms by the millions in late spring.

Isabel Almudi

By Elizabeth PennisiJun. 2, 2020 , 5:20 PM

Along rivers and streams around the world, mayflies are a rite of spring. The mosquito-size insects lead double lives, with the young thriving in water and the adults emerging by the millions around June for just a few hours to mate and quickly die. There can be so many that they clog traffic, make roads slick, and even create a smelly mess.

Now, by sequencing the genome of one remarkable mayfly species—whose males have a second set of skyward-pointing eyes—researchers have learned how aquatic young transform into airborne adults. They’ve also discovered new clues about how all insects evolved to fly in the first place.

The amount of information gleaned from the study is impressive, says Craig Macadam, an entomologist at the U.K.-based nonprofit insect conservation organization Buglife. “It really shows that once we know the genetic makeup of a species, we can start to work out a huge amount about [it].”

Because of their sheer numbers, mayflies are important food for birds, fish, and mammals. They spend most of their lives underwater eating dead …

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Science from home: Walking Rainbow

science from home: walking rainbow

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What you need:

Clear cups (recommend 6-7) WaterFood coloringPaper towels Spoon/ something to stir withTime: 2 hours (can vary)

Steps:

Fill every other cup about 3/4 full of waterAdd food coloring to the water (recommend adding primary colors: red, yellow & blue) Stir in food coloring so it is evenly dispersedFold paper towel in half longways (creating a skinnier, but still tall paper towel) Fold paper towel longways again, keeping height, but making it skinnierPlace half of the paper towel into the water, and put the other half into the dry cupRepeat steps 4-6 until folded paper towels connect all of the cupsWait and watch what happens

The science and how this applies to the Earth:

Just like us, plants need water they need to survive. But, unlike humans who can just drink the water, they have roots that transfer it through the plant.

In this experiment, the paper towels will act as the roots of the plant, and the empty cups represent the leaves of the plant (which might be dry after a couple of days without rain).

You might have noticed that right away, the paper towel starts to absorb the water, much like roots absorb water from the ground.

But, …

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Visualizing Layoffs at Prominent Startups Triggered by COVID-19

visualizing layoffs at prominent startups triggered by covid-19

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COVID-19 has brought the world to a halt—but after months of uncertainty, it seems that the situation is slowly taking a turn for the better.
Today’s chart measures the extent to which 41 major economies are reopening, by plotting two metrics for each country: the mobility rate and the COVID-19 recovery rate:

Mobility IndexThis refers to the change in activity around workplaces, subtracting activity around residences, measured as a percentage deviation from the baseline.
COVID-19 Recovery RateThe number of recovered cases in a country is measured as the percentage of total cases.

Data for the first measure comes from Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which relies on aggregated, anonymous location history data from individuals. Note that China does not show up in the graphic as the government bans Google services.
COVID-19 recovery rates rely on values from CoronaTracker, using aggregated information from multiple global and governmental databases such as WHO and CDC.
Reopening Economies, One Step at a Time
In general, the higher the mobility rate, the more economic activity this signifies. In most cases, mobility rate also correlates with a higher rate of recovered people in the population.
Here’s how these countries fare based on the …

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Citizen scientists spot closest young brown dwarf disk yet

citizen scientists spot closest young brown dwarf disk yet

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This artist’s conception illustrates the brown dwarf named 2MASSJ22282889-431026. NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes observed the object to learn more about its turbulent atmosphere. Brown dwarfs are more massive and hotter than planets but lack the mass required to become sizzling stars. Their atmospheres can be similar to the giant planet Jupiter’s. Spitzer and Hubble simultaneously observed the object as it rotated every 1.4 hours. The results suggest wind-driven, planet-size clouds. Credit: NASA

Brown dwarfs are the middle child of astronomy, too big to be a planet yet not big enough to be a star. Like their stellar siblings, these objects form from the gravitational collapse of gas and dust. But rather than condensing into a star’s fiery hot nuclear core, brown dwarfs find a more zen-like equilibrium, somehow reaching a stable, milder state compared to fusion-powered stars.

Brown dwarfs are considered to be the missing link between the most massive gas giant planets and the smallest stars, and because they glow relatively dimly they have been difficult to spot in the night sky. Like stars, some brown dwarfs can retain the disk of swirling gas and dust left over from their initial formation. This material can collide and …

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‘Ashamed’ Tim Cone says US leadership built ‘despicable’ racist culture | Inquirer Sports

‘ashamed’ tim cone says us leadership built ‘despicable’ racist culture | inquirer sports

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MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine team coach Tim Cone was among the latest to express his disgust toward racism particularly in the United States after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
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The 46-year-old Floyd, an unarmed black man, died last week after a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed.
The incident, the latest depiction of police brutality against people of color in the US, sparked Black Lives Matter protests in many cities in the country. Riots have also erupted in various cities as protesters clashed with the police.FEATURED STORIES
For the American mentor, it all boils down to leadership.
“All coaches/leaders develop a culture—good or bad, sometimes great, all of which reflect a team’s success,” Cone, the most celebrated coach in the history of the Philippine Basketball Association with 22 championships, tweeted Tuesday.
“The leadership of the U.S. has developed such a horrendous, despicable culture that it has led the country to hate, division and racism. I’ve never been more ashamed. #BLM (Black Lives Matter).”
On Monday, Gabe Norwood spearheaded a protest by Filipino-American PBA players on their social media platforms by taking a knee and holding …

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As Donald Trump Shrinks, Athletes Are Filling Leadership Void In Wake Of George Floyd’s Death

as donald trump shrinks, athletes are filling leadership void in wake of george floyd’s death

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Donald Trump walking to the St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo-op after peaceful demonstrators … [+] protesting George Floyd’s death were tear gassed by the National Guard. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

While President Donald Trump alternates between reportedly hiding in a bunker and threatening to deploy troops on protesters, athletes everywhere are filling the leadership void. Though sports are not currently part of our lives, their voices have been some of the strongest during a time of crisis.
This is not a surprising phenomenon, since athletes have always led on racial and social justice issues. Jackie Robinson played in Major League Baseball two decades before the end of Jim Crow; Muhammad Ali was sentenced to prison for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War; Colin Kaepernick sacrificed his professional football career to protest police brutality during the national anthem. But the importance of our sports stars has never been more apparent than now, when the nation is craving for leadership, only to receive outrageous tweets from the president that violate Twitter’s terms of violence.
The closest Trump has actually gotten to the tens of thousands of demonstrators …

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Celtics’ Brad Stevens Praises Jaylen Brown For Leadership During Atlanta Protest

celtics’ brad stevens praises jaylen brown for leadership during atlanta protest

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Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game … [+] against the Washington Wizards, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, in Washington. The Wizards won 99-94. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

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Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours to Atlanta, Georgia this past weekend to lead a peaceful protest alongside Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon. The Celtics wing grew up about 20 minutes outside the city in Marietta, Georgia.
“I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia — my community,” Brown said on his Instagram livestream Saturday. “This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player, don’t exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost, I’m a black man and I’m a member of this community. I grew up on this soil. … We’re raising awareness for some of the injustices that we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens spoke to the media Tuesday and praised Brown’s efforts and leadership. The 23-year-old’s actions didn’t surprise him.
“Jaylen’s greatest impact, as good as he is at basketball, won’t be in basketball,” Stevens said. “He’s a special guy, a special leader. He’s smart, but he has courage. He’s got a lot of great stuff …

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Dental Startup Overjet Raises $7.85M Seed Round

dental startup overjet raises $7.85m seed round

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Massachusetts-based startup Overjet raised $7.85 million in a seed round to bring data-driven care to dental practices.
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For the past decade or so, dentists have been looking at financial data to understand what was happening in their practice, CEO Wardah Inam said. But by analyzing clinical data, she said, dentists get a better, more complete picture of their practice.
“I kind of got into it more from the patient care perspective, but what we realized was the technology we’re building has an impact on the dental industry, whether it’s insurance (companies) or dental organizations,” Inam said.
The company’s core is computer vision–using deep learning on dental images and data science to connect the imaging data with other dental practice data.
Overjet looks at clinical data, such as what procedures were done and what outcome was achieved. For example, Overjet could look at an x-ray and determine if a treatment is needed or not.
Some large insurance carriers use Overjet, along with large dental practice groups (groups of 300-plus practices) and smaller dental practice groups, Inam said. She declined to name customers, but noted that the company has millions of members.
According to …

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