NASA finally makes contact with Voyager 2 after longest radio silence in 30 years

I was thrilled as a middle-schooler to stay up late watching PBS coverage of science types poring over printouts of the images arriving from Voyager 1 and 2’s visits to Jupiter and Saturn in 79-81, and visits to Uranus and Neptune in the late 80s. The Star Wars and Star Trek movie franchises were in high gear, Carl Sagan became a household name, and everywhere NASA was hyping how the…

Scientists thought only male birds sang – until women joined the research

For more than 150 years, scientists have considered bird song to be an exclusively male trait, but female scientists have changed that. Americans often idealize scientists as unbiased, objective observers. But scientists are affected by conscious and unconscious biases, just as people in other fields are. Studies of birds’ vocal behavior clearly show how research approaches can be affected by the people who do the work. —theconversation.com

What is a COVID-19 compliance supervisor? What to know about Hollywood’s newest job

In the wake of the pandemic, the entertainment industry created a new position on set to help keep outbreaks at bay. […] The demands of the job are big: sanitization, testing, safety equipment and distancing. Cast and crew are split into different zones, based on the frequency of testing and ability to wear masks. The compliance supervisor is responsible for making sure these groups don’t mix and has to intervene…

COVID-19 Becoming Less Deadly

Bits and pieces from a news article that summarizes recent scholarly studies. Some  moderately good news, and a reminder that increased testing means finding more cases, and finding them earlier, which means people get medical treatment sooner. (More testing means less suffering and fewer deaths. For those of us who care about such things.) Over the course of the pandemic the death rate in people diagnosed with COVID-19 (the case-fatality…

Destroying trust in the media, science, and government has left America vulnerable to disaster

From The Brookings Institution (non-profit, deeply sourced factual writing; has been accused of both conservative and liberal bias; is cited in Congress about equally by conservative and liberal politicians; leans a bit left in terms of loaded language): American institutions are not perfect, of course. We all should want to improve scientific practices, remove bias from news coverage, and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government. But a crisis like…