Jennifer Doudna, New Nobel Laureate, on Science and Covid

Good morning.

Last week, Nobel Prize season arrived.

Among the several winners with ties to California were two Stanford professors — Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson, were awarded the Nobel in economic science — and three University of California scholars. Reinhard Genzel, a U.C. Berkeley professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, and Andrea Ghez, a U.C.L.A. professor of astrophysics, shared the prize in physics with a mathematician at Oxford University for their work on black holes.

And Jennifer Doudna, a U.C. Berkeley professor, shared the prize in chemistry with Emmanuelle Charpentier, now the director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin, for their work on Crispr-Cas9, a method to edit DNA.

[See the full list of 2020 Nobel winners and read more coverage here.]

It’s the first time the award has gone to two women, and Dr. Doudna is the first woman

Read More

New York issues $15,000 fines to Orthodox Jewish institutions over COVID violations

Five Orthodox Jewish institutions in New York City were fined $15,000 for alleged violations of the health code amid the coronavirus pandemic for having more than 10 people inside their religious facilities, according to reports.

The religious spaces in Borough Park, the site of protests last week, weren’t shut down because police don’t have the authority.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

New restrictions temporarily limit the size of religious gatherings in the COVID-19 hot spots. The restrictions limit attendance at all houses of worship to 25% capacity, or a maximum of 10 people.

Six coronavirus clusters have cropped up in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as Broome, Orange and Rockland counties. The state has closed schools and nonessential businesses in those areas and limited gatherings.

The number of New Yorkers hospitalized with the coronavirus continues to rise, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday, as authorities heightened their focus on banning

Read More

3 promising higher-ed tech practices emerging from COVID – Page 2 of 2

For roughly half of respondents, most or all of their courses would offer live streaming, video capture, and microphone and speaker integration. Only about a third of respondents reported that most or all of their courses would include video screens to display remote students.

Most higher-ed tech leaders seem to voice common concerns when it comes to managing the move online.

1. Doing more with less. One of the key challenges is the strain on financial resources and the strain on staffing. As IT and facilities departments are called upon to lead their institutions through major adjustments and changes, many are also being asked to do so in the midst of staff shortages, hiring freezes, and budget cuts.

2. Solutions that aren’t. Many institutions are encountering the issue of rushed or ineffective solutions that aren’t quite what higher-ed tech leaders intended or needed.

3. The responsibilities of others. Perhaps one

Read More

Covid on Smartphone? Here’s how long it can stay

This means, you should disinfect or clean your smartphone periodically.

The research, undertaken at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) in Geelong, found that SARS-CoV-2 survived longer at lower temperatures and tended to survive longer on non-porous or smooth surfaces such as glass, stainless steel and vinyl, compared to porous complex surfaces such as cotton.

The study, published in Virology Journal, showed that the virus survived longer on paper banknotes than plastic banknotes.

“While the precise role of surface transmission, the degree of surface contact and the amount of virus required for infection is yet to be determined, establishing how long this virus remains viable on surfaces is critical for developing risk mitigation strategies in high contact areas,” said one of the study authors Debbie Eagles, Deputy Director of ACDP.

“How long they can survive and remain infectious depends on the type of virus, quantity, the surface, environmental conditions

Read More

Safe Halloween science ideas during COVID

SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Halloween is just around the corner and even though Los Angeles County strongly suggests not to trick or treat this year, there are some other activities that your kids can do virtually.

Mad Science Los Angeles, based in Sylmar, has educational activities for children and is gearing up for a Halloween event.

“Our mission is to bring fun, educational science to children. Our main age range is, generally, we like to say K to 6th. However, we do have some pre-school programming,” said Susan Kilanowski, managing director for Mad Science Los Angeles.

Mad Science is an organization that sets up events and learning seminars mainly for afterschool programs.

They also used to host different events with large groups, but when COVID-19 hit they had to pivot to virtual learning.

“Doing things virtually definitely has some other fun ways that kids can do science at home.

Read More

Why Trump’s viral Covid and flu misinformation is hard for Facebook and Twitter to stop

A perfect storm of medical misinformation and political disinformation is creating new challenges for the press, for social media platforms and for the public. Take just the events of the last few days. On the heels of his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, President Donald Trump stood on the balcony of the White House, removed his mask and then gave a short speech that was quickly uploaded to social media. “Maybe I’m immune, I don’t know,” he declared. The truth is, he is still very contagious. But the public declaration alarmed scientists, who are working to produce an effective and safe vaccine. Online, fans cheered that Trump had beaten Covid-19, even as he put his staff in danger.

A perfect storm of medical misinformation and political disinformation is creating new challenges for the press, for social media platforms, and for the public.

Trump followed up that appearance

Read More

COVID and ice hockey: outbreaks chill Nordic national pastime

GOTHENBURG, Sweden (Reuters) – Health authorities in Sweden and Finland are looking into a series of COVID-19 outbreaks on ice hockey teams that are believed to be one of the drivers of a sharp increase in new cases in the two hockey-loving countries.

The day after Swedish ice hockey team BIK Karlskoga defeated Vasteras in a game in late September, one of its players complained of a fever. Three days later, half of Karlskoga’s players and staff had tested positive for COVID-19 along with six players on Vasteras.

“I felt the earth shake beneath my feet when we got the results back. I thought maybe three or four players were infected and that it would be enough to isolate them,” BIK Karlskoga manager Torsten Yngveson told Reuters.

The club shut down completely for two weeks, disrupting preparations just as the hockey season was kicking into full swing. All the players

Read More

Why Covid could remove barriers for women in the car industry

Astrid Fontaine

Image caption

Astrid Fontaine thinks the changes forced on firms by Covid-19 could reap significant benefits

“When I went to university, we were three girls out of 120 students studying mechanical engineering,” says Dr Astrid Fontaine.

“Who do you have in a company that’s engineering driven? It’s people who have studied science, technology, maths, engineering – and these were subjects in the past that mainly boys tended to study.”

Dr Fontaine is a board member at Bentley, the Volkswagen-owned British luxury carmaker. She is trying to explain to me why senior female executives like her are still a relative rarity in the car industry, even though women make up an increasingly large proportion of the market – and in the UK alone own some 35% of the cars on the road.

She is also setting out why she thinks the crisis in the industry sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic may

Read More

Experiential Museums Find New Ways to Sell Fun Even With Covid Restrictions

Experiential museums—designed to provide visitors with interactive experiences—faced a big problem as coronavirus restrictions were eased: How to boost sanitization measures while demonstrating to visitors that these high-touch spaces were still safe to enter and enjoy.

Many operators of such spaces say they have been able to retain their interactive, immersive identities to a surprising degree as they and their guests navigate the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The masks now required for visitors six years old and up might have made it harder to pick up the scents of the Chromaroma exhibit, for example, at the Houston outpost of the Color Factory, an art exhibit dedicated to color. So the museum amplified the scents.

The Color Factory has introduced social distancing rules in the space.



Photo:

Color Factory LLC

The Color Factory’s ball pits in Houston and New York now require everyone over a certain age to wear a

Read More

Operating Rooms Turn to Zoom-Like Technology for the Age of Covid

(Bloomberg) — Operating rooms tend to be busy places, often bustling with not just the surgeon, but also a phalanx of aides, students, technical advisers and, yes, medical device sales reps. That’s not exactly an ideal environment for social distancing.



a group of people standing in a room: Doctors and nurses attend to a patient during surgery in an operating room at an Apollo Speciality Hospital, operated by Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd., in the Vanagaram area of Chennai, India, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. About a decade ago, Co-Managing Director Suneeta Reddy and her three sisters took over most executive functions at India's largest hospital chain from their father. They embarked on a multi-year building spree in a bet that India's economic growth would spread from its metropolises to second-tier cities, where patients are getting richer. Now, almost 20 billion rupees ($280 million) and four years of construction later, there are signs that strategy is about to pay off.


© Bloomberg
Doctors and nurses attend to a patient during surgery in an operating room at an Apollo Speciality Hospital, operated by Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd., in the Vanagaram area of Chennai, India, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. About a decade ago, Co-Managing Director Suneeta Reddy and her three sisters took over most executive functions at India’s largest hospital chain from their father. They embarked on a multi-year building spree in a bet that India’s economic growth would spread from its metropolises to second-tier cities, where patients are getting richer. Now, almost 20 billion rupees ($280 million) and four years of construction later, there are signs that strategy is about

Read More