Science/Nature | FREE WHITEWATER
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Science/Nature

On COVID-19 Skeptics

It was likely, as it was a century ago during a prior pandemic, that significant numbers of Americans would argue falsely there was no pandemic (‘just like the regular flu’), that if it were a pandemic it would go away (‘like a miracle’), that anyone talking about illness was merely fearful (as though discussions of…

Friday Catblogging: A Study on Cats & Milk Prebiotics

Lauren Quinn reports Milk prebiotics are the cat’s meow, research shows: If you haven’t been the parent or caregiver of an infant in recent years, you’d be forgiven for missing the human milk oligosaccharide trend in infant formulas. These complex carbohydrate supplements mimic human breast milk and act like prebiotics, boosting beneficial microbes in babies’ guts.…

Friday Catblogging: ‘Nip

[Leonora Enking, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.] Inverse has an article on The science behind catnip’s potent powers: Catnip’s pungent odor comes from a chemical called nepetalactone. It helps the plant repel insects. But this research takes us further into the evolution of nepetalactone using genetic analysis. According to study co-author Benjamin Lichman, a…

Friday Catblogging: Cats Along the Silk Road

Science Magazine has an article asking readers Care For Cats? So Did People Along The Silk Road More Than 1,000 Years Ago: Common domestic cats, as we know them today, might have accompanied Kazakh pastoralists as pets more than 1,000 years ago. This has been indicated by new analyses done on an almost complete cat skeleton…

Attorney General William Barr Fails Chemistry (and Trial Advocacy)

On CBS’s Face the Nation, United States Attorney General William Barr offered his scientific assessment of the use of pepper spray, by contending that “pepper spray is not a chemical irritant…it’s not a chemical.” (See transcript, Face the Nation, 6.7.20). As science — This is false – and wackily ignorant: of course pepper spray is…

Prudent Human Changes Concerning Exotic Animals

Karin Brulliard reports The next pandemic is already coming, unless humans change how we interact with wildlife, scientists say: The new coronavirus, which has traversed the globe to infect more than 1 million people, began like so many pandemics and outbreaks before: inside an animal. The virus’s original host was almost certainly a bat, scientists…

Friday Catblogging: Cats’ Facial Expressions

Karin Brulliard reports on a study of cats’ facial expressions in Cats do have facial expressions, but you probably can’t read them: Cats have a reputation for being “inscrutable,” the researchers say, and their results mostly back up this notion. More than 6,000 study participants in 85 countries, the vast majority of them cat owners,…

Friday Catblogging: Scientific Confirmation that Cats Become Attached to People

Caitlin O’Kane reports Cats actually do get attached to their owners, study says: “Dog people” and “cat people” have long debated which pet is better. A new study is putting one preconceived notion about stand-offish felines to bed. The study published in Current Biology dug deep into cats’ sometimes misunderstood relationships with humans, and found the…

Junk Reasoning Isn’t Simply a Problem at the Top

Helena Bottemiller Evich reports ‘It feels like something out of a bad sci-fi movie’ (‘A top climate scientist quit USDA, following others who say Trump has politicized science’): One of the nation’s leading climate change scientists is quitting the Agriculture Department in protest over the Trump administration’s efforts to bury his groundbreaking study about how…