“Nothing new to report; just it’s all doom and gloom over here still,” lead singer Katie Munshaw of the indie-pop band Dizzy joked about her forthcoming music in a conversation with the Daily last month.
This Week in Science: NASA's armageddon mission, boosters for all adults, high-kicking frogs, the best way to hug, COVID-19 originBy Peri Barest , Sophie Wax , Rachel Liu , Ian Lau and Maddie Yost | November 23
NASA plans to launch a spacecraft this week that, in late 2022, will intentionally crash into an asteroid, hopefully changing its trajectory. Planetary defense research has been conducted over the past several years in hopes of preventing foreseeable meteor crashes. Although scientists believe massive meteorites do not pose a significant Armageddon-level threat in the next few centuries, smaller astrological debris can be just as deadly, with the potential to decimate entire cities like Manhattan.
A recent study analyzed drawings done by five orangutans in a Japanese zoo and found that the drawings — especially those of one orangutan, Molly —correlate with environmental factors like seasons, daily life events and even changes in keeper identity. In total, 790 orangutan drawings were studied, 656 of which were chosen randomly from those done by Molly.Researchers found differences in color preferences that related to the current season; the orangutans tended to use purple in the spring and green in the summer and winter. In addition, Molly used more red in her drawings when another orangutan in a separate location was giving birth. The content and patterns of the drawings also changed in relation to more mundane, daily events in Molly’s life. These included new art supplies on one day, when an elementary school class visited on another and the change of her keeper once over the course of the experiment.
This Week in Science: Children allowed COVID-19 vaccine, singing lemurs, pig kidneys, flamingo makeupBy Yanqing Huang , Sophie Wax and Rachel Liu | October 28
A Food and Drug Administration advisory panelvoted on Tuesday to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old. The FDA is not bound by the panel’s decision, but it is expected to act accordingly and grant emergency-use authorization for the vaccine within a few days. If approved, vaccination eligibility will expand to some28 million children in that age bracket.
This Week in Science: Moderna boosters approved, koala chlamydia vaccine trial starts, NASA launches spaceship, leading primate center to be shut downBy Rachel Liu , Alex Viveros , Cindy Zhang and Maiah Islam | October 21
An FDA advisory panelunanimously voted last week to approve the use of a booster shot for the Moderna vaccine and again voted unanimously yesterday to approve a booster for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Moderna’s booster only applies to certain groups of people, such as those over the age of 65, high-risk individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 or people whose jobs put them at risk of contracting COVID-19. The individuals in all three categories should wait at least six months after their second dose to receive their Moderna booster shot. Although the FDA panel unanimously decided to approve the booster for those categories, the panel did not make any decisions on whether to recommend booster shots for low-risk adults over 18. Some members believe it is too early to make the call; they argue that as more people become eligible for the booster, it will be crucial to determine if it is effective at providing better protection against COVID-19. Additionally, some scientists say that there is not enough evidence to suggest that vaccine efficacy is decreasing, which, if true, could make a booster shot pointless.