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Daily Archives: September 23, 2021

Lockdown made cities friendlier for some birds

PopSci: “When much of the world went into lockdown in the spring of 2020, traffic disappeared and pollution levels dropped. Under these conditions, dozens of bird species across North America seem to have flourished, scientists reported this week. The researchers analyzed observations from experienced bird watchers of more than 4.3 million birds representing 82 species that included songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more. The majority of the birds became more abundant in urban habitats during the pandemic compared with previous years and ventured closer to major roads and airports. “It’s remarkable that across the whole bird community all sorts of different species that were really very different from one another all showed these changes in habitat use,” says Nicola Koper, a conservation biologist at the University of Manitoba’s Natural Resources Institute in Winnipeg.  Recreating some of the reduced bustle that accompanied the early months of the pandemic through practices such as telecommuting would likely make cities more welcoming to birds in the future, she and her coauthors wrote on September 22 in Science Advances. Birds throughout North America are in decline, likely from a mix of factors including habitat loss, pesticide use, and declining insect populations. The study’s findings, the authors say, show that even a moderate reduction in human activity could help some species better thrive…”

New eCFR Website

“The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) have formally launched a new eCFR website. Over the last few years, OFR and GPO developed significant improvements that are now available on the new eCFR website, including the ability to: Show which sections have been recently updated. Display and compare previous versions of… Continue Reading

Spain plans to ban the sale of fruit and vegetables in plastic wrapping by 2023.

El Pais: “The sale of fruit and vegetables in plastic wrapping will be prohibited in Spain’s supermarkets and grocery stores starting in 2023. This is one of the measures in a decree being drafted by the Ministry for Ecological Transition, according to sources familiar with the initiative. The new regulation also contains measures to encourage… Continue Reading

NOAA Drought Task Force Report on the 2020–2021 Southwestern U.S

Mankin JS, Simpson I, Hoell A, Fu R, Lisonbee J, Sheffield A, Barrie D. (2021) NOAA Drought Task Force Report on the 2020–2021 Southwestern U.S. Drought. NOAA Drought Task Force, MAPP, and NIDIS. Using the state-of-science and the collective expertise of the NOAA Drought Task Force, this report addresses three questions about the period of… Continue Reading

Are cloth masks good enough to face the delta variant?

Quartz: “…A large-scale, real-world study published this month found surgical masks especially effective at reducing symptomatic infections. These types of masks prevented 1 in 3 infections among people 60 and older…“We find very strong evidence that surgical masks are effective,” added Jason Abaluck, an economist at Yale who helped lead the study. “My read of… Continue Reading

Americans Have No Idea What the Supply Chain Really Is

The Atlantic: “Behind shipping delays and soaring prices are workers still at mortal risk of COVID-19…Overseas shipping is currently slow and expensive for lots of very complicated reasons and one big, important, relatively uncomplicated one: The countries trying to meet the huge demands of wealthy markets such as the United States are also trying to… Continue Reading

Colors of the Moon

Marcella Giulia Pace, Greenflash Photo/Atmospheric Optics in Italy – “I have collected some of my Full Moon shots taken over the past 10 years. I selected the shades of color with which the Moon was filmed in front of my lens and my eyes. The atmosphere gives different colors to our satellite (scattering) based on… Continue Reading