Elsewhere for September 27, 2020

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Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletExquisite Instructional Book From 1896 Illustrates How Flowers Become Art Nouveau Designs

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletUNC-Chapel Hill’s student newspaper sums up school’s coronavirus policy with an f-bomb

Hours after the editorial published, the University announced Monday a reversal to move to all-remote learning, starting Wednesday. School officials announced the change after testing showed rapid spread of the virus — 177 cases of covid-19 were confirmed among students, out of hundreds of tests.

decorative leaf bulletThe N95 shortage America can’t seem to fix “Nurses and doctors depend on respirator masks to protect them from covid-19. So why are we still running low on an item that once cost around $1?”

. .  the H1N1 flu epidemic depleted 85 million N95s from the national stockpile — and the supply was never replenished. In 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, public health officials published alarming reports warning of a “massive gap” in what remained. Even more concerning, they said, the vast majority of N95s and the materials needed to manufacture them were now being made in Asia.

See also NPR’s Why Can’t America Make Enough N95 Masks? 6 Months Into Pandemic, Shortages Persist

Even so, 3M and Honeywell haven’t been able to make enough masks as the pandemic wore on and demand only increased.
“We’re not tens of millions of masks short. We’re hundreds of millions of masks short of where we need to be,” Paul said. “It would make complete sense to want to scale up some small and mid-sized manufacturers to help fill in this massive gap.”
But the federal government has no plan to help small- and mid-sized manufacturers move into PPE.
“This administration has really had a big firm focus,” said Gary Gereffi, a professor at Duke University and the founding director of the Duke Global Value Chains Center.

decorative leaf bulletCDC reverses itself and says guidelines it posted on coronavirus airborne transmission were wrong

For months, scientists and public health experts have warned of mounting evidence that the novel coronavirus is airborne, transmitted through tiny droplets called aerosols that linger in the air much longer than the larger globs that come from coughing or sneezing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees. The CDC recently changed its official guidance to note that aerosols are “thought to be the main way the virus spreads” and to warn that poorly ventilated indoor spaces are particularly dangerous.

But then Monday, September 21, the CDC changed their site again. As The Washington Post reports:

But the update only lasted a few days. On Monday morning, the CDC edited the website to remove the guidance and said the Friday update was posted in error. “Unfortunately an early draft of a revision went up without any technical review,” said Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases. “We are returning to the earlier version and revisiting that process. It was a failure of process at CDC.”

Also see The Verge: CDC removes guidance about airborne spread of the coronavirus

Experts were thrilled to see the original update. Many have stressed for months that the virus can travel through tiny particles that float more slowly through the air, not just through the larger droplets that fall to the ground. That’s why both ventilating indoor spaces (to clear out residual virus) and wearing masks (to help block any exhaled particles) are just as, if not more, important than keeping six feet of distance.

This does look like once again GOP politics are interfering with the science and mission of the CDC.
See this Twitter thread from Epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding
@DrEricDing Dr Fauci tears into fake-board-certified ophthalmologist Rand Paul: “You misconstrued that, Senator. And you’ve done that repetitively in the past.” See also: Fauci scolds Rand Paul during tense exchange at hearing And decorative leaf bulletRand Paul has another problem On Senator Rand Paul’s dubious board certification as an ophthalmologist; he created his own certification board. That’s because Rand Paul is an idiot.
decorative leaf bulletThe code: How genetic science helped
expose a secret coronavirus outbreak

decorative leaf bulletFauci to a Meddling HHS Official: ‘Take a Hike’

History and Archaeology

H/T Lisa C: decorative leaf bullet11,500-Year-Old Infant’s DNA Reveals New Surprises About How North America Was Populated

While it’s commonly known that people from Siberia crossed over a land bridge known as Beringia at the end of the last Ice Age and were the first to settle in North America, scientists were never sure if it was one migration of a single population or multiple peoples who came in waves. This is what makes Sunrise Girl-Child’s DNA so incredible. The genetic analysis demonstrates that a single ancestral Native American group split from East Asians around 35,000 years ago. This group then split again in two about 20,000 years ago—one population being the Ancient Beringians and the other being the ancestors of all Native Americans.

decorative leaf bulletNew clues to the origin of domestic horses

Domestic horses likely did not originate in Anatolia as previously suspected, according to a new study of ancient remains dating as far back as 9000 BCE.
Instead, they may have been introduced to the peninsula – which makes up most of modern-day Turkey – and the nearby Caucasus region from the Eurasian Steppe by about 2000 BCE, during the Bronze Age.
The findings, presented in a paper in the journal Science Advances, also suggest imported domestic horses were bred with local wild Anatolian horses and donkeys and provide the earliest genomic evidence for a mule in southwest Asia, dating to between 1100 and 800 BCE.

Science and Nature

H/T Introversion: decorative leaf bulletRare case of black licorice poisoning kills man in Massachusetts
decorative leaf bulletResearchers Examine Plants Brought Back to Life From 32,000-Year-Old Seeds


decorative leaf bulletTavi Has 3 Parents

The problem for Jay was never how babies are made, and fostering and adoption were options. The problem was that he wanted kids and also wanted a co-parent to help him raise kids, but wasn’t interested in romantic partnership. Before exploring single parenthood, he was curious whether there might be another way to form the family he wanted.

decorative leaf bulletInternal USPS documents link changes behind mail slowdowns to top executives

Voting Resources

decorative leaf bulletHow to track your ballot like a UPS package
decorative leaf bulletHow to vote in your state
decorative leaf bulletHow to prevent your mail ballot from being rejected

Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletCorrecting the misinformation about Breonna Taylor
decorative leaf bulletTrump administration rescinded Courage Award for woman who criticized Trump, then gave false explanation for its decision, watchdog finds

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bullet‘Bringing beaches back to life’: the First Nations restoring ancient clam gardens

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