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Russia has been at the centre of some of the century’s biggest archaeological and palaeontological finds — including the discovery of Denisovans, an ancient-human species found in a Siberian cave and described in 2010. As well as devastating lives and livelihoods, its war against Ukraine has prompted sanctions, collapsed collaborations and cancelled fieldwork, disrupting studies of ancient life. “We will know less about the past because of this war,” says evolutionary geneticist Love Dalén, who works in Sweden and often does fieldwork in Russia.
The US Supreme Court has prohibited the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from crafting broad regulations to drive the country’s power industry away from coal and towards cleaner energy sources such as wind and solar. The court’s ruling could make it much harder for the administration of President Joe Biden — and its successors — to curb greenhouse gases as promised under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. And that spells bad news for the planet, because the United States is both one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world and a crucial player in the countries tackling global warming.
Last year, an experiment suggested that the muon — a subatomic particle similar to an electron — had inexplicably strong magnetism, possibly breaking a decades-long streak of victories for the leading theory of particle physics, known as the standard model. Now, revised calculations by several groups suggest that the theory’s prediction of muon magnetism might not be too far from the experimental prediction after all. By narrowing the gap, the latest predictions might make it easier to resolve the discrepancy between theory and experiment.
Features & opinion
Andrew Robinson’s pick of the top five science books to read this week includes how DDT lingers, a natural history of fragrance and why we help others.
Research in mice suggests that some unpleasant gut viruses, which were thought to spread only through faecal–oral transmission, can also be passed in saliva. Scientists found that the norovirus, rotavirus and astrovirus can infect the salivary glands, as well as the gut — and that the resulting saliva is quite infectious. The discovery strongly suggests that stomach bugs are spreading between humans in saliva, too, says virologist and co-author Nihal Altan-Bonnet. Mask-wearing could be a useful tool to slow an outbreak sweeping through places such as schools or cruise ships, she says.