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Half the universe's ordinary matter was missing -- and may have been found
27 May 2020 - At long last, all of the universe's ordinary matter seems to be present and accounted for. Astronomers have taken a new census of matter in the universe by examining how bright flashes of radio waves from other galaxies, called fast radio bursts, are distorted by particles on their way to Earth. This analysis shows that about half of the universe's ordinary matter, which has eluded detection for decades, is lurking in intergalactic space, researchers report online May 27 in Nature. (more)

Mysterious fast radio bursts helped detect missing matter in the universe, study says
27 May 2020 - Mysterious fast radio bursts have been used to unlock another strange aspect of the universe: the case of the 'missing matter.' ... To be clear, this is not the detection of dark matter, which accounts for 85 percent of the universe but has yet to be observed or detected by astronomers. Dark matter is known by how it interacts with other matter, and the quest to find it continues. (more)

Brazilian farmers hatch a plan to send healthy food to the favelas
26 May 2020 - Small organic food producers like Rafael Duckur, mostly rely on the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model, selling directly to consumers on a small scale. The pandemic has meant the loss of some business -- sales to public schools and restaurants, for instance -- but their customer base is solid. Unsold produce goes to waste, however, as a matter of course. Duckur wants to bring that surplus to those who need it, while supporting his fellow growers. So in mid-March, as Duckur put out a call on Instagram for help creating boxes of free food and finding those who needed them most. 'We, organic producers, know the healing power of good food,' he wrote. (more)

Turkey's unique hand-sanitizing method
26 May 2020 - For hundreds of years, this Ottoman-era cologne has been synonymous with Turkish hospitality. Now, it's being used to fight coronavirus. As commercial hand sanitizers run dry in the US and Europe, people in Turkey are turning to a traditional, aromatic fragrance that has taken on a whole new relevance amid the coronavirus pandemic: kolonya. (more)

US: Pandemic gardens satisfy a hunger for more than just good tomatoes
26 May 2020 - In this time of fear and uncertainty, people are going back to the land. Gardening might just be overtaking sourdough baking, TV binging, and playing Animal Crossing as our favorite pandemic coping mechanism. Today's pandemic gardens are often referred to as 'victory gardens,' after the patriotic plots of World War II. (more)

US: States take the wheel promoting electric vehicles
26 May 2020 - As the federal government takes a back seat in promoting electric vehicles some states, such as New Jersey, are taking the wheel. There are nearly 1.5 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads today, according to the Edison Electric Institute. EV boosters concerned about climate change want even more and they say governments should help speed the transition away from internal combustion cars. (more)

'Lionhearted' girl bikes dad across India, inspiring a nation
25 May 2020 - A 15-year-old migrant girl pedaled hundreds of miles to bring her injured father back to their home village. During the past two months under India's coronavirus lockdown, millions of migrant laborers and their families have poured out of India's cities, desperate and penniless, as they try to get back to their native villages where they can rely on family networks to survive. ...But amid all this pain and sadness now emerges a tale of devotion and straight-up grit. The Indian press has seized upon this feel-good story, gushing about Jyoti the 'lionhearted.' (more)

Victory gardens: A war-time hobby that's back in fashion
25 May 2020 - Across the UK and beyond, people are digging in their backyards, potting plants on balconies or using windowsills as suntraps for seedlings. A recent report by the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows 42 percent of Britons have taken to gardening to cope with lockdown, while a third of a million searched for tips on growing garden variety crops on the Royal Horticultural Society website. The rush to grow-your-own has sparked comparisons to 'victory gardening'. (more)

For first time, scientists spot an alien planet as it is being formed
24 May 2020 - Astronomers have gazed into what appears to be a planetary maternity ward, observing for the first time within a huge disk of dense gas and dust surrounding a newly formed star a planet in the process of being born. This large young planet is forming around a star called AB Aurigae that is about 2.4 times the mass of the sun and located in our Milky Way galaxy 520 light years from Earth, researchers said on Wednesday [20 May]. (more)

Ahead of Eid, India's Muslim clerics urge celebrating at home, donating to charity
23 May 2020 - With India under a nationwide lockdown and religious gatherings banned, Islamic clerics are urging Muslims to observe this weekend's Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of Ramadan, at home with social distancing. He and other Muslim leaders are urging faithful to forgo the usual Eid festivities, social visits, and shopping and donate to charities instead. They suggest conveying wishes to friends and relatives via phone. Mosques are closed. (more)

Astronomers find the Wolfe Disk, an unlikely galaxy, in the distant universe
23 May 2020 - Astronomers have spotted a massive disk galaxy, not unlike our own, that formed 12.5 billion years ago when our 13.8 billion-year-old universe was only a tenth of its current age. ... This discovery is challenging how astronomers think about galaxy formation in the early universe. It's known as Galaxy DLA0817g, but astronomers nicknamed it the Wolfe Disk after late astronomer Arthur M. Wolfe, former doctoral advisor to three of the study's four authors. It represents the most distant rotating disk galaxy they have ever observed... (more)

India: Reruns of religious dramas comfort Indians in dire times
23 May 2020 - Staying home under lockdown as they wait for the worst of the coronavirus pandemic to pass, millions of Indians are turning to their gods. Not in prayer rooms, but on TV. The country's public broadcaster has revived epic television shows like 'Ramayan' and 'Shri Krishna' ... airing them in prime time every night. In 'Ramayan,' a wildly popular series from the '80s, filmmaker Ramanand Sagar tells the story of Lord Ram... (more)

US: In virus chaos, some find solace, purpose in helping others
23 May 2020 - Many people are reaching out to help others during the pandemic, and some say it's helping them regain a sense of control in their lives. That helping others can feel good is not just an anecdotal truth but an idea backed by research, says Laurie Santos, psychology professor at Yale University and teacher of the school's most popular course to date: 'Psychology and the Good Life.' (more)

EU seeks to reset relationship with nature after COVID crisis
22 May 2020 - The European Union will step up efforts to make food production more sustainable and halt biodiversity loss, after the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the need for a healthier relationship between human activity and nature. The European Commission wants the EU's share of organic farming to reach 25 percent in 2030, up from 8 percent today, while 10 percent of agricultural land must comprise 'high diversity' landscapes, such as ponds and hedges. (more)

Cambodian conservationists hopeful for revival of rare royal turtle
22 May 2020 - Conservationists in Cambodia are celebrating the hatching of more critically endangered turtles in recent months than the past three years combined, owing to a preservation drive and a halt on sand-dredging. The increased hatching follows good news for turtles in Thailand, which since November has recorded the largest number of nests of rare leatherback sea turtles in two decades, found on beaches empty of tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic. (more)

Outlook bright as solar energy keeps Nigerian homeworkers powered up
22 May 2020 - At least a dozen solar energy companies have been competing to help fill Nigeria's power gap, and COVID-19 has made the need for their services more acute. (more)

China to allocate $57 billion to environment protection
22 May 2020 - China's finance ministry will allocate a total of 407.3 billion yuan ($57.22 billion) to ecology and environment protection in 2020, up from 390.6 billion yuan last year, according to a statement on Friday [22 May]. (more)

From a dazed owl to a dancing bear, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are the laugh we all need right now
22 May 2020 - We could all use a laugh right now. Thankfully, the natural world has answered our prayers. The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards competition, which is in its sixth year, is open for entries until June 30, but the founders have decided to share some of the best images so far. There's also a serious side to the awards, with co-founders and professional photographers Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam eager to promote conservation of wildlife and natural habitats. (more)

12 funny wild animal pictures: A Comedy Wildlife Photography Award preview
22 May 2020 - The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards has released some of the best images of animals in funny poses submitted for this year's competition. The annual contest highlighting hilarious photos of animals in the wild, now in its sixth year, is free to enter and aims to raise awareness about wildlife conservation. (more)

Wild goats take over Welsh town amid coronavirus lockdown
22 May 2020 - A coastal town in north Wales has found a whole new meaning to the phrase herd immunity, after goats were spotted roaming its quiet streets. Residents spotted herds of goats strolling around Llandudno on Friday and over the weekend, after more than a dozen of the animals ventured down from the Great Orme headland and roamed the streets of the coastal town. (more)

India: Sikh kitchens feed New Delhi's masses in virus lockdown
21 May 2020 - For centuries the faithful have flocked to [a golden-domed temple in the center of India's capital city] for its healing waters and a free meal at the community kitchen, the symbol of equality found at every Sikh temple complex and open to all visitors. During India's ongoing lockdown Bangla Sahib has kept its kitchen open, with the help of about four dozen men who sleep at the temple's guesthouse. (more)

In Detroit, NYC, kindness comes one slice of pizza at a time
21 May 2020 - Before the pandemic, Shalinder Singh spent Sundays at his gurdwara, helping serve a community meal for 300 people or more at the Sikh place of worship in suburban Detroit. Now, he's all about pizza. Singh and his family have paid for and delivered hundreds of pies to hospitals, police stations, and fire departments since the gurdwara suspended in-person services. They wanted to carry on a tenet of their faith: helping others through langar, the communal meal shared by all who come. (more)

Dutch donors join global effort on plasma treatment for coronavirus
20 May 2020 - Medical researchers in the Netherlands have signed up 1,500 people who have recovered from the new coronavirus to donate blood as part of an international push to develop a treatment for the virus from their plasma. Survivors of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, are generally left with blood containing antibodies or proteins made by the body's immune system to fight off the virus. The blood component that carries the antibodies can be collected and given to newly infected patients. (more)

Protection in style: Chinese designer makes silk coronavirus masks
20 May 2020 - Adorned with intricate designs of orchids, camellias and Chinese characters symbolising good luck, the stylish silk masks created by Chinese fashion designer Zhou Li have become coveted items during the coronavirus outbreak. (more)

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