Our weekly round up of stories you may have missed
Suddenly we find out…how little we knew about viruses. Maybe this whole pandemic thing has concentrated minds, but Nature makes alarmingly clear how little we know about how many types of virus there are, and how many of them. Next time some know it all conspiracy theorist starts sounding off , you will know they are wrong. Because no one knows anything.
Scientists estimate that there are about 1031 individual viral particles inhabiting the ocean at any given time — 10 billion times the estimated number of stars in the known Universe. But we’ve officially named only 9,110 virus species. Now, we are seeing an explosion in viral classification, thanks to changes that allow scientists to judge viruses on the basis of their genomes, instead of having to culture them and their hosts. The wealth of information is feeding a new wave of discovery about how endless variations of viruses propel evolution by shuttling genes between hosts. Nature | 13 min read
Not more flying saucers? As the cold war ended, we thought that was the end of UFOs as well. We saw them more as a psychological projection of human hopes and fears than real interstellar vehicles piloted by daredevil Martian space jockeys. Now the wretched things are making a comeback, with a big hoo-ha about some Pentagon report. Alright, never say never, but we are inclined to go with the very calm and rational Kyle Cunliffe of The Conversation, who puts the fuss down to a strange phenomenon called “human error”. Why haven’t we heard about that one before?
World Anti Microbial awareness week That excellent scientist and citizen Professor Colin Garner reminds us that at last we can all do something about microbial resistance to antibiotics. WHO is launching a week of awareness from 18-24 November 2021. Why not look on the WHO site to see if you can help, or if there is a charity in YOUR country that’s already up and running? UK readers can help that marvellous charity Antibiotic Research UK, whose website is full of ideas .
T. Rex is No 1 Apparently most of the dinosaur bones that you see in museums are just plaster casts, and the originals are kept locked away in a safe. Now the Wollaton Hall Museum in Nottingham, England is putting on a display of a Tyrannosaurus Rex with real bones. Apparently the creature’s name was Titus (how do they know that?-ed) and he or she lived 65 million years ago in Montana , USA. In attraction terms, the museum hopes its T. rex will be a number one hit, relieving the glory days of such masterpieces as Ride a White Swan, Hot Love and Jeepster. Jessica Murray of The Guardian has a great story and picture.
#virus #sars-cov-2 #covid-19 #alien #ufo #antibiotics #dinosaurs #museums