We can react quickly to pandemics

In 2009 there was the swine flu pandemic, with anywhere from 150,000 to 575,000 fatalities. Since it was influenza, it was quite contagious, with an R0 of 1.2 to 1.6. And the world’s medical institutions quickly responded, and in less than a year there were 100 million vaccines available. Click on the graphic below to see more clearly how the world responded.

The Response to the 2009 Flu Pandemic Was the Fastest in History

The R0 for COVID-19 seems to be slightly higher, from 1.4 to 2.5. Still, they are pretty close. Hopefully the WHO and CDC manage to come up with a vaccine quickly for this.

Scientists view atomic bonds breaking and forming

Scientists in the UK and Germany have viewed individual metal atoms making and breaking bonds. They used carbon nanotubes as a scaffold to hold the atoms in place. This is with individual rhenium atoms. You can see the distance between the atoms grow and shrink depending on the environment. It looks like this type of microscopy will become important in chemistry.

More white rhinos please

Angalifu, male Northern White Rhinoceros at San Diego Wild Animal Park. Angalifu died from old age on December 14, 2014.

The Northern White Rhinos are almost extinct. There are two still alive, and both are females. This does not bode well for future cute baby rhinos. But scientists have saved the sperm of some currently dead male white rhinos, and they’ve managed to create viable embryos using eggs from one of the living rhinos and some of this sperm. They plan to implant it in a surrogate mother (a southern white rhino) soon.

Dead Zones in oceans are increasing

Dead Zones are areas in the oceans that have very little oxygen. They don’t have enough oxygen to support most marine life. We’ve known about them for a long time, but now the number of them are increasing rapidly. This threatens populations of large fish, including tuna.

This is tied in with climate change, because warmer water can’t hold as much oxygen as colder water. Over time, this will have profound effects on many marine populations.