Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
October 23, 2020

Science & Technology



Sea otters help lower carbon dioxide levels

Sea otters are known for their impressive swimming abilities, and of course, being really cute. A recent study, however, shows that they also have the ability to fight global warming. Sea otters eat sea urchins, which means that there are fewer sea urchins to eat kelp, allowing the kelp population to flourish and absorb 12 times more carbon dioxide than it would without the sea otters.


Top endangered species identified

Just two days ago, conservation scientists released a list of the world’s 100 most endangered animals during a presentation at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea. Compiled by more than 8,000 scientists affiliated with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this list includes species that are very likely to go extinct if nothing is done to protect them.


New blood glucose sensor for diabetics

The daily glucose check has long been a pain, quite literally, for many diabetics. Fortunately, researchers from the Frauhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems recently engineered a biosensor that can take non-invasive blood sugar measurements using sweat or tears instead of blood. Manufacturing these devices is cost-efficient, making them ideal for mass production.


Mars ice caps decode planet’s past

In order to glean information about Earth’s climate history, scientists can analyze ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica’s ice caps. Similarly, Mars’ past climate can be determined by examining its ice caps. Using this technique, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen have put together the first dated account of climate history for Mars. Their findings show that the variations in Mars’ climate are linked to solar insolation, which is a measure of solar radiation energy.


Safety procedures eliminate some central line infections

Pediatric oncology patients are at uniquely high risk of developing dangerous infections. “Any time a kid gets an infection, it is a failure,” said Michael Rinke, a Hopkins professor of pediatrics in the Division of Quality and Safety and lead investigator on a new study that deals with preventing central line infections in these patients.


Korean creationists face resistance in textbook changes

Scientists in South Korea have finally taken note of a drastic change due to be made in their country's high school biology textbooks thanks to a report in Nature that got their attention. In response to the efforts of the Society for Textbook Revise (STR, Engrish strikes again), Korean scientists have banded together to petition their government to reconsider the decision made by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.



Scientists invent cloak of invisibility

I’ll admit to being one of the die-hard lunatics at the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premiere, covered in wizard savvy accessories including an upside-down wooden spoon doubling as a wand. With all of the quizzical stares I endured that night, I could have seriously used Harry’s invisibility cloak.


Recent highlights in cancer research

Two recent developments in cancer research have caught my eye this past week. The first involves the mapping of cancer genomes (looking at the DNA sequences of mutated genes), while the second looks at the karyotypes (the arrangement of chromosomes) of cancer cells.


Fungus may help rice thrive in warmer climate (and feed people)

While humanity may fail to take the necessary actions to curb global warming, there is some hope that the world’s masses may not necessarily starve to death. U.S. Geological Survey researchers based in Seattle have found fungi that grow symbiotically in the roots of salt-tolerant coastal dunegrass can confer the same salt resistance to rice plants. Furthermore these symbiotic fungi, called endophytes, can also give rice greater resistance to other stresses such as heat, cold and droughts.


Hotspots help drive tectonic plates

After more than six years, I can still remember quite a few lessons from my earth science class in eighth grade. One of the more fascinating topics for me was plate tectonics, which explain the movement of the earth’s continents over its extensive geologic history. While I recall that the major force driving these plates is a convection of magma underneath the earth’s crust that pulls and pushes on the plates, yet another force has been found helping to drive these plates.







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