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Leading women in data science share their work, advice, and lessons learned along the way with Professor Margot Gerritsen from Stanford University. Hear about how data science is being applied and having impact across a wide range of domains, from healthcare to finance to cosmology to human rights and more. This podcast is brought to you by the Stanford Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering (ICME) and Stanford Data Science. Generous support for this podcast and other Women i ...
 
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New Cold Storage Method Solves Freezer Burn—And Saves Energy Have you ever pulled a long-anticipated pint of ice cream out of the freezer, only to find the strawberries crunchy and the normally creamy substance chalky and caked with ice? Freezer burn, a phenomenon caused by water in food crystallizing into ice inside the ice cream or fruit or meat …
 
A More Delicious COVID Screener One of the most bizarre symptoms of COVID-19—a nearly surefire way to know if you have been infected—is a loss of taste or smell. Estimates of how many people are impacted range wildly, with the highest estimates reaching 75 to 80% of COVID-19 survivors. There’s still a lot scientists don’t understand about why this …
 
Blunting The Force Of Disease Is Complicated COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe disease. But their efficacy in lab-controlled trials may not exactly correlate to how well they work in the real world. David Kaslow, chief scientific officer at the global public health nonprofit PATH, explains that a factor known as the “force…
 
Here’s How Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Addresses Science President Joe Biden signed a massive bipartisan infrastructure bill into law this Monday. The measure focuses on a range of sectors. It would funnel billions into cleaning up pollution in the air and water with efforts that include eliminating lead service lines and cleaning up old, polluted …
 
As Wildfire Intensity Rises, So Does The Human Toll Of Blazes It was Labor Day 2020, and Mammoth Pool Reservoir, in California’s Sierra Nevada, was buzzing with campers. Karla Carcamo and her parents, siblings, cousins, and countless others, mostly from the Los Angeles area, have been coming here every Labor Day for 17 years. “Most of it is my fami…
 
Psilocybin Effective In Treating Serious Depression Depression is often treatable with medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. But some 30% of patients don’t respond well to existing medications—and may try multiple antidepressant drugs with little or no improvement. This week, researchers reported that a new trial suggests psychedelics m…
 
Allison Koenecke, who received her PhD from Stanford’s Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME), describes how her experiences in academia and industry shaped her decision to return to academia. Currently a postdoc at Microsoft Research in the Machine Learning and Statistics group, she starts as an Assistant Professor of Info…
 
Current policies, risk management practices, emergency preparedness, and scientific research interests are often shaped by the effects of past events. However, our past experiences and current methodologies may not prepare us for low probability events that have the potential to affect our natural, built, and social environments. This is especially…
 
Fact Check My Feed: More Kids Can Get COVID-19 Vaccines. Now What? Many parents around the U.S. breathed a sigh of relief—or an even more intense emotional reaction—at the long-awaited news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had signed off on advising the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 this week. T…
 
Behind The FDA’s Decision To Vaccinate Kids Under 12 This week, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 12 was officially recommended by the CDC, after a unanimous vote from its independent advisory committee and the FDA’s authorization based on safety and efficacy data. In their analysis, the FDA said the benefits of the vaccine “clearly outweigh…
 
Geologic slip rates represent time-averaged fault displacement and are a handy metric to define a fault's activity. Useful as they are, slip rates aggregate numerous earthquakes that have occurred between field-based observation points, which are typically dated offset geomorphic features (e.g. stream channels or terrace risers). This means that ti…
 
Younger Kids Next In Line For COVID-19 Vaccines This week, an FDA advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend that the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer vaccine be approved for children as young as 5. If the FDA concurs and the CDC agrees, lower-dose Pfizer vaccinations could soon be available for children ages 5 to 11, via local pediatricians. Jus…
 
The Science Behind Cryptid Sightings People around the world have long been fascinated by the idea that there are strange creatures out there, ones that may or may not exist. Tales circulate about cryptids–animals whose existence can’t be proved—like Bigfoot hiding out in American forests, or sea serpents lurking just below the water in coastal tow…
 
Relative crustal motions along active faults generate earthquakes, and repeated earthquake cycles build mountain ranges over millions of years. However, the long-term summation of elastic, earthquake-related deformation cannot produce the deformation recorded within the rock record. Here, we provide an explanation for this discrepancy by showing th…
 
The Ancient Neanderthal Traces Hidden In Your Genome Just how much of your genome is uniquely human? It turns out the number of genetic components in the human genome that trace back only to modern humans, and not to other human lineages or ancient ancestors, are surprisingly small. In a paper published recently in the journal Science Advances, res…
 
Biden’s Administration Preps For A Crucial Climate Conference This week, CDC advisers gave their support to approve COVID-19 vaccine boosters for those who received Moderna and J&J vaccines. The recommendations would follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of “mixing and matching” booster shots from different vaccine developers…
 
On Long Island, A Tribal Nation Faces Growing Pressures The Hamptons on Long Island are known as a mansion-lined escape for wealthy New Yorkers. But the area is also home to the Native residents of the Shinnecock Tribal Nation. An estimated 1,500 Shinnecock members are left in the U.S., and about half live on the Nation’s territory on Long Island. …
 
More Boosters, For More People This week, an FDA advisory committee met to pore over data and debate the role of COVID vaccine boosters. And on Thursday, they voted to recommend Moderna boosters for older Americans, as well as people in certain at-risk groups. This recommendation came just a few weeks after the FDA authorized a Pfizer booster for s…
 
Earthquake swarms are common occurrences in both volcanic and tectonic environments. Swarms and their seismic waves provide a critical window into active processes within the earth, often reflecting the interaction between crustal fluids and earthquake faulting, with dynamic interplay between stress, permeability, and fluid pressure. Swarms of this…
 
The Hot And Cold Past Of The Air Conditioner In the Northeast, the leaves have started changing colors, heralding the season of pumpkins, sweaters, and the smell of woodsmoke. But in some parts of the country, the heat hasn’t let up. In cities like Dallas, Phoenix, and Miami, temperatures were up in the high 80s and low 90s this week—and with clima…
 
First Malaria Vaccine Is Approved by WHO The malaria parasite is one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, killing on average about 500,000 people per year—half of them children under the age of 5, nearly all of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Now, the World Health Organization has finally approved RTS,S or Mosquirix, the first vaccine against …
 
Though Karina showed an early aptitude in math, her high school counselor advised her against pursuing an engineering degree. She ignored his advice and went on to earn her undergrad degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Rhode Island and a PhD in Aeronautics from Caltech. She landed her first job as a speech-to-text engineer at TR…
 
Looking Back On A Century of Science In 1921, the discovery of radium was just over 20 years in the past. And the double helix of DNA was still over thirty years in the future. That year, a publication that came to be the magazine Science News started publication, and is still in operation today. Editors Nancy Shute and Elizabeth Quill join Ira to …
 
Healthcare Is Hard Enough to Get. If You’re A Trans Youth, It’s Even Harder Healthcare can be difficult to access for anyone—that’s been made clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. But for transgender youth, the barriers are exponentially higher. A new study from the journal JAMA Pediatrics shows that trans youth don’t get the care they need because o…
 
Earthquakes occur in clusters or sequences that imply heterogeneous fault properties and complex triggering mechanisms. We have developed a laboratory experiment and supporting numerical simulations that illustrate delayed triggering and repeating interactions between two seismic asperities that result from locally high normal stress. We utilize a …
 
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant To Say Goodbye To Its Radioactive Waste Just before Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth is expected to reach a historic milestone. All the radioactive fuel that generated electricity—and controversy—for nearly half a century will finally be removed from the reactor building. It will be stored outsid…
 
Ice-Hunting Lunar Rover Robot Gets A Landing Site This week, NASA announced that it had selected a destination for a planned robotic lunar rover called VIPER, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover. The mission is planned for launch in 2023, and will rove about the Moon’s south pole, mapping the location and concentration of water ice …
 
Older adults are often considered to be a socially vulnerable population; however, these individuals are frequently overlooked and are rarely consulted in research or practice. Disaster vulnerability is a complex and multi-dimensional issue that reflects a variety of factors including geography, the built environment, and social stratification, amo…
 
Nighttime Streetlights Are Stressing Out Urban Insects As insect populations—including bees, moths, and other pollinators—decline worldwide, researchers have established a variety of potential causes, including climate change, pesticides, and habitat loss. But now, new findings suggest yet another culprit may be part of the equation: night-time lig…
 
Scientists Potty Train Cows To Lower Greenhouse Gasses Scientists have known it for a long time: Cattle are a major source of nitrogen emissions, contributing to the global warming crisis. Alternatives have been tossed around for years: from eating less meat to feeding cows seaweed. Now, a new study out of Germany and New Zealand has a more outside…
 
New Policies Emerge In The Wake Of Climate-Connected Disasters This week, people across the United States continued to be reminded of the results of a shifting climate—with people in the Gulf states still recovering from Ida, northeastern states dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida-induced flooding, and western states battling wildfires and …
 
To Breed An Oyster In the ocean, climate change involves more than just warming temperatures. Water levels are shifting, and ocean chemistry is changing. Changes to ocean salinity caused by shifting amounts of freshwater could have big effects on the health of oysters, who need a certain range of saltiness in the water to be happy. As part of her d…
 
Fatima Abu Salem grew up in Lebanon and has focused her data science research on addressing critical challenges in the region, including problems around the Syrian refugee crisis, the water quality in Lebanon and their irrigation requirements for farmers. Fatima explains that her life journey is really enshrined in the conflict of the region. She w…
 
Systematically characterizing slip behaviours on active faults is key to unraveling the physics of tectonic faulting and the interplay between slow and fast earthquakes. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), by enabling measurement of ground deformation at a global scale every few days, may hold the key to those interactions. However, a…
 
Fact Check My Feed: Why Are People Taking Discredited Horse Medicine For COVID-19? If you’ve been online at all in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen discussion about the drug ivermectin. It was originally developed as an antiparasitic treatment for livestock, and in 2015, the Nobel Prize in Medicine went to scientists who found that it helpe…
 
Nation Grapples With Several Climate Disasters At Once Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on the eastern U.S. this week. It all started in Louisiana, leaving daunting damage and a long road to recovery for residents. Even though Ida was downgraded to a tropical storm after leaving the state, it left a trail of destruction through the eastern U.S. and mid-…
 
A Skeletal Record Of Medieval England Society Whether you like it or not, a record of your life is constantly being chronicled. No, not through the internet or on social media—through your bones. If you’ve ever fractured a bone, that skeletal trauma stays with you forever, even after it heals. So researchers across the pond are using bones from med…
 
Pfizer’s Vaccine Is Now Fully Approved. What’s Next For The Pandemic? This week, the COVID-19 vaccine marketed by Pfizer finally received full FDA approval, moving out of the realm of “emergency use” to the status of a regular drug. In the wake of that change, many organizations—from the Pentagon to Ohio State University to the city of Chicago—are …
 
Historical rupture mapping and numerical modeling have shown that geometric complexities along faults, such as bends and stepovers, act as barriers to earthquake propagation. Over multiple earthquake cycles these complexities may shift between periods of more or less efficiency as rupture barriers due to local stress heterogeneities, leading to "ea…
 
You, Too, Can Be All Thumbs. Or At Least Three. Take a look at your hand and fingers—and imagine that instead of five digits, you had an additional thumb, approximately opposite your natural thumb. Researchers at University College London built what they call the “Third Thumb”—a flexible, 3D-printed prosthetic device, controlled by pressure on sens…
 
Why The Delta Variant Will Make More Kids Sick As cases of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 continue to spike around the U.S., children are one of the hardest-hit groups. As children under 12 remain ineligible for vaccination, they and other unvaccinated groups are facing the highest rates of infection and hospitalization of the enti…
 
A Stomp, A Roar, An Elephantquake? An adult African elephant, the largest land animal on Earth, can weigh as much as two tons. Their activities—walking, playing, even bellowing—might shake the ground beneath them. But research in the journal Current Biology finds that the signals from an elephant’s walk are capable of traveling as far as three kilo…
 
This Fish Is The Master Of The Poignant Pause When listening to a well-practiced speaker, like during a lecture, a political event or during a favorite public radio show, you may notice they use pauses for dramatic effect. This type of nuance in communication may seem distinctly human, but we’re not the only species that takes advantage of pauses i…
 
Louvere Walker-Hannon has worked at MathWorks (the company that makes MATLAB) for over 21 years, where she’s also a STEM Ambassador. She studied biomedical engineering as an undergraduate at Boston University and did graduate work at Northeastern University in geographic information technology with a specialization in remote sensing.She loved worki…
 
Large damaging earthquakes have traditionally been the focus of earthquake studies, understandably so because they are recorded well by a host of sensors. With recent explosion of the number of seismic stations and computational power, we are able to focus on small and even tiny earthquakes, previously not detectable using conventional methods. Aft…
 
How Imperfect Data Leads Us Astray Datasets are increasingly shaping important decisions, from where companies target their advertising, to how governments allocate resources. But what happens when the data they rely on is wrong or incomplete? Ira talks to technologist Kasia Chmielinski, as they test drive an algorithm that predicts a person’s race…
 
President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Sees The End Of The Road President Biden’s huge infrastructure bill is finally seeing the end of the road. The nearly 2,000 page bill covers infrastructure improvements—everything from roads to broadband. The package also includes funding for projects that would build up the country’s climate change resilience.…
 
Getting To Know The Fungus Among Us (In Our Guts) Your gut microbiome is composed of more than bacteria—a less populous, but still important, resident is fungi. Many people’s lower digestive tract is home to the yeast Candida albicans, the species implicated in vaginal yeast infections and oral thrush. But new research published in the scientific j…
 
With Delta Rising, New Rules On Masks And Vaccines This week, the CDC released new guidelines for mask use in the U.S., just months after many cities and towns relaxed mask mandates. The guidance says that “to reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others: CDC recommends that fully vaccinated p…
 
Billions Of Sea Creatures, Lost To Heat Waves A couple weeks ago, the Pacific Northwest saw record-breaking temperatures. News coverage captured countless people suffering, and dying, during triple-digit heat the region had never seen before. Portland and Seattle reached their highest temperatures ever recorded. Canada set a new record for the high…
 
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