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A team of researchers from Oklahoma State University, the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Arkansas has found that the mere sight of sick birds of their own kind is enough to set off an immune response in healthy canaries. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes experiments they conducted with caged birds in their lab. Prior research has shown that many animals, humans included, tend to avoid others of their kind when they show signs of illness. But for some species, doing so might be more problematic than risking getting sick. Birds that rely on safety in numbers, for example, may need another strategy for dealing with ailments. In this new effort, the researchers found that for at least one species of bird, simply seeing others of its kind become sick was enough to kick off an immune response. The experiments by the researchers involved setting groups of cages with canaries in them across from one another and then infecting one of the groups with a mild bacterial infection. Symptoms of the infection become obvious as infected birds become lethargic after developing conjunctivitis. The researchers note that such infections make the birds look very sick. In their experiment, the researchers were careful to place the uninfected birds far enough away from sick birds to keep them from getting infected. They also set up an identical scenario in a distant part of the lab as a control—neither group was infected with the bacteria. The researchers then monitored what happened over the course of a month, collecting blood samples and making notes regarding how sick birds looked and how easily a well bird could see a sick bird. They found that as the infected birds started to look sick, the immune systems of the healthy birds began to stir. CH50 measurements showed a rise in all of the healthy birds and rose even more in those birds who had the best view of the sickest birds. The researchers also found white blood cell counts rose. Notably, cytokine levels did not change. https://phys.org/news/2021-06-canaries-sight-sick-birds-immune.html
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The coronavirus variant driving India's devastating COVID-19 second wave is the most infectious to emerge so far. Doctors now want to know if it's also more severe. Hearing impairment, severe gastric upsets and blood clots leading to gangrene, symptoms not typically seen in COVID-19 patients, have been linked by doctors in India to the so-called delta variant. In England and Scotland, early evidence suggests the strain — which is also now dominant there — carries a higher risk of hospitalization. Delta, also known as B.1.617.2, has spread to more than 60 countries over the past six months and triggered travel curbs from Australia to the U.S. A spike in infections, fueled by the delta variant, has forced the U.K. to reconsider its plans for reopening later this month, with a local report saying it may be pushed back by two weeks. Higher rates of transmission and a reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines have made understanding the strain's effects especially critical. Comment: Without more data it's unclear what effect the experimental mass vaccination campaign has had on these variants, because in the UK outbreaks are correlated with an increase in vaccinations: Death rate in England is lowest since records began 20 years ago "We need more scientific research to analyze if these newer clinical presentations are linked to B.1.617 or not," said Abdul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, southern India's largest city. Ghafur said he is seeing more COVID-19 patients with diarrhea now than in the initial wave of the pandemic. 'New enemy' "Last year, we thought we had learned about our new enemy, but it changed," Ghafur said. "This virus has become so, so unpredictable." https://www.sott.net/article/453894-Gangrene-gastric-problems-and-hearing-loss-reported-in-delta-variant-of-coronavirus-from-India-may-carry-higher-risk-of-hospitalization
55 views · Jun 9th
Two large rural Arizona fires have scorched more than 138,000 acres and forced thousands of residents from their homes. Firefighters in the eastern part of the state are tackling the Telegraph Fire, which has burned 71,756 acres and the Mescal Fire that has charred 66,913 acres. Authorities say that the Telegraph Fire has burned since last week but is zero per cent contained, while the Mescal Fire is 23 per cent contained. At least 2,500 homes in Gila County have been evacuated, said Carl Melford, the county emergency manager. And he estimated that there was twice as many households with bags packed just in case they have to leave quickly. https://www.sott.net/article/453890-Thousands-flee-as-two-massive-wildfires-sweep-Arizona
60 views · Jun 9th
Ed Smith has walked Wells Beach for years but has never seen anything like it: A mysterious black substance that settles on the sand near the shoreline and stains the feet of anyone who ventures too close. He first noticed it Sunday night. When he went back out Monday, it was there again. He talked to about a dozen beachgoers who all said they noticed it too. "I sat on the edge of my tub with blue Dawn (dishwashing soap) and a scrub pad, and I still couldn't remove the stain from my feet," Smith said. It took a few inquiries to local and state officials, and some help from a retired scientist who lives nearby, but Smith got his answer Tuesday. It only raised more questions. According to Steve Dickson, a marine geologist with Maine Geological Survey, the black substance was the collective carcasses of dead insects. Millions of them. The bugs float in the ocean but when waves wash ashore, they settle on the beach and stay there when the tide goes back out. "This is the first time I've seen or heard of this in my 35 years," Dickson said. "Normally this time of year we get calls about too much seaweed (wrack) on the beach and the swarming flies that hang around the decaying seaweed. This wasn't that." Dickson said he's still working with entomologists on figuring out what the bugs are, where they came from - and why - but he doesn't expect it to be a recurring phenomenon. He said once the winds shift, it's likely that whatever bug debris is left behind will wash back out to sea. It was Smith's curiosity that led to the unraveling of the mystery. He took some pictures and sent them to an official at the Department of Environmental Protection out of concern the substance might be toxic. DEP officials then sent the photos around to several others, including Dickson, who was intrigued. Once he realized the pictures were of Wells Beach, he contacted Linda Stathoplos and John Lillibridge, a married couple who live nearby and who are both retired oceanographers. They also participate in the state's beach monitoring program. The couple offered to go down to the beach and get a sample. Stathoplos said they had never seen anything like it either. She even went one step further. "I collected some of the stuff, brought it back and put them under my microscope," she said. Retired scientists still keep their tools handy. "It was clearly little bugs." Stathoplos sent magnified photos to Dickson, who agreed. After Smith was told what was covering the beach and staining his feet, he said it made sense. "When I was walking again on Monday, I said to my friend who was with me, 'I wonder if this is residue from flying black bugs that were all over the beach a week ago,'" he said. Dickson said there were other reports of a similar substance at York Beach and in Ogunquit as well, but he hadn't heard of anything anywhere else. Emma Bouthillette, who regularly walks on Fortunes Rock Beach in Biddeford, posted a photo on Facebook this week of her blackened feet. She doesn't know if she, too, stepped in a pile of bug carcasses or not, but said she's always referred to the black substance as "beach tar." What she encountered is not unusual, she said. "I think it was from oil deposits that washed up and mixed with sand and just stuck to your feet," she said. Asked why the bugs might be staining people's feet, Dickson said bugs often eat plants that have pigments. In fact, in some countries bugs are still used to dye garments. "You never know what nature is going to bring next," he said. https://www.sott.net/article/453900-Mysterious-black-substance-on-Wells-Beach-Maine-turns-out-to-be-millions-of-dead-bugs
53 views · Jun 9th

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The coronavirus variant driving India's devastating COVID-19 second wave is the most infectious to emerge so far. Doctors now want to know if it's also more severe. Hearing impairment, severe gastric upsets and blood clots leading to gangrene, symptoms not typically seen in COVID-19 patients, have been linked by doctors in India to the so-called delta variant. In England and Scotland, early evidence suggests the strain — which is also now dominant there — carries a higher risk of hospitalization. Delta, also known as B.1.617.2, has spread to more than 60 countries over the past six months and triggered travel curbs from Australia to the U.S. A spike in infections, fueled by the delta variant, has forced the U.K. to reconsider its plans for reopening later this month, with a local report saying it may be pushed back by two weeks. Higher rates of transmission and a reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines have made understanding the strain's effects especially critical. Comment: Without more data it's unclear what effect the experimental mass vaccination campaign has had on these variants, because in the UK outbreaks are correlated with an increase in vaccinations: Death rate in England is lowest since records began 20 years ago "We need more scientific research to analyze if these newer clinical presentations are linked to B.1.617 or not," said Abdul Ghafur, an infectious disease physician at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, southern India's largest city. Ghafur said he is seeing more COVID-19 patients with diarrhea now than in the initial wave of the pandemic. 'New enemy' "Last year, we thought we had learned about our new enemy, but it changed," Ghafur said. "This virus has become so, so unpredictable." https://www.sott.net/article/453894-Gangrene-gastric-problems-and-hearing-loss-reported-in-delta-variant-of-coronavirus-from-India-may-carry-higher-risk-of-hospitalization
55 views · Jun 9th
Two large rural Arizona fires have scorched more than 138,000 acres and forced thousands of residents from their homes. Firefighters in the eastern part of the state are tackling the Telegraph Fire, which has burned 71,756 acres and the Mescal Fire that has charred 66,913 acres. Authorities say that the Telegraph Fire has burned since last week but is zero per cent contained, while the Mescal Fire is 23 per cent contained. At least 2,500 homes in Gila County have been evacuated, said Carl Melford, the county emergency manager. And he estimated that there was twice as many households with bags packed just in case they have to leave quickly. https://www.sott.net/article/453890-Thousands-flee-as-two-massive-wildfires-sweep-Arizona
60 views · Jun 9th
Ed Smith has walked Wells Beach for years but has never seen anything like it: A mysterious black substance that settles on the sand near the shoreline and stains the feet of anyone who ventures too close. He first noticed it Sunday night. When he went back out Monday, it was there again. He talked to about a dozen beachgoers who all said they noticed it too. "I sat on the edge of my tub with blue Dawn (dishwashing soap) and a scrub pad, and I still couldn't remove the stain from my feet," Smith said. It took a few inquiries to local and state officials, and some help from a retired scientist who lives nearby, but Smith got his answer Tuesday. It only raised more questions. According to Steve Dickson, a marine geologist with Maine Geological Survey, the black substance was the collective carcasses of dead insects. Millions of them. The bugs float in the ocean but when waves wash ashore, they settle on the beach and stay there when the tide goes back out. "This is the first time I've seen or heard of this in my 35 years," Dickson said. "Normally this time of year we get calls about too much seaweed (wrack) on the beach and the swarming flies that hang around the decaying seaweed. This wasn't that." Dickson said he's still working with entomologists on figuring out what the bugs are, where they came from - and why - but he doesn't expect it to be a recurring phenomenon. He said once the winds shift, it's likely that whatever bug debris is left behind will wash back out to sea. It was Smith's curiosity that led to the unraveling of the mystery. He took some pictures and sent them to an official at the Department of Environmental Protection out of concern the substance might be toxic. DEP officials then sent the photos around to several others, including Dickson, who was intrigued. Once he realized the pictures were of Wells Beach, he contacted Linda Stathoplos and John Lillibridge, a married couple who live nearby and who are both retired oceanographers. They also participate in the state's beach monitoring program. The couple offered to go down to the beach and get a sample. Stathoplos said they had never seen anything like it either. She even went one step further. "I collected some of the stuff, brought it back and put them under my microscope," she said. Retired scientists still keep their tools handy. "It was clearly little bugs." Stathoplos sent magnified photos to Dickson, who agreed. After Smith was told what was covering the beach and staining his feet, he said it made sense. "When I was walking again on Monday, I said to my friend who was with me, 'I wonder if this is residue from flying black bugs that were all over the beach a week ago,'" he said. Dickson said there were other reports of a similar substance at York Beach and in Ogunquit as well, but he hadn't heard of anything anywhere else. Emma Bouthillette, who regularly walks on Fortunes Rock Beach in Biddeford, posted a photo on Facebook this week of her blackened feet. She doesn't know if she, too, stepped in a pile of bug carcasses or not, but said she's always referred to the black substance as "beach tar." What she encountered is not unusual, she said. "I think it was from oil deposits that washed up and mixed with sand and just stuck to your feet," she said. Asked why the bugs might be staining people's feet, Dickson said bugs often eat plants that have pigments. In fact, in some countries bugs are still used to dye garments. "You never know what nature is going to bring next," he said. https://www.sott.net/article/453900-Mysterious-black-substance-on-Wells-Beach-Maine-turns-out-to-be-millions-of-dead-bugs
53 views · Jun 9th