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Weekend Reads 8/15/20

The breakthrough that could halt the pandemic, even before a vaccine

The WHO’s rapid diagnostic test standard requires the test to correctly identify at least 70 percent of the people who have the virus. And while that is lower than the 95 percent rate achieved by the standard nasal test known as PCR, which must be administered by medical professionals, the self-tests could catch infected people more quickly, the experts argue.

People slept on comfy grass beds 200,000 years ago

Besides being much softer than the cave floor, these ancient beds were probably surprisingly clean. Burning dirty bedding would have helped cut down on problems with bedbugs, lice, and fleas, not to mention unpleasant smells. Wadley and her colleagues suggest that people at Border Cave may even have raked some extra ashes in from nearby hearths “to create a clean, odor-controlled base for bedding.”

A 429-Million-Year-Old Trilobite Had Eyes like Those of Modern Bees

“I was very surprised to see that one eye was broken,” she says. The exposed inner surface revealed the animal’s lens, its receptor cells and other parts of its anatomy. Such detail is uncommon in the fossil record: the preservation of delicate cellular structures, especially in the eyes, often relies on rapid burial in oxygen-depleted environments. Places where this kind of preservation occurs, such as the famous Cambrian Burgess Shale in British Columbia, are few and far between.

Qwazy for QAnon

The internet age has birthed a crisis of information. Flooded by claims and counterclaims, people don’t know whom to trust. And in this welter of confusion, many seize upon stories they’d like to be true, rather than those that seem plausible. I guess it’s more comforting for some to believe that Trump’s erratic and incompetent behavior is actually cover for a massive plan to save the world from Satan-worshipping child molesters than to accept that he is what he seems.

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