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The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Castellanos spotlights Prof. Markus Buehler’s work combining virtual reality with sound waves to help detect subtle changes in molecular motions. Castellanos notes that Buehler and his team recently found, “coronaviruses can be more lethal or infectious depending on the vibrations within the spike proteins that are found on the surface of the virus.”

Wired

Wired reporter Viviane Callier writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers examines a Vietnam-era training program that brought recent medical school graduates to the NIH for several years of intensive research training. The researchers found program participants were “twice as likely to pursue research careers than the controls; they published more (and more highly cited) papers, and they disproportionately participated in training the next generation of physician-scientists and researchers.”

Vox

Vox reporter Jerusalem Demsas spotlights a new study by graduate student Benjamin Preis that “compared four different models of gentrification and displacement risk and found ‘striking differences between the models.’” The models “disagree on the front end, they disagree on what we call gentrification, and then not surprisingly, they really disagree on the back end to actually map out what those neighborhoods are,” says Preis.

Motherboard

A team of researchers led by MIT visiting scientist Judah Cohen has found that climate change is amplifying winter weather disasters, including the rare cold snap in Texas and other southern states in February 2021, reports Becky Ferreira for Motherboard. “The team used both observational data and climate models to expose ‘stretching events’ in the polar vortex that cause its circular shape to become elongated across the Arctic,” writes Ferreira. “This phenomenon ‘is linked with extreme cold across parts of Asia and North America.’”

The Guardian

A new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that climate change is likely causing more extreme winter weather, reports Hallie Golden for The Guardian. The researchers found that changes in the Arctic brought on by climate change “actually increased the chances of tightly spinning winds above the North Pole, known as the Arctic stratospheric polar vortex, being stretched and thus boosting the chances of extreme weather events in the US and beyond.”

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Adam Vaughan writes that a new study led by visiting scientist Judah Cohen finds that climate change may be causing more extreme winter weather in North America and Eurasia. “If you expected global warming to help you out with preparing for severe winter weather, our paper says the cautionary tale is: don’t necessarily expect climate change to solve that problem for you,” says Cohen. “This is an unexpected impact from climate change that we didn’t appreciate 20 years ago.”

Boston Globe

A study by MIT researchers finds that crowdsourced fact-checking of news stories by laypeople tend to be just as effective as professional fact-checkers, writes David Scharfenberg for The Boston Globe. The researchers found that “even when pooling a relatively small number of laypeople’s evaluations, the correlation between laypeople’s and fact-checkers’ evaluations was about the same as the correlation among the fact-checkers’.”

Mashable

Mashable reporter Matt Binder writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that crowdsourced fact-checking of news stories can be as effective as using professional fact-checkers. “The study is positive news in the sense that everyday newsreaders appear to be able to, mostly, suss out misinformation,” writes Binder.

New York Times

New York Times columnist Peter Coy spotlights a new working paper by Prof. Daron Acemoglu examining democracies. “Democracies breed their own support only when they are successful: all of the effects we estimate work through exposure to democracies that are successful in providing economic growth, peace and political stability, and public goods,” Acemoglu and his co-authors write.

Boston Globe

Matthew Shifrin writes for The Boston Globe about his personal experience using the TRANSFORM device created by the Tangible Media Group, an interactive display that fuses technology and design to render 3-D models in real-time. Shifrin, who is blind, notes that TRANSFORM allowed him “to track facial expressions like a sighted person would, and its larger size lets me feel the nuances that I can’t feel on a real face.”

Dezeen

Dezeen reporter Rima Sabina Aouf writes that MIT researchers have created an inflatable prosthetic hand that can be produced for a fraction of the cost of similar prosthetics. “The innovation could one day help some of the 5 million people in the world who have had an upper-limb amputation but can't afford expensive prostheses.”

Mashable

Engineers at MIT have developed a soft, inflatable, neuroprosthetic hand that allows users to carry out a variety of tasks with ease, reports Emmett Smith for Mashable. “People who tested out the hand were able to carry out quite complex tasks, such as zipping up a suitcase and pouring a carton of juice.”

Stat

Writing for STAT, Prof. Susan Silbey and Prof. Ruthanne Huising of Emlyon Business School make the case that to prevent lab leaks, there should be a greater emphasis placed on biosafety. “The global research community does not need more rules, more layers of oversight, and more intermediary actors,” they write. “What it needs is more attention and respect to already known biosafety measures and techniques.”

PBS NewsHour

Research scientist Allan Adams speaks with PBS NewsHour reporter Isabella Isaacs-Thomas about the underwater robot he and his colleagues at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute developed to explore the mysteries of the ocean. “We [designed the radiometer] because we really want to see, how does the light interact with the biology?," says Adams. "How does the light drive — and not drive — the biological dynamics of this massive migration?”

National Geographic

National Geographic reporter Roxanne Khamsi spotlights how Prof. Richard Braatz is working on developing continuous manufacturing processes that could help boost global vaccine availability. Khamsi notes that one feature Braatz and his colleagues are testing is using “a filter that attaches to the side of their production tanks to continuously extract vaccine material, rather than harvesting it in bulk.”