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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.’”

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.”

PBS NewsHour

Reporting for the PBS NewsHour, Miles O’Brien visits alumnus Dexter Ang ‘05 to learn more about how his startup, Pison, is developing a wrist-worn sensor that detects the faint electrical signals controlling simple hand gestures, allowing users to control digital interfaces using brain signals. “The device is connected to a smartphone, allowing control of it or other devices, conveyor belts in factories, drones, even pinball machines, to name a few,” notes O’Brien. He adds that Ang was inspired by his late mother, who contracted ALS, as “he wanted to make her life easier.”

Fast Company

Prof. Dava Newman, director of the MIT Media Lab, speaks with Mark Wilson of Fast Company about her vision for the future of the Media Lab. “We’re going to be a diverse and equitable place, we have to have everyone at the table,” says Newman. “We do have these special talents. We can see solutions in envisioning things that are further out. We are built on literal media and data, so we don’t shy away from any technical challenges.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Adele Peters spotlights LiquiGlide, an MIT startup that has developed a non-toxic lubricant that can be used to ensure each drop of a product slides out of the bottle, lessening waste and making recycling easier. “We all think when we throw a bottle into a recycling bin it will get recycled, but recycling is almost impossible when product is left behind and you need a significant amount of water to clean it,” says Prof. Kripa Varanasi. “So the reality is that some of this packaging actually ends up in a landfill.”

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.”

Wired

Wired reporter Max G. Levy writes that MIT researchers have developed a glue inspired by barnacles that can adhere to wet tissues and stop bleeding in seconds. “For us, everything is a machine, even a human body,” says research scientist Hyunwoo Yuk. “They are malfunctioning and breaking, and we have some mechanical way to solve it.”

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.”

ABC News

Prof. Lydia Bourouiba speaks with ABC News about how schools can use ventilation and masks to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. “If we're not wearing a mask, that contamination is building up, particularly when we're in a classroom for hours," says Bourouiba. "But there are simple measures when we bring in fresh air from the outside that are very effective."

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.”

CBS Boston

A new tabletop device developed by researchers from MIT and other institutions can identify Covid-19 variants in a person’s saliva, reports CBS Boston. “We tried to limit the number of user steps to make sure it was as easy as possible,” explains graduate student Devora Najjar.

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Bryan Marquard memorializes the life and work of Prof. Paul Lagacé, “whose aeronautics expertise was sought by government agencies and aircraft companies.” Lagacé, who came to MIT as a freshman and stayed at the Institute throughout his entire career, was also known at Fenway Park for his distinctive cheers for Red Sox star Wade Boggs.

The Economist

The Economist spotlights alumna Lisa Su S.B. ’90, S.M. ’91, PhD ’94, who is the chief executive of the chip maker AMD. “I learned that when I chose something very difficult, and did well, it would give me great confidence for the next challenge,” says Su.

Reuters

A study by graduate student Carly Ziegler finds that how cells in the nose respond to the coronavirus could help predict how sick a person might become with Covid-19, reports Nancy Lapid for Reuters. "If further studies support our findings, we could use the same nasal swabs we use to diagnose COVID-19 to identity potentially severe cases before severe disease develops, creating an opportunity for effective early intervention," says Ziegler.

The Washington Post

Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle spotlights MIT startup Form Energy, which has created a battery prototype made of iron and oxygen that stores large amounts of power and can release it over days. Von Drehle writes that this new battery could usher in a “sort of tipping point for green energy: reliable power from renewable sources at less than $20 per kilowatt-hour.”