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December 18, 2020

Weekend reads: What Dippin' Dots can tell us about transporting Covid-19 vaccines

Daily Briefing

    Why disinfectant mist won't combat Covid-19 in the White House, how constipation killed a man 1,000 years ago, and more.

    Ben Palmer's reads

    What Dippin' Dots can teach us about transporting Covid-19 vaccines. The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as the vaccine developed by Moderna, need to be stored at very low temperatures—Pfizer's at -94 degrees Fahrenheit and Moderna's at -4 degrees Fahrenheit. But another product that's been sold in the United States for over 30 years also needs to be kept at low temperatures: Dippin' Dots ice cream, which needs to be stored at -49 degrees Fahrenheit. Writing for Popular Science, Maddie Bender examines how Dippin' Dots are shipped nationwide and what their shipping strategies can teach us about how Covid-19 vaccines are likely to be shipped.

    The top science images of 2020. As 2020 comes to an end, Nature took a look at the top science images of the year, including a picture of the new coronavirus, squids made transparent through gene editing, a scene from the wildfires that ravaged the West Coast, and monkeys holding a medical mask.

    José Vasquez's reads

    Why spending $29K on disinfectant spray won't protect the White House against Covid-19. Media outlets have reported that the federal government has contracted with Didlake to spray the White House with disinfectant mist before President-elect Joe Biden moves in next month to help free the space of the novel coronavirus. Writing for STAT News, Kate Sheridan explains why agencies and organizations—including the American Industrial Hygiene Association, a group representing workplace safety and cleanliness experts, CDC, and the World Health Organization—have recommended against using misting or fogging disinfectants as a way to fight the coronavirus. 

    How a parasite caused a man to die of constipation 1,000 years ago. Researchers examining the mummified remains of a man who lived in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas found evidence suggesting constipation led to his death. Writing for Live Science, Owen Jarus describes how a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi caused the man to develop Chagas disease, which blocked up the man's gastrointestinal system, caused him to develop another condition called "megacolon" in which his colon grew to about six times its normal size, and ultimately led to his death due to a mix of constipation and malnourishment (even though members of his community removed the legs of grasshoppers to feed him a protein-rich meal). 

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