Coral microbiome is key to surviving climate change, new study finds | NSF – National Science Foundation

The microbiomes of corals — which comprise bacteria, fungi and viruses — play an important role in corals’ ability to tolerate rising ocean temperatures, according to research led by Penn State scientists.

The U.S. National Science Foundation-funded team also identified several genes in certain corals and the symbiotic photosynthetic algae that live inside their tissues that may play a role in their response to heat stress. “We know how complex coral communities are at the human visual level,” said Mike Sieracki, a program director in NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences. “Now we’re learning that their microbial partners, which we can’t see, help sustain coral health.”

The findings could inform current coral reef conservation efforts, for example, by highlighting the potential benefits of amending coral reefs with microbes found to bolster heat stress responses.
— Read on www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp

Endangered archive of Siberian indigenous voices to be digitised – Museums Association

“Russian cassette tapes from the Soviet era are particularly fragile and here the process of degradation has been speeded up by water leakages in the building, which have increased the humidity,” Anderson said.

“For the most badly damaged tapes, extracting what they contain requires them to be baked in an oven but after that, you only get one chance at playing them before the recordings are lost.

“We will be working with Russian sound technicians on this process which then requires them to be disassembled, rewound and played at different speeds to remove the interference caused by damage to the tapes, which stick together causing squealing sounds.”
— Read on www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/2021/10/endangered-archive-of-siberian-indigenous-voices-to-be-digitised/

Why the U.N.’s Biodiversity Conference Is So Important – The New York Times

Countries are gathering in an effort to stop a biodiversity collapse that scientists say could equal climate change as an existential crisis.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/10/14/climate/un-biodiversity-conference-climate-change.html

Outrage as Texas school District Considers Holocaust Denial Books in Response to Anti-Racism Crackdown

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law earlier this year that is intended to combat the teaching of critical race theory. A recording obtained by NBC News captures an administrator from Carroll Independent School District—which serves the wealthy, predominantly white Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Southlake—last week instructing teachers to comply with the new law by offering alternate opinions on topics like the Holocaust, despite mainstream views on the Holocaust not being opposed in any substantial or credible manner.

Gina Peddy, the school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, can be heard in the recording telling teachers to “try to remember the concepts of” the new law while planning their lessons. She then tells teachers that if they “have a book on the Holocaust” they should also include a book that has “opposing” views or “other perspectives.” The exchange prompted strong reactions on Twitter, with many prominent figures outrage that Abbott’s law could promote Holocaust denial.
— Read on www.newsweek.com/outrage-texas-school-district-considers-holocaust-denial-books-response-anti-racism-crackdown-1639213

Running Machine Learning Projects: Things to know | by Prashant Mudgal | Oct, 2021 | Towards Data Science

In my experience, ML projects come in all shapes and sizes and vary greatly in their complexity. In the initial 2000/10s, the emphasis was on the model-centric approach which I always found a little bizarre as I heard umpteen times about the fancier models than the results(well, it was a different time and folks used to get awestruck when they would hear ML, AI, DS etc); slowly and steadily the focus has shifted to the result centric approach i.e. use whatever model you can but make use of the data and produce results that are directional, applicable, and coherent.
— Read on towardsdatascience.com/running-machine-learning-projects-things-to-know-316775338eab

Women and Social Security: How to Get the Biggest Check – The New York Times

Women tend to live longer than men, so they need as much retirement income as possible. Whether you’re 30 or 60, here’s what you need to know.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/06/28/business/retirement/women-social-security-retirement.html

Not a Joke: Trump Was Going to Appoint Ivanka President of the World Bank Until Steven Mnuchin Intervened | Vanity Fair

Ivanka apparently came “incredibly close” to running the institution.
— Read on www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/10/ivanka-trump-world-bank-steven-mnuchin

Empty Homes, Shattered Dreams: China’s “Ghost Castles” – NHK WORLD PRIME – TV | NHK WORLD-JAPAN Live & Programs

A curious sight has emerged in the economically flourishing cities of China: Apartment buildings in which construction halts midway. Locals refer to them as “ghost castles.” Residents of one such building in Wuhan live in rooms without water or electricity, struggling under the financial weight of repaying the mortgage for an unfinished home. This program examines the shadow behind real estate development through the turmoil faced by the residents who have become victims of a ghost castle.
— Read on www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/tv/worldprime/20210911/3016103/

BBC World Service – The Inquiry, Is China’s economy in trouble?

For decades China’s economic growth has been the envy of the western world. But current signs suggest all is not well.
Regulations brought in by government to curb businesses reliance on debt have badly hit the its second largest real estate developer, Evergrande and manufacturing output has been hit by power shortages.
So is China’s economy in trouble?

Experts:
Sara Hsu, visiting scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai
Michael Pettis, Finance Professor at Peking University and a Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment
Iris Pang, ING’s Chief Economist for Greater China
Travis Lundy, independent research analyst in Hong Kong
— Read on www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct1z2l

A C.I.A. Admission – The New York Times

In a top secret cable, the agency said it had lost dozens of informants. How did this happen?
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/10/08/podcasts/the-daily/cia-informants-compromised.html