DR/TL* (Didn't Read?/Too Long?)

Brief mentions of things going on among Duke researchers, scholars, and other enterprises


Turns out it actually is not easy being green—it’s not a simple matter of pigmentation. Some frogs are green not because of skin pigmentation but because they hijack a bile pigment. Whatever works, frogs. * If predators can’t see you, they can’t eat you. So fish who live in the inky blackness of deep ocean have evolved ultra-black skin that keeps them from reflecting even a tiny bit of light by evolving pigment packets called melanosomes, which trap light. * A mutation in the spines of research-workhorse zebrafish makes them look like fossil spines, giving insights into spinal evolution. * Birds may make all that racket in the morning as a sort of warmup. Songbirds noisier in the morning were better singers later in the day. * Malaria parasites use a combination of liquid proteins to protect themselves from the fever a body runs as it fights them. This understanding may help scientists figure out new ways to fight malaria. * Platonic friendships among male and female baboons seem to yield longer lives for the male baboons; the females groom them, whereas males do not groom one another. * Young dolphins pick friends carefully, too: As they move from pod to pod, they keep up with their besties. It’s like networking. * One way to avoid the next pandemic? Reduce wildlife trafficking and forest loss. The more that separates people and wildlife, the less likely diseases are to spread from them to us. *


North Carolina county elections officials do not appear to have changed polling places for partisan advantage. * A new blood assay can identify the body’s response to various viruses before symptoms appear, improving treatment, quarantine decisions, and public-health interventions. * Progressive churches have become more politically active during the Trump era, to the point where they are now likely more active than conservative congregations. * Texting parents has long proven helpful for kids in early-learning programs. The simple enhancement of automatically enrolling parents in (and allowing them to opt out of, instead of requiring them to sign up for) texting programs yields significant improvements in the children’s development. * Two-thirds of food options near the ten HBCUs in North Carolina are rated “unfavorable.” *


The way cells derive energy from respiration involves positive-charged protons crossing a membrane while two negatively charged electrons bifurcate: go in different directions, undergoing different processes. This is something like a water wheel, where the electrons behave like water, the wheel turning one electron into energy, which it uses to lift the other back to a higher-energy state. People have been wondering about this for a long time, and now you know. * An artificial-intelligence program was able to take highly pixelated images and turn them into extremely realistic, detailed imaginary faces. * Diminishing groundwater supplies are eating into Midwest grain yields. Uh-oh. *


In April 2020, Duke launched a research program called Community Health Watch, which provides symptom support and guidance, in both English and Spanish, for people caring for themselves at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. In its first six weeks, the program provided support to more than 1,500 people. The Duke team reached out to other organizations providing help and created the nationwide Pandemic Response Network. *  Duke received a $5 million grant to lead a five-year program creating a new national center to develop wireless communications and networking protocols fast, reliable, and resilient enough for use by the U.S. Air Force. *   Duke researchers found a way to make ventilators safer and more efficient when splitting them between patients. * To sustain students through the exceptionally long semester break this year, Duke has designed Winter Breakaway, a cadre of two-week online programs in early January that will encourage students to step outside their usual areas of study. * Duke has received a $16 million grant from the Duke Endowment in support of efforts to increase faculty diversity and campus inclusion, supporting the university’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Initiative.




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