Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

People who are likely to dismiss journalism as “fake news” tend to believe the world is predictable

The notion of “fake news” spread like wildfire in the United States after the 2016 election. Recent research in Psychological Science tried to determine what psychological factors drove this concept—generally defined as the suspicion that politically-biased news outlets produce deliberately … Continue reading

Categories: Journal Club | Psychological and Cognitive Sciences | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

PREVIEW Editorial: Scientific versus Public Debates: A PNAS Case Study

Douglas S. Massey1 and Mary C. Waters2,3 1. Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Wallace Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544 USA 2. To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: mcw@wjh.harvard.edu 3. Department of Sociology, Harvard University, 540 William James Hall, 33 … Continue reading

Categories: Editorial | Social Sciences | Statistics | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Seasonality shapes coevolution of parasites and hosts

Parasites and their hosts coevolve in an arms race influenced by environmental conditions. Seasonal change, for example, can shape the course of evolution, but precisely how has been something of a mystery. A recent study used lab experiments and mathematical … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Evolution | Journal Club | Mathematics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Country-level assessment hides big variations in soy’s carbon footprint

Analysts usually estimate a crop’s carbon footprint based on country-level factors. But that formulation isn’t adequate, according to a new analysis of soy exports from Brazil. Published in Global Environmental Change, the study tracked soy from specific production sites in … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Climate science | Economic sciences | Environmental Sciences | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Snake venom evolved in fits and spurts

The cocktail of toxins in snake venom experienced constant change with pulses of rapid evolution over the last 60 million years, according to a recent study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Venom, the researchers report, has changed … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Genetics | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trends in conservation funding track popular narratives about the illegal wildlife trade

Trends in conservation funding are changing, according to a recent study in World Development. “We see a shift toward funding conservation work that’s increasingly about combatting wildlife trafficking,” says coauthor Jared Margulies, a human-environment geographer at the University of Alabama … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Journal Club | Political Science | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

In plea for face masks, researchers visualize how speech sends fluid droplets flying

As COVID-19 ravaged Wuhan, China, in January, scientists remained unsure how the virus was spreading so rapidly. Biophysicist Adriaan Bax, chatting over dinner with his linguist wife Ingrid Pufahl, started to suspect that the saliva we project as we speak … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Applied Physical Sciences | Biophysics and Computational Biology | Infectious disease | Journal Club | Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Neurons in the hippocampus can make several different maps of the same environment

Nestled deep in the brain, the hippocampus is the seat of spatial cognition. Specialized hippocampal neurons fire in consistent patterns thought to construct mental maps that help us navigate the world—in general, researchers believed there was one map for every … Continue reading

Categories: Journal Club | Neuroscience | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

PREVIEW News Feature: To counter the pandemic, clinicians bank on repurposed drugs

Teams are pursuing a dizzying array of therapeutic strategies to stymie COVID-19. It’s not yet clear which approach, or combination of approaches, will work best. *Editor’s Note: We’re providing a preview of this content due to the urgent and rapidly … Continue reading

Categories: Cell Biology | Immunology | Infectious disease | Medical Sciences | News feature | Pharmacology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fluid dynamics work hints at whether spoken word can spread COVID-19

As of April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising that everyone—sick or healthy—wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recent research on how fluids travel from our respiratory tracts when we sneeze, speak, or … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Immunology | Infectious disease | Journal Club | Medical Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PREVIEW Inner Workings: Molecular biologists offer “wartime service” in the effort to test for COVID-19

*Editor’s Note: We’re providing a preview of this content due to the urgent and rapidly unfolding events surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic. An updated version will appear in PNAS in the coming weeks. As COVID-19 spreads, communities across the United … Continue reading

Categories: Inner workings | Medical Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment