A regular dose of nature may improve mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic — ScienceDaily

A study published in Ecological Applications suggests that nature around one’s home may help mitigate some of the negative mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An online questionnaire survey completed by 3,000 adults in in Tokyo, Japan, quantified the link between five mental-health outcomes (depression, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, self-esteem, and loneliness) and two measures of nature experiences (frequency of greenspace use and green view through windows from home).

More frequent greenspace use and the existence of green window views from the home were associated with increased levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness, as well as decreased levels of depression and loneliness.

“Our results suggest that nearby nature can serve as a buffer in decreasing the adverse impacts of a very stressful event on humans,” said lead author Masashi Soga, PhD, of The University of Tokyo. “Protecting natural environments in urban areas is important not only for

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Parasitic worms offer ‘the missing link’ on the dual nature of a key immune regulator — ScienceDaily

De’Broski Herbert has a philosophy that’s guided his career researching helminths, or parasitic worms, and their interaction with their hosts’ immune systems: “Follow the worm.”

“The mantra of my lab since its inception has been that parasitic worms manipulate their hosts in very interesting ways to maintain their survival,” says Herbert, an associate professor of pathobiology in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t care about staying in your body very long because it is transmitted so easily. Worms aren’t spread so easily, so they have to figure out how to persist.”

That focus has revealed a key insight about an immune signaling molecule, the cytokine IL-33, that is important not only in parasite infections, but in a range of other health conditions, such as asthma, obesity, and eczema. In a new study published in Science Immunology, Herbert and colleagues made insights that explain how IL-33 can both help

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Artificial night lighting has widespread impacts on nature — ScienceDaily

Artificial night-time lighting has a diverse range of effects across the natural world and should be limited where possible, researchers say.

A team led by the University of Exeter brought together more than 100 studies and found “widespread” impacts on animals and plants.

Changes to animals’ bodies and behaviour — especially hormone levels and patterns of waking and sleeping — were consistently found.

The study shows that levels of melatonin (a hormone regulating sleep cycles) were reduced by exposure to artificial lighting at night in all animal species studied.

“Lots of studies have examined the impacts of artificial night-time lighting on particular species or communities of species,” said Professor Kevin Gaston, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“Our research brings those studies together — and we find the effects are very diverse and very pervasive.

“Particularly strong responses are seen in hormone levels, the

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DOJ’s Discovery Of Google’s ‘Monopoly’ Confirms The Lawsuit’s Superfluous Nature

Have you heard of MySpace lately? The question answers itself.

Funny about the once dominant social media giant is that in 2006 its daily traffic still surpassed Google’s
GOOG
. Yes, Google used to trail MySpace, and before that its founders almost certainly admired the search and traffic dominance of AOL and Yahoo. The former was once seen as so powerful that its merger with Time Warner was delayed for a year. A few years after the combination was “allowed” by antitrust nail biters, Time Warner removed an increasingly irrelevant “AOL” from AOL/Time Warner. It was bad for branding.

What about Internet Explorer? Surely that rings a bell. That Microsoft
MSFT
bundled the latter into its software back in the day – for free – earned it Department of Justice attention of the unfortunate kind. Supposedly Microsoft had an unfair advantage since its offered pathway to the internet didn’t cost

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Tackling alarming decline in nature requires ‘safety net’ of multiple, ambitious goals — ScienceDaily

A “safety net” made up of multiple ambitious and interlinked goals is needed to tackle nature’s alarming decline, according to an international team of researchers analyzing the new goals for biodiversity being drafted by the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The scientific advice comes at a critical time: The CBD recently announced that none of its 20 biodiversity targets for 2020, which were set in 2010, has been fully reached. Policymakers, scientists and other experts are now preparing for the next generation of biodiversity goals, which will be unveiled at the CBD’s Convention of the Parties in 2021.

“To curb the many threats to our biological world, we need biodiversity targets that are distinct, manifold and appreciate different facets of biodiversity,” Amy Zanne, associate professor of biological sciences at the George Washington University and a member of the international team of researchers who analyzed the new biodiversity goals, said.

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Half-measures won’t save nature, scientists warn

Bending the curve of nature’s rapid decline will require attacking the problem aggressively along several fronts at once, leading scientists warned Thursday.

From preventing the extinction of lions and polar bears to halting the destruction of life-sustaining primary forests, only a multi-pronged plan can stitch together a “safety net” for the natural world, they argued in a peer-reviewed commentary in Science.

“It will not be enough to have, for example, an ambitious goal for reducing species extinctions if goals for ecosystems and genetic diversity are not sufficiently ambitious too,” co-author Piero Visconti, a researcher at the International Institute for Applied System Analysis said in a statement.

The nature rescue plan from 60 experts worldwide is offered as a blueprint ahead of a biodiversity summit next year in China. 

Originally scheduled for this month, the “COP15” negotiation of nearly 200 nations under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity — postponed due

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