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How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

Everitt et al. | Feb 15, 2021

How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.

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The effect of floating plant on water purification: Comparison of the water purification capability of Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, and Azolla

Park et al. | Nov 21, 2020

The effect of floating plant on water purification: Comparison of the water purification capability of Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, and Azolla

Clean water is a necessity for every household, yet water pollution is a serious problem in many parts of the world and plays a major role in compromising water security in the 21st century. In this paper, the authors address the utility of several plants as natural water purifiers. They estimate the effectiveness of duckweed, hyacinth, and azolla in improving the quality of water from the Mithi river in India by measuring several metrics. They conclude that all three plants are effective in improving water quality, suggesting that these plants as eco-friendly options for water treatment.

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Correlation between shutdowns and CO levels across the United States.

Gupta et al. | Dec 05, 2021

Correlation between shutdowns and CO levels across the United States.

Concerns regarding the rapid spread of Sars-CoV2 in early 2020 led company and local governmental officials in many states to ask people to work from home and avoid leaving their homes; measures commonly referred to as shutdowns. Here, the authors investigate how shutdowns affected carbon monoxide (CO) levels in 15 US states using publicly available data. Their results suggest that CO levels decreased as a result of these measures over the course of 2020, a trend which started to reverse after shutdowns ended.

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Genomic Signature Analysis for the Strategic Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Mangrove Ecosystems in the Gulf of Tonkin

Dao et al. | Jun 27, 2021

Genomic Signature Analysis for the Strategic Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Mangrove Ecosystems in the Gulf of Tonkin

Engineered bacteria that degrade oil are currently being considered as a safe option for the treatment of oil spills. For this approach to be successful, the bacteria must effectively express oil-degrading genes they uptake as part of an external genoming vehicle called a "plasmid". Using a computational approach, the authors investigate plasmid-bacterium compatibility to find pairs that ensure high levels of gene expression.

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Purification of Water by Aloe

Sharma et al. | Aug 19, 2016

Purification of Water by Aloe

The authors test the ability of aloe vera gel to purify water of four separate contaminants. Aloe reduced the levels of copper, iron, and phosphate, but not nitrate. Potential applications of this purification system are discussed.

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The effect of sports on teenagers’ depression symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic

Düzgezen et al. | Jun 12, 2023

The effect of sports on teenagers’ depression symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic
Image credit: Izuddin Helmi Adnan

Here, seeking to identify the possible role of sports in helping teenagers navigate the troubles associated with societal changes during a pandemic, the authors surveyed 50 adolescents to collect Beck Depression Inventory scores. They found that 9 out of students with severe depressions did not do sports, while no significant relationship between depressive symptoms and either gender or place of exercise was observed.

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How visualization influences strength endurance

Moore et al. | Jul 06, 2022

How visualization influences strength endurance

Recognizing a potential link between mental focus and physical endurance, here, the authors considered the effects of mental visualization on strength endurance. By comparing the number of repetitions completed in sets where the lifter was aware of the weight to be lifted against sets where the lifter was kept unaware, they found that the lifter was able to maintain strength endurance when unable to accurately visualize the weight they lifted in this exploratory study.

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A potentially underestimated source of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in agriculture

Corcimaru et al. | May 18, 2022

A potentially underestimated source of CO<sub>2</sub> and other greenhouse gases in agriculture

Here the authors investigated the role of agricultural fertilizers as potential contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast to the typical investigations that consider microbiological processes, the authors considered purely chemical processes. Based on their results they found that as much as 20.41% of all CO2 emission from land-based activities could be a result of mineral nitrogen fertilizers.

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