PHE Analysis of Moore’s Law published

PHE affiliate David Burg and Jesse Ausubel co-authored a paper published in PLOS ONE, Moore’s Law revisited through Intel chip density. Summarized here, the paper uses our LogletLab software to analyze the evolution of transistor density in state-of-the-art computer chips and how it corresponds to the famous ‘Moore’s Law.’

Coverage occurred in Chinese (TenCent News) and in German.

An earlier paper by Jesse and Nadja Victor used loglets to analyze DRAMs. This work fits with our generic interest in diffusion of technical and social phenomena.

Archive Sewage!

PHE Guest Investigator David Thaler and RU colleague Tom Sakmar publish open access in BMC Infectious Diseases 21, Article #601 (2021) Archiving time series sewage samples as biological records of built environments.”  The idea for the article arose during our 2020 twice-weekly PHE Zooms.  It is rooted in part in Paula Olsiewski’s completed Sloan Foundation program on the Microbiology of the Built Environment, to which David contributed.  It also links to the Leonardo Da Vinci DNA Project, to which both David and Tom belong, and which searches for biological relics from times past and also explores how better to preserve recent traces of DNA and RNA.

Abstract

This commentary encourages the regular archiving of nucleic-acid-stabilized serial samples of wastewaters and/or sewage. Stabilized samples would facilitate retrospective reconstitution of built environments’ biological fluids. Biological time capsules would allow retrospective searches for nucleic acids from viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Current resources for testing need not be diverted if samples are saved in case they become important in the future. Systematic storage would facilitate investigation into the origin and prevalence of viruses and other agents. Comparison of prevalence data from individual and clinical samplings with community wastewater would allow valuable comparison, contrast and correlation among different testing modalities. Current interest is focused on SARS-CoV-2, but archived samples could become valuable in many contexts including surveys for other infectious and chemical agents whose identity is not currently known. Archived time series of wastewater will take their place alongside other biological repositories and records including those from medical facilities, museums, eDNA, living cell and tissue collections. Together these will prove invaluable records of the evolving Anthropocene.

PHE student earns 1st place in science fair

Ossining NY high school sophomore Samara Davis, with guidance from PHE’s Mark Stoeckle, earned 1st place in the Somers/Westlake Science Fair for her project Environmental DNA Analysis to Determine Population Characteristics of Elusive Ephemeral Pool-Breeding Mole Salamanders, in Relation to the Effects of Climate Change. Congratulations to Samara! Thanks, Mark!

Plant and animal diversity is declining, but what about microbial diversity?

Spurred by PHE Guest Investigator and microbiologist David Thaler’s publication, “Is global microbial biodiversity increasing, decreasing, or staying the same?” , David and Jesse Ausubel co-author a 900-word essay raising the question of what’s happening to microbes in RealClear Science.

Quantifying forest change in the European Union

Iddo Wernick, our long-time collaborator Pekka Kauppi, and other forestry experts published Quantifying forest change in the European Union in Nature vol 592 pages E13–E14 (2021). The authors argue that net carbon stored in the EU continues to increase as forest volume accumulates faster than additions to (and fluctuations in) the annual harvest.

For some of our earlier forest work, see PNAS publishes Forests paper and Quandaries of forest area, volume, biomass, and carbon explored with the forest identity.

As plant and animal diversity wanes, is microbial life changing too?

PHE Guest Investigator and microbiologist David Thaler has published the paper, “Is global microbial biodiversity increasing, decreasing, or staying the same?” in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.  The answer is, we do not know.

The paper arose from Zoom discussions PHE began holding every Tuesday and Thursday noon during COVID lockdown of our NYC group members with colleagues in California, Israel, Switzerland, and elsewhere.  Bravo to David for asking a bold question and putting it onto the research agenda.  Thanks to Gary Borisy (Forsyth Institute) and Jessica Mark Welch (Marine Biological Laboratory) for sharing images.  A Press Release from the journal summarize the paper.

The Guardian, Microbes are ‘unknown unknowns’ despite being vital to all life, says study (another excellent article from Guardian science reporters!)

Agencia EFE, Spain, Un estudio resalta la “profunda ignorancia” de la biodiversidad de microbiosAargauer Zeitung, Switzerland, Biologie – Gilt das Artensterben auch für die Mikroben?

IndoAsian News Service, India Is microbial life, including viruses, changing too?
COSMOS Magazine, Australia The great unknown of global microbial diversity

Mongabay, ‘Profound ignorance’: Microbes, a missing piece in the biodiversity puzzle by Ian Morse on 26 April 2021



Big Russian popular review of Deep Biosphere

We just came across this 9 Dec 2019 beautifully illustrated review of the work of the Deep Carbon Observatory, especially its work on the deep biosphere, a subject in which Russian and Ukrainian scientists have made important contributions since Mendeleev. Jesse Ausubel is quoted near the end of the article.

How they live where almost nobody lives: the dark side of the biosphere Life exists at a depth of several kilometers, in the hot and oxygen-deprived bowels of the Earth – and thrives there, completely uninterested in anything that happens here, above.