Abstracts: John Glenn, Scott Pruitt, Ancient Eclipses, and More


• John Glenn, retired astronaut and senator, has died at 95, after a prolonged stay in the hospital. Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, and later became the oldest person to go into space. (New York Times)

In 1998, John Glenn returned to space at the age of 77. Visual: NASA/Bill Ingalls

• President-elect Trump’s expected pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency is Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier who is suing the EPA over its greenhouse gas regulations. (Washington Post)

• A new form of antibiotic resistant bacteria has been found on a hog farm. The bacteria is resistant to multiple drugs, including — curiously — ones commonly used in hospitals, but not on livestock. (Scientific American)

• Protesters against new standards to make school lunches healthier argue that students will simply throw healthy food away. However, new studies show that students’ diets are improving under nutritional school lunch programs. (National Geographic)

• Astronomers are using historic records of ancient eclipses to figure out how much the Earth’s rotation speed has slowed over the past 3,000 years. (The Atlantic)

• Some bat populations have developed resistance to white-nose syndrome, the fungal disease that has decimated bat populations across North America. (BBC)

• Greenland’s ice sheet could be completely depleted by climate change. Two new studies examining how Greenland’s ice sheet has shifted in the past disagree over whether it has disappeared completely before. (Nature)

• A Chinese paleontologist has found a feathery dinosaur tail preserved in amber. The rare specimen provides more evidence to the theory that dinosaurs had feathers. (CNN)

• Scientists have finally sighted a small sea squirt-like creature referred to as a “sea blob,” which was first identified in 1900 and not conclusively spotted again for over a century. (National Geographic)

• And finally, average life expectancy in the U.S. fell in 2015, the first time it has declined in decades. (STAT)