Abstracts: USDA Nominee, AIDS Updates, and More


• President Trump has nominated Sam Clovis, a climate change denier without a science degree, to serve as secretary of agriculture for the U.S Department of Agriculture — the agency’s top scientific post. (The Hill)

On Wednesday, President Trump nominated Sam Clovis to lead the USDA. Visual: Scott Olson/Getty

• The massive Larsen C Iceberg, which broke away from Antarctica last week, is already beginning to shift shape and break apart. (Climate Central)

• New updates on the global AIDS epidemic reveal that half of all people who are HIV-positive are receiving treatment for the first time in history. A United Nations report provides “scorecards” for countries to indicate where access to treatment has improved and where it still falls short. (Science)

• Thanks to a recent discovery of artifacts in northern Australia, it is possible that humans first arrived on the continent 5,000 years earlier and with more sophisticated tools and crafts than previously believed. (Science News)

• Friendliness might be written in dogs’ genes, new findings suggest. Researchers have identified genetic characteristics linked to sociability that might have given dogs one of the distinctive traits that differentiates them from wolves. (BBC)

• Astronomers have detected “peculiar” signals coming from a nearby red dwarf star. Experts have identified three possible explanations for the radio signals, but have reached no official conclusions. (The Atlantic)

• Tectonic plates, which greatly influence the geology of Earth, might also contribute to the planet’s ability to support life, according to new research. The findings raise an exciting new question for scientists: If planets outside of our solar system displaying tectonic activity were discovered, would they also be able to sustain life? (Scientific American)

• And finally, scientists have discovered a huge new species of ocean sunfish after a four-year search for the elusive animal. (National Geographic)