Happy Thursday, and welcome to another issue of The Filtrate, a publication so dedicated that even the Splatocalypse can't stop us from hitting our deadline. If you got that reference without clicking the link, drop me a line and we can exchange friend codes - unless you're on Team Chaos, that is.
Speaking of apocalypses, way back in the mid-20th century America went on a bomb-testing boom (see what I did there?), detonating nuclear weapons over Pacific islands on a regular basis to see how big a blast they could make. The fallout from those events lingers in all kinds of places, and it turns out that includes fruit from the Marshall Islands. So it's okay to stuff coconuts into a bikini, but don't eat coconuts from Bikini.
Nowadays we worry about a different kind of civilization-disrupting disaster: climate change. Unfortunately, a sudden and drastic budget cut by the governor of Alaska is now derailing a bunch of research that was helping us keep track of this hazard. Of course that may have been the goal, which is even more depressing.
Elsewhere in the far north, researchers attempting to study the environmental history of L'Anse aux Meadows, the first known Viking settlement in North America, stumbled on a whole new archaeological site. It's different from what's been found in that area before, and suggests a much longer Norse occupation of the area than previously assumed. The authors conclude that "The results presented here pose more questions than answers." That's always a good outcome in science.
Moving to the tropics, specifically rural Uganda, these folks modified a type of insect-sampling trap to reduce local populations of the black flies that spread Onchocerca volvulus, the nematode that causes river blindness. The modified traps were especially good at reducing bite (and presumably infection) rates in schools. Because vectors should be restricted to math class.
Northwest of there, in Chad, researchers are studying another major public health challenge of the rural tropics: free-ranging domestic dogs. These pooches serve as reservoirs for several major zoonotic infections, including rabies. To understand the dogs' disease spread potential, the authors put collars on them with these cool proximity sensors. That allowed them to map the dogs' social networks and build sophisticated epidemiological models from them. I hereby copyright the brand name "Woofbook."
We'll close with an interesting thought piece about circadian rhythms and biological "clocks," the rhythmic day-night patterns which all mammals are widely assumed to follow. I say "assumed" because, as the paper argues, almost all studies on mammalian circadian clocks have been done on nocturnal rodents. Those findings might not apply as broadly as we've thought. It's an interesting idea, but don't lose sleep over it.
That's it for this week. As always, if you want to comment on a story covered here, you can reach me through Twitter.