Top News Stories: (10/25-10/31)

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All sources are at the end of the post.


Democrats Hammer Out Novel Plan to Tax Billionaires and Corporate Giants:




· Democratic Candidates from Atlanta to Minneapolis are avoiding the topic of “defund the police” as they continue calling for reform. Some representatives, including all of the mayoral candidates in Atlanta’s race, are now even vowing to hire more police officers. This is an attempt to appeal to moderate voters as violent crime overall goes up for the first time in four years and murder rates rise 30% in 2020, according to FBI reports. Polls show that there is an increase in Americans who want to see more police funding with a similar decrease in those opposed, with black voters being especially opposed to cuts in police funding.



Top U.S. general confirms 'very concerning' Chinese hypersonic weapons test:




· The top military officer in the US, General Mark Milley, has confirmed rumors of a Chinese hypersonic weapons test. According to nuclear arms experts, the weapons test appears to be designed to evade US defenses in two key ways. First, it appears to be able to travel at hypersonic speeds, making detection and interception more difficult. Second, the US believes that the weapon orbited the Earth before the test-fire, allowing it to entirely avoid missile defenses in Alaska and making it more difficult for defense systems to track its incoming trajectory. General Milley said that this was “very close” to a Sputnik moment, referencing when the USSR pulled ahead in the space race.


The antidepressant fluvoxamine can keep COVID-19 patients out of the hospital:




· The antidepressant fluvoxamine can keep COVID-19 patients out of the hospital. Taking the antidepressant fluvoxamine within days of showing symptoms of an infection can dramatically cut the risk of hospitalization and death, suggests the largest trial to date of this FDA-approved generic drug as a COVID-19 treatment. In newly infected COVID-19 patients at high risk of complications, a 10-day course of the antidepressant fluvoxamine cut hospitalizations by two-thirds and reduced deaths by 91 percent in patients who tolerated the medicine, researchers report October 27 in The Lancet Global Health. Fluvoxamine, a drug usually used for managing the obsessive-compulsive disorder, seems to have other biological properties that cut the effects of Covid on the body. This drug has a long-standing safety record and has a much lower cost than all other medical preventatives for Covid, only costing $10 for a ten-day program of the drug at any pharmacy in the U.S. According to Boulware, the expert panel that develops U.S. COVID-19 treatment guidelines was briefed on the data in mid-September and could decide soon about recommending fluvoxamine as an early treatment.

After Using Tools, Crows are Happier and Behave More Optimistically: ‘The pleasure of accomplishment’:




· After using tools crows are happier and behave more optimistically. This is the finding of a recent paper, co-authored by Dakota McCoy, a graduate student working in the lab of David Haig, George Putnam Professor of Biology, who found that crows behaved more optimistically after using tools. The study found that similar to human’s New Caledonian crows who build tools and use them, find a sense of accomplishment in using tools that they train themselves to use. This sense of accomplishment and happiness was measured by training the crows to use boxes with rewards, one on the left with a big reward and one on the right with a small reward. After this point, a box with an unknown reward (neutral stimulus) was placed in the middle of a table and a series of tests where crows were forced to use tools to take the reward out of a box(diff. box than neutral stimulus) and somewhere the meat was readily available. In the tests where tools were used, the crows were more likely to approach the ambiguous box to investigate while those with the easy task were not as likely to approach the box. This study gives new perspective on how animals react to complex tasks and has reinforced the idea that complex fun tasks can help make animals happier.


Sources:

Democrats Hammer Out Plan to Tax Billionaires and Corporate Giants - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Top U.S. general confirms 'very concerning' Chinese hypersonic weapons test | Reuters

The antidepressant fluvoxamine can reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations | Science News

After Using Tools, Crows are Happier and Behave More Optimistically: ‘The pleasure of accomplishment’ (goodnewsnetwork.org)

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