T. Rex Dispute, Texas Trans Healthcare, Russian Cyber Warfare, Bird Calls. March 4, 2022, Part 1

T. Rex Dispute, Texas Trans Healthcare, Russian Cyber Warfare, Bird Calls. March 4, 2022, Part 1

By Science Friday and WNYC Studios

Science Friday

Friday, 4 March

The Tyrannosaurus Rex Is Having An Identity Crisis

There are few creatures, present or extinct, that hold the iconic status of the Tyrannosaurus rex. In museums and dinosaur media, this powerful, lumbering reptile often plays a starring role. But new research argues that the T. rex should really be classified into three separate species: Tyrannosaurus rex, Tyrannosaurus imperator, and Tyrannosaurus regina.

This paper has been met with a wide range of reactions: some paleontologists have said this discovery could shake our understanding of dinosaur classifications, and could cause a headache for museums. Other experts say the paper is a load of bologna.

In other science news, a new strain of coronavirus was discovered in Canadian deer. This finding could shed more light on how the virus mutates and jumps between animals and people.

Joining Ira to talk about these topics and other news of the week is Sabrina Imbler, science reporting fellow for The New York Times.

 

Once Again, Transgender And Nonbinary Kids Are Under Attack In Texas

Pilar Hernandez was hoping the nightmare for her family was over. For months last year, transgender advocates in Texas fought a group of bills in the Legislature seeking to ban transition care by arresting parents and delicensing doctors who provide transition care to children. Several of those bills died, but the ordeal scared Hernandez, the mother of a 17-year-old transgender boy in Houston.

Last week, those fears resurfaced: Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion that defined providing access to certain gender-affirming treatment as child abuse, leaving some parents worried about the safety of their families and some advocates concerned about the well-being of trans kids in Texas. “I had this fantasy that this year we’ll be able to at least rest a little,” Hernandez said while fighting back tears. “I think we all have post traumatic stress syndrome from last year, so this brings everything back.”

The AG’s definition is opposed by major medical organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pediatric Endocrine Society and the American Medical Association, which say these treatments are within the standards of care and often lifesaving.

Read more at sciencefriday.com.

 

What’s The Role Of Cyber Warfare In Russia’s War With Ukraine?

When Russia invaded Ukraine a week ago, some experts predicted full-scale cyber warfare. It hasn’t happened—at least not yet. Russia did launch a few small cyber attacks against Ukraine, including malware which would have wiped Ukrainian government and bank data. It was thwarted.

Banks in the United States are now beefing up their security in anticipation of potential Russian cyber attacks in retaliation to the recently imposed sanctions. But how worried should we be about a global cyber war?

Jason Healey, senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, based in New York City, joins Ira to discuss the intricacies of Russian cyber warfare.

 

The World According to Sound: Antiphonal Duets

Some birds, especially those in the tropics, sing what are known as “antiphonal duets.” These are duets where there is a rapid alternation of notes sung by each bird. Sometimes there is just a gap of a few milliseconds between the part sung by each bird. The tight-knit duets help mating birds locate each other.

The World of Sound team took the duets of several pairs of wrens recorded by Dr. Nigel Mann and separated the parts of the two birds. By separating the vocalizations of each bird, you can hear how perfectly the two parts fit together.

At the end of the piece you hear a bird whose mating call never gets answered. It’s a Kaua‘i ‘ō ‘ō bird that was recorded in 1984 by James Jacobi. It was one of the last recordings made of an ō ‘ō bird. The species is now extinct.

 

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