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Art Crime Science, Long Covid Update, Earth's Slowing Core. Jan 27, 2023, Part 1

Science Friday
Science Friday

What’s Behind The Strange Slowing Of The Earth’s Core?

Even though some days feel more chaotic than others, the rotation of the surface of the planet proceeds at a pretty constant rate—about one full rotation every 24 hours. But the rotational speed of the inner core is less stable, and has been known to shift over time. Now, researchers are reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience that according to seismic data, the Earth’s inner core may have recently paused its rotation, and could even go on to reverse direction relative to the rest of the planet.

Tim Revell, deputy United States editor of New Scientist, joins SciFri producer Kathleen Davis to talk about the shift in rotation and other stories from the week in science, including shared language characteristics between humans and wild apes, and a wolf population that has started to enjoy snacking on sea otters. They’ll also talk about an ancient Egyptian mummy with a heart of gold, research into why some mushrooms glow in the dark, and a tiny robot with morphing liquid metal capabilities straight out of Hollywood.

Here’s What We Know About Long COVID, Three Years Later

Just a few months into the pandemic, it became clear that in some people, the SARS-CoV-2 virus caused a cascade of symptoms for months after their initial infections. These lingering effects are now commonly referred to as Long COVID. And as long as the pandemic barrels on, the population of Long COVID patients will continue to grow. Over the past three years, researchers have closely studied these symptoms, seeking to better understand its underlying causes and improve treatment.

Guest host Maddie Sofia talks with Hannah Davis, co-founder of the Patient-Led Research Collaborative and co-author of a recently published comprehensive review on the state of Long COVID research, and Dr. Bhupesh Prusty, principal investigator at the Institute for Virology and Immmunobiology at the University of Würzburg in Germany.

Meet The Art Sleuths Using Science To Find Frauds

At the end of last year, a big case was decided in the world of art crime. Qatari Sheikh Hamad al Thani won a case against his former art dealer, after nearly $5 million dollars worth of purchased ancient artifacts were all determined to be fake. Among the artifacts was a Hari Hara sandstone statue purported to be from 7th century Vietnam. In reality, the piece was made in 2013. Art experts say forged antiquities are extremely common in museums and private art collections: Former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas Hoving estimated 40% of artworks for sale at any given time were fake.

The task of determining what art is real and what art is fake falls to scientists, who use tools like X-rays and carbon dating to get accurate readings of time and place of origin for artifacts. Joining guest host Kathleen Davis to talk about this are Erin Thompson, art crime professor at the City University of New York, and Patrick Degryse, professor of archeometry at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on sciencefriday.com.

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