Wild Chickens Rule the Streets in Some Beach Towns. Here’s Why One Scientist Is Studying Them

This article appeared in the November 2020 issue of Discover magazine as “Where the Wild Things Crow.” Subscribe for more stories like these.


If you’ve ever hit the beaches of Key West, Bermuda or Hawaii looking for a tranquil vacation, you may have experienced a rude awakening. By a rooster, that is.

These tourist-laden seaside towns are full of feral chickens. They roam the graveyards. They strut the beaches. They peck at leftovers beneath busy tables on restaurant patios. Legends about the birds abound, including that one flock arrived on the wings of a Pan Am jet and that some were bred to have extra toes. But are they good for anything besides waking us up?

Eben Gering thinks so. He’s been chasing free-roaming fowl around beaches across the globe for almost a decade. An assistant professor of biology at Nova Southeastern University in south Florida, Gering is convinced that

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How to watch Mars rule the night sky in October

Mars will bright and beautiful in the October 2020 night sky.


NASA

Forget Halloween. This October is all about the glory of Mars. The glimmering red planet will put on a show in the night sky. 

You can enjoy Mars as a bright point of light all month long, but there are two special dates to mark on your calendar: Oct. 6 when the planet makes a close approach to Earth, and Oct. 13, when it will be in opposition. 

Spotting Mars

Mars has a reputation as the “red” planet, but its color in the night sky is a little more on the Halloween side of the spectrum. It appears as a bright orange-red dot to the naked eye, like a little spot of glittering rust.

Mars’ distinctive color is one clue you’ve found

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ONC urged to exercise extended enforcement discretion for information blocking rule

AHA and other organizations representing the nation’s clinicians, hospitals, health systems and experts in health informatics and health information management today urged the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to allow for at least one year of extended enforcement discretion for its information blocking rule. 

“We write to express our steadfast commitment to furthering patient access to their medical records via apps, leveraging application programming interfaces (APIs), enhancing clinician and providers’ access to data within their workflow, and securely sharing medical information electronically so patients and clinicians make informed treatment decisions,” the coalition wrote. “… However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to monopolize our members’ time and attention, and has strained resources, drastically limiting our members’ ability to prepare for the November 2nd information blocking deadline.”

The coalition also urged the agency to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid

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Judge set to rule in TikTok case as deadline looms

A federal judge readied a crucial decision Sunday on whether to allow or block a Trump administration ban on downloads of the popular video-sharing app TikTok.

US District Judge Carl Nichols, who has promised to rule on a TikTok request to block the president’s order before it takes effect at 11:59 pm Sunday (0359 GMT Monday), heard arguments on the free-speech and national security implications of the Trump ban on the Chinese-owned app in a rare Sunday telephone hearing.

TikTok lawyer John Hall said a ban would be “punitive” and close off a public forum used by tens of millions of Americans.

In a written brief filed ahead of the hearing, TikTok lawyers said the ban was “arbitrary and capricious” and “would undermine data security” by blocking updates and fixes to the app used by some 100 million Americans.

The company also said the ban was unnecessary because negotiations were

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US gig worker rule proposed, narrowing employee definition

The issue of which workers in our economy have rights to many benefits and protections — like employer health insurance or unemployment benefits — has become critical during the pandemic. And it often comes down to how that worker is classified: as an employee or an independent contractor.

This week the Labor Department proposed a new rule that would make it easier for companies to designate workers, including gig workers, as independent contractors who are ineligible for many protections.

The move comes in response to several state laws, like California’s AB5, which have made it harder to classify workers as independent contractors.

In California, the debate has mostly centered on gig workers, like drivers for ride-hailing services. Most of them would be reclassified as employees under state law. 

But the new federal rule could set up competing legal criteria for how worker classification should be decided. And that could cause

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Judge set to rule on Trump TikTok download ban

A judge was set to rule Sunday on whether to allow a Trump administration ban on downloads of popular video-sharing app TikTok, which is seeking an injunction to prevent what it said could be a devastating blow.

US District Judge Carl Nichols has promised to consider on an expedited basis the TikTok request to block the president’s order before it takes effect at 11:59 pm Sunday (0359 GMT Monday).

The judge in the US capital was reviewing Trump administration claims that Chinese-owned TikTok posed a national security threat, along with the company’s denials and its claims that even a temporary ban could do irreparable harm.

US Justice Department and TikTok lawyers agreed to file briefs “under seal,” unavailable for public viewing, to avoid disclosing national security and confidential business information.

TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, said in its initial petition that even a temporary ban would “inflict devastating

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