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Will schools reopen in the fall? Here’s what’s at stake for children and their parents

Finance
A student leaves the Thurgood Marshal Elementary school after all Seattle Public Schools were abruptly closed due to coronavirus fears on March 11, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Schools will be closed for a minimum of two weeks. The system is the largest public school district in Washington State.John Moore/Getty ImagesDistance learning got off to a rough start in this past spring.Fall might not be much better and the stakes now are higher.Across the country, reopening plans vary, with many school districts still scrambling. Even in areas that are planning to return to in-person learning, students may not resume a full-time schedule.  Going forward, students will likely see smaller classes and staggered scheduling, which could include alternating days of the week or times of the d...
Species that use sound to ‘fake’ their body size are usually skilled vocal learners

Species that use sound to ‘fake’ their body size are usually skilled vocal learners

Science
July 8 (UPI) -- Animals that use their voice to sound bigger than they are tend to also be skilled vocal learners, according to new scientific paper, published Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters. Previously, researchers approached acoustic allometry, the relationship between voice and body size, and vocal learning as two distinct fields of study. But over time, scientists have started to see the overlap between the two areas of research. Advertisement "We decided to bring our expertise together under an evolutionary framework," study co-author Maxime Garcia told UPI in an email. "In particular, we wondered: For species that are vocal learners, and which can flexibly modify their vocalizations, then how do allometric principles apply?" said Garcia, an evolutionary biologist at the Un...

Indians keep their distance in mass tree planting campaign

Technology
More than 2 million people have gathered in northern India while trying to practice social distancing to plant 250 million trees as part of a government plan to tackle climate changeBy BISWAJEET BANERJEE Associated PressJuly 5, 2020, 8:51 AM2 min readLUCKNOW, India -- More than 2 million people gathered Sunday at river banks, farmlands and government buildings in northern India while trying to practice social distancing to plant 250 million trees as part of a government plan to tackle climate change. Officials in Uttar Pradesh distributed millions of saplings to be planted across the state to help India’s efforts to increase its forest cover. India has pledged to keep a third of its total land area under forest and tree cover, but a growing population and increasing demand for industrial
New jellyfish robots can outswim their inspiration

New jellyfish robots can outswim their inspiration

Science
July 2 (UPI) -- Engineers have developed soft-bodied robots that can outswim their biological inspiration -- jellyfish. The jellyfish robots, described this week in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies, were engineered with pre-stressed polymers, a new method that lends strength to soft-bodied robots. Advertisement "Our previous work focused on making soft robots that were inspired by cheetahs - and while the robots were very fast, they still had a stiff inner spine," Jie Yin, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University and corresponding author on the newly published paper, said in a news release. "We wanted to make a completely soft robot, without an inner spine, that still utilized that concept of switching between two stable ...
They were struggling to repay their student loans before the pandemic. Now it’ll get worse

They were struggling to repay their student loans before the pandemic. Now it’ll get worse

Finance
Sam SeagravesSource: Sam SeagravesAlmost all of the money Sam Seagraves used to make as an actor in Portland, Oregon, went toward her monthly student loan bill of $ 1,083. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.With many production companies postponing or cancelling operations, Seagraves hasn't been hired for a role since March. The CARES Act granted people with federal student loans a break from their payments until the end of September, but Seagraves has had to dig into her small savings to continue paying her monthly private student loan bill of $ 700.  "I have enough saved to pay the private student loans through August; I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to pay them after that," Seagraves, 30, said. She owes around $ 75,000 nearly a decade after graduating fr...