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Vice President Mike Pence reads the final electoral vote counts declaring Joe Biden the next U.S. president during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 7, 2021. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 is showing its age – here’s how to help Congress certify a presidential election with more certainty

Concerned about problems in counting Electoral College votes that determine the next president, lawmakers are considering changes to the Electoral Count Act. What is the act, and what’s wrong with it?
Groundwater is used for irrigation and drinking water, but those wells are rarely more than one kilometre deep. A huge volume of salty water exists as much as 10 kilometres below the Earth’s surface. (Shutterstock)

Groundwater — not ice sheets — is the largest source of water on land and most of it is ancient

Groundwater is the second-largest store of water on Earth. Governments and industry use groundwater reservoirs to store waste, but it may also have environmental functions that haven’t been revealed.
A part of the brain called the lateral parabrachial nucleus regulates pain, anxiety and breathing. Aleksei Morozov/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Pain and anxiety are linked to breathing in mouse brains – suggesting a potential target to prevent opioid overdose deaths

Opioids can cause death by slowing breathing to dangerously low levels, or stopping it altogether. Examining one area of the brain may eventually lead to safer painkillers.
The toxic culture in video game company Activision Blizzard is part of the larger problem of sexual harassment in esports. Cameron Baird/Red Bull Content Pool

Microsoft purchase of Activision Blizzard won’t clean up gamer culture overnight: 5 essential reads about sexual harassment and discrimination in gaming and tech

Sexual harassment and discrimination in gaming and tech are not inevitable or permanent, write experts in the field. The solutions are positive community standards and women in power.
Students and teachers alike struggle with digital connectivity – but education is just one area in which technology matters. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

State efforts to close the K-12 digital divide may come up short

Claims the digital divide has been ‘closed’ don’t include the full picture of internet inequality in the United States.
One ‘mechanical tree’ is about 1,000 times faster at removing carbon dioxide from air than a natural tree. The first is to start operating in Arizona in 2022. Illustration via Arizona State University

These machines scrub greenhouse gases from the air – an inventor of direct air capture technology shows how it works

Klaus Lackner is finding new ways to cut the technology’s high costs and energy demand, and he’s about to launch the first ‘mechanical tree’.

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