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Hollywood's Help

Alan Alda recently wrote an editorial in Science about a science communication project he's launching. Icelandic singer Björk's latest album is based on themes of science and nature, and her recent tour was accompanied by a series of shows at the New York Hall of Science to help teach kids about concepts like viruses and the Big Bang theory. Even the Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am is producing a TV special for school children called "I.am FIRST — Science is Rock and Roll," about the importance of science and technology.

These are but three examples of a growing trend, says NASA astrophysicist Marc Kuchner at the Scientific American guest blog. "Of course, the bulk of our task to restore science to its rightful place in American society remains ahead of us," he adds. "But I wonder if the good work done by these stars signals the beginning of a deep change in our culture. Is science starting to become cool again?" According to Kuchner, there are signs that "a cultural shift toward interest in science might be appearing all around us."

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.