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A Secondhand Success Story

Travis Kaya at The Chronicle of Higher Education's Tweed blog reminds readers they'd be surprised by the "stuff you find on eBay." Case-in-point: College of William & Mary biologist Kurt Williamson is the proud owner of a refurbished Zeiss 190 transmission electron microscope worth nearly $20,000, though he paid less than half that by purchasing it secondhand on eBay. Once he had established that the TEM — listed by sellers at Adelsys, Inc., in Ohio, who purchased it from Akron Children's Hospital — was legitimate and operational (given a few repairs, of course), Williamson bid the opening price for it. When they received no competing offers, Adelsys sold the scope for $999.99. The purchase price, when combined with shipping, parts, and labor, brought the total cost of the instrument to about $7,500, Williamson says, which he considers a steal. According to Kaya, Williamson "plans to use the microscope this fall while the biology department waits on federal grants for newer equipment."

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.