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Sputnik!

After touring biotech classrooms at Forsyth Tech in Winston-Salem, NC, yesterday, President Obama called for the US to have a "Sputnik moment," reports Agence France Presse. The 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite "was a wake-up call that caused the United States to boost our investment in innovation and education, particularly in math and science," Obama said, adding that "this is our moment. … We need to do what America has always been known for: building, innovating, educating, making things." As the Associated Press notes, Obama did not provide any specific proposals except to say that spending on education, innovation, and infrastructure should increase.

The US, Obama added, may soon fall behind other countries. The New York Times notes that US students came in 17th, 31st, and 23rd on the reading, math, and science sections, respectively, of the Program for International Student Assessment test whose result were recently released. Meanwhile, Shanghai, China, placed first in the three categories, though officials note that Shanghai may not be representative of all of China. "I know skeptics will want to argue with the results, but we consider them to be accurate and reliable, and we have to see them as a challenge to get better," US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan tells the Times. "We can quibble, or we can face the brutal truth that we're being out-educated."

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.