Smoking is on the decline, and that's a good thing. The evidence is clear that smoking kills. But what about tobacco? A few years ago groups like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control began to suggest nicotine was as harmful as smoking; meaning it was not the smoke at all. There was no evidence of that, it was only epidemiological correlation.
It's well-known that infectious disease mitigation worksl if people voluntarily follow the rules and guidelines of experts but what has happened instead is resentment of what some perceive as social authoritarian decision-makers calling the shots.

What would be better for everyone at risk of respiratory distress from COVID-19 is understanding why and how avoiding social contact and regular hand washing will help. Government can mandate things but we may be getting less adherence to guidelines because it is top-down rules, and in the case of some politicians hypocrisy after issuing them, rather than personal commitment.

It has been clear for a while that, at least in the U.S., the only way out of the coronavirus pandemic will be through vaccination. The rapid deployment of coronavirus vaccines is underway, but how many people need to be vaccinated in order to control this pandemic?

I am a computational biologist who uses data and computer models to answer biological question at the University of Connecticut. I have been tracking my state’s COVID-19 epidemic with a computer model to help forecast the number of hospitalizations at the University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital.

If you believe the Chinese government, they've had basically no meaningful COVID-19 deaths since March. I'd also like to sell you a wet market in Wuhan. Believing a dictatorship that has routinely lied has been disastrous. It was disastrous for the reputation of the World Health Organisation, who claimed no travel should be curtailed and that the virus could not spread from human to human because China told them that, it was disastrous for the doctor who exposed the Wuhan cover-up (he became dead), and it was disastrous for the world economy, which could take a decade to recover.

It may be harming trust in epidemiologists and peer review as well.
Everybody would agree that 2020 was a difficult time for all of us - the pandemic forced on us dramatic changes in our way of living, working, and interacting with one another; and let's leave alone the horrible, avoidable death toll that came with it. Notwithstanding, for some reason it was a productive year for me, and one which has potentially paved the ground for an even more productive future. Below I will summarize, if only for myself, the most important work milestones of the past year, and the ones that lay ahead in the forthcoming months. But I will also touch on a few ancillary activities and their outcome, for the record.

Geometry optimization of a muon-electron scattering experiment (MUonE) 
Ever had a nervous breakdown by reading Facebook threads where absolutely incompetent people entertain similar ignoramuses by providing explanations of everything from quantum physics to the way vaccines work? Or did you ever have to apply yoga techniques to avoid jumping into a bar conversation wherein some smart ass worked his audience by explaining things he clearly did not have the dimmest clue about?
If you sell hot dogs at a baseball stadium, you probably do well in revenue. Now imagine the stadium puts 6 hot dog competitors next to you. Will you still do well or will your hot dog revenue go down? Unless you are Paul Krugman you know the price will go down. Now imagine the stadium tells you 6 people just like you doing the same job is a positive thing; more people will enjoy hot dogs and the market for hot dogs will probably grow because there are so many choices. 

That may be true, yet it does not help you one bit.
Along the coast of Tel Dor, a maritime city in northwest Israel occupied from the Middle Bronze II period,  2000 BC, through the Crusader period, there is a marine shell and sand layer from nearly 10,000 years ago, but it's in the middle of a large ancient wetland layer spanning as far back as 15,000 years ago. 

What happened to create such a dramatic anomaly? A new study using underwater excavation, borehole drilling, and modeling suggests a massive tsunami struck, depositing seashells and sand in the middle of what was at the time fresh to brackish wetland. And it must have traveled 1.5 to 3.5 kilometers, with a coastal wave height of 16 to 40 meters. 

An international research team has discovered an exotic binary system composed of two young planet-like objects, orbiting each other - and not a star.

They are planet-like because they look like giant exoplanets but they formed in the same way as stars, proving that the mechanisms driving star formation can produce rogue worlds in unusual systems - deprived of a Sun.

Cannabidiol (CBD( products are being illegally marketed for pets, including a product for use in the eye, and for various conditions in humans also, despite any evidence they can prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat or cure various diseases. Shady hucksters have sought to avoid that by preying on the margins of what are known as “supplements” and exempt from science and logic thanks to President Clinton's Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which declared open season on medicine by legitimizing alternatives with no evidence.