Jun 20, 2017

Scientists may have discovered how trees live healthily for centuries

When we age, our genes slowly accumulate mutations — that's part of how we get cancer and other age-related defects. Researchers from the University of Lausanne have found that some trees, which can live for centuries, have very few mutations.

Why it matters: This research suggests that trees have some way of protecting their cells from mutations, which could keep them healthy for centuries, and could conceivably be exploited in breeding.

How they did it: When they compared the genetic makeup of the leaves from the bottom of a 234-year-old oak to the leaves at the top, they did not see nearly as many changes as expected, given the tree's old age. The study was posted on bioRxiv, and has not yet been peer reviewed.

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Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.

2 hours ago - Sports

How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The NBA's Board of Governors approved Thursday the league's 22-team plan to resume play at Walt Disney World — a plan that also includes tentative dates for both this season and next.

Why it matters: The league's proposed trip to Disney World not only impacts this season but could have a domino effect that impacts seasons in the future — and could permanently change what time of year the NBA plays its games.