NEWS | IN BRIEF
sciencemag.org SCIENCE 114 14 JULY 2017 • VOL 357 ISSUE 6347
and a €50,000 fine for lying under oath to
a Senate committee. Two years ago, while
testifying about the health risks of air pol-
lution, Aubier told the committee that he
had no conflicts of interest. Newspapers
later revealed that he was on the payroll
of oil company Total for many years,
earning more than €100,000 per year as
company physician. Aubier also did not
disclose his relationship with Total to his
employer, Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital
in Paris, or to the French National
Authority for Health, a government
advisory body on which he served. In the
Senate hearing and in media appearances,
Aubier has made statements at odds
with the scientific mainstream, downplay-
ing the impacts of air pollution.
Science texters, prepare to emote. The
American Chemical Society (ACS) and
General Electric (GE) plan to add nine
new science-themed emojis—a lab coat,
test tube, microbe, petri dish, DNA
helix, compass, abacus, fire extinguisher,
and goggles—to the existing 1300
Unicode-approved characters. Associate
Q: Why do we need science emojis?
Editor Jessica Morrison of Chemical &
Engineering News in Washington, D.C., a
co-author of the plan, talked with Science
about how to get emojis approved.
A: Science … isn’t completely represented in
the current emoji set. As a former scientist
and now science writer, I spend a lot of time
trying to make science more accessible to a
broader community. We’re trying to communicate science and increase awareness.
Q: How did this idea come about?
A: This had been bubbling up in the science community. In 2015, I worked on
something called Chemoji for ACS—this
chemistry-themed digital sticker set—and,
around the same time, GE was doing a
science-themed emoji campaign. [We]
started working on the formal proposal
at Emojicon—the first convention for all
things emoji—last November.
Q: What is the process for getting an
A: [After our initial proposal to the Unicode
Technical Committee (UTC)], we were asked
to include the input of more members of the
science community, so we sent requests to
dozens of professional science societies and
organizations. We resubmitted a proposal
featuring 25 emojis, and UTC selected nine
candidates for the next yearly emoji update.
The committee will make its final decision
on which, if any, of our proposed emojis will
be accepted in mid-2018. They could appear
on users’ keyboards as early as a few months
thereafter, depending on their device.
Birds rebounded quickly after dinosaur mass extinction
The newly discovered 62-million-year-old fossils of a tiny mousebird are giving scientists big ideas about what happened to birds after all other dinosaurs went extinct. Researchers unearthed the fossils, described online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on ancestral Navajo lands in New Mexico; they named the creature Tsidiiyazhi abini—Navajo for “little morning bird.”
They were found in rocks dating to between 62.2 million and 62.5 million years old, just
a few million years after the age of dinosaurs came to an abrupt end with an asteroid
impact 66 million years ago. The new fossils, combined with previously collected genetic
data from living birds, put new time constraints on birds’ evolutionary tree, suggesting
that nine major land bird lineages—from mousebirds to owls to raptors—must have
emerged rapidly in the wake of the extinction event, the researchers say. Groups such
as mammals and frogs are known to have rebounded rapidly after that event, diversifying into multiple new forms as they occupied newly available niches—a process called
adaptive radiation. Now, researchers know that birds did, too—setting the stage for
today’s dizzying variety of feathery forms. http://scim.ag/birdevolution
BY THE NUMBERS
Fraction of women of color who reported
feeling unsafe in their workplace
because of their gender, in a survey
of astronomy and planetary
science professionals (Journal of
Geophysical Research: Planets).
Fraction of women of color responding
to the same survey who reported
feeling unsafe because of race.
An artist’s conception
of Tsidiiyazhi abini.