For someone who is not yet immunized against COVID-19, whether vaccinated people can spread the virus is a critical question. I had this concern recently when I went for burgers and beers with some basketball buddies. Was it possible the person next to me, who had been vaccinated, could pass on the coronavirus? Since I wasn’t fully vaccinated, what was the risk?

The Conversation science editor Maggie Villiger enlisted Sanjay Mishra of Vanderbilt University, a regular contributor on our pandemic coverage, to investigate and explain the relevant issues in detail. In short, vaccination does appear to slow transmission substantially – a lower viral load seems to be one reason why – but the evidence is not yet ironclad.

It’s rare to hear optimistic news when it comes to computer security. But a research project to make software bugs unexploitable through clever hardware design provides a sign of hope and some insight into how security researchers can outpace cyberattackers. Two University of Michigan researchers describe their work in making a computer processor that constantly changes its underlying structure, or microarchitecture, to thwart hackers. Given that software bugs are inevitable, they write, researchers are focusing on hardware tricks to protect software.

In the world of ocean ecology and sustainable fisheries, marine protected areas, or MPAs, have become the dominant way to protect fisheries. A study published today, conducted by an ecologist and a social scientist, looked at how fishing communities around the Gulf of California in Mexico reacted to the creation of these marine reserves. The researchers’ work confirms the importance of community buy-in. They also found that “’good enough’ initial design – that is, not aiming for the maximum possible ecological benefits while still making sure the reserves result in perceptible improvements – seemed to work best.”

Here are some other science-related stories from the past week:

If there’s a subject you’d like our team of science editors to investigate, please reply to this email.

Martin La Monica

Director of Editorial Projects and Newsletters

Vaccinated people are well protected from getting sick, but could they inadvertently transmit the coronavirus? Noam Galai/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Can people vaccinated against COVID-19 still spread the coronavirus?

Sanjay Mishra, Vanderbilt University

The COVID-19 vaccines are a smash success. But that doesn't mean they keep every vaccinated person completely free of the coronavirus.

The Morpheus secure processor works like a puzzle that keeps changing before hackers have a chance to solve it. Alan de la Cruz via Unsplash

Shape-shifting computer chip thwarts an army of hackers

Todd Austin, University of Michigan; Lauren Biernacki, University of Michigan

Most computer security focuses on software, but computer processors are vulnerable to hackers, too. An experimental secure processor changes its underlying structure before hackers can figure it out.

Local support might be the most important factor for a successful marine protected area. Anastasia Quintana

To protect ocean environments, ‘good enough’ might be the best long-term option

Anastasia Quintana, University of California Santa Barbara; Alfredo Giron Nava, Stanford University

In the design of marine protected areas, new research suggests that it might be better to start small in order to gain local trust and support that leads to larger long-term benefits.

Other good finds