Rabu, 30 Juli 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

NASA-funded X-ray instrument settles interstellar debate

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 07:56 PM PDT

New findings from a NASA-funded instrument have resolved a decades-old puzzle about a fog of low-energy X-rays observed over the entire sky. Thanks to refurbished detectors first flown on a NASA sounding rocket in the 1970s, astronomers have now confirmed the long-held suspicion that much of this glow stems from a region of million-degree interstellar plasma known as the local hot bubble, or LHB.

Prehistoric dairy farming at the extremes

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 07:49 PM PDT

Finland's love of milk has been traced back to 2500 BC, thanks to high-tech techniques to analyze residues preserved in fragments of ancient pots.

Underwater elephants: Mixed impacts of the world's largest -- and threatened -- parrotfish

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 12:29 PM PDT

One researcher got back to basics in order to discover the positive and negative effects that bumphead parrotfish exert on coral reef ecosystems.

Huge waves measured for first time in Arctic Ocean

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 12:29 PM PDT

The first measurements of waves in the middle of the Arctic Ocean recorded house-sized waves during a September 2012 storm. More sensors are going out this summer to study waves in newly ice-free Arctic waters.

'Killer sperm' prevents mating between worm species

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 11:20 AM PDT

Most cross-species mating is merely unsuccessful in producing offspring. However, when researchers mated Caenorhabditis worms of different species, they found that the lifespan of the female worms and their number of progeny were drastically reduced compared with females that mated with the same species. In addition, females that survived cross-species mating were often sterile, even if they subsequently mated with their own species.

Diet affects males' and females' gut microbes differently

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 08:54 AM PDT

The microbes living in the guts of males and females react differently to diet, even when the diets are identical, according to a new study. These results suggest that therapies designed to improve human health and treat diseases through nutrition might need to be tailored for each sex.

Famine in the Horn of Africa (1984) was caused by El Nino and currents in the Indian Ocean

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 08:53 AM PDT

Oceanic patterns are important drivers of climatic variability. There is a clear link between periods of drought in the North Ethiopian Highlands and oceanic phases of El Nino, the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southwestern Monsoons.

From finding Nemo to minerals: What riches lie in the deep sea?

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 07:11 AM PDT

As fishing and the harvesting of metals, gas and oil have expanded deeper and deeper into the ocean, scientists are drawing attention to the services provided by the deep sea, the world's largest environment.

Evolution in rainforest flies points to climate change survival

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 06:32 AM PDT

Scientists believe some tropical species may be able to evolve and adapt to the effects of climate change. The new findings suggests some sensitive rainforest-restricted species may survive climate change and avoid extinction. But only if the change is not too abrupt and dramatically beyond the conditions that a species currently experiences.

Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 06:31 AM PDT

Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when archaeological excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland after losing a major engagement about 2,000 years ago. Work has continued in the area since then and archaeologists have now made sensational new findings.

Worldwide water shortage by 2040

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 06:31 AM PDT

Water is used around the world for the production of electricity, but new research results show that there will not be enough water in the world to meet demand by 2040 if the energy and power situation does not improve before then.

When it comes to gluten-free diets, unfounded beliefs abound

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 06:26 AM PDT

Lots of people are eating gluten-free diets, but perhaps for the wrong reasons, a UF/IFAS researcher says. Such diets, while necessary for those with celiac disease, may lack nutrients essential to good health.

Gasses from Kilauea volcano affected tropical storm Flossie formation

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 05:45 AM PDT

One might assume that a tropical storm moving through volcanic smog would sweep up the tainted air and march on, unchanged. However, a recent study from atmospheric scientists revealed that, though microscopic, gasses and particles from Kilauea volcano exerted an influence on Tropical Storm Flossie -- affecting the formation of thunderstorms and lightning in the sizable storm.

Microscopic rowing -- without a cox: Cells' whip-like appendages can synchronize their movements

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 05:45 AM PDT

New research shows that the whip-like appendages on many types of cells are able to synchronize their movements solely through interactions with the fluid that surrounds them.

Unique images bring fossil insects back to life

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 04:36 AM PDT

A ground breaking new book that brings together two of the major disciplines behind Jurassic Park is aiming to raise the profile of insect fossils through stunning photographs and unique illustrations.

Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 04:36 AM PDT

When temperatures are extremely high or low, there is a significant increase in the number of deaths caused by heart failure or stroke. This has been confirmed by epidemiological studies.

Healthy lifestyle may buffer against stress-related cell aging

Posted: 29 Jul 2014 04:35 AM PDT

A new study shows that while the impact of life's stressors accumulate overtime and accelerate cellular aging, these negative effects may be reduced by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and sleeping well.

Generating a genome to feed the world: African rice sequenced

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 06:19 PM PDT

An international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of African rice. The new information will enable scientists and agriculturalists to develop varieties of rice that can survive in a changing climate.

Lead pollution beat explorers to South Pole, persists today

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 06:19 PM PDT

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole in December 1911. More than 100 years later, an international team of scientists has proven that air pollution from industrial activities arrived to the planet's southern pole long before any human. Using data from 16 ice cores, industrial lead contamination was pervasive throughout Antarctica by the late 19th century.

Forced mutations doom HIV: How potential HIV drug exacts its toll on viral populations

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Fifteen years ago, medical researchers had a novel idea for an HIV drug. They thought if they could induce the virus to mutate uncontrollably, they could force it to weaken and eventually die out -- a strategy that our immune system uses against many viruses.

Mineral magic? Common mineral capable of making and breaking bonds

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 01:23 PM PDT

Researchers have demonstrated how a common mineral acts as a catalysts for specific hydrothermal organic reactions -- negating the need for toxic solvents or expensive reagents.

Stress-tolerant tomato relative sequenced

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 12:40 PM PDT

The genome of Solanum pennellii, a wild relative of the domestic tomato, has been published by an international group of researchers. The new genome information may help breeders produce tastier, more stress-tolerant tomatoes.

Cell's recycling center implicated in division decisions

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 12:39 PM PDT

Most cells do not divide unless there is enough oxygen present to support their offspring, but certain cancer cells and other cell types circumvent this rule. Researchers have now identified a mechanism that overrides the cells' warning signals, enabling cancers to continue to divide even without a robust blood supply. In the process, the researchers found that lysosomes -- the cell's protein 'recycling centers' -- help govern cell division decisions.

Impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coral is deeper and broader than predicted

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 12:39 PM PDT

A new discovery of two additional coral communities showing signs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill expands the impact footprint of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Global warming amplifier: Rising water vapor in upper troposphere to intensify climate change

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 12:39 PM PDT

A new study from scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and colleagues confirms rising levels of water vapor in the upper troposphere -- a key amplifier of global warming -- will intensify climate change impacts over the next decades. The new study is the first to show that increased water vapor concentrations in the atmosphere are a direct result of human activities.

Researchers produce record-length mirror-image protein

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Biochemists have reported an advance in the production of functional mirror-image proteins. In a new study, they have chemically synthesized a record-length mirror-image protein and used this protein to demonstrate that a cellular chaperone, which helps "fold" large or complex proteins into their functional state, has a previously unappreciated talent -- the ability to fold mirror-image proteins. These findings will greatly facilitate mirror-image protein production for applications in drug discovery and synthetic biology.

Learning the smell of fear: Mothers teach babies their own fears via odor, animal study shows

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 12:36 PM PDT

Babies can learn what to fear in the first days of life just by smelling the odor of their distressed mothers', new research suggests. And not just "natural" fears: If a mother experienced something before pregnancy that made her fear something specific, her baby will quickly learn to fear it too -- through her odor when she feels fear.

Golden-C: A new mango drink enriched with antioxidants from mas cotek

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 12:35 PM PDT

Researchers have enhanced the antioxidants present in mango fruit drink by adding the extracts of naturally occuring traditional herbs in Malaysia.

Green spaces found to increase birth weight

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Mothers who live near green spaces deliver babies with significantly higher birth weights, according to a new study.

'Nuisance flooding' an increasing problem as coastal sea levels rise

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 09:38 AM PDT

Eight of the top 10 US cities that have seen an increase in so-called 'nuisance flooding' -- which causes such public inconveniences as frequent road closures, overwhelmed storm drains and compromised infrastructure -- are on the East Coast, according to a new technical report. This nuisance flooding, caused by rising sea levels, has increased on all three US coasts, between 300 and 925 percent since the 1960s.

The role of dairy in maintaining adult bone and skeletal muscle health

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 09:37 AM PDT

Understanding that diets are often built around food groups rather than specific nutrients, researchers from Switzerland, France, and North America decided to examine interactions between four nutrients found in dairy products and their role in preserving bone and skeletal muscle.

How sweet it is: Bioenergy advanced by new tool

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 08:33 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a powerful new tool that can help advance the genetic engineering of 'fuel' crops for clean, green and renewable bioenergy -- an assay that enables scientists to identify and characterize the function of nucleotide sugar transporters, critical components in the biosynthesis of plant cell walls.

Models for polymer macromolecules using magnets and DNA 'springs'

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 08:33 AM PDT

Scientists are making models for polymer macromolecules using magnets and DNA 'springs' that can be tuned for flexibility.

Social network research may boost prairie dog conservation efforts

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 06:44 AM PDT

Using statistical tools to map social connections in prairie dogs, researchers have uncovered relationships that escaped traditional observational techniques, shedding light on prairie dog communities that may help limit the spread of bubonic plague and guide future conservation efforts.

Mutations from Venus, mutations from Mars: Why genetic fertility problems can persist in a population

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 06:44 AM PDT

Researchers explain why genetic fertility problems can persist in a population. Some 15% of adults suffer from fertility problems, many of these due to genetic factors. This is something of a paradox: We might expect such genes, which reduce an individual's ability to reproduce, to disappear from the population. Research may now have solved this riddle. Not only can it explain the high rates of male fertility problems, it may open new avenues in understanding the causes of genetic diseases and their treatment.

HIV treatment: Interfering with interferon

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 06:44 AM PDT

Using the body's natural virus killers to prevent and treat HIV infection has been problematic until now because of the strong inflammatory response these molecules can arouse as they get rid of the invaders. Now, research has demonstrated how suppressing the activity of these molecules -- interferons -- around the time of infection could have long-term implications for the course of the disease.

Europe's habitat and wildlife is vulnerable to climate change

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 05:04 AM PDT

New research has identified areas of the Earth that are high priorities for conservation in the face of climate change. Europe is particularly vulnerable, as it has the lowest fraction of its land area, only four per cent, of any continent in 'refugia' – areas of biological diversity that support many species where natural environmental conditions remain relatively constant during times of great environmental change.

It takes two to court: Pheromone that triggers mating found in mice

Posted: 25 Jul 2014 08:07 AM PDT

The functions of two classes of pheromone receptors have been identified by researchers, who have also found pheromones crucial to triggering the mating process in mice. "Interestingly, the pheromone that tells other mice that 'I am female,' or the one that tells others, 'I am ovulating,' do not do much on their own," says the investigator who led the study. "But when the two are presented together, the male mice showed great interest in courting and mating with the female."
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