Τρίτη, 20 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Earthquakes: The next 'Big One' for the San Francisco Bay Area may be a cluster of major quakes

Posted: 19 May 2014 03:45 PM PDT

A cluster of closely timed earthquakes over 100 years in the 17th and 18th centuries released as much accumulated stress on San Francisco Bay Area's major faults as the Great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, suggesting two possible scenarios for the next 'Big One' for the region, according to new research.

Chemists discover structure of cancer drug candidate

Posted: 19 May 2014 03:45 PM PDT

Chemists have determined the correct structure of a highly promising anticancer compound approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical trials in cancer patients. In the new study, scientists show that TIC10's structure differs subtly from a version published by another group last year, and that the previous structure associated with TIC10 in fact describes a molecule that lacks TIC10's anticancer activity.

Tropical rain forests: Humans have more than doubled nitrogen inputs

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:08 PM PDT

Humans have more than doubled tropical nitrogen inputs, according to new research. Scientists used a new method to demonstrate that biological nitrogen fixation in tropical rain forests may be less than a quarter of previous estimates. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant and animal life. Too much nitrogen, however, leads to dead zones, pollutes air and drinking water, contributes to a number of human illnesses, and can affect ecosystems negatively.

Better science for better fisheries management

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Cod fishing in New Eng­land has steadily declined over the past three decades. It's esti­mated that hun­dreds of people have lost their jobs as a result and that con­tinued failure to rebuild the fishery could cost the region's economy a total of $200 mil­lion, studies show. Now, researchers explain how various types of fishing gear can impact the Northeast region's fisheries in the first of a series of research articles.

Why you need olive oil on your salad

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

A diet that combines unsaturated fats with nitrite-rich vegetables, such as olive oil and lettuce, can protect you from hypertension, suggests a new study. The findings help to explain why some previous studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet can reduce blood pressure. The Mediterranean diet typically includes unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados, along with vegetables like spinach, celery and carrots that are rich in nitrites and nitrates.

Climate change, forest fires drove widespread surface melting of Greenland ice sheet

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:07 PM PDT

Rising temperatures and ash from Northern Hemisphere forest fires combined to cause large-scale surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet in 1889 and 2012, contradicting conventional thinking that the melt events were driven by warming alone, a new study finds.

Taste test: Could sense of taste affect length of life?

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:05 PM PDT

Perhaps one of the keys to good health isn't just what you eat but how you taste it. Taste buds -- yes, the same ones you may blame for that sweet tooth or French fry craving -- may in fact have a powerful role in a long and healthy life -- at least for fruit flies. Bitter tastes could have negative effects on lifespan, sweet tastes had positive effects, and the ability to taste water had the most significant impact -- flies that could not taste water lived up to 43% longer than other flies.

Possible cause, source of Kawasaki disease: Windborne agent from northeast China

Posted: 19 May 2014 01:05 PM PDT

The likely causative agent of Kawasaki disease (KD) in Japan is a windborne agent originating from a source in northeast China, an international research team has concluded. KD is a mysterious childhood ailment that can permanently damage coronary arteries, and is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children. It is difficult to diagnose and, without treatment, 25 percent of children with KD develop coronary artery aneurysms -- balloon-like bulges of heart vessels -- that may eventually result in heart attacks, congestive heart failure or sudden death.

Citizen scientists map flyways of North American birds

Posted: 19 May 2014 10:48 AM PDT

Flyways used by migratory birds as they travel across America have long been a topic of fascination for ornithologists. For larger species like waterfowl that are easily visible during their migratory flights, these flyways have been described, but until now the flyways for smaller-bodied birds have been largely based on conjecture.

Different types of El Nino have different effects on global temperature: May explain slowdowns in global warming

Posted: 19 May 2014 10:48 AM PDT

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation is known to influence global surface temperatures, with El Niño conditions leading to warmer temperatures and La Niña conditions leading to colder temperatures. However, a new study shows that some types of El Niño do not have this effect, a finding that could explain recent decade-scale slowdowns in global warming.

Site of mega-development project in Mexico is a biodiversity hotspot

Posted: 19 May 2014 10:48 AM PDT

Cabo Pulmo is a close-knit community in Baja California Sur, Mexico, and the best preserved coral reef in the Gulf of California. But the lands adjacent to the reef are under threat from a mega-development project, 'Cabo Dorado,' should construction go ahead. Scientists have published a report on the terrestrial biodiversity of the Cabo Pulmo region that shows the project is situated in an area of extreme conservation value.

Panda restoration efforts look at digestive systems

Posted: 19 May 2014 09:25 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered that giant and red pandas have different digestive microbes, a finding with important implications for conservation efforts and captive animal rearing. The giant panda is an endangered species, while the red panda is considered a vulnerable species.

Can chemicals produced by gut microbiota affect children with autism?

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:44 AM PDT

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have significantly different concentrations of certain bacterial-produced chemicals, called metabolites, in their feces compared to children without ASD. This research provides further evidence that bacteria in the gut may be linked to autism.

Having and raising offspring is costly phase of life for baboon moms

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:43 AM PDT

Observations made over the past 29 years in Kenya as part of one of the world's longest-running studies of a wild primate show how having offspring influences the health of female baboons. These observations highlight that females are mostly injured on days when they are likely to conceive. In addition, injuries heal the slowest when they are suckling their young. Reproduction can be dangerous and energetically costly, exposing individuals to physical harm, infectious disease and reduced immunity.

Earth organisms survive under Martian conditions: Methanogens stay alive in extreme heat and cold

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:42 AM PDT

New research suggests that methanogens -- among the simplest and oldest organisms on Earth -- could survive on Mars. Methanogens, microorganisms in the domain Archaea, use hydrogen as their energy source and carbon dioxide as their carbon source, to metabolize and produce methane, also known as natural gas. Methanogens live in swamps and marshes, but can also be found in the gut of cattle, termites and other herbivores as well as in dead and decaying matter.

The spot-tail golden bass: A new fish species from deep reefs of the southern Caribbean

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:03 AM PDT

Scientists have described a new species of small coral reef sea bass from underexplored deep-reef depths of Curaçao, southern Caribbean. With predominantly yellow body and fins, the new species, Liopropoma santi, more closely resembles the other two 'golden basses' found together with it at Curaçao, L. aberrans and L. olneyi, than the striped species that occur on shallower reefs.

Genes play key role in brain injury risk for premature babies

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:03 AM PDT

Premature babies' risk of brain injury is influenced by their genes, a new study suggests. Researchers have identified a link between injury to the developing brain and common variation in genes associated with schizophrenia and the metabolism of fat. The study builds on previous research, which has shown that being born prematurely -- before 37 weeks -- is a leading cause of learning and behavioral difficulties in childhood.

Antarctica's ice losses on the rise

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:02 AM PDT

Three years of observations show that the Antarctic ice sheet is now losing 159 billion tons of ice each year -- twice as much as when it was last surveyed. Scientists have now produced the first complete assessment of Antarctic ice sheet elevation change.

Solar energy prospects are bright for Scotland, experts say

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:01 AM PDT

Installing state-of-the-art solar panels on a quarter of a million roofs could meet one-sixth of Scotland's electricity demands, experts say. Scientists say the strategy could ease the plight of one in three Scottish households, which currently struggle to provide themselves with adequate heat and hot water. Researchers, business leaders and public sector experts have contributed to a report which sets out how Scotland could benefit from solar power.

Genome of another diploid cotton Gossypium arboreum cracked

Posted: 19 May 2014 08:01 AM PDT

Chinese scientists have successfully deciphered the genome sequence of another diploid cotton -- Gossypium arboreum. As one of the most important economic crops in the world, cotton also serves as an excellent model system for studying polyploidization, cell elongation and cell wall biosynthesis. However, breeders and geneticists have had little knowledge of the genetic mechanisms underlying the complex allotetraploid nature of the cotton genome.

Whale communication could explain how extreme ultrasonic bushcrickets transfer sound

Posted: 19 May 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Ultrasonic bushcrickets could be using a similar method to communicate as that used by whales, according to newly published research. Katydid species that have extreme ultrasonic frequencies face a problem: ultrasounds travelling in air suffer excess attenuation (weakening) because the wavelength is too short, therefore objects in the dispersive path, such as leaves and branches, interfere and degrade the signal. Sound attenuation is also imposed by environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Hybrid electric vehicles: Logged driving route can reduce energy consumption by 10 percent

Posted: 19 May 2014 06:04 AM PDT

For long distance driving, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use the internal combustion engine more than necessary. A new method has now been developed to make the car remember the commuter routes and thereby make optimal use of the battery. The strategy can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 percent compared to conventional methods.

How does snow affect amount of water in rivers?

Posted: 18 May 2014 01:44 PM PDT

The amount of water flowing through rivers in snow-affected regions depends significantly on how much of the precipitation falls as snowfall, new research has shown for the first time. This means in a warming climate, if less of the precipitation falls as snow, rivers will discharge less water than they currently do.

Greenland will be far greater contributor to sea rise than expected: Work reveals long, deep valleys connecting ice cap to ocean

Posted: 18 May 2014 01:44 PM PDT

Greenland's icy reaches are far more vulnerable to warm ocean waters from climate change than had been thought, according to new research by glaciologists. The work shows previously uncharted deep valleys stretching for dozens of miles under the Greenland Ice Sheet.

New early warning system predicts dengue fever risk during the football World Cup in Brazil

Posted: 16 May 2014 05:29 PM PDT

For the first time, scientists have developed an early warning system to predict the risk of dengue infections for the 553 microregions of Brazil during the football World Cup. The estimates show that the chance of a dengue outbreak is enough of a possibility to warrant a high-alert warning in the three northeastern venues (Natal, Fortaleza, and Recife) but is likely to be generally low in all 12 host cities.

Biochemists Reduce Sickling, Progression of Sickle Cell Disease in Mice

Posted: 16 May 2014 05:26 PM PDT

New preclinical research on the molecular mechanisms responsible for sickle cell disease could aid efforts to develop much needed treatments for this devastating blood disorder that affects millions worldwide. The sickling of red blood cells is the hallmark of this disease. Normally shaped like a donut, the diseased cells instead have a crescent-like appearance. This can lead to anemia, chest pain, lung problems and stroke.

New tool to grow cancer cells streamlines laboratory research

Posted: 15 May 2014 02:35 PM PDT

A new technique that allows the growth of both normal and cancer cells and keeps them alive indefinitely is transforming and expediting basic cancer research. "We've had a glimpse of how these cells can provide an amazing advance in human cancer clinical research in preliminary work, and now we demonstrate how incredibly useful they are in laboratory cancer research," says the lead researcher.

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