Παρασκευή, 30 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Domestication of dogs may explain mammoth kill sites and success of early modern humans

Posted: 29 May 2014 12:41 PM PDT

A new analysis of European archaeological sites containing large numbers of dead mammoths and dwellings built with mammoth bones has led to a new interpretation of these sites -- that their abrupt appearance may have been due to early modern humans working with the earliest domesticated dogs to kill the now-extinct mammoth.

Solar panel manufacturing is greener in Europe than China, study says

Posted: 29 May 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Solar panels made in China have a higher overall carbon footprint and are likely to use substantially more energy during manufacturing than those made in Europe, said a new study. The team performed a type of systematic evaluation called life cycle analysis to come up with these hard data. Life cycle analysis tallies up all the energy used to make a product -- energy to mine raw materials, fuel to transport the materials and products, electricity to power the processing factory, and so forth.

More geoscience job opportunities than students

Posted: 29 May 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Jobs requiring training in the geosciences continue to be lucrative and in-demand, according to a new report. Even with increased enrollment and graduation from geoscience programs, the data still project a shortage of around 135,000 geoscientists needed in the workforce by the end of the decade.

Drop in global malnutrition depends on agricultural productivity, climate change

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:25 AM PDT

Global malnutrition could fall 84 percent by the year 2050 as incomes in developing countries grow -- but only if agricultural productivity continues to improve and climate change does not severely damage agriculture, researchers say. According to the researchers' models, income growth coupled with projected increases in agricultural productivity could raise more than half a billion people out of extreme hunger by mid-century.

New approach to HIV vaccine explored by scientists

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:25 AM PDT

A promising new approach to a live attenuated HIV-1 vaccine is being pursued by scientists, using a genetically modified form of the HIV virus. The new method involves manipulating the virus' codons -- a sequence of three nucleotides that form genetic code -- to rely on an unnatural amino acid for proper protein translation, which allows it to replicate. Because this amino acid is foreign to the human body, the virus cannot continue to reproduce, researchers report.

NASA missions let scientists see moon's dancing tide from orbit

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:25 AM PDT

Scientists combined observations from two NASA missions to check out the moon's lopsided shape and how it changes under Earth's sway -- a response not seen from orbit before. The lopsided shape of the moon is one result of its gravitational tug-of-war with Earth. The mutual pulling of the two bodies is powerful enough to stretch them both, so they wind up shaped a little like two eggs with their ends pointing toward one another. On Earth, the tension has an especially strong effect on the oceans, because water moves so freely, and is the driving force behind tides.

Amber discovery indicates Lyme disease is older than human race

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:25 AM PDT

Lyme disease is a stealthy, often misdiagnosed disease that was only recognized about 40 years ago, but new discoveries of ticks fossilized in amber show that the bacteria which cause it may have been lurking around for 15 million years -- long before any humans walked on Earth. The findings were made by researchers who studied 15-20 million-year-old amber from the Dominican Republic that offer the oldest fossil evidence ever found of Borrelia, a type of spirochete-like bacteria that to this day causes Lyme disease.

Huge tooth fossil shows marine predator had plenty to chew on

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

A fossilized tooth belonging to a fearsome marine predator has been recorded as the largest of its kind found in the UK, following its recent discovery. A team of palaeontologists have verified the tooth, which was found near Chesil Beach in Dorset, as belonging to a prehistoric relative of modern crocodiles known as Dakosaurus maximus. The tooth, which has a broken tip, is approximately 5.5 cm long.

'Free choice' in primates altered through brain stimulation

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

When electrical pulses are applied to the ventral tegmental area of their brain, macaques presented with two images change their preference from one image to the other. The study is the first to confirm a causal link between activity in the ventral tegmental area and choice behavior in primates.

Common semiconductors stabalized for solar fuels generation

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Researchers have devised a method for protecting technologically important semiconductors from corrosion even as the materials continue to absorb light efficiently. The finding paves the way for the use of these materials in solar-fuel generators.

Lost in translation? Not when it comes to control of gene expression during Drosophila development

Posted: 29 May 2014 10:20 AM PDT

In any animal's lifecycle, the shift from egg cell to embryo is a critical juncture that requires a remarkably dynamic process that ultimately transforms a differentiated, committed oocyte to a totipotent cell capable of giving rise to any cell type in the body. Scientists have now conducted perhaps the most comprehensive look yet at changes in translation and protein synthesis during a developmental change, using the oocyte-to-embryo transition in Drosophila as a model system.

An ecological risk research agenda for synthetic biology

Posted: 29 May 2014 08:20 AM PDT

Environmental scientists and synthetic biologists have for the first time developed a set of key research areas to study the potential ecological impacts of synthetic biology, a field that could push beyond incremental changes to create organisms that transcend common evolutionary pathways.

Four-billion-year-old rocks yield clues about Earth's earliest crust

Posted: 29 May 2014 08:20 AM PDT

It looks like just another rock, but what researchers are examining is a four-billion-year-old chunk of an ancient protocontinent that holds clues about how Earth's first continents formed. Continents today form when one tectonic plate shifts beneath another into Earth's mantle and cause magma to rise to the surface, a process called subduction. It's unclear whether plate tectonics existed 2.5 billion to four billion years ago or if another process was at play.

Heavy airplane traffic potentially a major contributor to pollution in Los Angeles

Posted: 29 May 2014 07:07 AM PDT

Congested freeways crawling with cars and trucks are notorious for causing smog in Los Angeles, but a new study finds that heavy airplane traffic can contribute even more pollution, and the effect continues for up to 10 miles away from the airport. The report has serious implications for the health of residents near Los Angeles International Airport and other airports around the world.

'Listening' helps scientists track bats without exposing animals to disease

Posted: 29 May 2014 07:07 AM PDT

A sampling technique known as acoustic monitoring -- listening to bats in their environment -- has been improved, thanks to new research. The noninvasive tracking technique avoids transmission of diseases that could occur with handling bats. Acoustic monitoring -- listening to bats in their environment as they commute between feeding areas using echolocation to "see" their surroundings and find insect prey -- has become commonplace over the last decade.

Microalgae capable of assimilating ammonia resulting from the management of agrifood waste

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:28 AM PDT

Scientists have confirmed the capacity of Chlamydomonas acidophila microalgae to absorb ammoniacal nitrogen present in the effluent generated in the digestion of organic waste coming from the agri-food sector.

Zinc deficiency before conception disrupts fetal development

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:28 AM PDT

Female mice deprived of dietary zinc for a relatively short time before conception experienced fertility and pregnancy problems more than mice that ingested zinc during the same times, according to researchers. Zinc deficiency caused a high incidence of pregnancy loss, and embryos from the zinc-deficient diet group were an average of 38 percent smaller than those from the control group. Preconception zinc deficiency also caused approximately half of embryos to exhibit delayed or aberrant development.

Delving into the spread of marine life: Understanding deep-sea limpets

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

Deep-sea limpets are conches with shells about 1 cm long. They have been confirmed to live in the long, narrow seabed known as the Okinawa Trough, located at an average of depth of 1000 meters and northwest of the Nansei and Ryukyu Islands. In a new article, three major findings are reported: new limpet habitats in the Okinawa Trough, the process of limpet population formation surmised from their shell length, and limpet reproduction patterns.

Clues to stillbirths may be found in marmoset monkeys

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:22 AM PDT

The marmoset monkey may offer clues to reducing stillbirths in human mothers, according to new research. The marmoset, a squirrel-sized monkey indigenous to South America, reaches sexual maturity by 15 months of age. They have multiple births, usually twins and triplets. Adult females who were born into triplet litters get pregnant just as often as twin females, but they lose three times as many fetuses. Nearly half of the losses occur during labor and delivery.

Suspect strep throat? Re-check negative rapid test results with lab culture

Posted: 28 May 2014 01:38 PM PDT

Clinical guidelines for diagnosing strep throat in teens and adults differ, as do physician practices. A recent study supports guidelines that mandate confirming negative rapid test results with a lab culture when a patient has symptoms that suggest a bacterial infection. The rapid test detects certain antigens, one of the body's efforts to fight off strep bacteria. Attempting to grow bacteria from a throat specimen double checks for the presence or absence of Group A Streptococcus bacteria, as well as a few other bacterial infections, and could help avoid both under-treating and over-treating sore throats.

Some consumers confuse 'local' with 'organic' food

Posted: 28 May 2014 08:41 AM PDT

Even though the organic food industry has spent millions on branding, nearly one in five consumers still don't know the difference between "local" and "organic" food. "If consumers can distinguish between local and organic, then by buying organic, they will be able to reduce their exposure to synthetic pesticides," said one author. Locally produced food may not be the most sustainable choice, if same or better quality produce can be grown and transported less expensively from elsewhere.

Differences in phenolic makeup of indigenous rose species, modern cultivars

Posted: 27 May 2014 09:41 AM PDT

Leaf and petal phenolic profiles of four rose species traditionally used for medicinal purposes and three modern rose cultivars have been reviewed by researchers. Distinct differences in the distribution of leaf phenolic compounds were observed, especially between Rosa species and modern rose cultivars. The study also determined a strong correlation between color parameters and total anthocyanin content.

Wood-waste biofuel to cut greenhouse gas, transform shipping industry

Posted: 27 May 2014 08:45 AM PDT

A sustainable biofuel made from Norwegian forest wood waste could help transform the shipping industry and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative sustainable fuels are urgently needed in the marine transport sector due to stringent upcoming regulations demanding reduced sulphur and carbon content in diesels and oils from January 2015.

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