Σάββατο, 31 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Precipitation satellite passes check-out, starts mission

Posted: 30 May 2014 04:05 PM PDT

The new Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory satellite is now in the hands of the engineers who will fly the spacecraft and ensure the steady flow of data on rain and snow for the life of the mission. The official handover to the Earth Science Mission Operations team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center marked the end of a successful check-out period.

Atomic structure of essential circadian clock protein complex determined

Posted: 30 May 2014 10:33 AM PDT

For the first time, the molecular structure of a protein complex that plays an important role in regulating the circadian rhythm has been identified by a team of researchers. "Our circadian clock controls many important physiological functions," explained one resesarcher. If the natural rhythm is disrupted, as for example in the case of people on shift work, the likelihood of developing metabolic disorders, diabetes, or cancer is significantly increased.

Researchers see stem cells take key step toward development: A first

Posted: 30 May 2014 10:33 AM PDT

The gap between stem cell research and regenerative medicine just became a lot narrower, thanks to a new technique that coaxes stem cells to take the first step to specialization for the first time in a laboratory. Researchers demonstrated that not only is it possible for mouse embryonic stem cells to form three distinct germ layers in the lab, but also that it requires correct timing, chemical factors and mechanical environment.

Green tea could reduce pancreatic cancer risk: Study explains how

Posted: 30 May 2014 10:32 AM PDT

A new study explains how green tea changed the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells, opening a new area in cancer-fighting research. Green tea and its extracts have been widely touted as potential treatments for cancer, as well as several other diseases. But scientists have struggled to explain how the green tea and its extracts may work to reduce the risk of cancer or to slow the growth of cancer cells.

First real-time movies of the light-to-current conversion in an organic solar cell

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:44 AM PDT

Scientists have reported the first real-time movies of the light-to-current conversion process in an organic solar cell. Researchers show that the quantum-mechanical, wavelike nature of electrons and their coupling to the nuclei is of fundamental importance for the charge transfer in an organic photovoltaic device.

Eating prunes can help weight loss, study shows

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:43 AM PDT

Eating prunes as part of a weight control diet can improve weight loss, research shows. Consumption of dried fruit is not readily recommended during weight loss despite evidence it enhances feelings of fullness. However, a study of 100 overweight and obese low fiber consumers tested whether eating prunes as part of a weight loss diet helped or hindered weight control over a 12-week period. The results were promising.

Australia's deadly eruptions were reason for the first mass extinction

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:43 AM PDT

Ancient volcanic eruptions in Australia 510 million years ago significantly affected the climate, causing the first known mass extinction in the history of complex life. Scientists used radioactive dating techniques to precisely measure the age of the eruptions of the Kalkarindji volcanic province.

New 3-D representation of Richard III's spine shows 'spiral nature' of his scoliosis

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

Shakespeare may have characterized Richard III as a hunchback, but now everyone can explore the true shape of one of history's most famous spinal columns. A polymer reconstruction was photographed from 19 different points, and the pictures were then stitched together digitally to create the interactive 3-D model.

New global maps of livestock distribution

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

New global maps of livestock distribution have been established by an international team of researchers. This study should help to measure the socio-economic, public health and environmental impacts of livestock and poultry, worldwide. The evaluation of multiple socio-economic, environmental and public health around the livestock sector requires accurate accessible and comprehensive spatial data on the distribution and abundance of livestock.

One cell's meat is another cell's poison: How the loss of a cell protein favors cancer cells while harming healthy cells

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:24 AM PDT

As a new therapeutic approach, Janus kinases are currently in the limelight of cancer research. The focus of interest is the protein JAK2. By inhibiting this protein one tries to cure chronic bone marrow diseases, such as myelofibrosis and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

Ecosystem services: Looking forward to mid-century

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:27 PM PDT

As population grows, society needs more -- more energy, more food, more paper, more housing, more of nearly everything. Meeting those needs can lead to changes in how land is used. Native grasslands, forests and wetlands may be converted into croplands, tree plantations, residential areas and commercial developments. Those conversions can, in turn, diminish the health of natural ecosystems and their ability to provide an array of valuable services, such as clean air and water, wildlife and opportunities for recreation, to name a few.

Powerful tool combs family genomes to find shared variations causing disease

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:27 PM PDT

A powerful tool called pVAAST that combines linkage analysis with case control association has been developed to help researchers and clinicians identify disease-causing mutations in families faster and more precisely than ever before. The researchers describe cases in which pVAAST (the pedigree Variant Annotation, Analysis and Search Tool) identified mutations in two families with separate diseases and a de novo or new variation in a 12-year-old who was the only one in his family to suffer from a mysterious and life threatening intestinal problem.

Glow-in-the-dark tool lets scientists find diseased bats

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:27 PM PDT

Scientists working to understand the devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome now have a new, non-lethal tool to identify bats with WNS lesions -- ultraviolet, or UV, light. Millions of bats have died from this rapidly spreading disease and this new method allows for accurate detection of the disease without killing any more bats.

Smells like deceit: A record number of species use the same odor to exploit each other

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:26 PM PDT

Ecologists discover a fascinating story of hijacked signals, deceit, stowaways, and eavesdropping in the natural world. It involves the citrus tree, an infectious plant disease called huánglóngbìng, a sap-sucking plant louse, and a predatory wasp -- all communicating with each other through a single odor.

New coronavirus inhibitor exhibits antiviral activity by blocking viral hijacking of host

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:26 PM PDT

Since the SARS epidemic in 2003, coronaviruses have been on the watch list for emerging pathogens, and the ongoing outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) confirmed that they represent a serious threat. No specific drugs exist against coronaviruses so far, but a new article introduces a new inhibitor of coronaviruses and implicates a specific process in the life cycle of these viruses that it blocks.

Improved identification of war wound infections promises more successful treatment

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

War wounds that heal successfully frequently contain different microbial species from those that heal poorly, according to a paper. These and other findings have important implications for improving wound healing, says the first author. The investigators examined 124 wound samples from 61 wounds in 44 patients injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. They used a microbial detection microarray that contains DNA probes capable of detecting any microorganisms that have previously been sequenced.

There's more than one way to silence a cricket: Co-evolution of crickets who lost their chirp

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

For most of us, crickets are probably most recognizable by the distinctive chirping sounds males make with their wings to lure females. But some crickets living on the islands of Hawaii have effectively lost their instruments and don't make their music anymore. Now researchers report that crickets living on different islands quieted their wings in different ways at almost the same time.

New technologies making it easier to protect threatened species

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Online databases, smart phone apps, crowd sourcing and new hardware devices are making it easier to collect data on species. When combined with data on land-use change and the species observations of millions of amateur citizen scientists, technology is increasingly allowing scientists and policymakers to more closely monitor the planet's biodiversity and threats to it.

When eradicating invasive species threatens endangered species recovery

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Efforts to eradicate invasive species increasingly occur side by side with programs focused on recovery of endangered ones. But what should resource managers do when the eradication of an invasive species threatens an endangered species? In a new study, scientists examine that conundrum now taking place in the San Francisco Bay.

Hoosier cavefish: New species from caves of southern Indiana has an anus right behind its head

Posted: 29 May 2014 08:20 AM PDT

A new eyeless cavefish is described from Indiana and named after the Indiana Hoosiers. It is the first new cavefish species described from the US in 40 years. Notably, it has an anus right behind its head, and the females brood their young in their gill chamber.

Climate change now a mainstream part of city planning: Global survey

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:28 AM PDT

Cities are planning for climate change, research shows, but are still searching for links to economic growth. The report underscores the extent to which city leaders recognize climate change as a major challenge -- even as they are trying to figure out how their responses can create jobs, growth, and cost savings in areas ranging from cities' transportation networks to their distribution of businesses.

Mountaineering and mountain medicine

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

Hundreds of millions of people all over the world travel to, work in or live in mountainous regions. The stress caused by high altitudes causes many health problems as their body seems to be incapable of adapting to such conditions. About 15% of the population living in the South American Andes suffer from chronic altitude sickness with severe effects on their everyday lives.

Diesel bus alternative: Electric school buses that power grid could save school districts millions

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Electric school buses that feed the power grid could save school districts millions of dollars — and reduce children's exposure to diesel fumes — based on recent research. A new study examines the cost-effectiveness of electric school buses that discharge their batteries into the electrical grid when not in use and get paid for the service. The technology, called vehicle-to-grid (V2G), was pioneered at UD and is being tested with electric cars in a pilot project.

A more Earth-friendly way to make bright white cotton fabrics

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:54 AM PDT

With a growing number of consumers demanding more Earth-friendly practices from the fashion world, scientists are developing new ways to produce textiles that could help meet rising expectations. One such method can dramatically reduce the amount of energy it takes to bleach cotton while improving the quality of the popular material.

Sneaky bacteria change key protein's shape to escape detection

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:49 AM PDT

Every once in a while in the US, bacterial meningitis seems to crop up out of nowhere, claiming a young life. Part of the disease's danger is the ability of the bacteria to evade the body's immune system, but scientists are now figuring out how the pathogen hides in plain sight.

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