Τρίτη, 17 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Researchers use virus to reveal nanopore physics

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:15 PM PDT

Nanopores could provide a new way to sequence DNA quickly, but the physics involved isn't well understood. That's partly because of the complexities involved in studying the random, squiggly form DNA takes in solution. Researchers have simplified matters by using a stiff, rod-like virus instead of DNA to experiment with nanopores. Their research has uncovered previously unknown dynamics in polymer-nanopore interactions.

Bioscavengers: New discoveries could help neutralize chemical weapons

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:15 PM PDT

Researchers are a step closer to creating a prophylactic drug that would neutralize the deadly effects of the chemical weapons used in Syria and elsewhere. Scientists are trying to engineer enzymes -- called bioscavengers -- so they work more efficiently against chemical weapons.

Caterpillars that eat multiple plant species are more susceptible to hungry birds

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 12:15 PM PDT

Biologists have learned that caterpillars that feed on one or two plant species are better able to hide from predatory birds than caterpillars that consume a wide variety of plants.

Sensor in eye could track pressure changes, monitor for glaucoma

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:13 AM PDT

Engineers have designed a low-power sensor that could be placed permanently in a person's eye to track hard-to-measure changes in eye pressure. The sensor would be embedded with an artificial lens during cataract surgery and would detect pressure changes instantaneously, then transmit the data wirelessly using radio frequency waves.

High-altitude weight loss may have an evolutionary advantage

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Weight loss at high altitudes -- something universally experienced by climbers and people who move to higher terrain -- may not be a detrimental effect, but rather is likely an evolutionarily-programmed adaptation, according to a new article.

Antarctic species dwindle as icebergs batter shores year-round

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:08 AM PDT

As the planet has warmed, massive losses of sea ice in winter have left icebergs along the Antarctic free to roam for most of the year. As a result, boulders on the shallow seabed -- once encrusted with a rich assemblage of species in intense competition for limited space -- now mostly support a single species. The climate-linked increase in iceberg activity has left all other species so rare as to be almost irrelevant.

U.S. housing policies increase carbon output

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:03 AM PDT

Land use policies and preferential tax treatment for housing – in the form of federal income tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes – have increased carbon emissions in the United States by about 2.7 percent, almost 6 percent annually in new home construction, according to a new study.

El Niño expected to benefit U.S. agriculture, economist says

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 08:10 AM PDT

An El Niño would help U.S. crop production, but could negatively impact worldwide production, a senior agricultural economist says. "El Niño is generally favorable to crop production in the United States because it brings extra rain and moisture into the core crop-growing areas," he said. "We're just coming out of a four-year drought cycle in the United States and we'd like to get back to what we call trend-line yields and big crop production so there's plenty for everybody."

Broccoli sprout beverage enhances detoxification of air pollutants in clinical trial

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:24 AM PDT

Daily consumption of a half cup of broccoli sprout beverage produced rapid, significant and sustained higher levels of excretion of benzene, a known human carcinogen, and acrolein, a lung irritant, in a trial involving nearly 300 Chinese men and women living in one of China's most polluted regions.

Decontamination system to up research on space station

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:13 AM PDT

Just like eating, drinking and even trying to wash your hair aboard the International Space Station, conducting science experiments in space is not a simple task for astronauts. There are so many more factors for crews to consider than scientists on Earth have to worry about. If not contained, microgravity can turn gasses, dust, fluids and sharp objects into a floating nightmare.

New NASA space observatory to study carbon conundrums

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 07:03 AM PDT

NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere is in final preparations for a July 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission will provide a more complete, global picture of the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as carbon dioxide's "sinks," the natural ocean and land processes by which carbon dioxide is pulled out of Earth's atmosphere and stored. Carbon dioxide, a critical component of Earth's carbon cycle, is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth's climate.

Bacteria evade human immune system with a burst of mutations during initial infection

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Bacteria that cause ulcers launch a burst of mutations during the initial stages of infection, allowing them to evade the human immune system, new research reveals. The study shows, for the first time, and in real-time, the interplay between the human immune system and invading bacteria that allows the bacteria to counter the immune response by quickly evolving.

Bionic pancreas controls blood sugar levels in adults, adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

The latest version of a bionic pancreas device has been successfully tested in two five-day clinical trials -- one in adults, the other in adolescents -- that imposed minimal restrictions on patient activities.

Animal trapping records reveal strong wolf effect across North America

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:36 AM PDT

Coyote and red fox fur trapping records across North America have been used by scientists to document how the presence of wolves influences the balance of smaller predators further down the food chain. From Alaska and Yukon to Nova Scotia and Maine, the researchers have demonstrated that a "wolf effect" exists, favoring red foxes where wolves are present and coyotes where wolves are absent.

Caffeine affects boys, girls differently after puberty, study finds

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Caffeine intake by children and adolescents has been rising for decades, due in large part to the popularity of caffeinated sodas and energy drinks, which now are marketed to children as young as four. Despite this, there is little research on the effects of caffeine on young people. Following a recent study, one researcher remarked: "We found an interaction between gender and caffeine dose, with boys having a greater response to caffeine than girls."

Wind turbine payback: Environmental lifecycle assessment of 2-megawatt wind turbines

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Researchers have carried out an environmental lifecycle assessment of 2-megawatt wind turbines mooted for a large wind farm in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. They conclude that in terms of cumulative energy payback, or the time to produce the amount of energy required of production and installation, a wind turbine with a working life of 20 years will offer a net benefit within five to eight months of being brought online.

New project to investigate vanishing pubs in England

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

A research team aims to increase our appreciation of 'severely threatened' pubs in England. Take a walk through a typical village in England and the chances are you will stumble across a King's Head, Rose & Crown or a Red Lion for a pint of ale or a bite to eat. But how would you feel if the traditional public house were to disappear from our streets? Pubs are amongst the most common and well-loved buildings in the country, but have recently been identified as 'a severely threatened building type' by English Heritage. Researchers will take an in-depth look at the situation.

Nanoparticles aid microscopic detection of protein relevant for cancer

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 06:32 AM PDT

Assemblies of proteins have important functions in cells. But because they are very small, their composition from subunits can only be determined indirectly or with extreme time-effort. Scientists are currently developing a novel microscopy technology for the direct detection of such individual subunits of protein complexes in the cell membrane of intact cells. The methodology is applied to investigate a protein complex acting as a calcium channel in the cell membrane. The channel plays an important role in prostate cancer.

What's the role robotics could play in future food production?

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 05:21 AM PDT

A team of computer scientists is co-organizing an international workshop on recent advances in agricultural robotics. Recent information confirms that robots, machines and systems are rapidly achieving intelligence and autonomy, mastering more and more capabilities such as mobility and manipulation, sensing and perception, reasoning and decision making.

Birth of four foals from genotyped, cryopreserved embryos: A first in Europe

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 05:21 AM PDT

Four foals were successfully born as the result of the transfer of genotyped and cryopreserved embryos. Researchers report that this is a first in Eurpoe. The goal of this work is to better understand embryonic development, control livestock reproduction, and maintain breed genetic diversity. Furthermore, it is advantageous for the horse industry to be able to determine the traits of a future foal.

Diabetes risk: Understanding how children's bodies process foods

Posted: 15 Jun 2014 11:38 AM PDT

With the increase in childhood obesity and the associated increase in type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents, there is growing interest in how children's bodies process the foods they eat and how obesity and diabetes begin to develop at early ages.

Reversal of type 1 diabetes in mice may eventually help humans

Posted: 14 Jun 2014 04:26 PM PDT

Investigators have found a therapy that reverses new onset type 1 diabetes in mouse models and may advance efforts in combating the disease among humans. There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes though it can be controlled with insulin therapy. Symptoms of the disease include frequent urination, excessive thirst and weight loss even though you are eating more.

Genetic 'barcode' for malaria could help contain outbreaks

Posted: 13 Jun 2014 05:45 AM PDT

A new genetic 'barcode' for malaria parasites has been found that could be used to track and contain the spread of the disease, according to new research. By using this simple genetic marker when analyzing blood samples from malaria patients, organizations could quickly and accurately identify the source of outbreaks, and spot the spread of drug-resistant parasites from Asia to Africa.

Western Amazon under threat from oil pollution

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:25 PM PDT

A new study of pollution records indicates that the Western Amazon, an area of unparalleled biological and cultural diversity, may have been contaminated by widespread oil pollution over a 30-year period. researchers have compiled a database of chemical analyses taken from the western Amazon area, over the 1983 to 2013 period. These analyses come from a variety of sources, including Peruvian public agencies and oil companies. Though the results need to be reinforced by further study, they raise some significant concerns.

Gut microbe composition different in young children with, without type 1 diabetes

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:25 PM PDT

Children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have a less balanced composition of gut bacteria compared with children of the same age without diabetes, research shows. The incidence of type 1 diabetes is increasing worldwide, showing a particularly sharp increase among children under the age of 5 years. Recent studies indicate that adverse changes in gut microbiota are associated with the development of type 1 diabetes, but little is known about the microbiota in children who have diabetes at an early age.

Good bacteria armed with antibiotic resistance protect gut microbiome

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 02:46 PM PDT

Populating the gastrointestinal tracts of mice with Bacteroides species producing a specific enzyme helps protect the good commensal bacteria from the harmful effects of antibiotics, researchers have found. Antibiotics are powerful weapons against pathogens, but most are relatively indiscriminate, killing the good bacteria, along with the bad. Thus, they may render patients vulnerable to invasion, particularly by virulent, antibiotic-resistant pathogens that frequently populate hospitals.

Protein anchors help keep embryonic development 'just right'

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 12:30 PM PDT

It's been known that specific proteins, called histones, must exist within a certain range -- if there are too few, a fruit fly's DNA is damaged; if there are too many, the cell dies. Now research shows that different types of histone proteins also need to exist in specific proportions. The work further shows that cellular storage facilities keep over-produced histones in reserve until they are needed.

Personal resiliency paramount for future disasters

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 10:23 AM PDT

Individuals need to build disaster readiness and resiliency in order to better recover from the effects of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and other natural disasters, experts say. Those who prepare well for disasters are more likely to have a sense of spiritual and emotional well-being and be satisfied with their life.

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