Πέμπτη, 5 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Hemorrhagic fevers can be caused by body's antiviral interferon response

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:37 AM PDT

Virologists and immunologists have found a major clue to the mystery of "hemorrhagic fever" syndromes. The team showed that Interferon Type I immune proteins are key drivers of a viral syndrome in mice that closely mimics human hemorrhagic fevers. Hemorrhagic fevers caused by Lassa, dengue and other viruses affect more than one million people annually and are often fatal, yet scientists, until now, have never understood why only some virus-infected people come down with the disease and others do not.

Courts face challenges when linking genetics to criminal behavior

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 09:35 AM PDT

Some people may be at increased risk of criminal behavior due to their genes, some say. Such research holds potential for helping judges and juries with some of the difficult decisions they must make, but it also brings a substantial risk of misinterpretation and misuse within the legal system. Experts suggest that addressing these issues will be of critical importance for upholding principles of justice and fairness.

How red tide knocks out its competition

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 09:34 AM PDT

New research reveals how the algae behind red tide thoroughly disables – but doesn't kill – other species of algae. The study shows how chemical signaling between algae can trigger big changes in the marine ecosystem. The algae that form red tide in the Gulf of Mexico are dinoflagellates called Karenia brevis, or just Karenia by scientists. Karenia makes neurotoxins that are toxic to humans and fish. Karenia also makes small molecules that are toxic to other marine algae, which is what the new study analyzed.

Searching for acoustic evidence of MH370

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:55 AM PDT

Researchers have been examining a low-frequency underwater sound signal that could have resulted from Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. The signal, which was picked up by underwater sound recorders off Rottnest Island just after 1:30 am UTC on the 8th March, could have resulted from Flight MH370 crashing into the Indian Ocean but could also have originated from a natural event, such as a small earth tremor.

Human stem cells successfully transplanted, grown in pigs

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:55 AM PDT

A new line of genetically modified pigs will host transplanted cells without the risk of rejection, opening the door for future stem cell therapy research. One of the biggest challenges for medical researchers studying the effectiveness of stem cell therapies is that transplants or grafts of cells are often rejected by the hosts.

Understanding mussels' stickiness could lead to better surgical and underwater glues

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:55 AM PDT

Mussels might be a welcome addition to a hearty seafood stew, but their notorious ability to attach themselves to ships' hulls, as well as to piers and moorings, makes them an unwelcome sight and smell for boaters and swimmers. Now, researchers report a clearer understanding of how mussels stick to surfaces, which could lead to new classes of adhesives that will work underwater and even inside the body.

Tree hugging helps koalas keep their cool

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:54 AM PDT

Australia's koalas cope with extreme heat by resting against cooler tree trunks, new research has revealed. Researchers used a portable weather station and thermal imaging to uncover the koalas' cool plan. "Understanding the types of factors that can make some populations more resilient is important," one researcher said. Koalas also pant and lick their fur to cool down, but that can lead to dehydration.

When hospital workers get vaccines, community flu rates fall, study shows

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:54 AM PDT

For every 15 healthcare providers who receive the influenza vaccination, one fewer person in the community will contract an influenza-like illness, according to a study using California public health data from 2009-2012. Influenza-like illness causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year and, on average, 24,000 people die as a result. Currently, vaccination is the single best way to prevent the flu.

Finding the lost art of Angkor Wat: Paintings hidden for 500 years

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:54 AM PDT

Long-lost paintings have been discovered on the walls of Cambodia's ancient Angkor Wat temple. The ancient paintings date back almost 500 years and depict deities, animals, boats and the temple itself, giving historians a new understanding of life in a relatively unknown period of Cambodia's history.

Crows' memories are made of this: Scientists discover neurons allowing crows to remember short-term

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:53 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered neurons allowing crows to remember short-term, although their brains are different from ours. An important prerequisite for intelligence is a good short-term memory which can store and process the information needed for ongoing processes. This "working memory" is a kind of mental notepad -- without it, we could not follow a conversation, do mental arithmetic, or play any simple game.

Chemicals found that treat citrus greening in the lab

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:53 AM PDT

A possible treatment in the lab for citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida's $9 billion citrus industry, has been found by a cautiously optimistic research team. It is the first step in a years-long process to bring a treatment to market. The team sprayed greenhouse tree shoots separately with one of the three biochemicals and were successful in stopping the bacteria's spread, particularly with benzbromarone, which halted the bacteria in 80 percent of the infected trees' shoots.

Humans, not climate, to blame for Ice Age-era disappearance of large mammals, study concludes

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:41 AM PDT

Was it humankind or climate change that caused the extinction of a considerable number of large mammals about the time of the last Ice Age? Researchers have carried out the first global analysis of the extinction of the large animals, and the conclusion is clear -- humans are to blame. The study unequivocally points to humans as the cause of the mass extinction of large animals all over the world during the course of the last 100,000 years.

Wing design proves key factor in determining migration success of Monarch butterflies

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:35 AM PDT

Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies make a spectacular journey from the eastern parts of North America to reach their overwintering grounds in Mexico. Researchers have long known that not all butterflies successfully reach their destination. Now scientists provide some crucial answers on what it takes for Monarchs to complete the trip. It turns out - it's all in the wings.

Current trends for forest biomass for energy in EU

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:35 AM PDT

The EU aims to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Renewables include wind, solar, hydro-electric and tidal power as well as geothermal energy and biomass. These ambitious targets set in the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) have led to concerns about the levels of woody biomass from forests which would need to be mobilized to meet them.

Medieval manholes: plumbers led the way in utility maintenance

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:35 AM PDT

The story of the medieval plumbers who maintained a complex water supply system, which was centuries ahead of its time, has been revealed by a historian. A unique network of subterranean tunnels, partly dating back to the 14th century, still lies beneath the streets of Exeter, Devon. These once channeled fresh drinking-water from springs outside the town-walls to public fountains at the heart of the city. "People from all social backgrounds relied on the system to provide their drinking water, so it was vital to keep it running smoothly. The city retained a plumber to carry out regular maintenance," said the author.

Cell death insight offers perspectives for treating degenerative, inflammatory diseases

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

The mechanism of necroptosis has been unraveled by reseachers. This is a type of cell death that plays a crucial role in numerous diseases, from viral infections and loss of auditory nerve cells to multiple sclerosis, acute heart failure and organ transplantation. Having detailed knowledge of the cell death process enables a targeted search for new drugs.

Parasites fail to halt European bumblebee invasion of the UK

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 08:10 PM PDT

A species of bee from Europe that has stronger resistance to parasite infections than native bumblebees has spread across the UK, according to new research. The study shows that tree bumblebees have rapidly spread despite them carrying high levels of an infection that normally prevents queen bees from producing colonies. The species arrived in the UK from continental Europe 13 years ago and has successfully spread at an average rate of nearly 4,500 square miles -- about half the size of Wales -- every year.

Iron, steel in hatcheries may distort magnetic 'map sense' of steelhead

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 04:40 PM PDT

Exposure to iron pipes and steel rebar, such as the materials found in most hatcheries, affects the navigation ability of young steelhead trout by altering the important magnetic 'map sense' they need for migration. "The better fish navigate, the higher their survival rate," said a researcher. "When their magnetic field is altered, the fish get confused."

Deep sea fish remove one million tons of carbon dioxide every year from UK and Irish waters

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 04:39 PM PDT

Deep sea fishes remove and store more than one million tons of CO2 from UK and Irish surface waters every year, according to a new study. This natural carbon capture and storage scheme could store carbon equivalent to £10 million per year in carbon credits Fish living in deep waters on the continental slope around the UK play an important role carrying carbon from the surface to the seafloor.

Could spiders be the key to saving our bees?

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 04:39 PM PDT

A novel bio-pesticide created using spider venom and a plant protein has been found to be safe for honeybees - despite being highly toxic to a number of key insect pests. New research has tested the insect-specific Hv1a/GNA fusion protein bio-pesticide -- a combination of a natural toxin from the venom of an Australian funnel web spider and snowdrop lectin.

Are your pets disturbing your sleep? You’re not alone

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 04:38 PM PDT

While countless pet owners peacefully sleep with a warm pet nearby, a new study finds an increase in the number of people experiencing sleep disturbances because of their pets.

Investigating unusual three-ribbon solar flares with extreme high resolution

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 03:26 PM PDT

The 1.6 meter telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory in California has given researchers unparalleled capability for investigating phenomena such as solar flares. The BBSO instrument is the most powerful ground-based telescope dedicated to studying the star closest to Earth.

New device isolates most aggressive cancer cells

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 03:25 PM PDT

Not all cancer cells are created equal: some stay put in the primary tumor, while others move and invade elsewhere. A major goal for cancer research is predicting which cells will metastasize, and why. A cancer research team is taking a new approach to screening for these dangerous cells, using a microfluidic device they invented that isolates only the most aggressive, metastatic cells.

Researchers shut down SARS cloaking system; Findings could lead to SARS, MERS vaccines

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 01:22 PM PDT

A research team has figured out how to disable a part of the SARS virus responsible for hiding it from the immune system -- a critical step in developing a vaccine against the deadly disease. The findings also have potential applications in the creation of vaccines against other coronaviruses, including MERS.

Parents should stock up on healthy food for growing teens

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 01:19 PM PDT

Refrigerators and pantries across the country are bracing for the seasonal assault from teenagers who are now done with school and will eat most of their meals at home for the summer months.

Toxic computer waste in the developing world

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 08:43 AM PDT

As the developing world continues to develop, standards of living and access to technology increases. Unfortunately, as personal computers, laptops and mobile phones become increasingly common so the problem of recycling and disposal of such devices when they become technologically obsolete rises too, according to new research.

Three years since Japan's disaster: Communities remain scattered and suffering

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 07:34 AM PDT

While western eyes are focused on the ongoing problems of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor site, thousands of people are still evacuated from their homes in north-eastern Japan following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency. Many are in temporary accommodation and frustrated by a lack of central government foresight and responsiveness to their concerns.

Breaking down barriers: An appeal to conserve migratory ungulates in Mongolia's grasslands

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Mongolian and international conservationists have joined forces to raise awareness of the global importance of Mongolia´s steppes. The Gobi-Steppe Ecosystem is home to a unique diversity of animal and plant species, among them several large migratory mammals. The scientists recommend reconciling the rapid infrastructure development that is currently taking place in Mongolia with the needs of migratory species, such as Asiatic wild ass and Mongolian gazelles.

Enhancing safety of domestic solar power storage

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Lithium-ion battery-based energy storage systems have already demonstrated efficiency and reliability in commercial electric vehicles. These high standards now also have to be transferred to battery-based storage systems for private photovoltaics facilities.

New technology successfully removes heavy metals from water

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:22 AM PDT

The methods traditionally used to remove heavy metals from wastewater have limitations because they only withdraw a certain percentage and the remaining amount is very difficult to remove. New technology capable of removing such contaminants at low cost and with an efficiency has now been developed.

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