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Saturday, December 6, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Chemicals released during natural gas extraction may harm reproduction, development

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 02:50 PM PST

Unconventional oil and gas operations combine directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas from rock. Discussions have centered on potential air and water pollution from chemicals and how they affect the more than 15 million Americans living within one mile of UOG operations. Now, a researcher has conducted the largest review of research centered on fracking byproducts and their effects on human reproductive and developmental health.

Promising compound rapidly eliminates malaria parasite

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 02:50 PM PST

A promising anti-malarial compound tricks the immune system to rapidly destroy red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite but leave healthy cells unharmed, an international group of researchers has found. Planning has begun for safety trials of the compound in healthy adults.

California's drought is the worst in 1,200 years, evidence suggests

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 09:43 AM PST

As California finally experiences the arrival of a rain-bearing Pineapple Express this week, two climate scientists have shown that the drought of 2012-2014 has been the worst in 1,200 years.

New technique offers spray-on solar power

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 09:43 AM PST

Pretty soon, powering your tablet could be as simple as wrapping it in cling wrap. Scientists have just invented a new way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) -- a major step toward making spray-on solar cells easy and cheap to manufacture.

Looking at El Niño's past to predict its future

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 08:40 AM PST

Scientists see a large amount of variability in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) when looking back at climate records from thousands of years ago. Without a clear understanding of what caused past changes in ENSO variability, predicting the climate phenomenon's future is a difficult task. A new study shows how this climate system responds to various pressures, such as changes in carbon dioxide and ice cover, in one of the best models used to project future climate change.

Penicillin tactics revealed by scientists

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 08:40 AM PST

One of the oldest and most widely used antibiotics, penicillin, attacks enzymes that build the bacterial cell wall. Researchers have now shown that penicillin and its variants also set in motion a toxic malfunctioning of the cell's wall-building machinery, dooming the cell to a futile cycle of building and then immediately destroying that wall.

Drugs in the environment affect plant growth

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 08:39 AM PST

By assessing the impacts of a range of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, research has shown that the growth of edible crops can be affected by these chemicals -- even at the very low concentrations found in the environment. The research focused its analysis on lettuce and radish plants and tested the effects of several commonly prescribed drugs, including diclofenac and ibuprofen. These drugs are among the most common and widely used group of pharmaceuticals, with more than 30 million prescribed across the world every day.

New research paves the way for nano-movies of biomolecules

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 07:03 AM PST

Scientists have caught a light sensitive biomolecule at work using an X-ray laser. Their new study proves that high speed X-ray lasers can capture the fast dynamics of biomolecules in ultra slow-motion, revealing subtle processes with unprecedented clarity.

'Family' matters when predicting ecosystems' reaction to global change

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST

A new study shows that just as our family histories dictate what we look like and how we act, plant evolutionary history shapes community responses to interacting agents of global change.

Climate change already showing effects at Kennedy Space Center

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST

The effects of climate change are already showing up in places from Miami to Alaska, scientists say, but geologists are now focusing their attention on one especially noteworthy and vulnerable piece of waterfront real estate: Kennedy Space Center.

Antioxidant capacity of orange juice is multiplied tenfold

Posted: 05 Dec 2014 06:37 AM PST

The antioxidant activity of citrus juices and other foods is undervalued, experts say. A new technique for measuring this property generates values that are ten times higher than those indicated by current analysis methods. The results suggest that tables on the antioxidant capacities of food products that dieticians and health authorities use must be revised. Orange juice and juices from other citrus fruits are considered healthy due to their high content of antioxidants, which help to reduce harmful free radicals in our body, but a new investigation shows that their benefits are greater than previously thought.

El Niño's 'remote control' on hurricanes in the Northeastern Pacific

Posted: 04 Dec 2014 01:06 PM PST

El Niño peaks in winter and its surface ocean warming occurs mostly along the equator. However, months later, El Niño events affect the formation of intense hurricanes in the Northeastern Pacific basin -- not along the equator. Scientists have now revealed what's behind 'remote control.'

Current tools for Asian Carp eDNA monitoring fall short, study shows

Posted: 04 Dec 2014 11:31 AM PST

The tools currently used for Asian Carp eDNA monitoring often fail to detect the fish, says a new report. By comparison, the new eDNA methods described in this study capture and detect Asian Carp eDNA more effectively.

Rice could make cholera treatment more effective

Posted: 04 Dec 2014 11:26 AM PST

Though undeniably effective, the current rehydration therapy for cholera could increase the toxicity of the cholera bacterium, researchers have discovered. Backed with new data, the scientists propose a change in the treatment, replacing glucose with starch from rice powder.

Friendly bacteria are protective against malaria

Posted: 04 Dec 2014 11:07 AM PST

In a breakthrough study, a research team discovered that specific bacterial components in the human gut microbiota can trigger a natural defense mechanism that is highly protective against malaria transmission. It is estimated that 3.4 billion people are at risk of contracting malaria and WHO data from 2012 reveal that about 460,000 African children died from malaria before reaching their fifth birthday. The present study argues that if one can induce the production of antibodies against alpha-gal in those children one may be able to revert these grim numbers.

3D compass found in the brain

Posted: 03 Dec 2014 02:18 PM PST

The neurons that help us know where we're going have been discovered by researchers. Working with bats, which move in three dimensions, the team found that bats' brains contain a sort of 3D compass, enabling them to orient themselves in space. They believe that the brains of non-flying mammals – including humans – also have the compass.

Researchers get a rabbit's-eye view

Posted: 03 Dec 2014 01:11 PM PST

Researchers are using innovative imaging techniques to map the properties of vegetation that influence how and when animals use cover from the elements and predators. Their data could help dictate land management decisions and restoration of the landscape.

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