Referral Banners

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Spider electro-combs its sticky nano-filaments

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:23 PM PST

A spider commonly found in garden centers in Britain is giving fresh insights into how to spin incredibly long and strong fibers just a few nanometers thick. The majority of spiders spin silk threads several micrometers thick but unusually the 'garden centre spider' or 'feather-legged lace weaver' can spin nano-scale filaments. Now scientists think they are closer to understanding how this is done.

Stomach acid-powered micromotors get their first test in a living animal

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:08 AM PST

Researchers have shown that a micromotor fueled by stomach acid can take a bubble-powered ride inside a mouse. These tiny motors, each about one-fifth the width of a human hair, may someday offer a safer and more efficient way to deliver drugs or diagnose tumors. The experiment is the first to show that these micromotors can operate safely in a living animal.

Early Mesoamericans affected by climate change

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:08 AM PST

Scientists have reconstructed the past climate for the region around Cantona, a large fortified city in highland Mexico, and found the population drastically declined in the past, at least in part because of climate change.

Dog disease in lions spread by multiple species

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:08 AM PST

Canine distemper, a viral disease that's been infecting the famed lions of Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, appears to be spread by multiple animal species, according to a study published by a transcontinental team of scientists.

New mechanism unlocked for evolution of green fluorescent protein

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:08 AM PST

A primary challenge in the biosciences is to understand the way major evolutionary changes in nature are accomplished. Sometimes the route turns out to be very simple. An example of such simplicity is provided in a new publication that shows, for the first time, that a hinge migration mechanism, driven solely by long-range dynamic motions, can be the key for evolution of a green-to-red photoconvertible phenotype in a green fluorescent protein.

Easter Island mystery: Why did the native culture die out?

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 10:11 AM PST

Long before the Europeans arrived on Easter Island in 1722, the native Polynesian culture known as Rapa Nui showed signs of demographic decline. However, the catalyst has long been debated in the scientific community. Was environmental degradation the cause, or could a political revolution or an epidemic of disease be to blame? A collaborative study suggests that the island's native culture reacted to natural environmental barriers to producing sufficient crops.

Things smell good for a reason

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:24 AM PST

Antioxidants are natural food ingredients that protect cells from harmful influences. Their main task is to neutralize so-called 'free radicals' which are produced in the process of oxidation and which are responsible for cell degeneration. Scientists now show that vinegar flies are able to detect these protective substances by using olfactory cues.

Fish catch break on world stage at global conference

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:24 AM PST

Freshwater fish provide the food, sport and economic power across the globe. Inland fishing is often about individuals, families and small cooperatives. More than 60 million people in low-income nations are estimated to rely on inland fisheries for their livelihood. Its small-but-many base has in modern times across the globe been shy of strong data to document its impact. That has left the inland fishery industry a poor competitor for water against agriculture, energy, commercial development and industry.

The world's oldest known snake fossils: Rolling back the clock by nearly 70 million years

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:24 AM PST

Fossilized remains of four ancient snakes have been dated between 140 and 167 million years old -- nearly 70 million years older than the previous record of ancient snake fossils -- and are changing the way we think about the origins of snakes.

The origin of life: Labyrinths as crucibles of life

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:11 AM PST

Water-filled micropores in hot rock may have acted as the nurseries in which life on Earth began. A team has now shown that temperature gradients in pore systems promote the cyclical replication and emergence of nucleic acids.

Carbon accumulation by Southeastern U.S. forests may slow

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:11 AM PST

Carbon accumulation levels in the Southeastern US may be slowing due to forest dynamics and land use changes, according to findings of a new study. The research is the first to isolate the impacts of forest disturbances, such as fire, disease, and cutting, as well as the impacts of land use change using permanent monitoring locations across the Southeast making it one of the most thorough carbon studies completed.

Economic trade-offs of owning versus leasing a solar photovoltaic system

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:10 AM PST

Two new reports examine the economic options customers face when deciding how to finance commercial or residential solar energy systems. Analysts found that businesses that use low-cost financing to purchase a photovoltaic (PV) system and homeowners who use solar-specific loans can save up to 30 percent compared with consumers who lease a PV system through a conventional third-party owner.

Researchers find hormone that increases the sex drive of mice

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:09 AM PST

Mice that receive a supplement of the 'appetite hormone' ghrelin increase their sexual activity, scientists have found. Whether the hormone has the same impact on humans is unknown -- but if it does, the researchers may have found the key to future treatments for sex addiction.

Bad weather warnings most effective if probability included, new research suggests

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:48 AM PST

Risk researchers find that the public may respond best to severe weather warnings if they include a probability estimate, an important finding not only for the present but also for the longer-term future as climate change brings more frequent and severe threats.

Respiratory chain: Protein complex structure revealed

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:03 AM PST

Mitochondria produce ATP, the energy currency of the body. The driver for this process is an electrochemical membrane potential, which is created by a series of proton pumps. These complex, macromolecular machines are collectively known as the respiratory chain. The structure of the largest protein complex in the respiratory chain, that of mitochondrial complex I, has now been elucidated by scientists.

New tattoos discovered on iceman Oetzi: All of the skin marks on the mummy mapped

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:02 AM PST

With the aid of a non-invasive photographic technique, researchers at the EURAC-Institute for Mummies and the Iceman have been able to show up all the tattoos on the man who was found preserved in a glacier, and in the process have stumbled upon a previously unknown tattoo on his ribcage. This tattoo is very difficult to make out with the naked eye because his skin has darkened so much over time. The latest sophisticated photographic technology has now enabled tattoos in deeper skin layers to be identified as well.

How do small birds survive cold winters?

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 07:01 AM PST

Norway's small birds face many challenges during the winter, including short days and long energy-intensive nights, tough weather conditions and food shortages, along with the risk of becoming a meal for hungry predators. Many at a tiny size, how do they survive?

Sagebrush ecosystem recovery hobbled by loss of soil complexity at development sites

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 02:10 PM PST

In big sagebrush country, re-establishing the ecosystem's namesake shrub may jump-start the recovery process more successfully after oil and gas development than sowing grass-dominated reclamation seed mixes typically used to quickly re-vegetate bare soil on well pads, report two Colorado scientists. Big sagebrush is often conspicuously absent at restoration sites decades after disturbance. Historically, grasses have dominated the vegetation recovery following development, offering limited diversity and poor quality habitat for the 350 wildlife species harbored by what was once the most widespread ecosystem in the western United States.

Winters in Siberian permafrost regions have warmed since millenia

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 09:47 AM PST

For the first time, researchers have successfully decoded climate data from old permafrost ground ice and reconstructed the development of winter temperatures in Russia's Lena River Delta. Their conclusions: over the past 7,000 years, winter temperatures in the Siberian permafrost regions have gradually risen.

Global warming doubles risk of extreme La Niña event, research shows

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 09:47 AM PST

The risk of extreme La Niña events in the Pacific Ocean could double due to global warming, new research has shown. El Niño and La Niña events are opposite phases of the natural climate phenomenon, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Extreme La Niña events occur when cold sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean contrast with the warming land areas of Maritime Southeast Asia in the west and create a strong temperature gradient.

Shell growth observed thanks to 'ion sponge'

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 08:22 AM PST

Researchers are able to observe the formation of shells in real time on a nanometer scale thanks to a new electron microscopy technique. This enabled them for the first time to see how pieces of polymer act as 'ion sponges' – thereby confirming a 30-year-old theory. The required ions are absorbed so that crystals are only formed at these specific locations. Their finding not only throws a new light on biological crystal formation in nature, which is still not fully understood. The results also provide additional understanding of industrial crystal formation processes, which are used for example to increase efficiency in the production of ICs and solar cells.

Learning from scorpions to control impulses

Posted: 26 Jan 2015 06:53 AM PST

Scorpions can teach us a lot about the benefits of prolonging nerve impulses, and we might now be better students. The results of a new study could pave the way for easier identification of drugs that function similarly to scorpion venom, but with happier results for the recipient.

No comments: