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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Buckyballs offer environmental benefits

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 01:15 PM PST

Treated carbon-60 molecules have the ability to recover valuable metals from liquids, including water and potential pollutants. In testing various metals, researchers found that charge and ionic radius influence how the metals bind to the hydroxylated buckyballs.

Floods created home of Europe's biggest waterfall

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 01:14 PM PST

A massive canyon that is home to Europe's most powerful waterfall was created in a matter of days by extreme flooding, new research reveals.

Coral snake venom reveals a unique route to lethality

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 01:11 PM PST

For more than a decade, a vial of rare snake venom refused to give up its secret formula for lethality; its toxins had no effect on the proteins that most venoms target. Finally, an international team of researchers figured out its recipe: a toxin that permanently activates a crucial type of nerve cell protein, preventing the cells from resetting and causing deadly seizures in prey.

Swimming reptiles make their mark in the Early Triassic

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 11:35 AM PST

Vertebrate tracks provide valuable information about animal behavior and environments. Swim tracks are a unique type of vertebrate track because they are produced underwater by buoyant trackmakers, and specific factors are required for their production and subsequent preservation. Early Triassic deposits contain the highest number of fossil swim track occurrences worldwide compared to other epochs, and this number becomes even greater when epoch duration and rock outcrop area are taken into account.

Molecular Gastronomy: Understanding physical and chemical processes of cooking and eating

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 11:24 AM PST

An expert in biophysics, epigenetics and food science is working to gain a deeper understanding of genome compaction within the cells in our bodies and the way it influences gene expression. "Molecular gastronomy," is dedicated to the study of the physical and chemical processes involved in cooking and eating.

Combine solar thermal energy with biomass gasification for natural gas substitute

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 10:07 AM PST

A new study examining the financial viability of solar-heated biomass gasification technologies that produce a natural gas substitute product concludes that combining these renewable resources can make economic sense.

New evidence of global warming: Remote lakes in Ecuador not immune to climate change

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 10:07 AM PST

A study of three remote lakes in Ecuador has revealed the vulnerability of tropical high mountain lakes to global climate change -- the first study of its kind to show this. The data explains how the lakes are changing due to the water warming as the result of climate change.

Electricity from biomass with carbon capture could make western US carbon-negative

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 10:07 AM PST

Biomass conversion to electricity combined with technologies for capturing and storing carbon, which should become viable within 35 years, could result in a carbon-negative power grid in the western US by 2050. That prediction comes from an analysis of various fuel scenarios. Bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration may be a better use of plant feedstocks than making biofuels.

Amber fossil links earliest grasses, dinosaurs and fungus used to produce LSD

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 10:07 AM PST

A perfectly preserved amber fossil from Myanmar has been found that provides evidence of the earliest grass specimen ever discovered -- about 100 million years old -- and even then it was topped by a fungus similar to ergot, a hallucinogen which for eons has been intertwined with animals and humans. Among other things, it gave us the psychedelic drug LSD.

World thunderstorm 'map' key to assessing climate change

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 08:32 AM PST

New research will likely be crucial to measuring the impact of climate change on thunderstorms -- one of the weather occurrences most problematic for human life on the planet. The varying frequency and intensity of thunderstorms have direct repercussions for the public, agriculture, and industry.

Controlling genes with light: Light-activated genes might be precisely controlled and targeted

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 08:32 AM PST

Researchers have demonstrated a new way to activate genes with light, allowing precisely controlled and targeted genetic studies and applications. The method might be used to activate genes in a specific location or pattern, allowing more precise study of gene function, or to create complex systems for growing tissue or new therapies.

Earth's surprise inside: Geologists unlock mysteries of the planet's inner core

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 08:32 AM PST

Seismic waves are helping scientists to plumb the world's deepest mystery: the planet's inner core. Thanks to a novel application of earthquake-reading technology, researchers have found that the Earth's inner core has an inner core of its own, which has surprising properties that could reveal information about our planet.

Energy drinks significantly increase hyperactivity in schoolchildren, study finds

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 06:50 AM PST

Middle-school children who consume heavily sweetened energy drinks are 66 percent more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms, a new study has found.

The Sun’s activity in the 18th century was similar to that now

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 06:49 AM PST

Counting sunspots over time helps in knowing the activity of our star but the two indices used by scientists disagree on dates prior to 1885. Now an international team of researchers has tried to standardize the historical results and has discovered that, contrary to what one may think, the solar activity of our times is very similar to that of other times, such as the Enlightenment. Scientists have been counting sunspots since 1610 with small telescopes. Thus it has been verified that the Sun's activity increases every eleven years, according to the interval in the growth of the number of darker and colder spots in comparison with the rest of its surface. The more spots that appear, the more luminous the surrounding areas are, and our star shines brighter.

3-D vaccine spontaneously assembles to pack a powerful punch against cancer, infectious diseases

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 06:48 AM PST

Researchers have developed a novel 3-D vaccine that could provide a more effective way to harness the immune system to fight cancer as well as infectious diseases. The vaccine spontaneously assembles into a scaffold once injected under the skin and is capable of recruiting, housing, and manipulating immune cells to generate a powerful immune response. The vaccine was recently found to be effective in delaying tumor growth in mice.

Frozen semen from lions are capable to produce embryos

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 05:35 AM PST

Scientists successfully produced embryos from African lions via assisted reproduction. What is genuinely new is the fact that they used immature eggs that were retrieved from African lionesses. After artificial maturation these eggs were injected with lions' sperm, previously stored in a cryobank. To the surprise of the scientists the development of the lion embryos was retarded in comparison to similar embryos from domestic cats.

Forcing wounds to close

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 05:30 AM PST

Skin not only provides an essential protective barrier against foreign materials and pathogens, but it also helps the body retain various fluids and electrolytes. When this barrier is damaged, the consequences can be devastating. Ulcers, bleeding and bacterial infections may result and the chances of these occurring increases the longer wounds remain open. Scientists have now revealed the mechanical forces that drive epithelial wound healing in the absence of cell supporting environment.

Drug combinations a good approach for infectious fungus, research shows

Posted: 06 Feb 2015 09:53 AM PST

Researchers have discovered that Candida albicans -- a leading cause of potentially fatal hospital-acquired infections -- rarely develops resistance to combination drug therapy and, when it becomes resistant, it also becomes less dangerous.The team may also have found a new way to eliminate Candida albicans in humans.

Would federal lands takeover in Utah harm the public? Experts think so

Posted: 06 Feb 2015 09:51 AM PST

The transfer of 31 million acres of land managed by the federal government to Utah would hinder public land management reforms and harm the state, according to a newly released analysis.

New tools to breed cereal crops that survive flooding

Posted: 06 Feb 2015 08:15 AM PST

Scientists hope new research could lead to the introduction of cereal crops better able to tolerate flooding. They have identified the mechanism used by plants in stress conditions to sense low oxygen levels and used advanced breeding techniques to reduce yield loss in barley in water-logged conditions.

Many US wells tainted with arsenic

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 02:49 PM PST

Arsenic is the biggest public-health problem for water in the United States -- yet we pay far less attention to it than we do to lesser problems. Private wells present continuing risks. Even low doses of arsenic may reduce intelligence in children. There are also well-documented risks of cancer, heart disease, and reduced lung function.

Adding natural buffers to the farm landscape slows erosion and looks good too

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

Researchers know that adding natural buffers to the farm landscape can stop soil from vanishing. Now a scientist has found that more buffers are better, both for pleasing the eye and slowing erosion.

High efficiency concentrating solar cells move to the rooftop

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

Ultra-high efficiency solar cells similar to those used in space may now be possible on your rooftop thanks to a new microscale solar concentration technology developed by an international team of researchers.

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