Enn Original News
The Strong Woodpecker Head
October 27, 2011 02:05 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Banging you head against the wall is not to be recommended because it sort of hurts. Yet the woodpecker does it every day and seems content and happy. Woodpeckers are able to peck at a tree trunk at a high speed (6-7 meters per second), resulting in intense deceleration forces upon impact, without sustaining any brain injury. Why precisely this can be done without injury was investigated by Yubo Fan of Beihang University in Beijing and Ming Zhang of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The results may lead to better ways to prevent head injuries in humans.
Study: Marijuana Use Causes Chaos in the Brain
October 27, 2011 09:13 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Previous scientific studies have associated the consumption of cannabis with impairment of concentration and memory. Now a new study from the University of Bristol has delved deeper into the mind of the marijuana smoker. They found that brain activity becomes highly uncoordinated, erratic, and inaccurate while the user is under the influence. The researchers believe this brain-chaos can lead to neuropsychological and behavioral impairments similar to those observed in schizophrenia.
Cedar Trees Beneficial Uses
October 26, 2011 04:18 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Deserts are an unlikely place to find a form of plant life that is so promising as to grown quickly on very little. Still arid climate plants are very hardy. Tel Aviv University researchers are doing their part to reduce humanity's carbon footprint by successfully growing forests in the most unlikely place — deep in Israel's Aravah Desert. With environmental "extras" such as a local plant species, recycled sewage water unsuitable for agriculture, and arid lands unusable for crops, a group of researchers including Profs. Amram Eshel and Aviah Zilberstein of TAU's Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and the university's new Renewable Energy Center have discovered a winning combination.
Prostate Cancer and Diet
October 26, 2011 01:52 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. Men who ate a low-fat diet with fish oil supplements for four to six weeks before having their prostate removed had slower cancer-cell growth in their prostate tissue than men who ate a traditional, high-fat Western diet, according to a study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The researchers also found a change in the composition of cell membranes in both healthy cells and cancer cells in the prostates of men on the low-fat, fish oil-supplement diet. The membranes had heightened levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and decreased levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil, which may directly affect the biology of the cells, though further studies are needed, said Dr. William Aronson, the study's first author and a researcher with the Jonsson Cancer Center.
Alcohol and Strawberries
October 25, 2011 04:05 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
In an experiment on rats, European researchers have proved that eating strawberries reduces the harm that alcohol can cause to the stomach mucous membrane. Published in the open access journal Plos One, the study may contribute to improving the treatment of stomach ulcers. A team of Italian, Serbian and Spanish researchers has confirmed that there is a protecting effect that strawberries have in a mammal stomach that has been damaged by alcohol. Scientists gave ethyl alcohol to laboratory rats and have thus proved that the stomach mucous membrane of those that had previously eaten strawberry extract suffered less damage. Note that a common drink is called a strawberry daiquiri (made with rum).
Automated Vehicles and the Future of Fuel Efficiency
October 25, 2011 09:15 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Cars these days are becoming more and more like computers on wheels. Many car enthusiasts long for the days of simpler designs where they can figure out exactly what's going on under the hood. With all the advanced electronics in newer vehicles, trying to fix them yourself has become a daunting task. However, as more sophisticated electronics are added, cars will gradually become smarter, to the point where they may even drive themselves. Automated vehicles, while most likely not adopted by everyone, will probably make the road safer and more convenient for some "drivers". Plus, according to a new research study, they will have the extra benefit of increasing fuel efficiency.
Life on the Moons of the Solar System
October 24, 2011 07:23 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Earth has plenty of life. Where else may it lie in the solar system? Some hope for Mars which is on the edge of the solar system Goldilocks zone. Others believe it lies on on of the other moons such as Titan, Enceladus or Europa. Ten times thicker than Earth's, Titan's atmosphere extends nearly 370 miles above its frigid surface. It's a literal chemical factory, where nitrogen and methane are zapped by the sun's ultraviolet rays and transformed into organic molecules, some of which descend to the moon's surface while others rise up above the clouds, creating a bluish high-level haze of hydrocarbons. Strange lakes and rivers of methane have been found on its surface.
How Drowned Plants Survive
October 24, 2011 08:21 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Your front lawn is under water. Your farm landscape cannot be seen except as an expanse of water. How can plants not drown? As countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and parts of the United States and United Kingdom have fallen victim to catastrophic flooding in recent years, tolerance of crops to partial or complete submergence is a key target for global food security. Starved of oxygen, crops cannot survive a flood for long periods of time, leading to drastic reductions in yields for farmers.
Simultaneous Warming of Northern and Southern Hemispheres
October 21, 2011 02:36 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
In true global warming, the whole worlds warms up. A common argument against global warming is that the climate has always varied in any particular place or time. For this argument to be true if it warms up one place, some place it cools down on average. However, Svante Björck, a climate researcher at Lund University in Sweden, has now shown that global warming, i.e. simultaneous warming events in the northern and southern hemispheres, have not occurred in the past 20,000 years, which is as far back as it is possible to analyze with sufficient precision to compare with modern developments. Svante Björck’s study thus goes 14,000 years further back in time than previous studies have done. He eventually claims that the current global warming trend is unique in this time frame.
Future Migrations in an Environmentally Uncertain World
October 21, 2011 01:39 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
There are several major forces at play in today's world. Two forces involved with the migrations of people include globalization and mass exodus from the countryside to cities. Another major force, climate change, is playing an ever greater role, affecting societies with extreme droughts, floods, and other dangers. How will future migrations be affected by this force? A new report by a team of experts including Prof. David Thomas and Prof. Stefan Dercon of Oxford University believes that the challenges associated with migrations and environmental change are underestimated. The report concludes that many will emigrate from environmentally vulnerable places, but some may be trapped, and others may actually move closer to the danger.