Health

Genome analysis with near-complete privacy possible
August 18, 2017 01:49 PM - Stanford University

It is now possible to scour complete human genomes for the presence of disease-associated genes without revealing any genetic information not directly associated with the inquiry, say Stanford University researchers.

This “genome cloaking” technique, devised by biologists, computer scientists and cryptographers at the university, ameliorates many concerns about genomic privacy and potential discrimination based on an individual’s genome sequence.

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Wildfires Continue to Beleaguer Western Canada
August 1, 2017 05:36 PM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Like tourist season, wildfire season is also in full swing in British Columbia.  Whereas tourists are welcomed to the Canadian province, wildfires are not.  In British Columbia alone there are close to 500 wildfires active to date.  Most of these wildfires are located in three general areas--in the Caribou Fire Centre located in the Frasier Plateau directly north of Vancouver, in the Kamloops Fire Centre in the Thomas Plateau, which is east of Whistler, and the Southeast Fire Centre which is east of Kamloops.  All current fires of note can be viewed on this interactive map:  http://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a1e7b1ecb1514974a9ca00bdbfffa3b1 

Wildfires in British Columbia are common at this time of year due to rising temperatures, however, this year is the third worst year in the region for forest fires.  To date 840 fires have broken out since April 1 of this year.  Although it started slow, 2017 is shaping up to be a record breaking fire season if not for numbers of fires, then for the sheer amount of hectares burned.  In an area where rainfall is the norm, to have days and weeks without rainfall is unusual and helps to create a hot, dry environment with plenty of underbrush that fires use as fuel.  

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SPOTLIGHT

Want To Slow Global Warming? Researchers Look To Family Planning

Tori Whitley, NPR

We've all heard of ways to reduce our carbon footprint: biking to work, eating less meat, recycling.

But there's another way to help the climate. A recent study from Lund University in Sweden shows that the biggest way to reduce climate change is to have fewer children.

"I knew this was a sensitive topic to bring up," says study co-author Kimberly Nicholas on NPR's Morning Edition. "Certainly it's not my place as a scientist to dictate choices for other people. But I do think it is my place to do the analysis and report it fairly."

The study concludes that four high-impact ways to reduce CO2 gas emissions include having fewer children, living without a car, avoiding airplane travel and eating a vegetarian diet.

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