Study Reveals How the Brain Generates the Human Tendency for Optimism
October 25, 2007 08:51 AM - NYU
A neural network that may generate the human tendency to be optimistic has been identified by researchers at New York University. As humans, we expect to live longer and be more successful than average, and we underestimate our likelihood of getting a divorce or having cancer. The results, reported in the most recent issue of Nature, link the optimism bias to the same brain regions that show irregularities in depression.
Bird flu Finds Children's Lungs Faster
October 25, 2007 08:43 AM - Eureka Alert
New findings, reported in today in the online open access journal Respiratory Research, about how the virus binds to the respiratory tract and lung suggest children may be particularly susceptible to avian influenza,. The results also mean that previous receptor distribution studies may have to be re-evaluated.
EPA Develops Regulations for Geologic CO2 Sequestration
October 25, 2007 08:28 AM - , Green Progress
The EPA announced plans to develop regulations to establish a clear path for geologic sequestration, a process of injecting captured carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, in deep rock formations for long-term storage. Once completed, the regulations will ensure there is a consistent and effective permit system under the Safe Drinking Water Act for commercial-scale geologic sequestration programs to help reduce the effects of climate change.
Bird-flu May Become Endemic in Parts of Europe
October 25, 2007 08:10 AM - Reuters
MILAN - Bird flu virus may become endemic in parts of Europe, with ducks and geese more of a vector for spreading it than previously thought, the U.N. said on Thursday.
"It seems that a new chapter in the evolution of avian influenza may be unfolding silently in the heart of Europe," Joseph Domenech, chief veterinary officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said in a statement.
Coping with the Stress of Natural Disasters
October 24, 2007 06:13 PM -
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- As the hundreds of thousands San Diegans flee the flames, they're trying to make sense of what happened and deal with the stress of the situation. These wildfires have created a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for those directly and indirectly affected. In the days and weeks to come, many may begin to have some of these common reactions:
Smoking, family alcohol history alter taste buds
October 24, 2007 05:43 PM -
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cigarette smoking and a family history of alcoholism both alter how women perceive sweet foods and what foods they crave, according to studies conducted by two researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.
Marta Yanina Pepino and Julie A. Mennella found that women who smoked were less sensitive to sweet taste than women who never smoked. Women who smoked needed higher concentrations of sugar to detect a sweet taste, and the more years a woman smoked, the less she was able to perceive a sweet taste.
"Smoking dulls sweet taste sensitivity," Pepino and Mennella noted in a joint email to Reuters Health. "Whether this reduced sensitivity for sweets helps smokers control their weight is an important question that is not addressed in the current study."
GE hopes to cut mercury in "green" light bulbs
October 24, 2007 05:22 PM - Timothy Gardner,
NISKAYUNA, New York (Reuters) - General Electric Co is working to cut the amount of mercury in energy-saving fluorescent lightbulbs which have soared in popularity.
Residents and businesses are buying up compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) because they reduce power bills as well as emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global warming. CFLs use only one-fourth to one-fifth the energy of incandescent bulbs producing the same light and can last 10 years.
The corkscrew-shaped devices are made by many companies and on average contain about 5 milligrams of mercury, a toxic metallic element, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Five milligrams is tiny amount, about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, and much less than the amount that was held in old thermometers. But with sales of CFLs hitting 150 million units last year, and more expected this year, some scientists and environmentalists are worried that most of the bulbs are ending up in landfills instead of being recycled.
Australian farmers face bankruptcy from drought
October 24, 2007 04:41 PM - Michael Byrnes
WEST WYALONG, Australia (Reuters) - Farmer John Ridley won't be harvesting so much as a bag of wheat this season from fields that stretch to the horizon as Australia's worst drought in 100 years takes its toll on the country's grain belt.
Beneath a cloudless sky, 60-year-old Ridley, a descendant of one of Australia's pioneering farming families, pulls a clump of brittle stubble from the dusty earth.
"It should be this high, waving green in the breeze," he says. "Farmers are in a stunned state at the moment. In a state of disbelief, shock, helplessness."
Ridley's farm is in the epicenter of devastation from the drought, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) west of Sydney. Prime wheat growing territory, the district normally grows much of the wheat that makes Australia the world's second-biggest exporter. Yet this year the district will produce almost nothing.
White House Accused Of Watering Down Climate Testimony To Congress
October 24, 2007 04:15 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House watered down climate change testimony to Congress - testimony by the head of the CDC -- the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The changes were made before the testimony was delivered, according to a watchdog group Both the CD and White House deny it.
The anti-nuclear group Physicians for Social Responsibility said White House officials had forced CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding to remove specific references about the effects of climate change from Tuesday's testimony to a Senate committee.
Fires create electricity 'island' in San Diego
October 24, 2007 04:01 PM - Bernie Woodall
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California wildfires created an electricity "island" of San Diego County on Wednesday as one major power transmission link to the U.S. West grid was shut and the other flickering on and off, said San Diego Gas & Electric Co.
This makes the San Diego area susceptible to major blackouts unless customers conserve power, said Michael Niggli, chief operating officer of SDG&E.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders implored residents to cut power use.
"You've got to conserve today. You have no choice," Sanders said.
About 20,000 homes and businesses were without power late Wednesday morning, down from 33,000 on Tuesday, SDG&E spokeswoman Rachel Laing said.