Sci/tech

Why diving marine mammals resist brain damage from low oxygen
December 19, 2007 08:59 AM - University of California - Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, CA-- No human can survive longer than a few minutes underwater, and even a well-trained Olympic swimmer needs frequent gulps of air. Our brains need a constant supply of oxygen, particularly during exercise. Contrast that with Weddell seals, animals that dive and hunt under the Antarctic sea ice. They hold their breath for as long as 90 minutes, and remain active and mentally alert the whole time. The seals aren't fazed at all by low levels of oxygen that would cause humans to black out. What's their secret"

Evolution tied to Earth movement
December 19, 2007 08:51 AM - University of Utah

Scientists long have focused on how climate and vegetation allowed human ancestors to evolve in Africa. Now, University of Utah geologists are calling renewed attention to the idea that ground movements formed mountains and valleys, creating environments that favored the emergence of humanity. “Tectonics [movement of Earth’s crust] was ultimately responsible for the evolution of humankind,” Royhan and Nahid Gani of the university’s Energy and Geoscience Institute write in the January, 2008, issue of Geotimes, published by the American Geological Institute.

Texas vows to attract other carbon-capture plants
December 18, 2007 06:59 PM - Reuters

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas regulator said Tuesday that while the state was not able to land a $1.5 billion "near-zero" emission coal plant, he wants to find ways to attract other projects that seek to capture and store carbon dioxide, a gas blamed for global warming. Mattoon in central Illinois was named Tuesday as the home for the proposed FutureGen coal plant, beating out Jewett and Odessa, Texas, and another Illinois site in a national competition.

Pittsburgh's New Year's Ball Ornament Eco-Friendly
December 18, 2007 06:58 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

PITTSBURGH - Did you know that Pittsburghers ring in a green New Year? Again this year, Highmark's "The Future of Pittsburgh" ball, which is made from environmentally friendly materials, will light the sky in downtown Pittsburgh as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's First Night celebration.

Alberta orders Suncor to solve emission problems
December 18, 2007 06:34 PM - Reuters

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The Alberta government said on Tuesday it ordered Suncor Energy Inc to come up with a plan to cut emissions of deadly hydrogen sulfide at its oil sands operations after several reports of high concentrations this year.

New Biochip Could Replace Animal Testing
December 18, 2007 06:22 PM -

BERKELEY -- With the cosmetics industry facing a European ban on animal testing in 2009, a newly developed biochip could provide the rapid analysis needed to insure that the chemicals in cosmetics are nontoxic to humans.

Many kids may not outgrow cow's milk allergy
December 18, 2007 06:09 PM - Joene Hendry, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cow's milk allergy persists longer than previously reported, and the majority of children may retain the sensitivity into school age, study findings suggest. "The old data saying that most milk allergy will be easily outgrown, usually by the age of 3 years, is most likely wrong," Dr. Robert A. Wood, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Reuters Health. He and colleagues found that just 19 percent of children allergic to cow's milk outgrew their allergy by age 4.

Got fleas? Get the vacuum
December 18, 2007 04:25 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vacuum cleaners kill fleas just as well as any poison, surprised researchers said on Tuesday. They said a standard vacuum cleaner abuses the fleas so much it kills 96 percent of adult fleas and 100 percent of younger fleas. So no need to worry that a vacuum cleaner bag may turn into a fleabag breeding ground for the pesky, biting creatures, said Glen Needham, associate professor of entomology at Ohio State University. Needham studied the cat flea, or Ctenocephalides felis, the most common type of flea found in households.

Overexcited Neurons Bad for Cell Health
December 18, 2007 04:24 PM -

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Neurotransmitters have consequences. They initiate events that are critical to a healthy life, giving us the ability to move, to talk, to breathe, to think. But that's if the neurotransmitters are getting it right and sending proper signals downstream to muscle cells, neurons or other cells.

FDA to add HIV warning to contraceptive products
December 18, 2007 04:04 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Tuesday finalized a rule requiring makers of certain contraceptive gels, foams, films and inserts to carry a warning that the products do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will require the warning on over-the-counter products containing nonoxynol 9, used in many stand-alone spermicides.

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