Sci/tech

And cut! Cambridge scientists film new nanoscale battle scene
September 21, 2007 05:52 PM - University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge scientists have, for the first time, been able to film the interaction between a bacterial enzyme and a DNA strand from an attacking virus. The real-time footage shows how the enzyme attaches itself to the DNA of a virus, in order to cut the DNA before the virus has the chance to infect the bacterium.

NASA spacecraft finds possible Mars caves
September 21, 2007 04:50 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An orbiting spacecraft has found evidence of what look like seven caves on the slopes of a Martian volcano, the space agency NASA said on Friday.

The Mars Odyssey spacecraft has sent back images of very dark, nearly circular features that appear to be openings to underground spaces.

"They are cooler than the surrounding surface in the day and warmer at night," said Glen Cushing of the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Team and Northern Arizona University.

Amid Big Promises, Plans Proceed For First GMO Foodcrop Release In India
September 21, 2007 12:58 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

India - India is about to serve as host to a newly developed GMO eggplant, the first ever GMO foodcrop for India. The plant has been genetically modified to contain a pesticide that promoters hope will make it resistant to the fruit and shoot borer. Researchers admit, many questions about the new GMO food remain unanswered. No human trials have been conducted in the US or India. 

 

Environmental News 2.0: Online Communities fuel the Fight Against Global Warming
September 21, 2007 12:13 PM - Chris, Environmental Graffiti

Major online communities are becoming a huge force in making Global Warming a political priority. While there has been a lot of ink spilled about how online communities are changing the face of politics, the fact is that they really raise the profile of ordinary people’s concerns.  Well, people are concerned about Global Warming, because as Carlos showed us in Climate Tipping Points Get Scarier … there are only about 10 years left to get a handle on the problem and the political leadership in the United States and around the world will be hugely influential in whether we fix the problem and see us united for a more just and sustainable world or we scramble to adapt to a hugely changing world through adaptation efforts like billion-dollar levees and conflict over increasingly scarce resources.

China Could Be Top Wind Market In 3 Years
September 21, 2007 11:55 AM - Emma Graham-Harrison, Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China could become the world's top wind power market in three to five years but will grow faster if it reforms its subsidy system, executives of major wind turbine maker Vestas said on Friday.

Chief Executive Ditlev Engel, in China to open the second and third in a series of seven plants due to come on line by the first quarter of 2008, said he was convinced Vestas could compete with cheaper local rivals on quality.

But the company, the world's biggest wind turbine manufacturer, made its $80 million investment with an eye on both Chinese and export markets. Turbines not sold in China could be integrated into Vestas' global supply chain, he added.

The Hobbit: Not Human?
September 21, 2007 07:43 AM - Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press

Scientists, wringing their hands over the identity of the famed "hobbit" fossil, have found a new clue in the wrist. Since the discovery of the bones in Indonesia in 2003, researchers have wrangled over whether the find was an ancient human ancestor or simply a modern human suffering from a genetic disorder.

Court Halts Introduction Of GMO Rice In The Philippines
September 20, 2007 05:12 PM - Imelda Abano, SciDevNet

PHILIPPINES - A Philippine court has temporarily halted an application to bring genetically modified (GM) rice to the country, pending a study of possible health and environmental effects.

A temporary restraining order was issued yesterday (18 September) after Greenpeace, together with other nongovernmental organisations, challenged the Philippine government's right to approve Bayer Crop Science's LL62, a herbicide-tolerant type of hybrid rice.

 

Vicious Velociraptor Dinosaur Was Feathered Fiend
September 20, 2007 02:41 PM - Will Dunham, reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The vicious little dinosaur Velociraptor was a feathered fiend, according to scientists who found evidence of quills on this well-known meat-eater's forearm.

In research published on Thursday, paleontologists said a forearm bone of Velociraptor found in Mongolia's desolate Gobi desert retained structures, or quill knobs, where a series of feathers were anchored to the bone with ligaments.

Ancient British Bog May Hold Climate Change Clues
September 20, 2007 12:17 PM - Michael Kahn, Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - An ancient British bog that pumped out high amounts of greenhouse gases during a period of global warming 55 million years ago may offer clues about future climate change, researchers said on Wednesday.

An analysis of sediments from the bog suggests that global warming caused methane emissions to rise in the wetlands, which in turn sent temperatures there even higher, the researchers said.

Biofuels worsen Hungary's drought, expert says
September 20, 2007 08:15 AM - Andras Gergely -Reuters

Biofuel production and burning agricultural by-products in power plants contributed to Hungary's severe drought this year, an academic expert said on Thursday.

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