A bright side to aging
March 19, 2015 06:56 AM - Northwestern University
Hollywood has given moviegoers many classic portrayals of grumpy old men. But new research suggests that getting older doesn’t necessarily make people cynical and suspicious.
Instead, trust tends to increase as people age, a development that can be beneficial for well-being, according to two new large-scale studies by researchers at Northwestern University and the University at Buffalo.
“When we think of old age, we often think of decline and loss,” said study co-author Claudia Haase, an assistant professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy.
Amazon forest trees dying younger, reducing carbon uptake
March 18, 2015 05:54 PM - University of Leeds
From a peak of two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year in the 1990s, the net uptake by the forest has halved and is now for the first time being overtaken by fossil fuel emissions in Latin America.
The results of this monumental 30-year survey of the South American rainforest, which involved an international team of almost 100 researchers and was led by the University of Leeds, are published today in the journal Nature.
New data show iron rain fell on early Earth
March 18, 2015 08:52 AM - Sandia National Laboratories
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine have helped untangle a long-standing mystery of astrophysics: why iron is found spattered throughout Earth’s mantle, the roughly 2,000-mile thick region between Earth’s core and its crust.
Oregon State University study provides new insight into forest life cycles and carbon storage
March 18, 2015 07:50 AM - Oregon State University
A century-long study in the Oregon Cascades may cause scientists to revise the textbook on how forests grow and die, accumulate biomass and store carbon.
In a new analysis of forest succession in three Douglas-fir stands in the Willamette National Forest, two Oregon State University scientists report that biomass – a measure of tree volume – has been steadily accumulating for 150 years. In the long term, such a trend is not sustainable, they said, and if these stands behave in a manner similar to others in the Cascades, trees will begin to die from causes such as insect outbreaks, windstorms or fire.
“Mortality will occur in the future,” said Mark Harmon, professor and Richardson Chair in Forest Science at OSU. “It just hasn’t arrived.”
When whales roamed in what is now Africa
March 17, 2015 04:30 PM - Southern Methodist University
Uplift associated with the Great Rift Valley of East Africa and the environmental changes it produced have puzzled scientists for decades because the timing and starting elevation have been poorly constrained.”‹
Now paleontologists have tapped a fossil from the most precisely dated beaked whale in the world - and the only stranded whale ever found so far inland on the African continent - to pinpoint for the first time a date when East Africa's mysterious elevation began.
The 17 million-year-old fossil is from the beaked Ziphiidae whale family. It was discovered 740 kilometers inland at an elevation of 620 meters in modern Kenya's harsh desert region, said vertebrate paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.
Bill Proposed to Ban Wild Animals from Circus Performing
March 17, 2015 12:52 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2
Circus elephants just scored a victory with an announcement that Ringling Bros. will be retiring its performers, but big cats and other wild animals left behind may get their own victory in Pennsylvania if a state senator can get them banned.
The emotional and physical toll life on the road as performers takes on elephants has taken center stage, but for other species like big cats, life in the entertainment industry is just as bad.
Cropping Africa's wet savannas would bring high environmental costs
March 17, 2015 08:42 AM - B. Rose Huber, Princeton University
With the global population rising, analysts and policymakers have targeted Africa's vast wet savannas as a place to produce staple foods and bioenergy groups at low environmental costs. But a new report published in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that converting Africa's wet savannas into farmland would come at a high environmental cost and fail to meet some existing standards for renewable fuels.
The impact of increasing snowfall in Antarctica on sea level rise
March 17, 2015 07:12 AM - Oregon State University
A new study confirms that snowfall in Antarctica will increase significantly as the planet warms, offsetting future sea level rise from other sources – but the effect will not be nearly as strong as many scientists previously anticipated because of other, physical processes.
That means that many computer models may be underestimating the amount and rate of sea level rise if they had projected more significant impact from Antarctic snow.
Results of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, were reported this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Zoos Boost Biodiversity Understanding
March 16, 2015 02:50 PM - University of Warwick
Zoos and aquariums around the world have a crucial role to play in helping people understand how they can protect animals and their natural habitats, new research from the University of Warwick, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and Chester Zoo has found.
The True Cost of Gasoline
March 16, 2015 08:31 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit
Financial markets notwithstanding, most of us were happy to see gas prices fall. It has certainly helped to put a little extra breathing room in our household budgets, even though we suspect it could lead to increased use of fossil fuels. On the other hand, it could open the door for some new initiatives to help control emissions, such as a carbon tax, or a fee and rebate plan that would tax the production of fossil fuels and give the proceeds out to all Americans.
Perhaps this would be a good time to take a closer look at what that gallon of gasoline actually costs us, when all the impacts are considered.