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Solar Impulse going around the world on sunshine
March 10, 2015 07:48 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

After 13 years of planning, the Solar Impulse SI2 took off last night from Al-Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi at 7:12 a.m. local time. This initiated the first leg of its historic attempt to be the first solar-powered airplane to fly around the world. If all goes well, the plane will return to Al-Bateen in June or July. As reported here in January, the first leg was a short 12-hour “shakedown cruise” to Muscat, Oman, piloted by Andre Borschberg. The plane landed safely in Muscat, more or less on schedule, at 12:14 p.m. Eastern time.

Of the two pilots who will take turns behind the wheel, Borschberg is the engineer and former fighter pilot who is intimately familiar with every detail of the plane’s design and construction.

CO2 increase may intensify future droughts in tropics
March 9, 2015 03:37 PM - University of Texas at Austin via EurekAlert!

A new study suggests that increases in atmospheric CO2 could intensify extreme droughts in tropical and subtropical regions -- such as Australia, the southwest and central United States, and southern Amazonia -- at much a faster rate than previously anticipated, explains University of Texas at Austin professor Rong Fu in a commentary in the March 9 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Why Do We Have Daylight Savings Time?
March 9, 2015 09:12 AM - Amanda Onion, Discovery News

We lost an hour this morning, awaking to an already sunny sky. Some may feel robbed an hour from their day. So why, again, do we do this?

To some degree, we may have Benjamin Franklin to thank.

Good news! We're eating healthier!
March 9, 2015 08:55 AM - Bill Roth, Triple Pundit

The big news from the 2015 Natural Products Expo West was that the American consumer is buying healthy foods at volumes never seen before. Health and wellness products are achieving three times the sales growth as conventional food products.

A survey conducted by SuperMarket News found that 80 percent of surveyed food-industry wholesalers and retailers had sales growth in health and wellness products. A third of survey respondents reported an astounding 20 percent increase in annual sales!

Gluten- and allergen-free is now top wellness trend

Tobacco smoke impacts the unborn too
March 8, 2015 08:55 AM - THE ENDOCRINE SOCIETY via EurekAlert.

A fetus exposed to tobacco smoke may be at increased risk for diabetes in adulthood, a new study of adult daughters finds. The results will be presented in a poster Saturday, March 7, at ENDO 2015, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego. 

Women whose parents smoked during pregnancy had increased risk of diabetes mellitus independent of known risk factors, adding to the evidence that prenatal environmental chemical exposures can contribute to adult diabetes mellitus. 

Alcoholic Russian Bears may finally get the help they deserve!
March 7, 2015 08:48 AM - Megan Drake, Care2

Taken in as cubs, two bears have been living in a small trash-ridden cage at a restaurant in Sochi, Russia, for over 20 years. In an effort to help the bears, some local animal advocates notified Anna Kogan, founder of Big Hearts Foundation (BHF), an animal welfare organization that helps animal causes in Russia.

BHF worked along with the Prosecutor General in Sochi to get the bears released and sent to a sanctuary and, on February 3, 2015, the court ruled in favor of the bears.

The Story of Misha and Pasha

Never receiving veterinary care and given inappropriate food–as well as alcohol by restaurant patrons–the two male bears, named Misha and Pasha, have become addicted to alcohol.

Is rain dependent on soil moisture?
March 6, 2015 03:16 PM - Inken De Wit, ETH Zurich

It rains in summer most frequently when the ground holds a lot of moisture. However, precipitation is most likely to fall in regions where the soil is comparatively dry. This is the conclusion reached by researchers at ETH Zurich following an analysis of worldwide data. Their study contributes to a better understanding of soil moisture, a little explored climatic factor.

Better fitness may slow brain aging
March 6, 2015 08:39 AM - American Heart Association

People with poor physical fitness in their 40s may have lower brain volumes by the time they hit 60, an indicator of accelerated brain aging, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting. “Many people don’t start worrying about their brain health until later in life, but this study provides more evidence that certain behaviors and risk factors in midlife may have consequences for brain aging later on,” said Nicole L. Spartano, Ph.D., lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Boston University School of Medicine.

What's a fish native to Japan doing in the ocean off the coast of Oregon?
March 6, 2015 08:07 AM - Oregon State University

A team of scientists from Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is studying an unusual fish captured alive in a crab pot near Port Orford this week called a striped knifejaw that is native to Japan, as well as China and Korea.

The appearance in Oregon waters of the fish (Oplegnathus fasciatus), which is sometimes called a barred knifejaw or striped beakfish, may or may not be related to the Japanese tsunami of 2011, the researchers say, and it is premature to conclude that this non-native species may be established in Oregon waters.

But its appearance and survival certainly raises questions, according to OSU’s John Chapman, an aquatic invasive species specialist at the university’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Urban expansion could greatly increase flood risks
March 5, 2015 02:07 PM - Texas A&M University

A heads-up to New York, Baltimore, Houston and Miami: a new study suggests that these metropolitan areas and others will increase their exposure to floods even in the absence of climate change, according to researchers from Texas A&M University. The study presents first-ever global forecasts of how the exposure of urban land to floods and droughts may change due to urban expansion in the near future. In 2000, about 30 percent of the global urban land (over 75,000 square miles) was located in the high-frequency flood zones; by 2030, this will reach nearly 40 percent (280,000 square miles) as the global urban land grows from 250,000 square miles to 720,000 square miles, the authors say.

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