Top Stories

Stem Cell Research Identifies Effects of Pollution on Human Health
August 10, 2015 09:01 AM - Elsevier via AlphaGalileo

A recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences (JES) shows that embryonic stem cells could serve as a model to evaluate the physiological effects of environmental pollutants efficiently and cost-effectively.

How the loss of Indonesian mangrove forests is linked to climate change
August 10, 2015 07:29 AM - Prodita Sabarini, The Ecologist

The loss of Indonesia's coastal mangrove forests for shrimp farming is a huge source of carbon emissions, writes Prodita Sabarini. But equally, a policy flip to preserve and recreate mangroves offers a major climate win.

Mangroves are important because of their high rates of tree and plant growth, coupled with anaerobic, water-logged soils that slow decomposition, resulting in large, long-term carbon storage. Mangroves store three to five times more carbon than rainforest

Preventing the loss of Indonesian mangroves would help in the global fight against climate change, new research shows.

Sunspot variation not causing climate change
August 8, 2015 06:22 AM - INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION via EurekAlert

The Maunder Minimum, between 1645 and 1715, when sunspots were scarce and the winters harsh, strongly suggests a link between solar activity and climate change. Until now there was a general consensus that solar activity has been trending upwards over the past 300 years (since the end of the Maunder Minimum), peaking in the late 20th century -- called the Modern Grand Maximum by some [1].

This trend has led some to conclude that the Sun has played a significant role in modern climate change. However, a discrepancy between two parallel series of sunspot number counts has been a contentious issue among scientists for some time.

Fish go deep to beat the heat
August 7, 2015 02:21 PM - James Cook University

A James Cook University study shows fish retreat to deeper water to escape the heat, a finding that throws light on what to expect if predictions of ocean warming come to pass. 

History of Agriculture Revealed
August 7, 2015 09:09 AM - NoCamels Team, NoCamels

Open any history book and you’re likely to find that the practice of agriculture was invented 12,000 years ago in the Levant, an area in the Middle East that was home to some of the first human civilizations. But a new discovery recently made in Northern Israel seems to have shattered the myth on the advent of agriculture, offering up exciting evidence that trial plant cultivation, what we call agriculture, began far earlier – some 23,000-years-ago.

Good news for Bobcats in California!
August 7, 2015 07:06 AM - Judy Molland, Care2

In a momentous decision, the California Fish & Game Commission has voted to ban the trapping of bobcats.

Assembly Bill 1213, prohibiting the trapping and killing of bobcats statewide, passed the California legislature in 2013, but for the past two years it has not been fully implemented.

A Care2 petition demanding that California legislators and the Fish and Game Commission be more diligent in protecting the bobcat by fully enforcing the Bobcat Protection Act has garnered over 77,000 signatures. In a huge victory for Care2 members, the members of the Commission voted to implement a total ban on bobcat trapping.

Are insecticides more toxic than we think?
August 6, 2015 12:15 PM -

Insecticides that are sprayed in orchards and fields across North America may be more toxic to spiders than scientists previously believed. A McGill research team reached this conclusion after looking at changes in the behaviour of individual Bronze Jumping Spiders both before and after exposure to Phosmet, a widely used broad spectrum insecticide. It is a finding with far-reaching implications for agricultural production and ecosystem health.

Horses and humans share facial expressions
August 6, 2015 09:08 AM - University of Sussex

Horses share some surprisingly similar facial expressions to humans and chimps, according to new University of Sussex research. Mammal communication researchers have shown that, like humans, horses use muscles underlying various facial features - including their nostrils, lips and eyes - to alter their facial expressions in a variety of social situations.

Study shows some permafrost carbon transported by river to the ocean
August 6, 2015 07:15 AM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

As temperatures rise, some of the organic carbon stored in Arctic permafrost meets an unexpected fate—burial at sea. As many as 2.2 million metric tons of organic carbon per year are swept along by a single river system into Arctic Ocean sediment, according to a new study an international team of researchers published today in Nature. This process locks away carbon dioxide (CO2) - a greenhouse gas - and helps stabilize the earth’s CO2 levels over time, and it may help scientists better predict how the natural carbon cycle will interplay with the surge of CO2 emissions due to human activities.

“The erosion of permafrost carbon is very significant,” says Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Associate Scientist Valier Galy, a co-author of the study. “Over thousands of years, this process is locking CO2away from the atmosphere in a way that amounts to fairly large carbon stocks. If we can understand how this process works, we can predict how it will respond as the climate changes.”

The benefits of eating spicy food
August 5, 2015 02:43 PM - Harvard School of Public Health

People who eat spicy foods nearly every day have a 14% lower risk of death compared with those who consume spicy foods less than once a week, according to a new study. Regular spicy food eaters are also less likely to die from cancer, heart, and respiratory diseases than those who eat spicy foods infrequently.

“The findings are highly novel,” said Lu Qi, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the study’s co-lead author. “To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first reporting a link between spicy food intake and mortality.”

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