Top Stories

Eurasian Jays: Suspicious Stashers or Stealthy Stealers?

In order to prevent other birds from stealing their winter food supply, Eurasian jays, a member of the crow family, try to stealthily hide their collection when a potential thief is near. However they are also minimizing their sounds in an attempt to stay unnoticed and spy on other birds' hoards. Eurasian jays are creative hoarders that bury food like acorns and seeds in thousands of locations over the course of a year so they can retrieve their reserves when food is scarce. However, these hidden reserves do not always remain a secret and the stealing of these hoards is a common practice among species in the animal kingdom. >> Read the Full Article

The Earliest Known Dino?

A team of paleontologists thinks it may have identified the earliest known dinosaur—a creature no bigger than a Labrador retriever that lived about 243 million years ago. That's at least 10 million years earlier than the oldest known dinos and could change researchers' views of how they evolved. But some scientists, including the study's authors, caution that the fossils could instead represent a close dino relative. >> Read the Full Article

Doha Climate talks: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Developing and developed countries reached a stalemate over how to verify carbon emissions from forests in Saturday's talks on reducing carbon emissions from deforestation at the annual U.N. climate conference in Doha, Qatar. Represented by Brazil and Norway, respectively, poor and wealthy nations were unable to agree on how high to set the standard to verify emissions reductions at the 37th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the group that dispenses scientific advice to the delegates to the conference. >> Read the Full Article

Savannah Ecosystems in Danger

Few of the world's ecosystems are more iconic than Africa's sprawling savannahs home to elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and the undisputed king of the animal kingdom: lions. This wild realm, where megafauna still roam in abundance, has inspired everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Karen Blixen, and David Livingstone to Theodore Roosevelt. Today it is the heart of Africa's wildlife tourism and includes staunch defenders such as Richard Leakey, Michael Fay, and the Jouberts. Despite this, the ecosystem has received less media attention than imperiled ecosystems like rainforests. But a ground-breaking study in Biodiversity Conservation finds that 75 percent of these large-scale intact grasslands have been lost, at least from the lion's point of view. >> Read the Full Article

Manmade Hillslopes will Improve Global Climate Models

What has six-hundred tons of volcanic rocks sitting in a giant steel tub, thousands of gallons of water spouting from a network of pipes, and 1,800 sensors scattering three identical hillslopes collecting information? If you guessed the world's only and largest manmade experimental watershed, then you're correct! Recently completed at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, the Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) is an engineering masterpiece where three 100 feet by 40 feet hillslopes will provide results used to improve global climate models and make predictions more realistic and reliable. >> Read the Full Article

Gorilla Success Story in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

With all the stories of the struggles of mountain gorillas and the illegal poaching they are suffering, it is a welcome relief to hear some good news. That news has come from a recent survey supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society of the great apes in one of Uganda's national parks. The survey revealed that their population has actually risen since the last count in 2006, an increase of roughly 33 percent to a minimum total of 400. When added to the famous mountain gorilla population of the Virunga Volcanoes to the south (the only other place where they exist), the entire global population of mountain gorillas now stands at 880. >> Read the Full Article

Accurate flood forecasting gets closer

Heavy rainfall and the problems of flooding in towns have never been far from peoples' minds or the news headlines over the past few weeks. Now scientists say that new research will help to accurately pinpoint which individual streets are most at risk from flooding during severe rainstorms. >> Read the Full Article

Milling Chemicals with no Solvents

Traditionally new chemicals are made within a solvent solution. This aids in the active chemicals reaching one another. Solvents are flammable and often pose other hazards, For the first time, scientists have studied a milling reaction in real time, using highly penetrating X-rays to observe the surprisingly rapid transformations as the mill mixed, ground, and transformed simple ingredients into a complex product. This research, reported Dec. 2 in Nature Chemistry, promises to advance scientists' understanding of processes central to the pharmaceutical, metallurgical, cement and mineral industries – and could open new opportunities in green chemistry and environmentally friendly chemical synthesis. >> Read the Full Article

Magnetic Fields from Antarctic research stations a potential problem

Antarctic research stations could be adversely affecting the local environment by emitting magnetic pollution, a new study has found. A new aerial survey is the first to research and assess the possible impact of a research station in Antarctica on magnetic fields. Estimations indicated that the station generated a magnetic field that extends up to 650 metres from the station with a peak strength of 2800 nanotesla (nT) within 100 metres from the station on the ground. This may have implications for organisms in Antarctica that are negatively affected by magnetic fields but the report's authors say further research is needed to investigate this. >> Read the Full Article

Can’t Quit? Smoking Less Will Also Improve Your Health

Countless studies demonstrate the benefits of quitting smoking altogether, benefits which include lowered risk of disease, increased life expectancy, and an overall improvement in quality of life. But health professionals acknowledge that quitting altogether can be a long and difficult road, and only a small percentage succeed. A recent study at Tel Aviv University has shown that even reducing the quantity of cigarettes smoked daily has many health benefits. >> Read the Full Article