Top Stories

New Climate Model Reveals "Discernible Human Influence"

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a federally funded research and development center located in Livermore, California. Their mission, in part, is to respond with vision, quality, integrity, and technical excellence to scientific issues of national importance. One such issue, which is tough to dispute, is the changing climate. The top-rate researchers at LLNL created a new climate model by comparing 20 different computer models to satellite observations. They found that tropospheric and stratospheric temperature changes are clearly related to human activities. >> Read the Full Article

Kenya Bans Imports of GM Food

Scientists fear that Kenya's recent banning of the import of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may be a significant blow to progress on biotechnology research and development in the country. A cabinet meeting chaired by Kenya's president, Mwai Kibaki, this month (8 November), directed the public health minister to ban GMO imports until the country is able to certify that they have no negative impact on people's health. In a statement to the press, the cabinet said there was a "lack of sufficient information on the public health impact of such foods". >> Read the Full Article

How Old is the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and attains a depth of over a mile. It is huge but how old is it? How long did it take to be created? For over 150 years, geologists have debated how and when one of the most dramatic features on our planet—the Grand Canyon—was formed. New data unearthed by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) builds support for the idea that conventional models, which say the enormous ravine is 5 to 6 million years old, are way off. It might well be 70 million years old. >> Read the Full Article

Study reveals extent of Mekong dam food security threat

The planned construction of hydropowered dams on the Mekong River in South-East Asia could jeopardise livelihoods, water access and food security for 60 million people, across Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, according to a study. The study reports that dams will block fish migration routes and decimate fish supplies in the lower Mekong region. >> Read the Full Article

Cutting Christmas Trees in a National Forest - be sure you get a permit first!

What could be better than cutting your own fresh Christmas tree in a National Forest? Why does the government allow this? There are actually good forest management reasons to thin trees in some circumstances, so cutting a tree actually helps the Forest Service manage the forests. Be aware that to cut a tree in a National Forest requires a permit, and the NFS encourages safe practices. "Trees from your national forests brighten homes across the country every year," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "We encourage people to be aware of changing weather conditions, dress accordingly and always follow safe cutting practices when looking for that perfect tree this holiday season." Each year, local Forest Service offices sell permits that allow individuals to cut one fresh tree on national forest lands. Fees for the permits vary dependent on location. The permit program helps the agency thin stands that have a concentration of small diameter trees. >> Read the Full Article

Antarctic Melting and Sea Level

Due to its location at the South Pole, Antarctica receives relatively little solar radiation. This means that it is a very cold continent where water is mostly in the form of ice or snow. This accumulates and forms a giant ice sheet which covers the land. New data which more accurately measures the rate of ice-melt could help us better understand how Antarctica is changing in the light of global warming. The rate of global sea level change is reasonably well-established but understanding the different sources of this rise is more challenging. Using re-calibrated scales that are able to weigh ice sheets from space to a greater degree of accuracy than ever before, the international team led by Newcastle University has discovered that Antarctica overall is contributing much less to the substantial sea-level rise than originally thought. >> Read the Full Article

Study Investigates Public Trust in Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa

Building trust in agricultural biotechnology as one of the potential solutions to food security in Africa is essential, according to a study. Published in Agriculture & Food Security this month (1 November), the study is the result of four years spent investigating how public trust in agricultural biotechnology in Africa can be developed. >> Read the Full Article

How to Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As the temperature drops, we are more likely to fire up our gas furnaces and wood-burning stoves to get extra cozy this winter. However, when we use our furnaces and stoves, and spend more time indoors, we are at increased risk of exposure to carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas produced when gasoline, natural gas, propane, kerosene, and other fuels are not completely burned during use. According to the EPA, this gas is one of the leading causes of poisoning death, with more than 400 victims in the United States each year. >> Read the Full Article

Fructose and Type 2 Diabetes

High-fructose corn syrup comprises any of a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce a desired sweetness. Pure, dry fructose is a very sweet, white, odorless, crystalline solid and is the most water-soluble of all the sugars. The primary reason that fructose is used commercially in foods and beverages, besides its low cost, is its high relative sweetness (almost twice the sweetness of sucrose). A new study indicates that large amounts of high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener found in national food supplies across the world, may be a contributory factor to the rising global epidemic of type 2 diabetes. >> Read the Full Article

How Birds Change their Tune to Deal with Urban Noise

Birds use songs to impress mates, secure territories, and defend against predators, so any factor that can disrupt this communication, may interfere with daily life and the success of the species. One major disturbance that birds have increasingly been facing is urban noise. Previous studies have show that in order to improve communication, urban songbirds are singing differently and at higher frequencies compared to their woodland cousins in order to deal with noise pollution. However, until now, little research has been done on the more tropical relative of the songbirds, the sub-oscines. >> Read the Full Article