Top Stories

Polar Bears may need to be fed by humans

In a paper released this week, the world’s leading polar bear scientists say the time has come to consider drastic measures to save these iconic animals, including supplemental feeding by humans during ice-free periods and relocating more southerly populations to the High Arctic. The day may soon come when some of the 19 polar bear populations in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, and Russia will have to be fed by humans in order to keep them alive during an extended ice-free season or prevent them from roaming into northern communities. Some bears may have to be placed in temporary holding compounds until it is cold enough for them to go back onto the sea ice. In worst-case scenarios, polar bears from southern regions may have to be relocated to more northerly climes that have sufficient sea ice cover. >> Read the Full Article

Autism and Schizophrenia Genes

Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. Genes linked to autism and schizophrenia are only switched on during the early stages of brain development, according to a study in mice led by researchers at the University of Oxford. This new study adds to the evidence that autism and schizophrenia are neurodevelopmental disorders, a term describing conditions that originate during early brain development. >> Read the Full Article

Arctic Slumping

Each spring in the Arctic, the flooding triggered by melting snow which washes vast amounts of carbon-rich soil from the land into the streams and ocean which is a process called slumping. This may not sound like much. Certainly it is localized erosion, but global warming? That's of particular interest to scientists studying global warming, because in those waters much of the carbon that's being released from melting permafrost is oxidized by bacteria into carbon dioxide, says Rose Cory, an environmental scientist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Carbon from surface waters amounts to as much as 40% of the total carbon that ultimately gets transferred from the Arctic to the atmosphere, she says. >> Read the Full Article

Certified Sustainable Seafood MSC

ext time you walk up to the seafood counter, look for products labeled with a blue fish, a check mark, and the words "Certified Sustainable Seafood MSC." Then ask yourself, "What does this label mean?" The MSC — Marine Stewardship Council — says that the "sustainable" label means that fishermen caught the seafood with methods that don't deplete its supply, and help protect the environment in the waters where it was caught. >> Read the Full Article

Pig Manure is more than, well - pig manure

There's a global campaign to force meat producers to rein in their use of antibiotics on pigs, chickens and cattle. European countries, especially Denmark and the Netherlands, have taken the lead. The U.S. is moving, haltingly, toward similar restrictions. Now the concerns about rampant antibiotic use appear to have reached China, where meat production and antibiotic use have been growing fast. Half of all the pigs in the world live in China — a consequence of the country's swelling appetite for pork. And like pork producers in many other countries, Chinese farmers have turned to antibiotics and other feed additives to control disease in their herds and also to make the animals grow faster. >> Read the Full Article

Money Down the Pump: Where Does Our Gas Money Go?

Rising gas prices have been in the news the past couple of years, as it seems the price of gas will never fall back down to what it used to be. The last time I filled up my tank, it cost me around $50 (on empty) and regardless of the fuel efficiency of my car, I know I am not the only person who is frustrated by how much money we are spending on personal transportation. According to a new report, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), explain exactly what our gas dollars actually goes to. According to a new report, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), explain exactly what our gas dollars actually goes to. In my case of a $50 fill up, the UCS show that $33 of my total went to crude oil, $20 of which went to private oil companies, and $13 to government-run oil companies, the remaining dollars to the gas station – a break-down that I would not have expected. >> Read the Full Article

Myopia and Genes

Myopia is commonly known as being nearsighted or shortsighted)and is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it. This causes the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus, but in focus when looking at a close object. In other words, close is good and far is blurry. Scientists have now discovered 24 new genes that cause refractive errors and myopia — an important cause of blindness and visual impairment worldwide, which has no cure to date. The findings, published in Nature Genetics, reveal genetic causes of the trait, and this may help in finding a solution. >> Read the Full Article

Wildflowers at risk from 'safe' levels of pollution

New scientific research suggests that the impacts of nitrogen pollution may extend even further than previously thought. Dr Richard Payne and Professor Nancy Dise, of Manchester Metropolitan University, together with colleagues at Lancaster University and the Open University, studied more than 100 individual plant species' reactions to nitrogen deposition at 153 grassland sites across Europe. >> Read the Full Article

Grey Water

There is only so much fresh water in the world of the kind people need to drink to live. Recycled water, or gray water, is water that has been used for household activities such as taking showers or washing dishes. Then there is water that is a bit more dirty such as from the toilet. There are or will be a time and a place where such water will have to be used as is or will be treated so as to reuse once again. Even now in places like Singapore and Namibia, limited supplies of freshwater are being augmented by adding highly treated waste water to their drinking water. >> Read the Full Article

British horse meat scandal expands

Swedish frozen-food company Findus withdrew all its beef lasagna ready meals from supermarkets after tests revealed they contained up to 100% horsemeat. But the investigation took an EU-wide dimension as British investigators found evidence of "gross negligence or possibly criminality" involving several countries. The Food Standards Agency (FSA), a British government body, held a meeting on Saturday (9 February) with UK regulators and food industry representatives in the ongoing contaminated meat incident. "This is a conspiracy against the public," said British farm minister Owen Paterson before convening the weekend meeting. "I've got an increasing feeling that it is actually a case of an international criminal conspiracy." >> Read the Full Article