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The Effect of Forests on Climate

Once there were vast forests covering North America and Europe. What happens to the climate if they were returned? Planting trees in an area where there are no trees now, can reduce the effect of climate change by cooling temperate regions finds a study in BioMed Central's open access journal Carbon Balance and Management. Afforestation could lead to cooler and wetter summers by the end of this century if it was done now. Of course doing it now is a problem not only of resources of what it replaces and the effects that may have elsewhere. >> Read the Full Article

Health Benefits of Berries Affected by Saliva

We are constantly being told which foods are good for us. Whether it can help prevent cancers or lower our cholesterol, we assume that because we ingest these vitamin packed super foods, we are getting all the right nutrients that are promised. But according to new research, which studied the breakdown of berries, some of these compounds may not make it past our mouth. >> Read the Full Article

Costa Rican scientists trial aquatic agriculture to boost food security

Costa Rican researchers are pioneering 'aquatic agriculture' — the method of growing crops on freshwater lakes and reservoirs — to boost food security in the developing world. The technique involves creating floating rafts on which vegetables, grains and flowers can be grown. Terrestrial crops such as grains and vegetables have their roots directly in the water or can be potted, with water being drawn up into their soil from the lake by capillary wicks, Ricardo Radulovich, a professor at the University of Costa Rica's Department of Agricultural Engineering, explains. >> Read the Full Article

How Cells Communicate

Scientists at UCLA and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science have discovered a possible method by which cancer cells and dying cells communicate with nearby normal nerve cells without being physically connected to them. Normal communication is done by chemical, hormonal or other physical connection. What this implies is unclear but it is certainly intriguing. >> Read the Full Article

Chevron Moving Forward on Permits for Shale Gas Projects in Romania

The county council in Vaslui County, Romania awarded last December Chevron the right to drill an exploratory well for shale gas in a locality within the Barlad concession that covers some 600,000 hectares in North East Romania. Chevron will drill its first exploratory well in the Paltinis village, within the Bacesti locality in rural Vaslui. People in this region took to the streets three times last year to protest the exploitation of shale gas through franking. Dumitru Buzatu, president of the Vaslui county council, said that Chevron's permitting is legal. >> Read the Full Article

Gym or Raking Leaves?

How important is rigorous gym exercise versus ordinary work day exercise/tasks? New research at Oregon State University suggests the health benefits of small amounts of activity – even as small as one- and two-minute increments that add up to 30 minutes per day – can be just as beneficial as longer periods of physical exercise achieved by a trip to the gym. The nationally representative study of more than 6,000 American adults shows that an active lifestyle approach, as opposed to a structured exercise routine, may be just as beneficial in improving health outcomes, including preventing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. >> Read the Full Article

Peatland Forest Loss and Climate Change

The destruction of tropical peatland forests is causing them to haemorrhage carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, scientists say. The research, published in Nature, suggests peatland contributions to climate change have been badly underestimated. 'If you don't consider carbon lost through drainage then you underestimate the carbon losses from these deforested sites by 22 per cent,' says Dr Vincent Gauci of the Open University, one of the study's authors. 'And that's a conservative estimate; it could be much higher.' >> Read the Full Article

Study: Risk of Heart Disease Down 32 Percent for Vegetarians

Meat consumption around the world has been on the rise as incomes have grown. In the United States, more meat is consumed than anywhere else. For many, a meal simply is not a meal if it does not have at least a half-pound of flesh on it. Vegetarianism has been in practice by large groups for quite a long time for both health and moral reasons. According to a new scientific study from the University of Oxford, vegetarians have new ammunition in their anti-meat crusade. The study claims that the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32 percent lower for vegetarians than for people who eat meat and fish. >> Read the Full Article

'Biotic Pump' Theory Suggests Forests Drive Wind and Rain

It took over two-and-a-half-years for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics to finally accept a paper outlining a new meteorological hypothesis in which condensation, not temperature, drives winds. If proven correct, the hypothesis could have massive ramifications on global policy—not to mention meteorology—as essentially the hypothesis means that the world's forest play a major role in driving precipitation from the coast into a continent's interior. The theory, known as the biotic pump, was first developed in 2006 by two Russian scientists, Victor Gorshkov and Anastassia Makarieva of the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics, but the two have faced major pushback and delays in their attempt to put the theory before the greater scientific community. >> Read the Full Article

The Strange World Around Fomalhaut

Fomalhaut b is a confirmed extrasolar object and planet orbiting the A-type main sequence star Fomalhaut, approximately 25 light-years away in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus. The object was discovered in 2008. Newly released NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of a vast debris disk encircling the nearby star Fomalhaut and a mysterious planet circling it may provide forensic evidence of a titanic planetary disruption in the system. Astronomers are surprised to find the debris belt (a really big asteroid belt when compared to the one between Mars and Jupiter) is wider than previously known, spanning a section of space from 14 to nearly 20 billion miles from the star. Even more surprisingly, the latest Hubble images have allowed a team of astronomers to calculate the planet follows an unusual elliptical orbit that will carry it on a potentially destructive path through the vast dust ring. >> Read the Full Article