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Beijing Creates Anti-Smog Police to Fight Air Pollution

Authorities in Beijing are taking new actions to resolve the city’s ongoing and harmful air pollution problem with the creation of an anti-smog police force — but will it help?

Beijing’s acting mayor Cai Qi reportedly announced the initiative on Saturday, January 7. The dedicated branch of regulation enforcement will patrol the streets looking specifically for violations that could harm air quality, including open air barbecues, unlicensed burning of materials and improperly maintained roads.

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Affordable water in the US: A burgeoning crisis

If water rates continue rising at projected amounts, the number of U.S. households unable to afford water could triple in five years, to nearly 36 percent, finds new research by a Michigan State University scholar.

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Scientists identify protein central to immune response against tuberculosis bacteria

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a protein that is central to the immune system’s ability to recognize and destroy the bacterium responsible for the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic.

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PRESSURE FROM GRAZERS HASTENS ECOSYSTEM COLLAPSE FROM DROUGHT

Extreme droughts, intensified by a warming climate, are increasingly causing ecosystem collapse in many regions worldwide. But models used by scientists to predict the tipping points at which drought stress leads to ecosystem collapse have proven unreliable and too optimistic.

A new study by scientists at Duke University and Beijing Normal University may hold the answer why.   

The researchers found that these tipping points can happen much sooner than current models predict because of the added pressures placed on drought-weakened plants by grazing animals and fungal pathogens.

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CWRU researchers directly measure how perovskite solar films efficiently convert light to power

Measurement shows potential for building better solar cells by imaging fundamental properties of the material

Solar cells made with films mimicking the structure of the mineral perovskite are the focus of worldwide research. But only now have researchers at Case Western Reserve University directly shown the films bear a key property allowing them to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.

Identifying that attribute could lead to more efficient solar panels.

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Changing climate changes soils

The hottest months. The snowiest winters. Catastrophic floods and droughts.

Climate change impacts lives across the world in drastic and unpredictable ways. This unpredictability also extends to the more subtle – yet still important – effects of climate change.

For example, it is uncertain how climate change will affect soils and their ability to support productive farms or healthy natural ecosystems.

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Campus greenhouse gas emissions down 7 percent since 2014

MIT’s total campus emissions have dropped by 7 percent since 2014, according to MIT’s second annual greenhouse gas inventory. The inventory, whose results were released by the MIT Office of Sustainability in collaboration with the Department of Facilities and the Environment, Health and Safety Office, measured campus emissions in fiscal year 2016, which runs from July 2015 through June 2016. The analysis provides a wealth of data to inform MIT’s carbon-reduction strategies going forward.

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Farthest Stars in Milky Way Might Be Ripped from Another Galaxy

The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way's spiral disk. New research by Harvard astronomers shows that half of those stars might have been ripped from another galaxy: the Sagittarius dwarf. Moreover, they are members of a lengthy stream of stars extending one million light-years across space, or 10 times the width of our galaxy.

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Researchers find a potential target for anti-Alzheimer treatments

Scientists at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have identified a gene that may provide a new starting point for developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The USP9 gene has an indirect influence on the so-called tau protein, which is believed to play a significant role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Warmer West Coast ocean conditions linked to increased risk of toxic shellfish

Hazardous levels of domoic acid, a natural toxin that accumulates in shellfish, have been linked to warmer ocean conditions in waters off Oregon and Washington for the first time by a NOAA-supported research team, led by Oregon State University scientists.

Domoic acid, produced by certain types of marine algae, can accumulate in shellfish, fish and other marine animals. Consuming enough of the toxin can be harmful or even fatal. Public health agencies and seafood managers closely monitor toxin levels and impose harvest closures where necessary to ensure that seafood remains safe to eat. NOAA is supporting research and new tools to help seafood industry managers stay ahead of harmful algae events that are increasing in frequency, intensity and scope.

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