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Nordic countries are bringing about an energy transition worth copying

What can we learn from the Nordic low-carbon energy transition given the new US leadership vacuum on climate change? A new study by Professor Benjamin Sovacool at the University of Sussex offers some important lessons.

The Trump administration's "First energy plan" criticises the "burdensome" regulations on the energy industry and aims to eliminate "harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan" which was introduced by President Barack Obama. It has also deleted all mentions of climate change and global warming from the White House website.

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New tool helps oyster growers prepare for changing ocean chemistry

For Bill Mook, coastal acidification is one thing his oyster hatchery cannot afford to ignore.

Mook Sea Farm depends on seawater from the Gulf of Maine pumped into a Quonset hut-style building where tiny oysters are grown in tanks. Mook sells these tiny oysters to other oyster farmers or transfers them to his oyster farm on the Damariscotta River where they grow large enough to sell to restaurants and markets on the East Coast.

The global ocean has soaked up one third of human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since the start of the Industrial Era, increasing the CO2 and acidity of seawater. Increased seawater acidity reduces available carbonate, the building blocks used by shellfish to grow their shells. Rain washing fertilizer and other nutrients into nearshore waters can also increase ocean acidity.

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Researchers Work to Restore the Long-Lost Flavor of Tomatoes

New research reveals which genes are needed to reinstate the rich, original flavor of tomatoes, now absent in many grocery shelf varieties of this fruit. The results are published in the 27 January issue of Science.

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How Insects Decide to Grow Up

Scientists discover key mechanism that controls when fruit flies sexually mature

Like humans, insects go through puberty. The process is known as metamorphosis. Examples include caterpillars turning into butterflies and maggots turning into flies.

But, it has been a long-standing mystery as to what internal mechanisms control how insects go through metamorphosis and why it is irreversible.

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High-Tech Maps of Tropical Forest Diversity Identify New Conservation Targets

New remote sensing maps of the forest canopy in Peru test the strength of current forest protections and identify new regions for conservation effort, according to a report led by Carnegie’s Greg Asner published in Science.

Asner and his Carnegie Airborne Observatory team used their signature technique, called airborne laser-guided imaging spectroscopy, to identify preservation targets by undertaking a new approach to study global ecology—one that links a forest’s variety of species to the strategies for survival and growth employed by canopy trees and other plants. Or, to put it in scientist-speak, their approach connects biodiversity and functional diversity.

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Scientists Develop New Flu Vaccines for Man's Best Friend

It’s that dreaded time of year – flu season. And we humans aren’t the only ones feeling the pain. Dogs can get the flu, too.

Scientists at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry have developed, for the first time, two new vaccines for canine influenza. This research is not only important for improving the health of our furry friends, but for keeping us safe, too. Dogs that have been infected with multiple influenza viruses have the potential to act as “mixing vessels” and generate new flu strains that could infect people. This hasn’t happened yet, but experts say it’s possible.

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Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality at Harvard

Nearly a century after it was theorized, Harvard scientists have succeeded in creating the rarest - and potentially one of the most valuable - materials on the planet.

 

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Decarbonising the UK economy

This week the UK Government published its long awaited industrial strategy, marking a distinctive break from the previous Conservative regime. Gone is David Cameron's more laissez faire attitude to managing the economy.  In its place is a more proactive approach, which seeks to stimulate industry with targeted investment.  Taking advantage of the greater flexibility afforded by freedom from the EU's state aid rules the plan sees some exciting developments in the decarbonisation of the UK economy.

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Joint Russian-Japanese Research in Space Helps Understand the Effects of Microgravity on Bone Tissue

The co-authors from the Russian side are Oleg Gusev (Extreme Biology Lab, Kazan Federal University) and Vladimir Sychyov (Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of RAS).

As is well-known, space flights bring with them a unique set of health hazards. That includes bone and muscle deterioration. Loss of bone density is currently one of the most serious problems for astronauts. It is similar in nature to osteoporosis, an ailment common for senior people. Understanding microgravity and its effects on living organisms can help find new clinical methods of coping with this issue.

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Agricultural fires in Brazil harm infant health, a warning for the developing world

Pollution from the controlled fires that burn across Brazil's São Paulo state during the sugarcane-harvesting season has a negative impact on infant health nearby. But the health of those same infants likely benefits from the economic opportunities the fires bring to their parents.

Researchers at Princeton and Duke universities gathered information from satellites, pollution monitors and birth records to untangle those competing influences and accurately measure the impact of pollution from the fires. They found that exposure to pollution from the fires in the last few months of gestation leads to earlier birth and smaller babies, and they found some evidence of increased fetal mortality. Conditions in early life, including in utero, have been shown to affect children's long-term outcomes, not only in terms of health but also their educational and economic success.

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