Top Stories

Number of Children Emerging as Cardiovascular Risk Factor for Both Parents

Sophia Antipolis, 3 February 2017: Number of children is emerging as a novel factor that influences the risk for some cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and in some societies in both parents, according to Professor Vera Regitz-Zagrosek, chairperson of the European Society of Cardiology “management of CVD During Pregnancy” guidelines task force.

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Researchers investigate decline in forest-birds

Forest-dwelling bird species are disappearing from some of South Africa's indigenous forests, with forest birds in the Eastern Cape being the most affected.

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Great Barrier Reef building coral under threat from poisonous seaweed

World-first research on the Great Barrier Reef has shown how ‘weed-like’ algae will kill vital coral because of increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

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Study traces black carbon sources in the Russian Arctic

According to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 35% of black carbon in the Russian Arctic originates from residential heating sources, 38% comes from transport, while open fires, power plants, and gas flaring are responsible for only 12%, 9%, and 6% respectively. These estimates confirm previous work for some areas of the European Arctic, but for Siberia, the findings differ from previous research, which had suggested that contribution from gas flaring were much higher.

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Battling corrosion to keep solar panels humming

People think of corrosion as rust on cars or oxidation that blackens silver, but it also harms critical electronics and connections in solar panels, lowering the amount of electricity produced.

“It’s challenging to predict and even more challenging to design ways to reduce it because it’s highly dependent on material and environmental conditions,” said Eric Schindelholz, a Sandia National Laboratories materials reliability researcher who studies corrosion and how it affects photovoltaic (PV) system performance.

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Protected Nature Areas Protect People, Too

A group of scientists is recommending giving the world’s nature reserves a makeover to defend not only flora and fauna, but people, too.

Scientists in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argue that the world’s protected areas such as nature reserves, traditionally havens for endangered animals and plants, can be made better if they ratchet up benefits that directly help people. The world’s nature reserves not only defend nature for nature’s sake, but also can curb erosion, prevent sandstorms, retain water and prevent flooding and sequester carbon. The authors include more of a place for people – judiciously.

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A Century of Habitat Loss Affects Genetics of Endangered Bird

A new study analyzes the genetic diversity and population structure of the California Ridgway’s rail, Rallus obsoletus, a state and federally-listed endangered bird. The results demonstrate that the so-called “rails” are experiencing negative genetic effects following more than a century of salt marsh habitat loss from agriculture, commercial salt production and urban development.

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Life-cycle assessment study provides detailed look at decentralized water systems

The “decentralized” water system at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which treats all non-potable water on site, contributes to the net-zero building’s recognition as one of the greenest buildings in the world. However, research into the efficacy of these systems versus traditional treatment is practically non-existent in the literature. Thanks to a collaboration between Phipps and the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, researchers now have a greater understanding of the life cycle of water reuse systems designed for living buildings, from construction through day-to-day use.

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Scientists Report on Latest Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Impacts

LSU scientists will present new research at the 2017 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in New Orleans next week. These experts will be among hundreds of oil spill-related researchers from academia, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and industry, who will share the latest oil spill and ecosystem scientific discoveries, innovations, technologies and policies on Feb. 6-9.

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Plan to Reduce Air Pollution Chokes in Mexico City

Decades ago Mexico City’s air pollution was so poor, birds would fall out of the sky—dead. Locals said living there was like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, according to one report.  In response, Mexico City took several steps to try to improve air quality including restricting driving one or two days during the weekdays. The program has had negligible results.

In 2008, the city added driving restrictions on Saturdays in hopes of moving the needle but according to new research by Lucas W. Davis, an associate professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, extending the program one more day also isn’t working.

“Saturday driving restrictions are a flawed policy. It’s a big hassle for people and does not improve air quality,” says Davis, who is also the faculty director at the Energy Institute at Haas.

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