Top Stories

Study reveals climate patterns have impact on flu epidemics

The flu season has been hitting hard this winter all across the country with nearly 30 states reporting flulike activity and over 2,200 people being hospitalized according to government health experts. Whether or not you have gotten your flu shot, chances are you or someone you know someone has come down with flu-like systems. So what can we attribute the current spike in flu cases? According to one report, climate change is starting to play an interesting role. >> Read the Full Article

Water from an Antarctica Lake

In an amazing feat of science and engineering, a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research team has successfully drilled through 2,600 feet of Antarctic ice to reach a subglacial lake and retrieve water and sediment samples that have been isolated from direct contact with the outside world for many thousands of years. Scientists and drillers with the interdisciplinary Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling project (WISSARD) announced January 28th that they had used a customized clean hot-water drill to directly obtain samples from the waters and sediments of subglacial Lake Whillans. Upon study this may reveal an unique perspective on life and how it evolves. >> Read the Full Article

Carbon Capture Technologies that Could Help Fight Climate Change

Evolving technology could make cleaning the air more profitable than fouling it, says Columbia Univ economist In the wake of the hottest and driest summer in memory throughout much of North America, and Super-storm Sandy that flooded cities and ravaged large swaths of the Mid-Atlantic coast, many now recognize that the climate change isn’t just real, but that it is already at our doorstep. As this realization continues to sink in, the political will may ripen to take more aggressive action to put a brake CO2 emissions. Already, President Obama, who had remained mostly silent on the issue during his reelection campaign, has made it clear that tackling climate change will be among his top second-term priorities. But the fact remains that even if the entire world switched magically to 100 percent solar and other non-polluting power sources tomorrow, it’s too late to roll back some of the impacts of climate change. The current level of carbon dioxide in the air is already well beyond what scientists regard as the safe threshold. If we remain on our present course, scientists say, CO2 levels will continue to rise — sharply— for years to come. >> Read the Full Article

Exterior Air Bags Protect Cyclists From Cars

Few people would argue with the need for air bags on the inside of a car. But on the outside? The idea comes from TNO, a car company in the The Netherlands, where there are now 1.3 bicycles for every resident. Amsterdam alone is home to a half a million riders daily. >> Read the Full Article

Spring Leaves Expected to Sprout Sooner in North American Forests

This year the spring equinox falls on March 20th, marking the first day of spring. But regardless of the date, it feels like spring when the temperature warms and we start to see new green leaves and flowers bloom after a dormant winter. According to new research, trees in the continental U.S. could send out new spring leaves up to 17 days earlier than expected in the coming century as global temperatures start to rise. Researchers at Princeton University suggest that these climate-driven changes could lead to composition changes of northeastern forests and give a boost to their ability to take up carbon dioxide. >> Read the Full Article

The Great Stink Bug

Oregon State University is studying how to use bug-on-bug warfare to stop this crop-damaging pest. The insect arrived in the eastern United States in the late 1990s and has since spread to more than 30 states. This non-native bug was found in Portland in 2004 and has since shown up in 13 Oregon counties, including all of the Willamette Valley. The pest has caused major commercial crop damage in many eastern states but so far it has had minimal impact on Northwest crops. >> Read the Full Article

Medicinal Plants Being Studied to Fight Malaria

Traditional healers in Benin possess sophisticated knowledge regarding the treatment of malaria with medicinal plants, and strategies should be developed to exploit this and promote the plants' conservation, says a study. Researchers at the University of Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, documented more than 80 plants, which are believed to be antimalarial and used by traditional healers in southern Benin's Allada plateau, to evaluate traditional knowledge and techniques for treating malaria. >> Read the Full Article

Genes and Flu

The flu is just a disease. A disease may strike one species and not another species. Well it seems certain genetic markers are all it takes. A genetic variant which explains why Chinese populations may be more vulnerable to H1N1 swine flu has been found by researchers at the University of Oxford and Beijing Capital Medical University. This finding could help identify those at high risk of severe infection and help prioritize those in highest need of treatment. The study led by Dr Tao Dong of the University of Oxford showed that people with a specific genetic variant are six times more likely to suffer from severe influenza infection than those without >> Read the Full Article

Timing of Meals May Influence Weight-loss

For anyone trying to lose weight, one common suggestion is never eat after 7:00 pm. But why? Apparently if you eat food close to your bedtime, it will not have enough time to burn off and is more likely to be stored as fat. This recommendation can now be backed by new research that suggests weight-loss plans should not only focus on what we eat, but when we eat. Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, along with the University of Murcia and Tufts University explain that the timing of our meals can influence our ability to shed pounds. >> Read the Full Article

From "Light Green" to Sustainable Buildings

As more people move to urban areas in search of economic opportunities, the number of buildings that are needed to house them continues to rise. It is estimated that by 2030, an additional 1.4 billion people will live in cities, of which 1.3 billion will dwell in cities of developing countries. The increasing number of buildings has long-term impacts on both the environment and natural resources. >> Read the Full Article