Top Stories

Extreme Survival

What is poison to one man is a rare delicacy for another. Living in acid or caustic, extreme heat, and toxins does not sound appealing. However, in hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, Galdieria uses energy from the sun to produce sugars through photosynthesis. In the darkness of old mine shafts in drainage as caustic as battery acid, it feeds on bacteria and survives high concentrations of arsenic and heavy metals. How has a one-celled alga acquired such flexibility and resilience? >> Read the Full Article

Caribbean Nations Take Control of Their Collective Energy Future

In the face of the many challenges inherent in getting 15 countries—each with their own resources, priorities, and political complexities—to agree to anything, let alone a comprehensive regional energy policy, the Caribbean is now on the brink of taking a significant (and impressive) step forward. For the past half decade, a Draft Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Energy Policy—designed to address critical issues like energy security, affordability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy—has been circulating among CARICOM's 15 member states, continually being revised to reflect the concerns of individual members, but never finalized. >> Read the Full Article

New discovery could have potential for regenerative medicine

Special cells that were discovered in healthy breast tissue from women undergoing breast reductions may hold the key for an important discovery. UC San Francisco researchers found that certain rare cells extracted from adult breast tissue have the capability to turn into other cell types. Similar to human embryonic stem cells, the newly found cells are pluripotent. Pluripotent cells have the potential to differentiate into almost any cell in the body. >> Read the Full Article

India needs micro-level data for climate action

India needs micro-level scientific assessment at the state, district and village levels for effective planning and implementation of measures to combat climate change, a national workshop has highlighted. The workshop on climate-resilient development, organized last month (13 February), discussed integrating climate change into development programs in semi-arid regions like Bundelkhand in central India. >> Read the Full Article

Starry Frog is NOT Extinct After all!

In 1853 Edward Frederick Kelaart, a physician and naturalist, collected a strange frog on the island of Sri Lanka then a British colony known as Ceylon. The specimen was a large shrub frog (about 2 inches or 5.5 centimeters long) with black-outlined white specks on lime-green skin. He dubbed it "starry" after its pale specks, but that was last anyone heard of it. Even the holotype—the body of the amphibian collected by Kelaart—went missing. Fast forward nearly 160 years—two world wars, Sri Lanka's independence, and a man on the moon—when a recent expedition into Sri Lanka's Peak Wilderness rediscovered a beguiling frog with pinkish specks. "These quite stunning frogs were observed perched on leaves in the canopy. They were slow moving, we collected samples which we thought were new species. But after reviewing past work, [especially] extinct species, it was evident that this was Pseudophilautus stellatus," L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe told mongabay. Kelaart's starry shrub frog, or Pseudophilautus stellatus, had been re-discovered. >> Read the Full Article

How Warm Was it Once Upon a Time?

How warm or cold is it on Earth as compared to earlier times? Of course, going back far enough and one can find all sorts of extremes. How about the last ten thousand years? Using data from 73 sites around the world, scientists have been able to reconstruct Earth’s temperature history back to the end of the last Ice Age, revealing that the planet today is warmer than it has been during 70 to 80 percent of the time over the last 11,300 years. Of even more concern are projections of global temperature for the year 2100, when virtually every climate model evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that temperatures will exceed the warmest temperatures during that 11,300-year period known as the Holocene – under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios. >> Read the Full Article

Deer Cull Necessary To Protect UK Countryside

Around half of the United Kingdom's deer population needs to be shot each year to prevent damage to woodlands and other wildlife, according to a group of scientists. >> Read the Full Article

In the News: USA and Russia unite to protect the polar bear

As the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties continues, the USA and Russia have come together in an attempt to ban export trade in polar bear products. In a bid to provide polar bears with the highest level of protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the American-Russian proposal calls for a ban on any international commercial trade of skin, fur, fangs and other products made from polar bears. >> Read the Full Article

Melanoma and Obesity Connection

A gene linked to obesity and over eating may also increase the risk of malignant melanoma – the most deadly skin cancer, according to scientists at the University of Leeds. The research, funded by Cancer Research UK, shows that people with particular variations in a stretch of DNA within the FTO gene, called intron 8, could be at greater risk of developing melanoma. >> Read the Full Article

The Smart Grid and Electric Car Charging

Widespread adoption of electric vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Some are worried that the electric grid will be stressed leading to a decrease in its reliability. In related news today, Battelle and AeroVironment have a technology that will address this concern, and help EV's charge when the grid is most able to support charging. This technology is the subject of a commercial license agreement between Battelle and AeroVironment, Inc., of Monrovia, Calif. The technology may also ultimately result in lower costs for plug-in electric vehicle owners. Battelle operates the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. AeroVironment will use a portion of the licensed technology in a new prototype version of its Level II charging systems. >> Read the Full Article