• Study: Marijuana Use Causes Chaos in the Brain

    Previous scientific studies have associated the consumption of cannabis with impairment of concentration and memory. Now a new study from the University of Bristol has delved deeper into the mind of the marijuana smoker. They found that brain activity becomes highly uncoordinated, erratic, and inaccurate while the user is under the influence. The researchers believe this brain-chaos can lead to neuropsychological and behavioral impairments similar to those observed in schizophrenia. >> Read the Full Article
  • A world of sonic wonder

    The First wonder, Speaking Sands For nearly a century, man has been baffled by the sound of singing sand dunes. The songs they emit are almost as diverse as the countless theories about how they occur. The sound is produced when the sand on the surface of dunes avalanches. It was once thought that these sounds were produced by the friction between the grains. More recent studies have revealed that the sound continues after the sand has stopped moving and the song that the dunes sing varies depending on the time of year. Some researchers now theorise that the sound is caused by the reverberation between dry sand at the surface and a band of wet sand within the dune, hence it changes seasonally. There are approximately thirty locations around the world where these booming dunes can be heard; the earliest records seem to date to Marco Polo’s time in the Gobi Desert. However you don’t need to adventure among the dunes to hear them sing; the strange sound, said to be like the drone of a low flying propeller plane, has reportedly been heard up to ten kilometres away from its source. >> Read the Full Article
  • Prostate Cancer and Diet

    Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. Men who ate a low-fat diet with fish oil supplements for four to six weeks before having their prostate removed had slower cancer-cell growth in their prostate tissue than men who ate a traditional, high-fat Western diet, according to a study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The researchers also found a change in the composition of cell membranes in both healthy cells and cancer cells in the prostates of men on the low-fat, fish oil-supplement diet. The membranes had heightened levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and decreased levels of omega-6 fatty acids from corn oil, which may directly affect the biology of the cells, though further studies are needed, said Dr. William Aronson, the study's first author and a researcher with the Jonsson Cancer Center. >> Read the Full Article
  • Water use growing twice as fast as population!

    Like oil in the 20th century, water could well be the essential commodity on which the 21st century will turn. Human beings have depended on access to water since the earliest days of civilization, but with 7 billion people on the planet as of October 31, exponentially expanding urbanization and development are driving demand like never before. Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, said Kirsty Jenkinson of the World Resources Institute, a Washington think tank. Water use is predicted to increase by 50 percent between 2007 and 2025 in developing countries and 18 percent in developed ones, with much of the increased use in the poorest countries with more and more people moving from rural areas to cities, Jenkinson said in a telephone interview. >> Read the Full Article
  • Alcohol and Strawberries

    In an experiment on rats, European researchers have proved that eating strawberries reduces the harm that alcohol can cause to the stomach mucous membrane. Published in the open access journal Plos One, the study may contribute to improving the treatment of stomach ulcers. A team of Italian, Serbian and Spanish researchers has confirmed that there is a protecting effect that strawberries have in a mammal stomach that has been damaged by alcohol. Scientists gave ethyl alcohol to laboratory rats and have thus proved that the stomach mucous membrane of those that had previously eaten strawberry extract suffered less damage. Note that a common drink is called a strawberry daiquiri (made with rum). >> Read the Full Article
  • Bangkok braces for more flooding

    Thailand's capital, Bangkok, was braced for more flooding on Sunday as water levels rose in some of it's northern suburbs and troops raced to fortify defense walls to protect two key industrial zones. Authorities have taken measures to divert floodwaters flowing from the north away from the city and into the Gulf of Thailand, but the capital was on tenterhooks because of the possibility of heavy rainfall into canals and rivers already full to the brim. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said authorities were doing everything possible to drive the water out, but were facing a race against time. "Water is coming from different places and headed in the same direction. We're trying to build walls but there will be some impact on Bangkok," Yingluck told reporters, adding that high tide in the Gulf by the end of the week could complicate the situation. Thailand's worst flooding in half a century has affected a third of the country and has been bearing down on Bangkok since early last week. >> Read the Full Article
  • EPA delays pollution rule for coal plants, but only until December

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday it will postpone its final rule aimed at slashing air pollution from coal plants for a month, but made it clear it plans to move forward on the regulations. The EPA said it needs the extra time to review 960,000 comments it received on its draft rule, but plans to finalize it by Dec 16. A group of 25 states has launched a court case over the rule, seeking a delay of at least a year for what they argue is an expensive measure that will shut down old coal-fired power plants. Analysts have said American Electric Power and Duke Energy could see shutdowns because of the rule, which would require many plants to install scrubbers and other anti-pollution technology. But the EPA, which has also been sued by environmental groups to finalize the rule, said the regulation is needed to prevent illnesses and deaths caused by air pollution. "In a court filing today, EPA made clear its opposition to efforts to delay this historic, court ordered standard by a full year," the agency said in a statement. >> Read the Full Article
  • Commentary: U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bill To Weaken EPA Clean Air Rules

    Two bills are currently working they way through the U.S. Congress in an attempt to stay activation of new air pollution regulations propagated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, namely additions to the NESHAP, Cement MACT, and Boiler MACT standards scheduled to take effect in the next few months. The new regulations will require most facilities to install updated dust collection systems to meet more stringent emissions levels. The pair of bills, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 and the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011, are part of a larger effort by conservatives to curtail the so-called "aggressive" agenda of the EPA. Several different EPA rule sets are covered by the bill, but the main three are the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs), Boiler MACTs (Maximum Available Control Technology), and Cement MACTs which covers emissions from the manufacture of cement. The standards are either new, or updates to existing EPA regulations. The EPA NESHAPs cover the six basic air pollutants the EPA regulates, carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter e.g. dusts smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), lead, and ozone. These rules were recently revised to include stricter limits. >> Read the Full Article
  • Curbing Cooking Smoke That Kills More People Than Malaria

    Environmental hazards sicken or kill millions of people — soot or smog in the air, for example, or pollutants in drinking water. But the most dangerous stuff happens where the food is made — in peoples' kitchens. >> Read the Full Article
  • 25 Years of Toxic Right to Know

    On the 25th anniversary of the law that created the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson was joined by New Jersey Senators Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez to celebrate improved transparency and environmental quality since the legislation passed in 1986. TRI was established through legislation authored by Senator Lautenberg and signed into law as part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The measure requires owners of facilities to report annually on the amount of toxic chemicals that have been released into the air, water or land. These facilities are also required to report how they dispose of chemicals that are not released into the environment. >> Read the Full Article