• The Amazing Decline of Deaths From Extreme Weather

    With climate change, the world is generally getting warmer –- but not in a slow and straight line. Instead, many models show that weather is simply becoming more unpredictable and possibly more volatile, with more severe storms, more severe droughts and more peaks in all kinds of weather extremes. All of that volatility raises its own fears. With more extreme weather events, are we getting set up for a rise in related injuries and deaths? A new study offers some comforting news. >> Read the Full Article
  • MAJOR RIVERS HAVE ENOUGH WATER TO SUSTAIN GROWING POPULATIONS

    A new study says the world’s major river systems contain more than enough water to meet global food production needs in the 21st century. Following a five-year study of 10 river basins, including the Nile. With global population expected to surpass 7 billion people this year, the staggering impact on an overtaxed planet is becoming more and more evident. The world's major rivers include the Ganges, Andes, Yellow, and Niger. Scientists with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) found that the greatest water challenge facing the planet is not scarcity but the inefficient and inequitable distribution of water. "Huge volumes of rainwater are lost or never used," said Alain Vidal, director of CGIAR's Challenge Program on Water and Food. In regions of sub-Saharan Africa, he said, even "modest" improvements in rainwater harvesting could yield two to three times more food production. Elsewhere, regions in Asia and Latin America exist where food production could be increased by at least 10 percent, according to the report, which is published in the journal Water International. According to a recent UN report, global food output will have to increase 70 percent by 2050 to feed a growing world population. >> Read the Full Article
  • Potatoes and Potassium

    Many people enjoy potatoes which also have historical significance such as the great Irish great potato famine that forced many to emigrate. Fruit are also perceived as healthy. Research presented in September 2011 at the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) demonstrates that potatoes are one of the best nutritional values in the produce department, providing significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables. Per serving, white potatoes were the largest and most affordable source of potassium of any vegetable or fruit. Potatoes were the lowest cost source of dietary potassium, a nutrient identified by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines as lacking in the American diet. The high cost of meeting federal dietary guidelines for potassium, 4,700 mg per person per day, presents a challenge for consumers and health professionals, alike. However, the cost of potassium-rich white potatoes was half that of most other vegetables. >> Read the Full Article
  • World has 'enough water' for future food needs

    There is enough water in the world's rivers to meet the demands of the expanding global population, but the rivers have to be better managed, according to a series of studies released today at the 14th World Water Congress in Porto de Galinhas, Brazil. >> Read the Full Article
  • Alcohol and Asthma

    Alcohol has it negative and its positive attributes. Now drinking alcohol in moderate quantities can possibly reduce the risk of asthma, according to Danish researchers. The study, which will be presented September 25, 2011) at the European Respiratory Society’s Annual Congress in Amsterdam, found that drinking 1–6 units of alcohol a week could reduce the risk of developing the condition. The research examined 19,349 twins between the ages of 12 and 41 yrs of age. All participants completed a questionnaire at the start and end of the study to compare alcohol intake with the risk of developing asthma over 8 years. >> Read the Full Article
  • Respiratory Hazards for City Bicyclists

    A new report presented at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam over the weekend claims that individuals who regularly bicycle in major cities like London and Amsterdam have increased levels of black carbon in their respiratory systems. A condition commonly associated with turn-of-the-century industrial revolution processes, black lung is still persistent in the right environments. City cyclists are at a higher risk simply because they are breathing heavier in a relatively polluted environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • First radioactive rice found in Japan

    Japan found the first case of rice with radioactive materials far exceeding a government-set level for a preliminary test of pre-harvested crop, requiring thorough inspection of the rice to be harvested from the region, the farm ministry said late on Friday. The ministry said radioactive cesium of 500 becquerels per kg was found in a sample of the pre-harvested rice in Nihonmatsu city, in Fukushima Prefecture, 56 km (35 miles) west of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, triggering the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years. The ministry said the Fukushima Prefecture will expand the inspection spots nearly ten-fold to around 300 areas. It is the first case in Japan of rice containing radioactive cesium exceeding 200 becquerels per kg, a level which requires further thorough testing of the area for the harvested rice. >> Read the Full Article
  • WWF celebrates World Rhino Day

    On the occasion of the second annual World Rhino Day, WWF joins the residents of rhinoceros range countries in calling for an end to rhino poaching, which threatens the survival of rhino species. Officials in South Africa, home to most of the world's rhinos, have responded to the recent poaching crisis by increasing protection for rhinos, conducting more rigorous prosecutions, and imposing stricter sentences on wildlife criminals. This action must be met with a corresponding commitment by countries in Asia where consumer demand for rhino horn is inciting poachers. South Africa has lost at least 284 rhinos in 2011, including 16 or more critically endangered black rhinos. A majority of the poaching incidents have occurred in the world famous Kruger National Park, but privately owned rhinos have also been targeted. Law enforcement officials have made over 165 arrests so far during the year, and some convicted poachers have been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison. >> Read the Full Article
  • How to run with wolves

    Traveling to the frozen north, Steve and his Deadly 60 team met an animal whose ability to survive in sub-zero temperatures, has made it one of many Norwegian success stories. But how close could they really get to this hardened predator? Well, sorry, you can't. No matter what the Twilight movie says! Wild wolves are extremely hard to get close to, and it's not sensible to try! They are top predators, the largest of the wild dog family living in complex social groups, in remote inhospitable places. They are incredibly hard to see and track in the wild, travelling over huge distances and running at speeds of over 30mph in pursuit of prey. They are ferocious hunters tackling prey many times their own size like elk, bison and musk ox. Wild wolves are not to be messed with. >> Read the Full Article
  • Yawn!

    Yawning is a normal and common human activity. We all yawn but why do we yawn. A study led by Andrew Gallup, a postdoctoral research associate in Princeton University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is the first involving humans to show that yawning frequency varies with the season and that people are less likely to yawn when the heat outdoors exceeds body temperature. Gallup and his co-author Omar Eldakar, a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Arizona's Center for Insect Science, report this month in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience that this seasonal disparity indicates that yawning could serve as a method for regulating brain temperature. >> Read the Full Article