• Web tool tracks insecticide-resistant malaria mosquitoes

    An online mapping system to track insecticide resistance in malaria-causing mosquitoes around the world has been launched. The free interactive website identifies places in more than 50 malaria-endemic countries where mosquitoes have become resistant to the insecticides used in bed nets and indoor sprays. IR Mapper was launched last month (25 April) by Vestergaard Frandsen, a Swiss firm that makes disease-control products, and the KEMRI/CDC research and public health collaboration based in Kenya. >> Read the Full Article
  • ISS Ammonia Leak Repaired on Spacewalk

    During an unscheduled spacewalk on the space station's exterior on Saturday morning, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn and Chris Cassidy carried out the mother of all plumbing jobs: They detached a suspect ammonia pump, replaced it with a spare and watched for any further ammonia leakage. The emergency spacewalk was carried out in response to a troubling ammonia coolant leak that was discovered on Thursday. The coolant is used to maintain the temperature of the vast solar arrays the space station uses to generate electricity for its systems. But after nearly four hours of extravehicular activity, Marshburn and Cassidy reported seeing "no snow" (i.e. no ammonia flakes) as a replacement Pump and Flow Control System (PFCS) box was switched on and ammonia was pumped around the solar array at full pressure. No trace of the phantom ammonia leak was spotted by the spacewalkers' cameras nor the ever watchful mission managers in Houston, Texas. >> Read the Full Article
  • When the Moon was Active

    The Moon appears a dead world. Once it was geologically active. New evidence from ancient lunar rocks suggests that the moon's own magnetic dynamo -- a molten, convecting core of liquid metal that generated a strong magnetic field -- lasted 160 million years longer than originally estimated and was continuously active until well after the final large surface impacts. Lawrence Livermore scientist William Cassata and a group of international collaborators analyzed two rocks gathered during the Apollo 11 mission and found that they were magnetized in a stable and surprisingly intense magnetic field. The study of these slowly cooled, unshocked rocks demonstrates that the moon had a core dynamo as late as a mere 3.55 billion years ago. >> Read the Full Article
  • Anthropogenic Origins of Cirrus Clouds

    "Cirrus" is Latin for a curling lock of hair so it is fitting that thin, wispy clouds that we often see in the atmosphere are called cirrus clouds. These clouds form when water vapor undergoes deposition at high altitudes and therefore are found at higher elevations and appear more delicate compared to the other types of clouds. Cirrus clouds cover as much as one-third of the Earth and play an important role in global climate. Depending on altitude and the number and size of ice crystals, cirrus clouds can cool the planet by reflecting incoming solar radiation – or warm it by trapping outgoing heat. >> Read the Full Article
  • Watery Moon

    The dark regions on the Moon were once considered seas full of water. Well that is not true but there is some water on the Moon. Researchers used a multicollector ion microprobe to study hydrogen-deuterium ratios in lunar rock and on Earth. Their conclusion: The Moon’s water did not come from comets but was already present on Earth 4.5 billion years ago, when a giant collision sent material from Earth to form the Moon. >> Read the Full Article
  • Light-Scattering Properties are Risk Factor for Coral Reef Survival

    Coral reefs have been gaining a lot of attention by conservation groups as environmental and human stresses are causing irreparable damage to these reefs. Stresses such as warming oceans and climate change are going to serve as future obstacles for these coral populations. However, the study of dying corals is complex, and researchers have found that some corals die while others do not, even when exposed to the same environmental conditions. In order to figure out this conundrum, a research team from Northwestern University and The Field Museum of Natural History found that corals themselves play a role in their susceptibility to deadly coral bleaching due to the light-scattering properties of their skeletons. >> Read the Full Article
  • Black Widow Myth Reversed

    We've all heard of the dreaded Black Widow – no not the Marvel comic super hero, but the infamous spider with a deadly bite that is mainly known for it's sexual cannibalism. Not only do black widow spiders have a venomous bite (with females being up to three times more venomous than males), but the female really lives up to her "black widow" namesake as she will often eat her male partner after mating. However, a new study has shown that the tendency to consume a potential mate is also true of some types of male spider. The study by Lenka Sentenska and Stano Pekar from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic finds that male spiders of the Micaria sociabilis species are more likely to eat the females than be eaten. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mt. Sharp on Mars

    There is a 3.5-mile high Martian mound that scientists suspect preserves evidence of a massive ancient lake. Well maybe not, May be the wind did it. If correct, the research could dilute expectations that the mound holds evidence of a large body of water, which would have important implications for understanding Mars' ancient habitability. Researchers based at Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology suggest that the mound, known as Mount Sharp, most likely emerged as strong winds carried dust and sand into the 96-mile-wide crater in which the mound sits. They report in the journal Geology that air likely rises out of the massive Gale Crater when the Martian surface warms during the day, then sweeps back down its steep walls at night. Though strong along the Gale Crater walls, these slope winds would have died down at the crater's center where the fine dust in the air settled and accumulated to eventually form Mount Sharp, which is close in size to Alaska's Mt. McKinley. >> Read the Full Article
  • DVD discs double as cheap diagnostic kit for HIV

    Researchers have turned conventional DVDs into portable and cheap diagnostic tools for developing countries, and are now adapting their prototype into a workable medical device. A team led by Aman Russom of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden has demonstrated proof-of-concept for the tool by testing for HIV. Blood samples are loaded into micro-channels on a modified, semi-transparent DVD disc and scanned by a DVD reader, which has been adapted to detect light transmitted through the disc. The image can then be visualized on a computer screen. >> Read the Full Article
  • Verizon Expands Investment in Alternative Energy

    Verizon has announced it will invest $100 million in a solar and fuel cell energy project that will help power 19 of its facilities in seven states across the country. The company estimates the completed project will generate more than 70 million kilowatt of clean energy, which would be enough to power more than 6,000 single-family homes a year. This amount of clean, solar power prevents the emission of more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is enough to offset the annual CO2 emissions from more than 1 million gallons of gas. >> Read the Full Article