• History shows climate changes led to war

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - Global warming is one of the most significant threats facing humankind, researchers warned, as they unveiled a study showing how climate changes in the past led to famine, wars and population declines.

    The world's growing population may be unable to adequately adapt to ecological changes brought about by the expected rise in global temperatures, scientists in China, Hong Kong, the United States and Britain wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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  • Oddball white dwarfs embody new category of star

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eight unusual examples of a burned-out celestial object known as a white dwarf detected in our Milky Way galaxy represent a previously unknown category of stars, astronomers said on Wednesday.

    White dwarfs mark the end point in stellar evolution for all but the most massive of stars in the universe, with about 97 percent of stars, including our sun, destined to finish their existence this way, according to astronomers.

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  • Global system expected to slash cyclone deaths

    GENEVA (Reuters) - A new global earth observation system being constructed will help reduce deaths in cyclones like one which just ravaged Bangladesh, a scientist at the heart of the program said on Wednesday.

    Cyclone Sidr, which struck a week ago, killed around 3,500 people, but the casualties were far fewer than in 1991 when about 143,000 people died or in 1970 when the death toll was some 300,000 in similar disasters.

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  • Carnivorous plants use pitchers of 'slimy saliva' to catch their prey

    Carnivorous plants supplement the meager diet available from the nutrient-poor soils in which they grow by trapping and digesting insects and other small arthropods. Pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes were thought to capture their prey with a simple passive trap but in a paper in this week’s PLoS ONE, Laurence Gaume and Yoel Forterre, a biologist and a physicist from the CNRS, working respectively in the University of Montpellier and the University of Marseille, France show that they employ slimy secretions to doom their victims. They show that the fluid contained inside the plants’ pitchers has the perfect viscoelastic properties to prevent the escape of any small creatures that come into contact with it even when diluted by the heavy rainfall of the forest of Borneo in which they live. >> Read the Full Article
  • Proposed global warming solution needs more scientific research

    Neither the safety nor the effectiveness of ocean fertilization – adding iron or other ‘micronutrients’ to the sea to encourage plankton to grow – have been established and the method should not be touted as a cure for climate change until they have been, cautions the World Conservation Union (IUCN).


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  • Embryonic stem cells made without embryos

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers have transformed ordinary human skin cells into batches of cells that look and act like embryonic stem cells -- but without using cloning technology and without making embryos.

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  • Japan eyes affordable cellulosic ethanol technology

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Wednesday it aimed to introduce new, cost-efficient technology for producing cellulosic ethanol by 2015 to help reduce gasoline demand in the world's third-biggest oil consumer.

    METI said one of its main objectives was to cut the cost of producing ethanol from such cellulosic biomass as waste wood and wood chips to 100 yen (91 cents) per liter ($3.45 per gallon) from more than 2,000 yen now.

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  • Catching Power Out of Mid-Air

    The times have certainly given way to digital but radio waves are re-defining their value. The Tate Ambient Power Module, patented by Joseph Tate of California, converts radio-wave energy (manmade and natural) into energy that can be used by small appliances such as smoke detectors and clock radios.The device is simple in its design and composition.

    The Ambient Power Module (APM) is nothing more than an electronic circuit connected to an antenna and grounded to the earth. Tate made this come to life by just loosely wrapped wire around a 3-inch plastic tube with a whip antenna. This module will deliver low voltage up to several milliwatts dependent upon the local radio noise levels and antenna specifications.

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  • Like father, like son: Attractiveness is hereditary

    Sexy dads produce sexy sons, in the insect world at least. While scientists already knew that specific attractive traits, from cricket choruses to peacocks’ tails, are passed on to their offspring, the heritability of attractiveness as a whole is more contentious. Now, new research by the University of Exeter, published today (20 November) in Current Biology, shows that attractiveness is hereditary. >> Read the Full Article
  • MIT IDs proteins key to brain function

    CAMBRIDGE, MA— MIT researchers have identified a family of proteins key to the formation of the communication networks critical for normal brain function. Their research could lead to new treatments for brain injury and disease.

    The team, led by MIT biology professor Frank Gertler, found that a certain family of proteins is necessary to direct the formation of axons and dendrites, the cellular extensions that facilitate communication between neurons.

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