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Large-scale fires may have pumped as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in a few weeks as motor vehicle traffic does in a year, according to research by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

However, they caution that their estimates have a margin of error of about 50 percent, both because of inexact data about the extent of fires and varying estimates of the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by different types of blazes.

Researchers Christine Wiedinmyer of NCAR and Jason Neff of the University of Colorado, used satellite observations of fires and a new computer model, developed by Wiedinmyer, that estimates carbon dioxide emissions based on the mass of vegetation burned.

The U.S. spends more than double what other countries spend for medical care, $6,697 per capita in 2005, but a new Commonwealth Fund seven-nation survey finds that U.S. patients are more likely to skip care because of costs.

The study surveyed 12,000 adults in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. One third of U.S. adults called for rebuilding the system, the highest rate in any country surveyed. The U.S. also ranked last in saying only minor changes are needed in the health system.

Canadian patients are least likely to be able to get a same-day appointment with their physicians when sick and the most likely to seek care in emergency rooms as an alternative.


A team of Chinese and American scientists has discovered a new mammal from the 165 million-year-old lakebeds of the Jurassic Period in Northern China.

The find is reported in the November 1st issue of the journal Nature.

Supermassive black holes can produce powerful winds that shape a galaxy and determine their own growth, confirms a group of scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology.

The RIT team has, for the first time, observed the vertical launch of rotating winds from glowing disks of gas, known as accretion disks, surrounding supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. The findings are reported in the Nov. 1 issue of Nature.

Gas flowing into a supermassive black hole first accumulates in a rapidly spinning accretion disk, which forms the engine of a quasar, a type of active galactic nucleus found in some galaxies and an extremely powerful source of radiation.

Charting the circuitry of the brain and nervous system just got a lot more fun.

By activating multiple fluorescent proteins in neurons, neuroscientists at Harvard University are imaging the brain and nervous system as never before, rendering cells with 90 distinct colors which they dubbed a "Brainbow."

Brainbow is a huge leap over the handful of shades possible with current fluorescent labeling. By permitting visual resolution of individual brightly colored neurons, this increase should greatly help neuroscientists in understanding how our brains function.

Confocal reconstructions of the neuromuscular unctions on two adjacent muscle fibers from an adult YFP transgenic mouse.

Physicists in Arizona State University have designed a revolutionary laser technique which can destroy viruses and bacteria such as AIDS without damaging human cells and may also help reduce the spread of hospital infections such as MRSA.

The research, published in the Institute of Physics’ Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, discusses how pulses from an infrared laser can be fine-tuned to discriminate between problem microorganisms and human cells.

Current laser treatments such as UV are indiscriminate and can cause ageing of the skin, damage to the DNA or, at worst, skin cancer, and are far from 100 per cent effective.