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Scientists at the University of Sheffield writing in the journal Bioinformatics,say they have shown how bacteria could be used as a future fuel, a milestone in producing truly sustainable fuels in the future.

Like all living creatures, bacteria sustain themselves through their metabolism, a huge sequence of chemical reactions that transform nutrients into energy and waste. With mathematical computer models the Sheffield team have mapped the metabolism of a type of bacteria called Nostoc. Nostoc fixes nitrogen and, in doing so, releases hydrogen that can then potentially be used as fuel. Fixing nitrogen is an energy intensive process and it wasn't entirely clear exactly how the bacterium produces the energy it needs in order to perform. Now the new computer system has been used to map out how this happens.


Overall alcohol use—particularly consumption of beer—is declining in the US, according to a new study published in the August 2008 issue of The American Journal of Medicine. Researchers examined 50 years of data and found several changes in alcohol intake but no change in alcohol use disorders.

Americans are drinking significantly less beer and more wine, while hard liquor use has remained fairly constant. More people now report that they are non-drinkers. People born later in the 20th century drink more moderately than older people. As we age, our individual alcohol consumption goes down.

Did you know that Norwegian trees require only a few minutes to replace the timber used to produce the first edition of Aftenposten - equivalent to the time we spend making our morning coffee.

Norway is full of forests and the trees are growing. With just one-third of the growth logged, there is plenty of growth each year. In fact, since sheep and other domestic animals no longer graze the scrub, the landscape is actually starting to be overgrown.

Meanwhile, paper production is less and less profitable, hurting the forestry industry. But that won't last, say a group of experts. In fact, the value of Norwegian wood is going to go up.

The reason, they say, is second generation biodiesel and bioethanol. First generation production of fuel from rapeseed(Brassica napus) and maize has faced strong criticism. Producing fuel on valuable topsoil in the face of greater worldwide food demand is unpopular.

But as much criticism as biofuels have taken, there is no question the world has huge areas that can be better utilized, and timber from agriculture and forestry can produce more useful growth.

Mimmi Throne-Holst, research scientist at SINTEF in Norway, is one of those who believe that Norwegian forests can provide the fuels of the future and that Norway should prioritize this because of considerable experience with bio refinery (Borregaard, Norske Skog) and large-scale production.


A 'cloud computing', applications and services provided seamlessly on the Internet, approach to malicious software detection developed at the University of Michigan could make old antivirus software techniques a relic of the past.

Traditional antivirus software is installed on millions of individual computers around the world but according to researchers, antivirus software from popular vendors is increasingly ineffective.

Yesterday, newspapers were telling us half of apes and monkeys face extinction and today we find out we could be overwhelmed by them.

The Wildlife Conservation Society released a census showing massive numbers of these great apes alive and well in the Republic of Congo.

Western lowland gorillas are one of four recognized gorilla sub-species, which also include mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, and Cross River gorillas. All are classified as "critically endangered" by the IUCN, except eastern lowland gorillas, which are endangered.


When Yale astrophysicist Kevin Schawinski and colleagues at Oxford University enlisted public support in cataloguing galaxies, they never envisioned the strange object Hanny van Arkel found in archived images of the night sky.

The Dutch school teacher, a volunteer in the Galaxy Zoo project that allows members of the public to take part in astronomy research online, discovered a mysterious and unique object some observers are calling a "cosmic ghost."

When van Arkel posted about the image that quickly became known as "Hanny's Voorwerp" ( Dutch for "object") on the Galaxy Zoo forum, astronomers who run the site began to investigate and soon realized van Arkel might have found a new class of astronomical object.