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Low maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy may affect primary tooth calcification, leading to enamel defects, which are a risk factor for early-childhood tooth decay.

Investigators from the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg and Victoria) presented the results of a study they conducted to determine the vitamin D status of pregnant women, the incidence of enamel defects and early-childhood tooth decay among their infants, and the relationship with pre-natal vitamin D levels.

Researchers in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Gabon, Germany, Japan, Rwanda, the United Kingdom, and the United States have found that simian foamy virus (SFV) is widespread among wild chimpanzees throughout equatorial Africa.

Recent studies have shown that humans who hunt wild primates, including chimpanzees, can acquire SFV infections. Since the long-term consequences of these cross-species infections are not known, it is important to determine to what extent wild primates are infected with simian foamy viruses.

In this study, researchers tested this question for wild chimpanzees by using novel non-invasive methods. Analyzing over 700 fecal samples from 25 chimpanzee communities across sub-Saharan Africa, the researchers obtained viral sequences from a large proportion of these communities, showing a range of infection rates from 44% to 100%.

NASA's sun-focused STEREO spacecraft unexpectedly detected particles from the edge of the solar system last year, allowing University of California, Berkeley, scientists to map for the first time the energized particles in the region where the hot solar wind slams into the cold interstellar medium.

Mapping the region by means of neutral, or uncharged, atoms instead of light "heralds a new kind of astronomy using neutral atoms," said Robert Lin, UC Berkeley professor of physics and lead for the suprathermal electron sensor aboard STEREO. "You can't get a global picture of this region, one of the last unexplored regions of the heliosphere, any other way because it is too tenuous to be seen by normal optical telescopes."

The heliosphere is a volume over which the effects of the solar wind extend, stretching from the sun to more than twice the distance of Pluto. Beyond its edge, called the heliopause, lies the relative quiet of interstellar space, at about 100 astronomical units (AU) - 100 times the Earth-sun distance.


The world of geology changes rapidly - sometimes the Grand Canyon is one age and then it is found to be much older. But even in geology it's not often a date gets revised by 500 million years.

University of Florida geologists say they have evidence that a half-dozen major basins in India were formed a billion or more years ago, making them at least 500 million years older than commonly thought. If so, it might remove one of the major obstacles to the 'Snowball Earth' theory that says a frozen Earth was once entirely covered in snow and ice. It might even lend some weight to a controversial claim that complex life originated hundreds of million years earlier than most scientists currently believe.

The Purana basins – which include the subject of the study, the Vindhyan basin – are located south of New Delhi in the northern and central regions of India. They are slight, mostly flat depressions in the Earth's crust that span thousands of square miles. For decades, Meert said, most geologists have believed the basins formed 500 million to 700 million years ago when the Earth's crust stretched, thinned and then subsided.

Human emissions of carbon dioxide are loading the atmosphere with heat-trapping greenhouse gases and have also begun to alter the chemistry of the ocean, according to a team of chemical researchers.

The ecological and economic consequences are difficult to predict but possibly calamitous, they say in the July 4 issue of Science, and halting the changes already underway will likely require even steeper cuts in carbon emissions than those currently proposed to curb climate change.

Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, writing with lead author Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii and two co-authors*, note that the oceans have absorbed about 40% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by humans over the past two centuries. This has slowed global warming, but at a serious cost: the extra carbon dioxide has caused the ocean's average surface pH (a measure of water's acidity) to shift by about 0.1 unit from pre-industrial levels. Depending on the rate and magnitude of future emissions, the ocean's pH could drop by as much as 0.35 units by the mid-21st century.

Scientists have long anguished over how little is known about Mercury, the innermost of the four terrestrial planetary bodies in our solar system. The gaps in knowledge covered such basic information as the planet's geology, how it was formed and evolved and whether its interior was still active.

In 1975, the Mariner 10 spacecraft returned intriguing images that showed smooth plains covering large swaths of Mercury's surface. But scientists could not determine whether the plains had been created by volcanic activity or by material ejected from below the surface when objects had collided into it. Thus, they could not reach a consensus over Mercury's geologic past.