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Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council grantee Peter Austin and three other researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto have just completed a survey of hospital visits in Ontario, showing that, compared to people born under other astrological signs, Virgos have an increased risk of vomiting during pregnancy, Pisces have an increased risk of heart failure, and Libras have an increased risk of fracturing their pelvises.

In fact, each of the 12 astrological signs had at least two medical disorders associated with them, thus placing people born under a given sign at increased risk compared to those born under different signs.

The study, which used data from 10,000,000 Ontario residents in 2000, was conducted with tongue firmly in cheek.

In his Jan. 23 State of the Union address, President George Bush outlined his plan to reduce the nation's dependency on foreign oil by requiring the production of 35 billion gallons a year of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017, roughly five times the current target set by Congress of 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.

Among the most promising alternatives are fuels derived from biological material. Currently, the main biofuel used in the United States is ethanol distilled from kernels of corn. There are about 140 corn ethanol refineries nationwide, which produce more than 5 billion gallons a year.

Modern human mothers are probably happy that they typically have one, maybe two babies at a time, but for early hominids, low birth numbers combined with competition often spelled extinction.

"The lineages of primates have some traits that make it hard for them to respond to rapid perturbations in the environment," says Dr. Nina G. Jablonski, professor of anthropology and department head at Penn State. "Through time we see a lot of lineages become extinct when environments where the species are found become highly seasonal or unpredictable."

Primates evolved in the Paleocene and Eocene when worldwide climate was less seasonal. The beneficial environment allowed primates to evolve as relatively brainy animals that reproduce slowly.

A scientific panel revealed today that rising global demand for healthy seafood has exceeded wild capture fisheries' ability to provide all fish meals demanded by consumers. Aquaculture -- or the farming of seafood -- is helping to fill the gap between sustainable wild supplies and the public demand for seafood. Research unveiled at the AAAS Annual Meeting demonstrated the enormous potential for sustainable growth of healthy farmed seafood production, notably through advancements in feed efficiency and the ability to expand production in marine environments.

The notion that more information about the science of human-caused climate change will spur effective problem solving by American society is just flat wrong, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder climate policy analyst.

Even the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released Feb. 2, which painted a bleak global portrait of rising seas and temperatures due to human activity, is unlikely by itself to lead to meaningful mitigation or adaptation anytime soon, said Lisa Dilling of CU-Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. “Most people still don’t feel the immediacy of the problem,” she said.

 
A University of Queensland microbiologist is part of an international team that has identified a bacterial gene that may affect climate and weather.
 
Dr Phil Bond, from UQ's Advanced Wastewater Management Centre, and his former colleagues at the University of East Anglia in England, have found how a particular type of marine bacteria – Marinomonas – generates a compound that is a key component in global sulfur and carbon cycles.

“Marine algae can produce large amounts of a compound (dimethylsulfoniopropionate or DMSP) that when broken down by bacteria produces dimethyl sulfide (DMS),” Dr Bond said.