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Showing posts from November 28, 2016

California targets dairy cows to combat global warming

GALT, Calif. (AP) — California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm. The nation's leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock.


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Scientists record biggest ever coral die-off on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

By Tom Westbrook SYDNEY (Reuters) - Warm seas around Australia's Great Barrier Reef have killed two-thirds of a 700-km (435 miles) stretch of coral in the past nine months, the worst die-off ever recorded on the World Heritage site, scientists who surveyed the reef said on Tuesday. "The coral is essentially cooked," professor Andrew Baird, a researcher at James Cook University who was part of the reef surveys, told Reuters by telephone from Townsville in Australia's tropical north. Mildly bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and the survey found this occurred in southern parts of the reef, where coral mortality was much lower.


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Scientists record biggest ever coral die-off on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

By Tom Westbrook SYDNEY (Reuters) - Warm seas around Australia's Great Barrier Reef have killed two-thirds of a 700-km (435 miles) stretch of coral in the past nine months, the worst die-off ever recorded on the World Heritage site, scientists who surveyed the reef said on Tuesday. "The coral is essentially cooked," professor Andrew Baird, a researcher at James Cook University who was part of the reef surveys, told Reuters by telephone from Townsville in Australia's tropical north. Mildly bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and the survey found this occurred in southern parts of the reef, where coral mortality was much lower.


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Hair Ball! How Cats' Tongues Get Them So Clean

Alexis Noel, a mechanical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, began investigating the spines on cat tonguesafter she watched a cat lick a thick blanket and it immediately got its tongue stuck. "I was home for the holidays and watching TV with the family cats," Noel said. "When I was done laughing at this curious cat, the scientist in me began to question how a soft, wet tissue could stick to something so easily," Noel told Live Science.


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Is your T-shirt clean of slavery? Science may soon be able to tell

By Liz Mermin LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Shoppers lured by a bargain-priced T-shirt but concerned about whether the item is free of slave labor could soon have the answer - from DNA forensic technology. James Hayward, chief executive of U.S.-based Applied DNA Sciences Inc. that develops DNA-based technology to prevent counterfeiting and ensure authenticity, said his researchers have been working in the cotton industry for up to nine years. Hayward said cotton was one of the most complex supply chains he had come across because it was grown in more than 100 countries and goes through a multi-stage transformation process before emerging in "fast fashion" that is cheap and disposable.

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'Miniantibodies' Reduce Inflammation and Pain

Researchers in Europe say a new type of biological molecule called nanobodies, or miniantibodies, can block inflammation and reduce pain in mice — a technique they describe as a next-generation strategy against inflammatory diseases. In experiments on mice, the nanobodies appeared to be more effective at controlling inflammation than either regular antibodies or the anti-inflammatory drugs that are typically used, the researchers said. The nanobodies could one day be a potent treatment for chronic pain, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory disorders, they said.


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Exercise May Prevent the Inflammation That Comes with Overeating

Exercise may protect against the inflammation that can come with overindulging for a week, a very small new study suggests. Previous studies have shown that even one week of overeating can impair people's glucose tolerance.However, none of the adults in the study developed impaired glucose tolerance. The samples showed that the study participants did not have increases in important markers of fat tissue inflammation, which otherwise would have been expected in people who consumed 30 percent extra calories for a week, the researchers said.


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Hidden Beneath Bolivian Volcano, Enough Water to Fill a Great Lake

The Bolivian volcano Cerro Uturuncu is a massive barren peak rising from the high plateau of South America's Altiplano. There is no actual lake under Cerro Uturuncu — but there is an incredible amount of water locked up in the melted rock beneath the volcano, approximately enough to fill Lake Superior. This sort of dissolved water is a well-known driver of eruptions for volcanoes in subduction zones, where one piece of the Earth's crust is being pushed under another.


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Muddy Demise: Bird-Like Dinosaur Died While Struggling to Free Itself

More than 66 million years ago, a feathered dinosaur with two skinny legs and a bony crest on top of its head got mired in the mud, likely putting up a mighty struggle before dying and eventually fossilizing, a new study finds. The donkey-size dinosaur, known as an oviraptorid, was preserved nearly intact, and found lying on its chest with its neck and wings outstretched, the researchers said. Like other oviraptorids, which were close cousins to birds, it couldn't fly, but it had a sharp, toothless beak that likely enabled it to eat shellfish, plants, nuts and eggs.


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Smash! Super-Stabby Mantis Shrimp Shows Off in Video

The video, produced by KQED San Francisco's Deep Look, shows how some species of mantis shrimp use knockout blows to break open the shells of tasty snails. There are more than 400 species of mantis shrimp around the world, most of which live in subtropical and tropical waters. Mantis shrimp have long fascinated scientists because of the animal's array of near-superpowers.


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Twisters Pop Up in Weird 'Big Bang' Soup

Smashing atoms together could produce a weird kind of fluid that makes whirlpools and rings, revealing secrets of some of the least-understood forces of nature that hold matter together, according to new research. The weird substance is a mix of the subatomic particles called quarks, which make up protons and neutrons, and gluons, which transmit the strong nuclear force that holds quarks together. How this plasma behaves has been the subject of much interest because it can reveal the behavior of the strong nuclear force.


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Got Milk? People Living 9,000 Years Ago Did, Ceramic Pots Show

Humankind has gulped down mouthfuls of milk and other dairy products from animals, such as sheep, goats and cows, for at least 9,000 years, a new study suggests. Researchers made the discovery after analyzing and dating more than 500 prehistoric pottery vessels discovered in the northern Mediterranean region, which includes the modern-day countries of Spain France, Italy, Greece and Turkey. During each examination, they looked for remnants of milk, which indicated that people had used animal dairy products.


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Surprise Find: More Than 80 Anglo-Saxon Coffins Uncovered in England

An ancient Anglo-Saxon cemetery with more than 80 rare wooden coffins containing skeletons has been unearthed in England. Earlier this year, archaeologists were investigating the ground around a river in the village of Great Ryburgh in eastern England, ahead of the construction of a lake and flood defense system. "We had no idea it [the cemetery] was going to be there," James Fairclough, an archaeologist with the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), told Live Science.


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Great Molasses Flood of 1919: Why This Deluge of Goo Was So Deadly

A bubbling flood of molasses that sent a towering wave of goo down the streets of Boston in 1919, catching everything from horses to humans in its sticky grasp, killing 21 people, injuring 150 more and flattening buildings in its wake. Cool temperatures may have caused the spilled molasses to flow more slowly, complicating attempts to rescue victims and to begin recovery and cleanup, researchers report in a new study. On Jan. 15, 1919, shortly after 12:40 p.m. local time, a giant storage tank 50 feet (15 meters) tall and 90 feet (27 m) wide on Boston's waterfront at the Purity Distilling Co. collapsed in the city's crowded North End, according to newspapers at the time.


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'Singing Snake' Busted: Real Voice Behind Legend Discovered

Local folklore in the Amazon region and in parts of Central America claims that the bushmaster — a giant and deadly viper — can "sing." The breathy, repetitive notes of this call are associated with the venomous snake, and they instill fear in people living in the northwestern Amazon River basin, researchers have reported. The scientists were researching frog populations in Ecuador and Peru when they learned of the alleged singing ability of the viper Lachesis muta from their field assistants, the researchers wrote in a new study. A singing frog — Tepuihyla tuberculosa — sits at the entrance of its tree hole in Amazonian Ecuador.


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'Lover' Cockroaches Grow Bigger Testicles to Woo Mates

Cockroaches are known for their superior survival skills, but it seems these bugs have another evolutionary advantage when it comes to the mating game: Male roaches can grow bigger testicles, if need be, to woo a mate. Roaches compete for females in various ways, with two main approaches being to defend a female by force, or to sneak past larger males to mate. Based on these two strategies, the researchers think that males from two species of giant cockroaches from Madagascar evolved different physical characteristics based on their tactics for winning a female.


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Altar of Miracle-Making Viking King Discovered in Norway

The original shrine to a Viking-king-turned-saint has been discovered in Norway, archaeologists say.


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130-Million-Year Old Proteins Still Present in Dinosaur-Age Fossil

Microscopic pigment structures and proteins that graced the feathers of a Cretaceous-age bird are still present in its 130-million-year-old fossil, a new study finds. The tiny and ancient structures were found on Eoconfuciusornis, a crow-size early bird that lived in what is now northern China during the early Cretaceous. Eoconfuciusornis is one of the first birds known to have a keratinous beak and no teeth.


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The Clever Way Females Fend Off Male Fish with Big Genitals

Male mosquitofish with bigger genitals are typically best at coercing females into the "sack," but now researchers have found that females that are not interested in such pushy lovers grow bigger brains to fight back. "We did not expect to find that female, but not male, brain size increased in lines selected for a longer gonopodium," said study lead author Séverine Buechel, an evolutionary biologist at Stockholm University.


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