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Historical Citizen-Scientists’ Ice Records Confirm Global Temperature Rise

Yale Environment 360 - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 00:46

Centuries-old records from Japanese priests and European shipping merchants are helping scientists confirm that the earth has warmed substantially — and freshwater ice formation significantly decreased — since the Industrial Revolution.

These early record keepers tracked annual freeze dates and the breakup of ice each spring on lakes and rivers for hundreds of years, beginning in the 1440s in Japan and 1690s in Finland. The data represents the oldest known inland ice records. An international team of scientists published a study this week in Nature Scientific Reports examining how ice behavior changed over the records’ years. They found that from 1443 to 1683, for example, the annual freeze date of Lake Suwa in Japan moved back 0.19 days per decade. From the start of the Industrial Revolution, however, that trend grew 24 times faster, pushing back the date of ice formation on the lake by 4.6 days per decade.

Categories: Environmental News

Anticipating artificial intelligence

Nature - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 00:00

Anticipating artificial intelligence

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). doi:10.1038/532413a

Concerns over AI are not simply fear-mongering. Progress in the field will affect society profoundly, and it is important to make sure that the changes benefit everyone.

Categories: Literature

Speak up about subtle sexism in science

Nature - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 00:00

Speak up about subtle sexism in science

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/532415a

Author: Tricia Serio

Female scientists face everyday, often-unintentional microaggression in the workplace, and it won't stop unless we talk about it, says Tricia Serio.

Categories: Literature

AI talent grab sparks excitement and concern

Nature - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 00:00

AI talent grab sparks excitement and concern

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/532422a

Author: Elizabeth Gibney

Google, Facebook and other tech firms are changing how artificial-intelligence research is done.

Categories: Literature

Seven chemical separations to change the world

Nature - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 00:00

Seven chemical separations to change the world

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). doi:10.1038/532435a

Authors: David S. Sholl & Ryan P. Lively

Purifying mixtures without using heat would lower global energy use, emissions and pollution — and open up new routes to resources, say David S. Sholl and Ryan P. Lively.

Categories: Literature

Correction

Nature - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 00:00

Correction

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/532427a

The News Feature ‘Monkey Kingdom’ (Nature532, 300–302; 2016) wrongly affiliated Erwan Bezard with INSERM — he is actually director of the Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Bordeaux. It also referred to Liping Zhang instead of Liping Wang.

Categories: Literature

Correction

Nature - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 00:00

Correction

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/532437a

The graphic 'The dirty ten' in the Comment 'Three steps to a green shipping industry' (Z.Wanet al. Nature530, 275–277; 2016 ) gave the wrong unit for PM2.5 concentrations. It should have been μg

Categories: Literature

Trouble in Paradise: A Blight Threatens Key Hawaiian Tree

Yale Environment 360 - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:43

The ʻohiʻa is Hawaii’s iconic tree, a keystone species that maintains healthy watersheds and provides habitat for numerous endangered birds. But a virulent fungal disease, possibly related to a warmer, drier climate, is now felling the island’s cherished 'ohi'a forests. BY RICHARD SCHIFFMAN

Categories: Environmental News

Scientists Discover Antarctic Lake That Could Contain Unique Life Forms

Yale Environment 360 - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 00:32

Scientists have discovered what they think is a massive, ribbon-shaped lake under the Antarctic ice sheet that could lead to the discovery of a bevy of new unique life forms.

NASA/Michael Studinger The lake, which measures 60 miles long by 6 miles wide, was discovered using satellite imagery, and scientists plan to confirm its existence using ice-penetrating radar this spring. The lake has likely been locked under the ice for millions of years — allowing bacteria and other life forms to evolve in complete isolation from the rest of the world, according to a report released at the European Geosciences Union meeting. Unlike the continent’s largest under-ice lake, Vostok, the newly discovered waterbody — located in East Antarctica — is relatively close to a research station, making it easier to explore. “It’s the last un-researched part of Antarctica, so it’s very exciting news,” Bryn Hubbard of the University of Aberystwyth UK told the New Scientist.

Categories: Environmental News

Killer landslides: The lasting legacy of Nepal’s quake

Nature - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 00:00

Killer landslides: The lasting legacy of Nepal’s quake

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/532428a

Author: Jane Qiu

A year after a devastating earthquake triggered killer avalanches and rock falls in Nepal, scientists are wiring up mountainsides to forecast hazards.

Categories: Literature

Brazilian Officials Put aHold on Mega-Dam Project in the Amazon

Yale Environment 360 - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 01:46

A proposed 8,000-megawatt hydroelectric dam in the Amazon was put on hold this week by Brazil’s environmental agency out of concerns over its impact on a local indigenous tribe.

The São Luiz do Tapajós project — which would be Brazil’s second-largest dam and a cornerstone of government efforts to expand hydroelectric power — would require developers to flood an area the size of New York City and home to thousands of Munduruku people. The environmental agency, Ibama, said they were suspending the project’s licensing because of “the infeasibility of the project from the prospective of indigenous issues.” Brent Millikan, the Amazon program director for International Rivers, told Reuters, "The areas that would have been flooded include sites of important religious and cultural significance. The local communities have a huge amount of knowledge about the resources where they are — if they were forced off the land and into cities they would become unskilled workers."

Categories: Environmental News

Researchers push for personalized tumour vaccines

Nature - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 00:00

Researchers push for personalized tumour vaccines

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2016.19801

Author: Heidi Ledford

Enthusiasm comes amid worries that the therapy may prove too complex to manufacture.

Categories: Literature

AstraZeneca launches project to sequence 2 million genomes

Nature - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 00:00

AstraZeneca launches project to sequence 2 million genomes

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2016.19797

Author: Heidi Ledford

Drug company aims to pool genomic and medical data in hunt for rare genetic sequences associated with disease.

Categories: Literature

Climate Change Adds Urgency To Push to Save World’s Seeds

Yale Environment 360 - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:38

In the face of rising temperatures and worsening drought, the world’s repositories of agricultural seeds may hold the key to growing food under increasingly harsh conditions. But keeping these gene banks safe and viable is a complicated and expensive challenge. BY VIRGINIA GEWIN

Categories: Environmental News

A Town Made Almost Entirely Out Of Plastic Bottles is Being Built in Panama

Yale Environment 360 - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 00:10

Construction has begun on the world’s first town made almost entirely out of recycled plastic bottles. Located on Isla Colón in Panama, the village will consist of 120 houses and a lodge on 83 acres of tropical jungle.

The first two-bedroom home was built late last year, and is made from 10,000 plastic bottles pulled from Panama trashcans, roadsides, and beaches. The walls of the homes consist of steel cages filled with bottles and then encased in a concrete mix. They are flexible enough to withstand an earthquake, and insulating enough to keep the home up to 17 degrees F cooler than the jungle outside. Because there are so many recycled bottles on the island already, homes can be built quickly and cheaply, said Robert Bezeau, founder of the Plastic Bottle Village. “We are changing the world, without changing the Earth, one home at a time,” he says on the project’s website.

Categories: Environmental News

Europe plans giant billion-euro quantum technologies project

Nature - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 00:00

Europe plans giant billion-euro quantum technologies project

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2016.19796

Author: Elizabeth Gibney

Third European Union flagship will be similar in size and ambition to graphene and human brain initiatives.

Categories: Literature

Entries Invited for Third Annual Yale E360 Video Contest

Yale Environment 360 - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 11:47

The third annual Yale Environment 360 Video Contest is now accepting entries. The contest honors the year's best environmental videos. Submissions must focus on an environmental issue or theme, have not been widely viewed online, and be a maximum of 15 minutes in length. Videos that are funded by an organization or company and are primarily about that organization or company are not eligible. The first-place winner will receive $2,000, and two runners-up will each receive $500. The winning entries will be posted on Yale Environment 360. The contest judges will be Yale Environment 360 editor Roger Cohn, New Yorker writer and e360 contributor Elizabeth Kolbert, and documentary filmmaker Thomas Lennon. Deadline for entries is June 10, 2016.
Read More.

Categories: Environmental News

Ocean science: The rise of Rhizaria

Nature - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 00:00

Ocean science: The rise of Rhizaria

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature17892

Authors: David A. Caron

Large amoeba-like organisms known as Rhizaria have often been overlooked in studies of ocean biology and biogeochemistry. Underwater imaging and ecological network analyses are revealing their roles. See Article p.465 & Letter p.504

Categories: Literature

In situ imaging reveals the biomass of giant protists in the global ocean

Nature - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 00:00

In situ imaging reveals the biomass of giant protists in the global ocean

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature17652

Authors: Tristan Biard, Lars Stemmann, Marc Picheral, Nicolas Mayot, Pieter Vandromme, Helena Hauss, Gabriel Gorsky, Lionel Guidi, Rainer Kiko & Fabrice Not

Planktonic organisms play crucial roles in oceanic food webs and global biogeochemical cycles. Most of our knowledge about the ecological impact of large zooplankton stems from research on abundant and robust crustaceans, and in particular copepods. A number of the other organisms that comprise planktonic communities are fragile, and therefore hard to sample and quantify, meaning that their abundances and effects on oceanic ecosystems are poorly understood. Here, using data from a worldwide in situ imaging survey of plankton larger than 600 μm, we show that a substantial part of the biomass of this size fraction consists of giant protists belonging to the Rhizaria, a super-group of mostly fragile unicellular marine organisms that includes the taxa Phaeodaria and Radiolaria (for example, orders Collodaria and Acantharia). Globally, we estimate that rhizarians in the top 200 m of world oceans represent a standing stock of 0.089 Pg carbon, equivalent to 5.2% of the total oceanic biota carbon reservoir. In the vast oligotrophic intertropical open oceans, rhizarian biomass is estimated to be equivalent to that of all other mesozooplankton (plankton in the size range 0.2–20 mm). The photosymbiotic association of many rhizarians with microalgae may be an important factor in explaining their distribution. The previously overlooked importance of these giant protists across the widest ecosystem on the planet changes our understanding of marine planktonic ecosystems.

Categories: Literature

Normalizing the environment recapitulates adult human immune traits in laboratory mice

Nature - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 00:00

Normalizing the environment recapitulates adult human immune traits in laboratory mice

Nature 532, 7600 (2016). doi:10.1038/nature17655

Authors: Lalit K. Beura, Sara E. Hamilton, Kevin Bi, Jason M. Schenkel, Oludare A. Odumade, Kerry A. Casey, Emily A. Thompson, Kathryn A. Fraser, Pamela C. Rosato, Ali Filali-Mouhim, Rafick P. Sekaly, Marc K. Jenkins, Vaiva Vezys, W. Nicholas Haining, Stephen C. Jameson & David Masopust

Our current understanding of immunology was largely defined in laboratory mice, partly because they are inbred and genetically homogeneous, can be genetically manipulated, allow kinetic tissue analyses to be carried out from the onset of disease, and permit the use of tractable disease models. Comparably reductionist experiments are neither technically nor ethically possible in humans. However, there is growing concern that laboratory mice do not reflect relevant aspects of the human immune system, which may account for failures to translate disease treatments from bench to bedside. Laboratory mice live in abnormally hygienic specific pathogen free (SPF) barrier facilities. Here we show that standard laboratory mouse husbandry has profound effects on the immune system and that environmental changes produce mice with immune systems closer to those of adult humans. Laboratory mice—like newborn, but not adult, humans—lack effector-differentiated and mucosally distributed memory T cells. These cell populations were present in free-living barn populations of feral mice and pet store mice with diverse microbial experience, and were induced in laboratory mice after co-housing with pet store mice, suggesting that the environment is involved in the induction of these cells. Altering the living conditions of mice profoundly affected the cellular composition of the innate and adaptive immune systems, resulted in global changes in blood cell gene expression to patterns that more closely reflected the immune signatures of adult humans rather than neonates, altered resistance to infection, and influenced T-cell differentiation in response to a de novo viral infection. These data highlight the effects of environment on the basal immune state and response to infection and suggest that restoring physiological microbial exposure in laboratory mice could provide a relevant tool for modelling immunological events in free-living organisms, including humans.

Categories: Literature

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