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  • April 3, 2015
  • 02:56 PM
  • 40 views

Health risks on the Antarctic Peninsula – what’s happening with the ozone hole, UV exposure, environmental change and funding for Antarctic science?

by Andy Russell in Our Clouded Hills

I recently had a paper published in Antarctic Science – I don’t think that it’ll set the world on fire but it was quite interesting in how it came about so I thought I’d write a blogpost about it. The study The measurements for the study were taken by a team who sailed across the […]... Read more »

  • March 31, 2015
  • 04:58 PM
  • 105 views

An apple a day may keep the children away: Pesticides and sperm count

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever hear that old saying an apple a day keeps the Doctor away? Well it might have the right idea, just the wrong person. New research investigating the relationship between eating fruit and vegetables containing pesticide residues and the quality of men’s semen has shown a link with lower sperm counts and percentages of normally-formed sperm. So for people wanting children it may be time to rethink that produce.... Read more »

Y.H. Chiu et al. (2015) Fruit and vegetable intake and their pesticide residues in relation to semen quality among men from a fertility clinic. Human Reproduction. info:/10.1093/humrep/dev064

Hagai Levine, & Shanna H. Swan. (2015) Is dietary pesticide exposure related to semen quality? Positive evidence from men attending a fertility clinic. Human Reproduction. info:/10.1093/humrep/dev065

  • March 31, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 113 views

Shields Up! Lay In A Course For Mars

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Deflector shields allowed Star Trek and other sci-fi franchises to have long space battles. Without them, one good strike and everyone was dead – that wouldn’t lend itself to sequels.

We don’t need shields for space battles yet, but we do need them to get to Mars. Cosmic radiation will kill or injure every astronaut unless we can deflect the radiation away from the spacecraft. We’re just about to build real deflectors, and our teachers are the magnetic fields we find ........ Read more »

  • March 29, 2015
  • 02:43 PM
  • 86 views

Biofuel, good for the environment if you’re eating less

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When the government first changed policy to require ethanol in gasoline, we were told it would reduce our carbon footprint. Then food prices rose significantly and corn in particular saw the largest price rise. This was because corn is a staple in production of almost any other food from eggs to beef, but the policy made environmental sense. Well it made sense, until you found out that the new government policy also took into account people eating less.... Read more »

Searchinger, T., Edwards, R., Mulligan, D., Heimlich, R., & Plevin, R. (2015) Do biofuel policies seek to cut emissions by cutting food?. Science, 347(6229), 1420-1422. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261221  

  • March 29, 2015
  • 08:17 AM
  • 98 views

Modeling Life On Titan

by Jeffrey Daniels in United Academics

Lifeforms that live off methane instead of water are possible on Titan’s surface.... Read more »

  • March 20, 2015
  • 03:55 AM
  • 113 views

How chemistry affects the evolution of life

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: In this fascinating video, Professor Ros Rickaby from Oxford chats with Professor Simon Conway-Morris at Cambridge about how Earth’s changing chemistry has affected evolution, and how this can sometimes lead to evolutionary convergence... Read more »

  • March 17, 2015
  • 07:25 PM
  • 141 views

Hippos are (almost) definitely whales, not pigs

by Isabel Torres in Science in the clouds

Hippos are strange mammals. They lack hairs and sweat glands, and have an unusually thick skin. The only other mammals that share these features with hippos are whales, but they look nothing alike, except they’re also huge and live in water. Coincidence? Traditionally hippos were included in the Suidae (pigs) branch of the mammalian evolutionary tree, but molecular data unambiguously shows that they're closely related to cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). This not only sounds unlikely........ Read more »

  • March 12, 2015
  • 02:54 AM
  • 120 views

Science, climate change and controversy

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: It’s inevitable: as science progresses, controversy happens. But sometimes, the public sees controversy where none exists. How to remedy that? ... Read more »

  • March 7, 2015
  • 10:17 AM
  • 167 views

How radiation from space affects the Earth's climate

by This Science is Crazy in This Science Is Crazy!

Convergent cross-mapping analysis finds 'modest causal effect' of cosmic rays on global temperatures over short timescales, but rules out effect on long-term global warming.... Read more »

Tsonis, A., Deyle, E., May, R., Sugihara, G., Swanson, K., Verbeten, J., & Wang, G. (2015) Dynamical evidence for causality between galactic cosmic rays and interannual variation in global temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201420291. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1420291112  

  • March 1, 2015
  • 06:23 PM
  • 136 views

Chancelloriids Revised

by Marc in Teaching Biology

Many Cambrian fossils are simply spines and sclerites unassociated with any body. Few of the exceptionally-preserved Cambrian freaks come with spines attached, and some of the most prominent of these are the chancelloriids. Originally described as sponges by Charles Doolittle Walcott back in 1920 (Walcott, 1920), modern researchers have found that the spines are very similar to those […]
The post Chancelloriids Revised appeared first on Teaching Biology.
... Read more »

Stefan Bengtson, & Desmond Collins. (2015) Chancelloriids of the Cambrian Burgess Shale. Palaeontologia Electronica. info:other/

  • February 28, 2015
  • 02:46 PM
  • 202 views

Life, NOT as we know it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Life as we know it, when we peer deep into the vastness of space we look for someone — or something — that resembles ourselves. Carbon based, needs water lifeforms, but what if we’re being narrow-minded? A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of researchers suggests we are being too closed minded about life.... Read more »

James Stevenson,, Jonathan Lunine,, & Paulette Clancy. (2015) Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome. Science Advances. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400067

  • February 6, 2015
  • 10:49 AM
  • 207 views

Cleaner Lakes Are Social Media Stars

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," at least 13 of which are named Clear. But some of these lakes are clearer and cleaner than others. Does that matter to the tourists who visit them? Researchers found an easy way to answer this question by taking a deep dive into Flickr.

Bonnie Keeler, a scientist at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, explains that it's important to measure how the public is using various lakes, rivers and streams. Agencies that are trying........ Read more »

Keeler, B., Wood, S., Polasky, S., Kling, C., Filstrup, C., & Downing, J. (2015) Recreational demand for clean water: evidence from geotagged photographs by visitors to lakes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/140124  

  • February 5, 2015
  • 09:10 AM
  • 181 views

Climate Change: Heatwaves and Poverty in Pakistan

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

The 2010 floods were among the worst that Pakistan has experienced in recent decades. Sadly, the country is prone to recurrent flooding which means that in any given year, Pakistani farmers hope and pray that the floods will not be as bad as those in 2010. It would be natural to assume that recurring flood disasters force Pakistani farmers to give up farming and migrate to the cities in order to make ends meet. But a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change by Valerie Mueller ........ Read more »

  • February 5, 2015
  • 05:04 AM
  • 154 views

'One fossil can overturn anything' Interview with Jenny Clack

by Isabel Torres in Science in the clouds

Now happily living on land, our Devonian ancestors tried many ways to get out of the murky waters. Jenny Clack has been studying the water-to-land transition of vertebrates for many decades. Her discoveries broke dogmas and rewrote textbooks. Jenny Clack's passion for palaeontology began at a young age, but unlike most children, Clack found dinosaurs “rather boring” and was instead fascinated with weird older creatures from the Devonian era, over 360 million years ago......... Read more »

  • January 30, 2015
  • 05:33 AM
  • 163 views

Desirable difficulties

by Mirjam Sophia Glessmer in Adventures in Teaching and Oceanography

Initial harder learning might make for better longterm retrieval. A lot of the discussions at my university on how to improve learning focus on how to make it easier for students to learn. That never sat quite right with me … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 12, 2015
  • 05:08 PM
  • 249 views

Study shows rise in mass die-offs

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You really don’t hear much about mass die-offs from mainstream news outlets; this might make you think they don’t happen that often. However, an analysis of 727 mass die-offs of nearly 2,500 animal species from the past 70 years has found that such events are increasing among birds, fish, and marine invertebrates. At the same time, the number of individuals killed appears to be decreasing for reptiles and amphibians, and is unchanged for mammals.... Read more »

Samuel B. Fey, Adam M. Siepielski, Sébastien Nusslé, Kristina Cervantes-Yoshida, Jason L. Hwan, Eric R. Huber, Maxfield J. Fey, Alessandro Catenazzi, & Stephanie M. Carlson. (2015) Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1414894112

  • December 30, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 404 views

Turning New Year’s On Its Head

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

The popular phrase is, “It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.” Many organisms get to have both. We can learn a lot from studying old organisms, but perhaps the biggest question to answer is what constitutes a single life. Many living things seem to cheat; they have more than one life.... Read more »

  • December 10, 2014
  • 01:20 PM
  • 7 views

DNA can survive atmosphere re-entry

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

On March 29, 2011, a TEXUS-49 rocket took off from northern Sweden for a short trip into space and back …Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 8, 2014
  • 08:02 AM
  • 360 views

Climate Change: Heatwaves and Poverty in Pakistan

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

In the summer of 2010, over 20 million people were affected by the summer floods in Pakistan. Millions lost access to shelter and clean water, and became dependent on aid in the form of food, drinking water, tents, clothes and medical supplies in order to survive this humanitarian disaster. It is estimated that at least $1.5 billion to $2 billion were provided as aid by governments, NGOs, charity organizations and private individuals from all around the world, and helped contain the devastating ........ Read more »

  • December 8, 2014
  • 02:58 AM
  • 234 views

Estimates of Anthropogenic Nitrogen in the Ocean May Be High

by Wiley Asia Blog in Wiley Asia Blog - Life Sciences

Inundation of nitrogen into the atmosphere and terrestrial environments, through fossil fuel combustion and extensive fertilization, has risen tenfold since preindustrial times according to research published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Excess nitrogen can infiltrate water tables and can trigger extensive algal blooms that deplete aquatic environments of oxygen, among other damaging effects.

Although scientists have extensively studied the effects of excess nitrogen in terrestrial habita........ Read more »

Altieri, K., Hastings, M., Peters, A., Oleynik, S., & Sigman, D. (2014) Isotopic evidence for a marine ammonium source in rainwater at Bermuda. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. DOI: 10.1002/2014GB004809  

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