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The Lead

Oxygen Levels Delayed the Appearance of Animals

October 31, 2014 2:00 pm | by UC Riverside | News | Comments

Researchers are reporting that oxygen levels during the billion or more years before the rise of animals were only 0.1 percent of what they are today. Earth’s atmosphere couldn’t have supported a diversity of creatures, regardless of other factors.

Toddlers Emulate Peers, Apes Don't

October 31, 2014 7:00 am | by Association for Psychological Science | News | Comments

From the playground to the board room, people often conform to the behavior of those around them...

Bats Like to Hang Out with Friends

October 31, 2014 7:00 am | by Centre for Ecology & Hydrology | News | Comments

New research has shown that despite moving house frequently, bats choose to roost with the same...

Air Around Oil, Gas Sites May Be Dangerous

October 30, 2014 2:00 pm | by BioMed Central | News | Comments

New research suggests air pollutants released by unconventional oil and gas production are well...

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Molecule Protects Plants from the Harsh Sun

October 30, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Plants rely on sunlight to make their food, but they also need protection from its harmful rays, just like humans do. Now, scientists have discovered a group of molecules in plants that shields them from sun damage.

Most Ammonium in Ocean Didn't Come from Humans

October 30, 2014 7:00 am | by Brown Univ. | News | Comments

To understand the extent to which human activities are polluting Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, it’s important to distinguish human-made pollutants from compounds that occur naturally. New research, based on two years of rainwater samples taken in Bermuda, suggests that ammonium deposited over the open ocean comes almost entirely from natural marine sources.

California's Drought May Impact Sushi Prices

October 29, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Terence Chea | News | Comments

California's deepening drought is shrinking its rice harvest, and that's bad news for farmers, migratory birds and sushi lovers. The $5 billion industry exports rice to more than 100 countries. Nearly all U.S. sushi restaurants use medium-grain rice grown in the Sacramento Valley.

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Glaciers Sing

October 29, 2014 7:00 am | by The Geological Society of America | News | Comments

Researchers using seismic recordings, collected near Lake Gornersee in the Swiss Alps, to look for signs of water moving through fractures near the glacier bed, have found that that harmonic tremor occurs within mountain glaciers and that individual icequakes at the glacier base can exhibit harmonic properties.

Native Tortoises Make a Comeback on Galapagos Island

October 29, 2014 7:00 am | by SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry | News | Comments

A population of endangered giant tortoises, which once dwindled to just over a dozen, has recovered on the Galapagos island of Española. Some 40 years after the first captive-bred tortoises were reintroduced to the island by the Galapagos National Park Service, the endemic Española giant tortoises are reproducing and restoring some of the ecological damage caused by feral goats that were brought to the island in the late 19th century.

Bacteria May Save Bees

October 29, 2014 7:00 am | by Brigham Young Univ. | Videos | Comments

For decades, honeybees have been battling a deadly disease that kills off their larvae and leads to hive collapse. It’s called American Foulbrood and its effects are so devastating and infectious, it often requires infected hives to be burned to the ground. Now, an undergraduate has produced a natural way to eliminate the scourge, and it’s working: using tiny killer bugs known as phages to protect baby bees from infection.

Hawaiian Lava Merits Evacuation

October 28, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Jennifer Kelleher | News | Comments

Dozens of residents have been told they might have to evacuate as lava from Kilauea heads toward their homes. Hawaii officials will make arrangements for those living in the path of a lava flow to watch the destruction of their homes. That accommodation is being made to provide for a means of closure.

Two M Barrels of Oil Rest on Seafloor

October 28, 2014 7:00 am | by UC Santa Barbara | News | Comments

Because of the environmental disaster’s unprecedented scope, assessing the damage caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been a challenge. One unsolved puzzle is the location of two million barrels of submerged oil thought to be trapped in the deep ocean.

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Global Hydropower Boom Underway

October 24, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Copenhagen | News | Comments

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce the number of our last remaining large free-flowing rivers by about 20 percent and pose a serious threat to freshwater biodiversity.

Best Practices to Cope with Drought

October 24, 2014 7:00 am | by UC Riverside | News | Comments

As California enters its fourth year of severe drought, Southern California water agencies have turned to new pricing structures, expanded rebate programs and implemented other means to encourage their customers to reduce consumption. Some of those policies have greatly reduced per capita consumption, while others have produced mixed results.

3-D Videos of Trees Help People Get Over Stress

October 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Illinois | News | Comments

While numerous studies have affirmed nature’s stress-reduction properties, scientists haven’t known the specific amount of exposure needed to induce these calming effects. Now, researchers have found that viewing 3-D videos of residential streets with varying amounts of tree canopy significantly improved participants’ physiological and psychological recovery from a stressful experience.

Electrodialysis Removes Salt from Fracked Wells

October 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

One byproduct of fracking is millions of gallons of water that’s much saltier than seawater, after leaching salts from rocks deep below the surface. Now, researchers say they have found an economical solution for removing the salt from this water.

Herb Molecule Holds Potential for Drug Development

October 21, 2014 9:01 am | by Nanyang Technological Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a new molecule that can join together chains of amino acids. Only three other known molecules have been discovered to perform this function, which is an important process in the development of new drugs. A key difference is that the new molecule can do the same process 10,000 times faster than the other three and “cleanly,” without leaving any residue behind.

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Tracers Spot Fracking Fluids in Nature

October 21, 2014 8:55 am | by NSF | News | Comments

Scientists have developed new geochemical tracers that can identify hydraulic fracturing flow back fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment. The tracers have been field-tested at a spill site in West Virginia and downstream from an oil and gas brine wastewater treatment plant in Pennsylvania.

Study Charts Fate of Chemicals Affecting Human Health, Environment

October 20, 2014 2:49 pm | by Arizona State Univ.'s Biodesign Institute | News | Comments

In a new study a researcher at Arizona State Univ.'s Biodesign Institute examines the trajectory of chemicals appearing as emergent threats to human or environmental health. The study reveals that around 14 years typically elapse from the onset of initial safety concerns about a given chemical to the height of concern and appropriate action. This extended timeline implies protracted exposure to CECs for a large number of people.

Another Month, Another Global Heat Record Broken

October 20, 2014 2:20 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

It sounds like a broken record: Last month again set a new mark for global heat. And meteorologists say Earth is now on pace to tie the hottest year ever recorded, or more likely, to break it. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 F. That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.

Physicists: Leave Your Nails Alone

October 17, 2014 2:00 pm | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

The daily trimming of fingernails and toenails to make them more aesthetically pleasing could be detrimental and potentially lead to serious nail conditions. This is according to researchers who have devised equations to identify the physical laws that govern nail growth, and used them to throw light on the causes of some of the most common nail problems, such as ingrown toe nails, spoon-shaped nails and pincer nails.

Ancient Mountains Fed Early Life

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by The Australian National Univ. | Videos | Comments

Scientists have found evidence for a huge mountain range that sustained an explosion of life on Earth 600 million years ago. The mountain range was similar in scale to the Himalayas and spanned at least 2,500 kilometers of modern west Africa and northeast Brazil, which at that time were part of the supercontinent Gondwana.

Sleep Hormone May Be Linked to Earth's Biggest Migration

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Inside Science News Service, Peter Gwynne | News | Comments

Each day, plankton rise from deep underwater to the ocean's surface during the night and then return to the depths in daytime. Zoologists describe this movement as Earth’s biggest migration. The stimulus for this mass migration has long puzzled scientists but it may be the sleep hormone melatonin.

Geochemist Gets View into Center of the Earth

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by UC Santa Barbara | News | Comments

A geochemist studying Samoan volcanoes has found evidence of the planet’s early formation still trapped inside the Earth. Known as hotspots, volcanic island chains such as Samoa can hold ancient primordial signatures from the early solar system that have somehow survived billions of years.

Feds: Winter to be Average

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

If you thought last winter was a horror show, with cold blasts from the polar vortex and a lack of California rain, there's some good news: no sequel is expected this year, federal forecasters say.

Chimpanzees Have Favorite Tools for Hunting Food

October 16, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | Videos | Comments

West African chimpanzees will search far and wide to find Alchornea hirtella, a spindly shrub whose straight shoots provide the ideal tools to hunt aggressive army ants in an ingenious fashion. The plant provides the animals with two different types of tool, a thicker shoot for digging and a more slender tool for dipping.

Light Pollution Harms Fledglings

October 16, 2014 7:00 am | by PLOS | News | Comments

Turning street lights off decreases the number of grounded fledglings, according to a study. Thousands of birds are attracted to lights– sometimes referred to as light-pollution– every year worldwide during their first flights from their nests to the open ocean, a phenomenon called “fallout.”

EPA OKs Weed Killer for GM Crops

October 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Mary Jalonick | News | Comments

The EPA has approved a new version of a popular weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans. The EPA says that it will allow the use of a 2,4-D weed killer called Enlist Duo.

Lake Erie Increasingly Susceptible to Blooms

October 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Lake Erie has become increasingly susceptible to large blooms of toxin-producing cyanobacteria since 2002, potentially complicating efforts to rein in the problem in the wake of this year's Toledo drinking water crisis.

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