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The Lead

Quake, Tsunami Factors Hide Off Californian Coast

May 29, 2015 3:00 pm | by American Geophysical Union | News | Comments

While their attention may be on the San Andreas Fault, residents of coastal Southern California could be surprised by very large earthquakes– and even tsunamis– from several major faults that lie offshore. Research into the undersea landscape off of Southern California and northern Baja California has revealed more worrisome details about a tectonic train wreck in the Earth’s crust with the potential for magnitude 7.9 to 8.0 earthquakes.

Cold Impacts Lifespan in Both Directions

May 29, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Century-old wisdom holds that cold-blooded creatures— flies, worms, fish— live longer in colder...

Lab Creates Hurricanes on Demand

May 29, 2015 8:45 am | by Associated Press, Jennifer Kay | News | Comments

Researchers trying to figure out what makes some hurricanes strengthen into catastrophic...

Mystery Goo Fades from California Beaches

May 29, 2015 8:31 am | by Associated Press, Christopher Weber | News | Comments

Seven miles of shutdown Southern California beaches, their surf made sticky by an oily goo of...

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EPA Issues Rules to Protect Water

May 29, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Mary Jalonick | News | Comments

Drinking water for 117 million Americans will be protected under new rules shielding small streams, tributaries and wetlands from pollution and development, the Obama administration has said. The White House said the rules, issued by the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would provide much-needed clarity for landowners, but some Republicans and farm groups said they go much too far.

Dinosaurs were Warm-blooded, Study Says

May 29, 2015 7:00 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Since their bones were first discovered in the 19th century, dinosaurs were thought to be simply giant dead lizards. Even the name translates to “terrible lizard” in Greek. But they may have much more in common with modern-day birds than was originally thought. A new study released today posits that the dinosaurs were warm-blooded – and not simply large cold-blooded reptiles.

Cool Roof Tech Chills Heat Islands, Lowers Emissions

May 29, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Technology Sydney | News | Comments

Sydney materials scientists are claiming a breakthrough in cool roof technology with a surface they've developed that will stay cooler than the ambient air temperature, even under the mid-summer Australian sun. The development, with major implications for reducing the heat load in urban areas and consequently cutting energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.


Ben and Jerry’s Unveils New Climate Change Ice Cream Flavor

May 28, 2015 3:14 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Ben and Jerry’s, the ice-cream company founded by two self-described hippies from Vermont, has a new flavor to raise awareness about climate change. Save Our Swirled, or S.O.S., was unveiled this week by the company, the latest in a series of social message campaigns for the ice cream giant.

Today in Lab History: Rachel Carson

May 27, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring, was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania, on May 27, 1907. Silent Spring, first published in September of 1962 and still in print today, is widely credited with aiding the launch of the environmental movement. It presented environmental problems to the general public more widely than any book before.

Galapagos Volcano Erupts, Threatening Wildlife

May 26, 2015 10:57 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

A volcano in the Galapagos Islands has erupted, potentially threatening wildlife on the biggest island of the Pacific archipelago. The Wolf Volcano, which is one of the most active among the islands, erupted early Monday.

Image of the Week: Drought-ridden California Looks to Australia

May 26, 2015 8:34 am | by Associated Press, Kristen Gelineau, Ellen Knickmeyer | News | Comments

California has turned to the world's driest inhabited continent for solutions to its longest and sharpest drought on record. Australia, the land poet Dorothea Mackellar dubbed "a sunburnt country," suffered a torturous drought from the late 1990s through 2012. Now, Californians are facing their own "Big Dry," and looking Down Under to see how they coped.

Bacteria Work Together to Fix Damaged Siblings

May 22, 2015 1:30 pm | by Univ. of Wyoming | News | Comments

A team of researchers has discovered a certain type of soil bacteria can use their social behavior of outer membrane exchange to repair damaged cells and improve the fitness of the bacteria population as a whole.


Antarctic Ice Shelves Melting Faster, Raising Sea Levels

May 22, 2015 11:47 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The melting of inland ice in Antarctica has sped over five years– adding massive amounts of water to the rise of sea levels, according to new research. The Southern Antarctic Peninsula’s glaciers became destabilized in 2009– and the melting of ice shelves has accelerated ever since.

ICYMI: Deadly Dog Flu; A Paper with 5,000 Authors; Dr. Seuss Marine Life

May 22, 2015 8:50 am | by Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief | News | Comments

Welcome to Laboratory Equipment's new Friday series, In Case You Missed It (ICYMI), where we bring you three trending news stories from the week. A deadly dog flu, concerns about scientific publishing and a highway just for butterflies are up for review today. 

How do Natural Gas Trucks Impact the Environment?

May 22, 2015 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Some major trucking companies are turning to natural gas to fuel their fleets— and to earn "green" credit among customers. But celebrating lower emissions could be premature.

Ability of GM Crops to Deter Pests Diminishes

May 21, 2015 3:00 pm | by North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

A new study has found that the toxin in a widely used genetically modified (GM) crop is having little impact on the crop pest called corn earworm– which is consistent with predictions made almost 20 years ago that had been largely ignored. The study may be a signal to pay closer attention to warning signs about the development of resistance in agricultural pests to GM crops.

Mysterious Stone Tools Predate Man

May 21, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Malcolm Ritter | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a trove of stone tools far older than any ever found before. Nobody knows who made them— or why. At 3.3 million years old, they push back the record of stone tools by about 700,000 years. More significantly, they are half-a-million years older than any known trace of our own branch of the evolutionary tree.


Good Soil Can Offset Impacts of Global Warming

May 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies | News | Comments

Maintaining a healthy and diverse soil community can buffer natural ecosystems against the damaging impacts of global warming. In a long-term study, researchers showed that small soil animals can limit the effects of climate change, which would otherwise stimulate the loss of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere.

Crews Clean Californian Coast After Yesterday's Oil Spill

May 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Christopher Weber | News | Comments

Cleanup crews fanned out today along a stretch of scenic California coastline stained by thousands of gallons of crude oil that spilled from broken pipe and flowed into the Pacific Ocean. The broken onshore pipeline spewed oil down a storm drain and into the ocean for several hours yesterday before it was shut off, creating a slick some four miles long about 20 miles west of Santa Barbara.

Obama Warns Climate Change Presents National Security Dangers

May 20, 2015 10:37 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

President Barack Obama has called for action on climate change as a matter of health and environmental necessity for months. Now, he’s casting it as a matter of national security.

European Leaders Commit to Climate Protection

May 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Kirsten Grieshaber | News | Comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande confirmed their commitment to fighting global warning Tuesday, gathering with others in Berlin to prepare for this year's UN Climate Change Conference.

Panda's Gut Can't Efficiently Digest Its Diet

May 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by American Society for Microbiology | News | Comments

It’s no wonder that giant pandas are always chewing and eating: their gut bacteria are not the type for efficiently digesting bamboo. The bamboo-eating giant panda actually harbors a carnivore-like gut microbiota predominated by bacteria such as Escherichia/Shigella and Streptococcus.

White House Plan Hopes to Save Bees

May 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

The federal government hopes to reverse America's declining honeybee and monarch butterfly populations by making more federal land bee-friendly, spending more money on research and considering the use of less pesticides.  

Rodents’ Disease-carrying Threat Predicted by Researchers

May 19, 2015 11:04 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

In the 14th century, Europe was devastated by the Black Death, a scourge spread by rodent populations. Now, a group of 21st century researchers are trying to forecast where rats and mice and other critters are most likely to spread viruses, bacteria, fungi and other illnesses communicable to humans.

Image of the Week: Shape of Mountains May Be Key to Saving Species

May 19, 2015 7:00 am | by Princeton Univ. | News | Comments

We perceive most mountain ranges as pyramid-shaped masses that steadily narrow as they slope upward. Scientists have found, however, that is not the case. Besides reshaping the mountains in our mind's eye, the findings could lead scientists to reconsider conservation strategies for mountain animal species threatened by climate change.

Climate, Migration Mean We’ll Be Sweating the Future

May 19, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

The combination of global warming and shifting population means that by mid-century, there will be a huge increase in the number of Americans sweating through days that are extremely hot. People are migrating into areas— especially in the South— where the heat is likely to increase more, according to a study that highlighted the places where the double whammy looks to be the biggest.

Study Explains Nature's Reason for Gender

May 19, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of East Anglia | News | Comments

Biologists have long puzzled about how evolutionary selection, known for its ruthless requirement for efficiency, allows the existence of males— when in so many species their only contribution to reproduction are spermatozoa. Now, research has found, when males compete and females choose over reproduction, it improves population health and protects against extinction, even in the face of genetic stress from high levels of inbreeding.

Grounded Iceberg Reveals Impact of Sea-ice Changes

May 18, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of New South Wales | News | Comments

The grounding of a giant iceberg in Antarctica has provided a unique real-life experiment that has revealed the vulnerability of marine ecosystems to sudden changes in sea-ice cover. Within just three years of the iceberg becoming stuck in Commonwealth Bay— an event which dramatically increased sea-ice cover in the bay— almost all of the seaweed on the sea floor had decomposed, or become discolored or bleached because of lack of light.

Baby Spiders Rain Down on Australia

May 18, 2015 10:09 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

It sounds like something from a nightmare, or perhaps a divine punishment, but it really happens: spiders rain from the sky in South Australia. The rain of tiny baby spiders from the Outback who use their webs as parachutes to travel long distances resulted in a rain of tiny black spiders in the Southern Tablelands region of the country two weeks ago.

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