Legislative & Regulatory Update

Data mining finds more than expected beneath Andean Plateau

Seismologists investigating how Earth forms new continental crust have compiled more than 20 years of seismic data from a wide swath of South America’s Andean Plateau and determined that processes there have produced far more continental rock than previously believed.

NASA's Aqua Satellite spots Typhoon Hato's Landfall in China

NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Typhoon Hato just hours after it made landfall in southeastern China. 

Sub-tropical corals vulnerable, new study shows

Climate Change News - ENN - August 23, 2017 - 2:07pm
The vulnerability and conservation value of sub-tropical reefs south of the Great Barrier Reef - regarded as climate change refuges – has been highlighted in a new study.

On the other hand, the immune system can also CAUSE cancer

Infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer and a subset of head and neck cancers worldwide. A University of Colorado Cancer Center paper describes a fascinating mechanism that links these two conditions – viral infection and cancer. The link, basically, is a family of enzymes called APOBEC3. These APOBEC3 enzymes are an essential piece of the immune system’s response to viral infection, attacking viral DNA to cause disabling mutations. Unfortunately, as the paper shows, especially the action of family member APOBEC3A can spill over from its attack against viruses to induce DNA mutations and damage in the host genome as well. In other words, this facet of the immune system designed to scramble viral DNA can scramble human DNA as well, sometimes in ways that cause cancer.

Climate change is luring Kodiak bears away from their iconic salmon streams

Climate Change News - ENN - August 23, 2017 - 1:59pm
Kodiak brown bears are abandoning salmon–their iconic prey–due to climate change, according to a new study.  

Treating arthritis with algae

Arthritis is the most-widespread joint disease, with around 90 percent of all people over 65 being affected to varying degrees, but this degenerative disease is also widespread amongst younger people. In arthritis, the cartilage in the joint, a type of protective layer on bones that "lubricates" the joint, degenerates over time. This can be extremely painful for sufferers, because inflammatory reactions are associated with cartilage degeneration. In the later stages of the disease, bones are no longer adequately protected and can directly rub against each other.Arthritis can affect all joints in the body, but most often affects the knee joint, hip joint and fingers. The disease has been considered incurable until now. Current treatment methods, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers, mainly address the symptoms. Often, the only remaining option is an operation to replace the affected joint with an artificial one.

NASA Sees Major Hurricane Kenneth in Eastern Pacific

Former Tropical Depression 13E has strengthened into a Major Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. NASA’s Terra satellite passed over Kenneth and captured an image that showed a well-developed storm with a visible eye.On Friday, Aug. 18 at 11 p.m. EDT Tropical Depression 13E strengthened into Tropical Storm Kenneth. Just 48 hours later at 11 p.m. EDT on August 20, Kenneth became a hurricane.The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured a visible-light image of Kenneth at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. It showed powerful thunderstorms wrapped around the center of the visible 15 nautical-mile wide eye. Infrared satellite imagery showed that the cloud tops of the surrounding ring of convection has cooled indicating they have strengthened as the storms have pushed higher into the troposphere.

Spinning plant waste into carbon fiber for cars, planes

Using plants and trees to make products such as paper or ethanol leaves behind a residue called lignin, a component of plant cell walls. That leftover lignin isn’t good for much and often gets burned or tossed into landfills. Now, researchers report transforming lignin into carbon fiber to produce a lower-cost material strong enough to build car or aircraft parts.The researchers will present their work today at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, is holding the meeting here through Thursday. It features nearly 9,400 presentations on a wide range of science topics.

MU Study Finds that Gravity, 'Mechanical Loading' are Key to Cartilage Development

Mechanical loading, or forces that stimulate cellular growth for development, is required for creating cartilage that is then turned to bone; however, little is known about cartilage development in the absence of gravity or mechanical loads. Now, in a study led by the University of Missouri, bioengineers have determined that microgravity may inhibit cartilage formation. Findings reveal that fracture healing for astronauts in space, as well as patients on bed rest here on Earth, could be compromised in the absence of mechanical loading.

Plants Under Heat Stress Must Act Surprisingly Quickly to Survive

Climate Change News - ENN - August 22, 2017 - 3:53pm
In new results reported in The Plant Cell, molecular biologist Elizabeth Vierling at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues in India and China report finding a crucial mechanism that plants need to recover from heat stress.

Study Suggests Serotonin May Worsen Tinnitus

Millions of people suffer from the constant sensation of ringing or buzzing in the ears known as tinnitus, creating constant irritation for some and severe anxiety for others. Research by scientists at OHSU shows why a common antidepressant medication may worsen the condition.

Orange is the New Green: How Orange Peels Revived a Costa Rican Forest

In the mid-1990s, 1,000 truckloads of orange peels and orange pulp were purposefully unloaded onto a barren pasture in a Costa Rican national park. Today, that area is covered in lush, vine-laden forest.

How Continents Were Recycled

Researchers from Germany and Switzerland have used computer simulations to analyse how plate tectonics have evolved on Earth over the last three billion years. They show that tectonic processes have changed in the course of the time, and demonstrate how those changes contributed to the formation and destruction of continents. The model reconstructs how present-day continents, oceans and the atmosphere may have evolved.

Methane Hydrate is not a Smoking Gun in the Arctic Ocean

Climate Change News - ENN - August 22, 2017 - 11:03am
Clathrate (hydrate) gun hypothesis stirred quite the controversy when it was posed in 2003. It stated that methane hydrates – frozen water cages containing methane gas found below the ocean floor – can melt due to increasing ocean temperatures.

Methane Hydrate is not a Smoking Gun in the Arctic Ocean

Clathrate (hydrate) gun hypothesis stirred quite the controversy when it was posed in 2003. It stated that methane hydrates – frozen water cages containing methane gas found below the ocean floor – can melt due to increasing ocean temperatures.

Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics

The recent discovery of E. coli carrying mcr-1 and ndm-5 — genes that make the bacterium immune to last-resort antibiotics — has left clinicians without an effective means of treatment for the superbug.But in a new study, University at Buffalo researchers have assembled a team of three antibiotics that, together, are capable of eradicating the deadly bacterium. The groundbreaking research was recently published in mBio, a journal for the American Society of Microbiology.

How cytoplasm ''feels'' to a cell's components

Under a microscope, a cell’s cytoplasm can resemble a tiny underwater version of New York’s Times Square: Thousands of proteins swarm through a cytoplasm’s watery environment, coming together and breaking apart like a cytoskeletal flash mob.Organelles such as mitochondria and lysosomes must traverse this crowded, ever-changing cytoplasmic space to deliver materials to various parts of a cell.Now engineers at MIT have found that these organelles and other intracellular components may experience the surrounding cytoplasm as very different environments as they travel. For instance, a cell’s nucleus may “feel” the cytoplasm as a fluid, honey-like material, while mitochondria may experience it more like toothpaste.

Hidden river once flowed beneath Antarctic ice

Climate Change News - ENN - August 21, 2017 - 6:46pm
Antarctic researchers from Rice University have discovered one of nature’s supreme ironies: On Earth’s driest, coldest continent, where surface water rarely exists, flowing liquid water below the ice appears to play a pivotal role in determining the fate of Antarctic ice streams.The finding, which appears online this week in Nature Geoscience, follows a two-year analysis of sediment cores and precise seafloor maps covering 2,700 square miles of the western Ross Sea. As recently as 15,000 years ago, the area was covered by thick ice that later retreated hundreds of miles inland to its current location. The maps, which were created from state-of-the-art sonar data collected by the National Science Foundation research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer, revealed how the ice retreated during a period of global warming after Earth’s last ice age. In several places, the maps show ancient water courses — not just a river system, but also the subglacial lakes that fed it.

Hidden river once flowed beneath Antarctic ice

Antarctic researchers from Rice University have discovered one of nature’s supreme ironies: On Earth’s driest, coldest continent, where surface water rarely exists, flowing liquid water below the ice appears to play a pivotal role in determining the fate of Antarctic ice streams.The finding, which appears online this week in Nature Geoscience, follows a two-year analysis of sediment cores and precise seafloor maps covering 2,700 square miles of the western Ross Sea. As recently as 15,000 years ago, the area was covered by thick ice that later retreated hundreds of miles inland to its current location. The maps, which were created from state-of-the-art sonar data collected by the National Science Foundation research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer, revealed how the ice retreated during a period of global warming after Earth’s last ice age. In several places, the maps show ancient water courses — not just a river system, but also the subglacial lakes that fed it.

Hot spot at Hawaii? Not so fast

Through analysis of volcanic tracks, Rice University geophysicists have concluded that hot spots like those that formed the Hawaiian Islands aren’t moving as fast as recently thought.Hot spots are areas where magma pushes up from deep Earth to form volcanoes. New results from geophysicist Richard Gordon and his team confirm that groups of hot spots around the globe can be used to determine how fast tectonic plates move.Gordon, lead author Chengzu Wang and co-author Tuo Zhang developed a method to analyze the relative motion of 56 hot spots grouped by tectonic plates. They concluded that the hot-spot groups move slowly enough to be used as a global reference frame for how plates move relative to the deep mantle. This confirmed the method is useful for viewing not only current plate motion but also plate motion in the geologic past.

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