To Fight Tick-Borne Disease, Someone Has To Catch Ticks

Most people try to avoid ticks. But not Tom Mather. The University of Rhode Island researcher goes out of his way to find them. Mather's not having much trouble finding deer ticks. In fact, he just might be the best deer tick collector in the country. He caught 15,000 of them last year.

Martian Dust Storms

Mars also has the largest dust storms in the Solar System. These can vary from a storm over a small area, to gigantic storms that cover the entire planet. They tend to occur when Mars is closest to the Sun. A Martian dust storm that NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been tracking since last week has also produced atmospheric changes detectable by rovers on Mars. Using the orbiter's Mars Color Imager, Bruce Cantor of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, began observing the storm on Nov. 10, and subsequently reported it to the team operating NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. The storm came no closer than about 837 miles (1,347 kilometers) from Opportunity, resulting in only a slight drop in atmospheric clarity over that rover, which does not have a weather station.

Shrubs help assess history of Glaciers

The stems of shrubs have given researchers a window into a glacier's past, potentially allowing them to more accurately assess how they're set to change in the future. Their findings have been published today, 27 November, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, and show how a glacier's history of melting can be extended way past the instrumental record. Much like the rings on a tree stump indicate how old it is, measuring the width of rings on the stem of a shrub can give a good indication of how well it has grown year on year. Under extreme environmental conditions, such as those close to a glacier, a shrub's growth relies heavily on summer temperatures, meaning the ring-width of a shrub can be used a proxy for glacial melting, which also relies heavily on summer temperatures.

The Uncertain Role of Extractive Reserves in Conservation

During the 1980s, Brazilian rubber tapper Chico Mendes was a prominent activist for the preservation of the Amazon region. He urged his government to set up reserves for rubber tappers and was instrumental in creating various organizations and unions for his peers. In 1988, Mendes was murdered by a rancher intent on logging the site of a future reserve. Partly in response to the international media outcry, Brazil created the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, consisting of 980,000 hectares of land protected for forest-dependent indigenous inhabitants.

Initiative Raises Money to Keep Oil Companies out of Ecuador

The Yasuni-ITT Initiative has been called many things: controversial, ecological blackmail, revolutionary, pioneering, and the best chance to keep oil companies out of Ecuador's Yasuni National Park. But now, after a number of ups and downs, the program is beginning to make good: the Yasuni-ITT Initiative has raised $300 million, according to the Guardian, or 8 percent of the total amount needed to fully fund the idea. The program, which is the first of its kind, proposes to leave an estimated 850 million barrels of oil untouched in Yasuni National Park if donors worldwide compensate Ecuador for about half of the worth of the oil: $3.6 billion. The money would keep oil companies out of 200,000 hectares known as the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputinin (ITT) blocs.

New Study Reveals the Key to Maintaining Healthy Knees

The human knee is an extremely important joint. It holds the weight of the entire body, provides the strength needed to lift heavy objects, and bends and flexes to give us mobility. Since this crucial joint is under stress at almost all times (except when sitting or lying down), it is susceptible to wear over time. This is especially true for the cartilage which holds together all the bones in the knee. As we age, the knee ages and the cartilage can develop a number of ailments that could potentially prohibit mobility. A new study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America found that both too much and too little physical activity can accelerate the degeneration of knee cartilage in middle-aged adults.

New Development for Phytoremediation: Harvesting Collected Contaminants

A team of researchers led by the University of Warwick are about to embark on a research program called "Cleaning Land for Wealth" (CL4W), that will use a common class of flower to restore poisoned soils while at the same time produce platinum and arsenic nanoparticles that can be used in a range of applications. A "Sandpit" exercise organized by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council allowed researchers from the Warwick Manufacturing group (WMG) at five universities to share technologies and skills to come up with an innovative multidisciplinary research project that could "help solve major technological and environmental challenges."

Children cite ‘pollution’ as greatest environmental concern

A comprehensive survey of youngsters from around the world has discovered the biggest concern they have about the environment they live in is pollution. The global poll of more than 6,000 children in 47 countries found that, although almost one in three 10-to-12-year-olds had personally experienced such catastrophes as drought, flood or fires, their most pressing ecological concern is not natural disasters but the growing threat of pollution.

Temperatures are Up

Feel warmer? Maybe not everywhere but global temperatures were the fifth highest on record for October. Meanwhile arctic sea ice doubles from last month yet remains second lowest on record for October. The globally-averaged temperature for October 2012 was the fifth warmest October since record keeping began in 1880. October 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive October and 332nd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

Colossal Galactic Bridge

The Planck (European Space Agency or ESA) space telescope has made the first conclusive detection of a bridge of hot gas connecting a pair of galaxy clusters across 10 million light-years of intergalactic space. In the early Universe, filaments of gaseous matter pervaded the cosmos in a giant web, with clusters eventually forming in the densest nodes. Planck’s discovery of a bridge of hot gas connecting the clusters Abell 399 and Abell 401, each containing hundreds of galaxies is one such discovery.