Month: December 2017

  • Want to Beat Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs? Rethink Strep Throat Remedies

    Got a sore throat? The doctor may write a quick prescription for penicillin or amoxicillin, and with the stroke of a pen, help diminish public health and your own future health by helping bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics.

  • Flowers Have Hidden Heat Signals That Attract Pollinating Bees

    It is well understood how flowers use complex color patterns and smells to attract pollinating bees. But now, scientists have discovered that flowers also emit heat to advertise themselves to insects — creating temperature arrays that mimic the color designs of petals.On average, heat spots were 4 to 5 degrees Celsius warmer than the rest of the flower, but could be as much as 11 degrees warmer.

  • Streams Can Be Sensors

    Scientists at Michigan State University have shown that streams can be key health indicators of a region’s landscape, but the way they’re being monitored can be improved.New research featured in Ecology Letters showcases how streams can be used as sensors to diagnose a watershed’s sensitivity or resiliency to changes in land use practices, including the long-term use of fertilizers. Using streams as sensors ­– specifically, near the headwaters – can allow scientists, land-use managers and farmers to diagnose which watersheds can be more sustainably developed for food production, said Jay Zarnetske, MSU earth and environmental scientist and co-author of the study.

  • The Caribbean Is Stressed Out

    Forty percent of the world’s 2.5 billion people live in coastal cities and towns. A team including Smithsonian marine biologists just released 25 years of data about the health of Caribbean coasts from the Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Program (CARICOMP). The study provides new insights into the influence of both local and global stressors in the basin, and some hope that the observed changes can be reversed by local environmental management.

  • NASA Finds Heavy Rain in New Tropical Cyclone Hilda

    As Tropical Cyclone Hilda was coming together in the Southern Indian Ocean the GPM satellite analyzed its rainfall from space. On December 26, 2017 at 3:06 a.m. EST (0806 UTC) the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite flew above northwestern Australia and measured rainfall as Tropical Cyclone Hilda was forming along the coast

  • Technology and cost reviews for renewable energy in Alaska: Sharing our experience and know-how

    Many of the more than 200 remote communities in Alaska are turning to renewable energy to reduce reliance on high-cost imported fuels, and to ensure more independent and reliable energy availability based on local sources. Alaska is home to a substantial fraction of the developed microgrids in the world. Incorporating grid-scale levels of renewably sourced generation, such as wind and solar power, has led to an unusual concentration of experience and expertise in the design, development, and operation of these hybrid renewables-diesel microgrids.

  • Algae on Greenland Ice Sheet Significantly Hasten Its Melting

    Naturally occurring algae on Greenland’s massive ice sheet absorb large amounts of the sun’s energy and speed up the melting of the ice sheet even more than black carbon and mineral dust, according to a new study.

  • Short-term exposure to low levels of air pollution linked with premature death among U.S. seniors

    Short-term exposures to fine particulate air pollution and ozone—even at levels well below current national safety standards—were linked to higher risk of premature death among the elderly in the U.S. according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.The risk was even higher among elderly who were low-income, female, or Black.The study was published December 26, 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

  • A simple solution for terrible traffic

    Cities plagued with terrible traffic problems may be overlooking a simple, low-cost solution: High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) policies that encourage carpooling can reduce traffic drastically, according to a new study co-authored by MIT economists.

  • Charcoal remains could accelerate CO2 emissions after forest fires

    Charcoal remains after a forest fire help decompose fine roots in the soil, potentially accelerating CO2 emissions in boreal forests.