Makran Earthquakes

Earthquakes happen but where they may happen as well as when is a matter to be studied. Earthquakes similar in magnitude to the 2004 Sumatra earthquake could occur in an area beneath the Arabian Sea at the Makran subduction zone which is just south of Pakistan, according to recent research published in Geophysical Research Letters. The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Southampton based at the National Oceanography Center Southampton (NOCS), and the Pacific Geoscience Centre, Natural Resources Canada.

Watery Moon

The dark regions on the Moon were once considered seas full of water. Well that is not true but there is some water on the Moon. Researchers used a multicollector ion microprobe to study hydrogen-deuterium ratios in lunar rock and on Earth. Their conclusion: The Moon’s water did not come from comets but was already present on Earth 4.5 billion years ago, when a giant collision sent material from Earth to form the Moon.

Snow Blanket

Plants and animals adapt to their world so when the climate changes they either change, move, or die. For plants and animals forced to tough out harsh winter weather, the coverlet of snow that blankets the north country is a refuge, a place beneath-the-snow that gives an essential respite from biting winds and subzero temperatures. But in a warming world, winter and spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is in decline, putting at risk many plants and animals that depend on the time beneath the snow to survive the chill of winter. Snow, in this case, is like a warm blanket.

Chili Pepper is Good for You

The chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Chili peppers originated in the Americas. Chili pepper has spread across the world and is used in both food and medicine. New research has revealed that Solanaceae—a flowering plant family with some species producing foods that are edible sources of nicotine—may provide a protective effect against Parkinson's disease. The study appears in the Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society. It suggests that eating foods that contain even a small amount of nicotine, such as peppers and tomatoes, may reduce risk of developing Parkinson's.

Chemical Manufacturers Enhance Commitment to Chemical Product Safety with New Responsible Care® Code

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its members today launched a new Responsible Care Product Safety Code. Based on existing industry best practices, the Product Safety Code goes above and beyond regulatory requirements to manage the safety of chemicals in products that consumers rely on every day. The announcement comes as ACC marks the 25th anniversary of Responsible Care, an industry environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative focused on the safe, responsible, sustainable management of chemicals. Participation in Responsible Care is a condition of ACC membership.

Bright Clouds with Added Pollution

University of Manchester scientists, writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, have shown that some natural emissions and man made pollutants can have an unexpected cooling effect on the world’s climate by making clouds brighter. Clouds are made of water droplets, condensed on to tiny particles suspended in the air. When the air is humid enough, the particles swell into larger cloud droplets. It has been known for some decades that the number of these particles and their size control how bright the clouds appear from the top, which affects the the efficiency with which clouds scatter sunlight back into space. A major challenge for climate science is to understand and quantify these effects which have a major impact in polluted regions of the world.

Robot Flies

Science often imitates life. Insects are common in the world. Tiny critters crawling and flying about. Now we are genuinely making them. In the very early hours of the morning, in a Harvard robotics laboratory last summer, an insect took flight. Half the size of a paperclip, weighing less than a tenth of a gram, it jumped up a few inches, hovered for a moment on fragile, flapping wings, and then sped along a preset route through the air. It was not science fiction, it was a man made fly.

Embryology and the Sea Anemone

Embryology is the science of the development of an embryo from the fertilization of the ovum to the fetus stage. How the newly borndevelops cell by cell is still a bit of mystery. The sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, is a new study creature in embryology. Its career is being launched in part by the Stowers Institute for Medical Research Associate Investigator Matt Gibson, Ph.D., who is giving it equal billing with what has been his laboratory's leading player, the more traditional fruit fly. Gibson's lab investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms used by cells to assemble into layers or clusters during embryogenesis. Those tissues, comprised of densely packed cells known as epithelial cells, shape the body not only of simple creatures but also of mammals, where they line every body cavity from lung to intestine and form hormone- and milk-secreting glands. Unfortunately these cells have a dark side too- over 80% of human cancers, carcinomas, are of epithelial origin.

Trees and Smog

Trees breathe in CO2 and exhale Oxygen A natural way to refresh the air or so it seems. Smog is a form of pollution. After years of scientific uncertainty and speculation, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill show exactly how trees help create one of society’s predominant environmental and health concerns: air pollution. It has long been known that trees produce and emit isoprene, an abundant molecule in the air known to protect leaves from oxygen damage and temperature fluctuations. However, in 2004, researchers, contrary to popular assumptions, revealed that isoprene was likely involved in the production of particulate matter, tiny particles that can get lodged in lungs, lead to lung cancer and asthma, and damage other tissues, not to mention the environment.

Wind Power Storage

One of the problems with wind power is that when there is no wind then there is no power. Offshore wind could provide abundant electricity — but as with solar energy, this power supply can be intermittent and unpredictable. A new approach from researchers at MIT could mitigate that problem, allowing the electricity generated by floating wind farms to be stored and then used, on demand, whenever it’s needed.