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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Gravity Shift Reveals West Antarctic Ice Loss

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is headed toward “unstoppable” collapse according to recent studies. A new visual released by the European Space Agency show what the start of that collapse looks like both for the mass of the ice sheet and its signature on the planet’s gravitational field.

We think of gravity as a constant, holding us in place on the planet. But the reality is there are small changes in gravity all over the globe. Not enough that you’ll feel lighter on your feet in one place compared to another, but enough that scientists can use satellites to measure the differences. Those measurements can, in turn, help us better understand the world around us, from how earthquakes shift land to how fast ice sheets are receding and what that means for sea level rise.

The measurements released by the European Space Agency on Friday fall into the latter category. They show gravity in the region is decreasing as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has melted faster and faster over a 3-year period from 2009-12, sending more water into the sea.

This region of the ice sheet has been intensely studied by scientists and recent research indicate melt could be “unstoppable.” The melt of that section of the ice sheet would raise sea levels 10-13 feet, though the timetable for that happening is centuries, not single years or decades.



Mysterious New Poison Dart Frog Found; Is Size of Fingernail

A new species of poison dart frog so teeny it can fit on a fingernail has been discovered in a rain forest in Panama, a new study says.

Scientists found the toxic, electric-orange amphibian in a single hilly area near the Caribbean coast, according to a study published this week in the journal Zootaxa.

Measuring just 12.7 millimeters in length, the newly described Andinobates geminisae remains something of a mystery, according to the study team.

For one, the mini-amphibian “looks nothing like” its closest genetic relatives in the region, mainly because of its orange color, study co-author Andrew Crawford, a professor of evolutionary genetics and biostatistics at the University of the Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, said by email.


Egypt sentences six men convicted of homosexuality to 2 years in jail

An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced six allegedly homosexual men to two years in jail with labour on charges of "committing debauchery," a judicial source told Ahram Online.

The men, also fined LE200 each (approximately $30), were arrested during a raid on an apartment. According to authorities, the two of them were caught "red-handed."

The court said the men, including a Moroccan national, were promoting their apartment as a location for homosexual activity through Facebook, charging $200 a night.

Same-sex consensual homosexual conduct is not explicitly criminalised by Egyptian law, but same-sex marriage is not legal. Nonetheless, homosexuals have been arrested and punished in the past on morality charges under several laws, including debauchery, immorality or contempt of religion.



British chef creates burgers that taste like human flesh


It's enough to make Hannibal Lecter drool.

A British chef has created a burger that tastes almost exactly like human flesh.

James Thomlinson used first-hand accounts of cannibalism to come up with the macabre meal.

He reportedly read 1920s journalist William Seabrook's book "Jungle Ways" as part of his research.

Seabrook, who persuaded a medical student to give him a chunk of flesh to devour, wrote: "It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef."



Danziger Toon- Boehner is Off this Month

Up to half of some types of antibiotics 'fail due to superbugs' study finds

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor

GPs are increasingly handing out antibiotics that turn out to be useless, as up to half of courses of the drugs 'fail' and result in further treatment, a study has found.

Groundbreaking research has analysed 11m courses of antibiotics prescribed to British patients over the last 22 years covering the most common diseases areas including tonsilitis, pneumonia and ear infections.

Scientists said the findings were 'bleak' with one in six courses of antibiotics failing in 2012 but for some drugs this was more than one in two.

Experts and governments have warned that antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to modern health care yet prescriptions of the drugs by family doctors continues to increase.

GPs have admitted prescribing antibiotics to 'get rid of' patients.



UK community wins battle to prevent their school from becoming an academy


Here’s a story so cheery I’m not sure I believe it, even though I watched it happen. This Government loves the idea of turning schools into “academies” – in order that they’re no longer controlled by local authorities or the national education system. You can understand the thinking, as other areas where this has happened – such as the railways and energy companies – have proved so successful and popular it would be a crime not to do the same with schools. Why should our children be denied the pleasure that adults have when dealing with nPower or First Capital Connect?

One instant advantage of an academy is the school gets a new name, so it’s no longer boring Didsworth Comprehensive but becomes Lord Harris Carpets Asteroid of Magnificence Academy of Braininess.

Then the school becomes free to pursue business deals with companies who can sell equipment inside the school, and offer sponsorship, so kids can be taught the Hewlett Packard seven times table, to enhance the multiplying experience.

Also, heads are finally free to set the wage rates of everyone at the school, including their own. Occasionally they double their own salary, because you can’t expect kids to study chemistry when they’re distracted by worries about how the head scrapes by on only £90,000 a year. They get so disturbed their tears make the potassium explode.


Michigan Restaurant “Moo Cluck Moo” now Pays Their Employees $15/hr. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Anyone who has ever had a job working at a restaurant can relate, right? Work your butt off serving customers, sweeping the floor, cleaning dishes, and then taking the bus home after earning a near minimum wage salary.

Many restaurant owners believe they have no other option. Sometimes their reasoning is understandable. Other times? Not so much.

Moo Cluck Moo co-founder Brian Parker takes a different approach. He pays his employees $15/hour.

“How much more do we have to make? How big of a pile of money do CEO’s have to sit on?” he says.



The President and the Tow Truck Driver

Clarence Baugh, who clears a path for all presidential motorcades through New York, has served every president since George H.W. Bush. But until this week, he’d never met one.

The New York cops call him the tow truck driver to the presidents.

“In a world in turmoil where the president of the United States is in search of a course of action, one man clears the path ahead, and if there’s anything in the way, he moves it,” an NYPD sergeant said this week. “His name is Clarence Baugh.”

Baugh is the longtime driver of the tow truck in the “sweep team” that precedes all presidential motorcades through New York, ever ready to remove any and all obstructing vehicles.

He is also so manifestly and forthrightly pleasant as to seem like good nature personified, unsoured by his previous assignments hauling away the vehicles of resentful scofflaws in Brooklyn and Queens.

more (great photo)


Scientists confess to sneaking Bob Dylan lyrics into their work for the past 17 years

By Rachel Feltman

While writing an article about intestinal gasses 17 years ago, Karolinska Institute researchers John Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg couldn't resist a punny title: "Nitric Oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind".

Thus began their descent down the slippery slope of Bob Dylan call-outs. While the two men never put lyrics into their peer-reviewed studies, The Local Sweden reports, they started a personal tradition of getting as many Dylan quotes as possible into everything else they wrote -- articles about other peoples' work, editorials, book introductions, and so on.

Soon, the pun ring doubled in size. After another two researchers (also at Karolinska, where Dylan is apparently a big thing) published an article called "Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate," a librarian connected the foursome. A fifth scientist joined the group when his article "Tangled up in blue: Molecular cardiology in the postmolecular era" hit the stands.

Now, the researchers say, they have a running bet: Whoever can sneak in the most references before retirement will get treated to lunch.

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