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Environmental Scientist

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Climate Maverick to Quit NASA

Source: NYT

James E. Hansen, the climate scientist who issued the clearest warning of the 20th century about the dangers of global warming, will retire from NASA this week, giving himself more freedom to pursue political and legal efforts to limit greenhouse gases.

His departure, after a 46-year career at the space agency’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, will deprive federally sponsored climate research of its best-known public figure.

At the same time, retirement will allow Dr. Hansen to press his cause in court. He plans to take a more active role in lawsuits challenging the federal and state governments over their failure to limit emissions, for instance, as well as in fighting the development in Canada of a particularly dirty form of oil extracted from tar sands.

“As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government,” he said in an interview.

Dr. Hansen had already become an activist in recent years, taking vacation time from NASA to appear at climate protests and allowing himself to be arrested or cited a half-dozen times.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/science/james-e-hansen-retiring-from-nasa-to-fight-global-warming.html?hp&_r=0

Ultimate Antibody Cures Every Type Of Cancer In Clinical Tests

By James A. Foley Mar 29, 2013 08:01 AM EDT

Cancer researchers made a groundbreaking discovery by developing a sort-of "Ultimate antibody" -- a single treatment that has been shown to kill every type of cancer it was tested on.

The latest developments are based on research that began a decade ago at Stanford School of Medicine, where researchers discovered a link between cancer cells and high levels of a protein called CD47 while studying leukemia. Irving Weissman, the biologist behind the breakthrough, continued to study CD47 and found at a CD47-blocking antibody that could cure some cases of leukemia by stimulating the immune system to recognize cancer cells as invaders.

Now, Weissman has established a link between CD47 and most of primary caners that affect humans, finding that cancer cells always had higher levels of CD47 than healthy cells. The inordinate amounts of CD47 produced by the cancer cells effectively trick the immune system into not destroying the cancer cells.

"What we've shown is that CD47 isn't just important on leukemias and lymphomas," says Weissman, according to Science magazine. "It's on every single human primary tumor that we tested."

Weissman and his team used that observation to develop an antibody that blocks cancer cells' CD47, causing the body's immune system to attack the cancerous cells.



Pharmaceutical Pollution Wreaks Havoc on Nation's Rivers

By Tamarra Kemsley

Pharmaceutical pollution is now being detected in bodies of water throughout the nation and its effects are debilitating for local plant and animal life, according to a paper published in Ecological Applications.

Lead author Emma Rosi-Marhsall is a scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and the study's lead author. The reasons for the pollution, Phys.org reports her as having said, are widespread.

"Causes include aging infrastructure, sewage overflows, and agricultural runoff," she explained. "Even when waste water makes it to sewage treatment facilities, they aren't equipped to remove pharmaceuticals. As a result, our streams and rivers are exposed to a cocktail of synthetic compounds, from stimulants and antibiotics to analgesics and antihistamines."

Along with her colleagues from Indiana University and Loyola University Chicago, Rosi-Marshall looked at how six widely-used pharmaceuticals impacted streams of similar sizes in New York, Maryland and Indiana.

Included were Caffeine, the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, the antidiabetic netformin, two antihistimines used to treat heartburn and another used to treat allergies.



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Monday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest








Monday Toon Roundup 2: Repubs and Guns



Monday Toon Roundup 1: Smite the Evildoers!

Toon: Pay

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