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n2doc

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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Brazil Amazon dam project suspended over concerns for indigenous people

Plans to build a huge hydroelectric dam in the Amazon have been put on hold after Brazil’s environmental agency, Ibama, suspended the licensing process over concerns about its impact on the indigenous community in the region.

As one of the central elements of the government’s project to expand hydroelectric power generation across the Amazon, the 8,000-megawatt São Luiz do Tapajós dam is slated to be Brazil’s second largest, after the controversial Belo Monte power plant, which finally began operating this week.

But in a letter sent this week to the heads of Eletrobrás, the state energy company, and Funai, Brazil’s agency on indigenous affairs, the Ibama president, Marilene Ramos, stressed the “unviability of the project given the indigenous component”.

Around 10,000 Munduruku people live around the river Tapajós. The dam would flood a vast area, requiring the forced removal of at least some indigenous communities, an act that is strictly prohibited by the Brazilian constitution except in cases of disease epidemics or war.

more

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/22/brazil-amazon-dam-project-suspended-indigenous-munduruku-sao-luiz-do-tapajos

First performance in 1,000 years: ‘lost’ songs from the Middle Ages are brought back to life

An ancient song repertory will be heard for the first time in 1,000 years this week after being ‘reconstructed’ by a Cambridge researcher and a world-class performer of medieval music

‘Songs of Consolation’, to be performed at Pembroke College Chapel, Cambridge on April 23, is reconstructed from neumes (symbols representing musical notation in the Middle Ages) and draws heavily on an 11th century manuscript leaf that was stolen from Cambridge and presumed lost for 142 years.

Saturday’s performance features music set to the poetic portions of Roman philosopher Boethius’ magnum opus The Consolation of Philosophy. One of the most widely-read and important works of the Middle Ages, it was written during Boethius’ sixth century imprisonment, before his execution for treason. Such was its importance, it was translated by many major figures, including King Alfred the Great, Chaucer and Elizabeth I.

Hundreds of Latin songs were recorded in neumes from the 9th through to the 13th century. These included passages from the classics by Horace and Virgil, late antique authors such as Boethius, and medieval texts from laments to love songs.

However, the task of performing such ancient works today is not as simple as reading and playing the music in front of you. 1,000 years ago, music was written in a way that recorded melodic outlines, but not ‘notes’ as today’s musicians would recognise them; relying on aural traditions and the memory of musicians to keep them alive. Because these aural traditions died out in the 12th century, it has often been thought impossible to reconstruct ‘lost’ music from this era – precisely because the pitches are unknown.

- See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/first-performance-in-1000-years-lost-songs-from-the-middle-ages-are-brought-back-to-life-0#sthash.yadn5AXI.dpuf

Evolution in action detected in Darwin's finches

The most characteristic feature of Darwin's finches is the diversification of beak morphology that has allowed these species to expand their utilization of food resources in the Galápagos archipelago. A team of scientists from Uppsala University and Princeton University has now identified a gene that explains variation in beak size within and among species. The gene contributed to a rapid shift in beak size of the medium ground finch following a severe drought. The study is published in Science.

Darwin's finches are a classical example of an adaptive radiation. Their common ancestor arrived on the Galápagos about two million years ago. During the time that has passed the Darwin's finches have evolved into 18 recognized species differing in body size, beak shape, song and feeding behaviour. Changes in the size and form of the beak have enabled different species to utilize different food resources such us insects, seeds, nectar from cactus flowers as well as blood from seabirds, all driven by Darwinian selection. In a previous study from the same team the ALX1 gene was revealed to control beak shape (pointed or blunt) and now a gene (HMGA2) affecting beak size has been identified.

'Our data show that beak morphology is affected by many genes as is the case for most biological traits. However, we are convinced that we now have identified the two loci with the largest individual effects that have shaped the evolution of beak morphology among the Darwin's finches', says Sangeet Lamichhaney PhD student at Uppsala University and first author of the study.


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-evolution-action-darwin-finches.html#jCp

Why living around nature could make you live longer

Living closer to nature is better for your health, new research suggests — and may even extend your life.

A study just published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who live in “greener” areas, with more vegetation around, have a lower risk of mortality. The health benefits are likely thanks to factors such as improved mental health, social engagement and physical activity that come with living near green spaces.

The research relied on data from a vast long-term Harvard study funded by the National Institutes of Health called the Nurses’ Health Study, which has collected health information biennially on more than 100,000 female registered nurses in the U.S. since 1976. The new paper analyzed participant data from between 2000 and 2008, taking note of any deaths that occurred and their causes. At the same time, the researchers used satellite data to assess the amount of green vegetation surrounding each participant’s home during the study period.

The researchers found that people living in the greenest places — that is, people who had the most vegetation within 800 feet of their homes — had a 12 percent lower rate of mortality from any non-accidental cause than people living in the least green places. Specifically, they found that the relationship was strongest for deaths related to respiratory disease, cancer and kidney disease. These results were the same regardless of the participants’ income, weight or smoking status and also did not significantly change between urban and suburban locations.

more
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/19/why-living-around-nature-could-make-you-live-longer/

Giant Zooplankton makes up 5% of Total marine biomass


A team of marine biologists and oceanographers from CNRS, UPMC and the German organization GEOMAR have revealed the importance in all the world's oceans of a group of large planktonic organisms called Rhizaria, which had previously been completely underestimated. According to their findings, these organisms make up 33% of the total abundance of large zooplankton in the world's oceans, and account for 5% of the overall marine biomass. The study was carried out on samples collected during eleven oceanographic campaigns (2008-2013) covering the world's main oceanic regions, and included the Tara Oceans expedition. It is published on 20 April 2016 on the website of the journal Nature.

Although invisible to the naked eye, marine plankton play a key role in the balance of our planet. Still largely unexplored, they consist of an astonishingly wide variety of tiny organisms that produce half the Earth's oxygen and form the base of the oceanic food chain that feeds fish and marine mammals. Rhizarians, from their Latin name Rhizaria, are a group of large planktonic organisms whose importance had been overlooked until now. Most estimates of the distribution of marine organisms are performed locally (in a defined marine area) and are based on collection with plankton nets. However carefully carried out, this operation can damage certain fragile organisms such as rhizarians, preventing their identification.

Marine biologists and oceanographers have pooled their skills with the aim of analyzing samples collected during eleven oceanographic campaigns from 2008 to 2013, using a less destructive method, namely an underwater camera deployed at depth. This in situ imaging system, which involved no collection, was used to study the organisms directly in their environment without damaging them. In all, sampling was carried out at 877 stations (corresponding to 1 454 immersions of the camera down to 1 500 meters), covering the world's main oceanic regions. In total, the scientists analyzed 1.8 million images in order to quantify the abundance and biomass represented by Rhizaria.


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-giant-plankton-gains-long-due-attention.html#jCp

We really still do not know all that much about our own planet

Sen. Michael Bennet comes out against ColoradoCare

Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet opposes a universal healthcare ballot measure Colorado voters will consider in November.

“Michael does not think that single payer is the right approach to solving our health care problems, and in particular has concerns about putting a complete overhaul of our health care system, including a massive tax increase, into the State Constitution where it can’t be changed,” Bennet’s campaign spokesman Andrew Zucker told The Colorado Independent.

Bennet’s position on the ColoradoCare ballot measure, which if passed would make Colorado the first state in the nation with universal healthcare, has been unclear for months.

In November, he “brushed aside questions when approached in a Senate hallway by a POLITICO reporter,” when asked about the proposal, saying he was focused on a vote he was taking in the U.S. Senate that day.

more

http://www.coloradoindependent.com/158926/michael-bennet-coloradocare-single-payer

TTIP: More than 130,000 people urge Barack Obama to kill controversial trade deal during UK visit



Thousands of people have signed a petition to stop president Barack Obama from agreeing on a controversial trade deal between the US and the European Union which protesters say gives more power to corporations.

The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free-trade agreement which members of campaign group 38 Degrees say threatens the NHS, food standards, animal welfare and “democracy”, might be signed before Mr Obama leaves the White House next January.

More than 130,000 people have demanded that Mr Obama stop negotiating the deal with prime minister David Cameron during his visit to the UK this week.

TTIP was supposed to be concluded at the end of 2014 but now economists forecast it could still take several years to negotiate. It focuses around boosting profit, reducing regulation and liberalizing market access.

more

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ttip-more-than-130000-people-urge-barack-obama-to-kill-controversial-trade-deal-during-uk-visit-a6991286.html

Friday TOON Roundup 5 - The Rest

Earth Day











9/11



Supreme





Flint




Bigots






Slang



Queen





Right to Die with Dignity



Immigrants


The Line


Friday TOON Roundup 4 - General Election










Friday TOON Roundup 3 - GOP














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