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Member since: Sun Jul 31, 2011, 05:36 PM
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Rising carbon dioxide confuses brain signaling in fish

A new study may explain how rising carbon dioxide concentrations — and the ocean acidification they induce — can cause topsy-turvy changes in the behavior of fish. Like a flipped switch, the normal response of nerve cells can reverse as acidifying seawater perturbs how a fish regulates acids and bases in its body, including the brain.

“This could be a big deal,” says neurobiologist Andrew Dittman of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. Dittman, who was not affiliated with the study, says the new findings could go a long way toward explaining curious sensory changes observed in fish exposed to acidifying waters. The scary scent of predators, for example, can suddenly become alluring.

For the new study, published online January 15 in Nature Climate Change, Göran Nilsson of the University of Oslo and his colleagues homed in on brain chemistry.



So all these dolphins and whales beaching ..... ?


An online petition calling for the House of Representatives to impeach Justice Clarence Thomas has garnered well over 25,000 signatures. Although some of the reasons presented for removing Thomas are less compelling, such as the claim that he needed to recuse himself from the Affordable Care Act case, the petition also cites several legitimate scandals involving Justice Thomas — including a gifting scandal that closely resembles the circumstances that forced Justice Abe Fortas to resign from the Court in 1969.


So which one of you is you...?

When you were a kid, did you dream of becoming an astronaut? Or maybe a ballerina? Assuming you didn’t pursue either of those careers, are those versions of you out there now, orbiting and pirouetting in other dimensions?

And what about those other possible ‘yous’ - the you that chose to travel the world instead of going to university, the you that stayed with a partner instead of breaking up with them. Are they out there too?

That’s the thought experiment in That’s About the Size of It - a play in which performer Niamh Shaw views the twists and turns of her possible parallel lives from the crow’s nest of the 10th dimension.

Inspired by a visit to CERN, Shaw says that she wanted to further explore her fascination with dimensions.

Shaw, who wrote the play with artist Úna Kavanagh, explains that their interpretation of string theory led them to propose the 10th dimension as a vantage point for the performance.


Internet ‘doomsday’ virus caused ‘no significant outages’

The so-called Internet doomsday virus with the potential to black out tens of thousands of computers worldwide appeared to pose no major problems Monday in the first hours after a fix expired.

Security firms reported no significant outages linked to the DNS Changer virus, as many Internet service providers have either implemented a fix or contacted customers with steps to clean their computers.

The problem stems from malware known as DNS Changer, which was created by a cybercriminals to redirect Internet traffic by hijacking the domain name systems (DNS) of Web browsers.

The ring behind the DNS Changer was shut down last year by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Estonian police and other law enforcement agencies, after infecting some four million computers worldwide.


Ron Paul's last stand

Nebraska Republicans will select delegates on Saturday to send to the national Republican convention, a process that could amount to Ron Paul's last stand as a presidential candidate.

If Paul wins a plurality of delegates in Nebraska this weekend, his name will be put forth as a nominee versus Mitt Romney in Tampa. If his team can't secure enough delegates on Saturday, his longshot bid for the Republican presidential nomination is formally dead.

Nebraska is the last state to hold a convention and its 32 delegates are not required to match the May 15 “beauty contest” primary, where presumptive nominee Mitt Romney won 70 percent of the vote. However, prospective delegates must indicate their presidential preference and are bound to vote for that candidate for the first two ballots at the August Republican National Convention.


Kids Breathe Better with Dog in the House

Having a dog in the home can help ward off infections in very young infants, possibly by hastening immune system development, researchers suggested.

During the first year of life, children living with dogs were generally healthier (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.52, P<0.001) and were less likely to have frequent ear infections (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.81, P=0.002), according to Eija Bergroth, MD, of Kuopio University Hospital in Kuopio, Finland, and colleagues.

In addition, they typically were treated with fewer courses of antibiotics for otitis (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.96, P=0.03) compared to children without contact, the researchers reported in the August Pediatrics online.

Previous studies concerning the presence of animals in the home and childhood immunity have had conflicting results, with some suggesting that living with dogs can have favorable effects, while others found an increased risk for respiratory infections in children with pets.


We were wrong on peak oil. There's enough to fry us all

A boom in oil production has made a mockery of our predictions. Good news for capitalists – but a disaster for humanity

The facts have changed, now we must change too. For the past 10 years an unlikely coalition of geologists, oil drillers, bankers, military strategists and environmentalists has been warning that peak oil – the decline of global supplies – is just around the corner. We had some strong reasons for doing so: production had slowed, the price had risen sharply, depletion was widespread and appeared to be escalating. The first of the great resource crunches seemed about to strike.

Among environmentalists it was never clear, even to ourselves, whether or not we wanted it to happen. It had the potential both to shock the world into economic transformation, averting future catastrophes, and to generate catastrophes of its own, including a shift into even more damaging technologies, such as biofuels and petrol made from coal. Even so, peak oil was a powerful lever. Governments, businesses and voters who seemed impervious to the moral case for cutting the use of fossil fuels might, we hoped, respond to the economic case.

Some of us made vague predictions, others were more specific. In all cases we were wrong. In 1975 MK Hubbert, a geoscientist working for Shell who had correctly predicted the decline in US oil production, suggested that global supplies could peak in 1995. In 1997 the petroleum geologist Colin Campbell estimated that it would happen before 2010. In 2003 the geophysicist Kenneth Deffeyes said he was "99% confident" that peak oil would occur in 2004. In 2004, the Texas tycoon T Boone Pickens predicted that "never again will we pump more than 82m barrels" per day of liquid fuels. (Average daily supply in May 2012 was 91m.) In 2005 the investment banker Matthew Simmons maintained that "Saudi Arabia … cannot materially grow its oil production". (Since then its output has risen from 9m barrels a day to 10m, and it has another 1.5m in spare capacity.)


Neither the Maya Calendar--nor the World--Ends on December 21, 2012

It's a bright summer day at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Outside, in the sprawling front plaza rimmed by palm and willow trees, young couples cuddle by the steps, vendors sell wrestling masks and tacos, and five men dressed in traditional Totonac garb slowly spin upside down in the death defying "Dance of the Flyers" for the tourists.

Inside the museum is a wonder of culture and history. Each wing is dedicated to a separate civilization in Mesoamerican culture—one for the Toltecs, another for Teotihuacan. But the largest spaces are reserved for the Aztecs and Maya. And in the center of the building is the stunning Aztec Stone of the Sun—often erroneously called the "Aztec Calendar"—perhaps the most recognizable symbol in Latin America. Diana Magaloni Kerpel, the museum director, peers at the stone.

"It is not a calendar. It's really the image of space and time. It's an image of how the Aztecs conceived themselves as in the center of time and space," she says. "Look at that. There is face in the middle—that is the cosmos. The Maya wouldn't do that—ever."

If you have not been paying attention to doomsayers or John Cusack movies, December 21, 2012, is the day that many say the Maya predicted the world would end. Internet stories regularly detail the Maya calendars although displaying the Aztec Stone of the Sun (including one, we regret, that was published on Scientific American Online). Looking at the reality of ancient Mesoamerica, it quickly becomes clear that much of the uproar rose out of a confusion of two distinct cultures that lived 500 years apart.


The "Monsanto Rider": Are Biotech Companies About to Gain Immunity from Federal Law?

While many Americans were firing up barbecues and breaking out the sparklers to celebrate Independence Day, biotech industry executives were more likely chilling champagne to celebrate another kind of independence: immunity from federal law.

A so-called "Monsanto rider," quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require – not just allow, but require - the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation's food supply.

Unless the Senate or a citizen's army of farmers and consumers can stop them, the House of Representatives is likely to ram this dangerous rider through any day now.

In a statement issued last month, the Center For Food Safety had this to say about the biotech industry's latest attempt to circumvent legal and regulatory safeguards:

Ceding broad and unprecedented powers to industry, the rider poses a direct threat to the authority of U.S. courts, jettisons the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) established oversight powers on key agriculture issues and puts the nation's farmers and food supply at risk.
In other words, if this single line in the 90-page Agricultural Appropriations bill slips through, it's Independence Day for the biotech industry.


What Is Causing The Climate To Unravel?

Answer: One trillion tons of carbon pollution.

40,000 heat records have already been broken this year across the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Here in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the signs of an unbalanced climate system have been felt in recent years not just in heatwaves, but increasingly in the form of unusually severe wind storms. This past weekend’s storm brought 80 mph wind gusts that snapped three trees in our backyard like pretzels, even though they were each a foot thick. Once again, my insurance company is teaching me new weather terminolgy to explain the latest climate disasters. A few years ago, the term was “micro-bursts” (not quite tornadoes, but similar impact). Now it is “derecho” (not quite hurricanes, but similar impact).



Positive article about climate change....
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