Scientists have discovered what seems like a new form of plant communication between a "vampire" plant and its prey.
As described in a study recently published in the journal Science, weed science expert Jim Westwood of Virginia Tech took a close look at how the parasitic plant called a dodder attacks his host.
Westwood specifically looked at how the dodder interacted with two host plants, Arabidopsis and tomatoes. It has long been known that dodders are "vampire-like" parasitic plants. Like a nightmare from an alien horror film, the dodder wraps itself around its host. It then uses a long probe to literally tap into its victim and drain their fluids.
Researchers had done previous work that found that when the dodder first sinks its "fang" into its victim, it also begins to transport RNA - a sort-of DNA translator - between it and its host.
IVANPAH DRY LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays — "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.
Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version.
The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.
The deaths are "alarming. It's hard to say whether that's the location or the technology," said Garry George, renewable-energy director for the California chapter of the Audubon Society. "There needs to be some caution."
The bird kills mark the latest instance in which the quest for clean energy sometimes has inadvertent environmental harm. Solar farms have been criticized for their impacts on desert tortoises, and wind farms have killed birds, including numerous raptors.
One potential source of this missing light might be the mysterious dark matter that makes up most of the mass in the cosmos. But a simpler explanation could be that ultra violet light escapes from galaxies more easily than is currently thought, according to the new research.
This puzzle begins with hydrogen, the most common element in the universe, which makes up about 75 percent of known matter. High-energy ultraviolet light can convert electrically neutral hydrogen atoms into electrically charged ions. The two known sources for such ionizing rays are hor young stars and quasars, which are supermassive black holes more than a million times the mass of the sun that release extraordinarily large amounts of light as they rip apart stars and gobble matter.
Astronomers previously found that ionizing rays from hot young stars are nearly always absorbed by gas in their home galaxies. As such, they virtually never escape to affect intergalactic hydrogen.
However, when scientists performed supercomputer simulations of the amount of intergalactic hydrogen that should exist and compared their results with observations from the Hubble Space Telescope's Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, they found the amount of light from known quasars is five times lower than what is needed to explain the amount of electrically neutral intergalactic hydrogen observed.
Brace yourself! The Asteroid-1950-DA has a 0.3% chance to hit Earth some 800 years from now in 2880. The good news, however, is that it’s more likely to miss the globe and keep wandering through the inter-galactic space.
A collision could be a major calamity that would affect all life on Earth. Though the asteroid has a diameter of only 1 km (0.6 miles), its speed is what makes it so powerful. At a speed of 38 MILES/SECOND it’s going substantially faster than the fastest rifle bullet. Though its mass is unknown at this time, its potential collision with Earth would likely create an impact crater many miles across and tremendous global cooling as the result of the ensuing atmospheric dust if it were to hit land. If it were to land in an ocean it would certainly cause an enormous tsunami causing severe damage and loss of life all around the ocean’s shore.
Needless to say neither prospect would be desirable.
There is plenty evidence of past collisions with asteroids and other inter-stellar objects on Earth. For example, the Earth was hit by a large-sized hunk some 70 million years ago, at the Cretaceous—Paleogene (K—Pg) boundary, also referred to as the “K-Pg extinction event.” It wiped out many species then on Earth including all non-avian dinosaurs.
On Earth craters from past meteorite and asteroid impacts are largely obscured by subsequent erosion. On other planets and our Moon their craters are still quite obvious millions of years later and some even to the naked eye. Because there is no water on the Moon, nor any atmosphere, there also is no erosion and the impact craters are as visible now as they were millions of years ago. So, let’s get back to the future.
If you plan to live for another 800+ years you may need to take precautions about the 1950-DA’s current trajectory, at least for your own longevity. However, if that is not a problem for you then consider living in the present and concentrate on surviving more current threats to your longevity.
My first involvement with the Acid Rain scare was indirect, but added to awareness of the limitations of data and understanding of atmospheric and ocean mechanisms.
It also heightened awareness of the political nature of environmental science. I knew the extents because of membership in the Canadian Committee on Climate Fluctuation and Man (CCCFM). It was part of the National Museum of Natural Sciences Project on Climate Change in Canada During the Past 20,000 years.
The committee was funded jointly by the National Museum of Natural Sciences and Environment Canada. It met yearly for several years, bringing together a wide range of specialists to focus on a region, time period, or area of study. Papers were published in Syllogeus, edited by Dr C.R.Harington of the Paleobiology Division. A review of them underlines how much the IPCC sidelined progress in climatology.
My election to Chair of the CCCFM likely caused its demise. In my acceptance speech I urged people not to rush to judgment on the recent anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. I was unaware at the time of the involvement of Environment Canada (EC) in the promotion of the hypothesis and the work of the IPCC.
The UK government has announced that driverless cars will be allowed on public roads from January next year. It also invited cities to compete to host one of three trials of the tech, which would start at the same time.
In addition, ministers ordered a review of the UK's road regulations to provide appropriate guidelines.
The Department for Transport had originally pledged to let self-driving cars be trialled on public roads by the end of 2013.
Business Secretary Vince Cable revealed the details of the new plan at a research facility belonging to Mira, an automotive engineering firm based in the Midlands.
"Today's announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society," he said.
UK engineers, including a group at the University of Oxford, have been experimenting with driverless cars. But, concerns about legal and insurance issues have so far restricted the machines to private roads.
Other countries have, however, been swifter to provide access to public routes.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas. If you ever doubted scepticism towards man-made global warming as a growing social movement, well, you couldn’t after attending that conference with hundreds of enthusiastic doubters in attendance and some 6,000 watching online.
But I came away wondering about the culture that is developing around the movement, and whether it is truly one of enlightenment.
Most of us share enlightenment values. And skepticism is historically associated with the Enlightenment. But it should be skepticism of entrenched dogmas, not an automatic opposition to every new big idea. Indeed the enlightenment saw big ideas progress; ideas that once realized, dramatically improved the human condition.
Many sceptics apparently think that we have won the scientific argument, and that our next objective should be the dismantling of climate policies and climate research. But they are wrong. We have not won the scientific argument and we won’t, if we continue down the current path of suggesting that we can’t forecast weather or climate. This suggestion, that we can’t forecast, was often made at the conference and made again just last week by Jo Nova quoting Don Aitkin.
The history of science suggests that paradigms are never disproven, they are only ever replaced. Physicist and philosopher, the late Thomas S. Kuhn, also explained that competition within segments of the scientific community is the only historical process that ever actually results in the rejection of one previously accepted theory or in the adoption of another.
Death is the one certainty in life – a pioneering analysis of blood from one of the world's oldest and healthiest women has given clues to why it happens.
Born in 1890, Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper was at one point the oldest woman in the world. She was also remarkable for her health, with crystal-clear cognition until she was close to death, and a blood circulatory system free of disease. When she died in 2005, she bequeathed her body to science, with the full support of her living relatives that any outcomes of scientific analysis – as well as her name – be made public.
Researchers have now examined her blood and other tissues to see how they were affected by age.
What they found suggests, as we could perhaps expect, that our lifespan might ultimately be limited by the capacity for stem cells to keep replenishing tissues day in day out. Once the stem cells reach a state of exhaustion that imposes a limit on their own lifespan, they themselves gradually die out and steadily diminish the body's capacity to keep regenerating vital tissues and cells, such as blood.
Two little cells
In van Andel-Schipper's case, it seemed that in the twilight of her life, about two-thirds of the white blood cells remaining in her body at death originated from just two stem cells, implying that most or all of the blood stem cells she started life with had already burned out and died.
"Is there a limit to the number of stem cell divisions, and does that imply that there's a limit to human life?" asks Henne Holstege of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, who headed the research team. "Or can you get round that by replenishment with cells saved from earlier in your life?" she says.
Claims of rapid and effortless weight loss are swiftly making this little supplement popular. But does it actually work? Learn all the facts about raspberry ketone and if it will work for you.
What is it?: Raspberry ketone is an aromatic compound found in raspberries that, when ingested in high doses, is said to increase the body's production of adiponectin, a protein used to regulate your metabolism, as well as the body's breaking down of fat stores. In order to ingest the recommended 100-milligram dosage required to affect these changes, however, one would have to consume 90 pounds of raspberries per day. As a result, the compound is produced synthetically in labs and consumed in pill form.
Chemistry debunks junk climate science in the 'global warming causes ocean acidification' debate. Established Chemistry proves that if temperatures were rising then, conversely, acidification would be falling, not increasing. Such is the woeful science ignorance (or intentional deceit) of climate alarmists.
carbon dioxide (CO2), dissolved in pure water, makes a weak, unstable acid, whilst the ocean water is a very stable buffer with a pH averaging around 8, which means it is alkaline;
there isn’t enough CO2 in the atmosphere to make much difference to the ocean’s pH;
the concentration of enough CO2 to significantly reduce the ocean’s pH will not come from the atmosphere;
the mass of the oceans is a huge 268 times the mass of the atmosphere;
CO2 is currently only 0.04% of that atmosphere.
Discussion about those facts
Besides the above chemical and physical facts, it is well known that an increase in water temperature will reduce the solubility of CO2.
Leave any opened cold carbonated drink – from champagne to Coke - to warm up and see what happens to the fizz, which is CO2 in case you didn’t know. Your warmed champagne/Coke goes 'flat' because the carbon dioxide has escaped the liquid and entered the atmosphere.
It is therefore not rocket science to state with complete confidence that warm water naturally contains less CO2 than cold water.
The oceans are outgassing CO2 due to the slight warming trend since the end of the Mini Ice Age (c. 1850's). The exact cause of this trend IS NOT known and remains the subject of much scientific debate! There is evidence that there is a gap of many centuries between planet-wide temperature swings and atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
Once again, NASA, when dealing with real science and real planets, conspicuously omits giving any credibility to the increasingly disputed "greenhouse gas effect." Australian climate researcher, Ross McLeod, presents NASA's own numbers to show the US space agency does not apply any so-called "greenhouse gas effect" in their planetary temperature charts to boost surface temperature.