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Fri, 09 Jun 2023
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Bizarro Earth

10,000 Indian flood victims have entered Nepal for relief: Report

Kathmandu: Around 10,000 flood victims from India have entered Nepal to seek relief material, being distributed in the Himalayan nation, according to a report. Over 60,000 people have been displaced and 500 industries face closure in Nepal due to spilling of river Saptakoshi.


US: NY state says nuke plant kills too many fish

White Plains, N.Y. - The huge numbers of fish sucked to their death by the cooling system at the Indian Point nuclear plant prove that the system harms the Hudson River environment, a state official has ruled.

The finding by J. Jared Snyder, assistant commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, is a victory for plant critics who claim that up to 1.2 billion fish and eggs are killed each year as the plant continuously draws in river water for use as a coolant.

Red Flag

South Africa: Experts probe 'mini tsunami'

Cape Town - A mini tsunami may be the reason for the sudden rise and fall of the sea level along the West Coast over the last few days.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) received reports that the sea level in Hout Bay, St Helena Bay, Saldanha Bay and Lambert's Bay changed suddenly three times on Thursday.

In Hout Bay, the water level first fell by a metre and then rose again by the same amount in the space of 20 minutes.


Amazon Trip Yields A Treasure Trove Of Diversity

A group of Yale undergraduates have discovered dozens of potentially beneficial bioactive microorganisms within plants they collected in the Amazon rain forest, including several so genetically distinct that they may be the first members of new taxonomical genera.

The analysis of 135 endophytes - fungal and bacterial microorganisms living within the inner tissue of plants - by members of the Rain Forest Expedition and Laboratory course at Yale will be published August 25 in the journal PLoS One.

©Yale University
Yale undergraduate Sun Jin Lee discovered that an extract from a second fungal endophtye reduces inflammation in human tissue. A subsequent analysis of the molecule revealed it to be an inhibitor of apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

The endophytes were collected during a 2007 trip to Peru organized by Scott Strobel, chair of the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale, with a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Why Wind Turbines Can Mean Death For Bats

Power-generating wind turbines have long been recognized as a potentially life-threatening hazard for birds. But at most wind facilities, bats actually die in much greater numbers. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology, a Cell Press journal, on August 26th think they know why.

wind turbines
©Grady Semmens, University of Calgary
The majority of bats killed at wind turbines are the migratory bats that roost in trees, according to PhD candidate and project leader Erin Baerwald.

Ninety percent of the bats they examined after death showed signs of internal hemorrhaging consistent with trauma from the sudden drop in air pressure (a condition known as barotrauma) at turbine blades. Only about half of the bats showed any evidence of direct contact with the blades.

"Because bats can detect objects with echolocation, they seldom collide with man-made structures," said Erin Baerwald of the University of Calgary in Canada. "An atmospheric-pressure drop at wind-turbine blades is an undetectable - and potentially unforeseeable - hazard for bats, thus partially explaining the large number of bat fatalities at these specific structures.

"Given that bats are more susceptible to barotrauma than birds, and that bat fatalities at wind turbines far outnumber bird fatalities at most sites, wildlife fatalities at wind turbines are now a bat issue, not a bird issue."

Cloud Lightning

Hurricane Gustav takes aim at Haiti

Miami - Hurricane Gustav barreled toward vulnerable Haiti on Tuesday and appeared set to become a "major" storm later in the week as it neared the Gulf of Mexico where the United States produces a large amount of oil and gas.

Hurricane Gustav
Hurricane Gustav is seen in a satellite image taken August 26, 2008.

The 7th storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season had top sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (140 km per hour) by 5 a.m. EDT, making it a Category 1 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of storm intensity, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Gustav was likely to become a Category 2 storm before striking the southwestern peninsula of impoverished Haiti later on Tuesday and then move westward south of Cuba over deep warm waters that provide tropical cyclones with fuel.


Monkeys Enjoy Giving To Others

Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have shown capuchin monkeys, just like humans, find giving to be a satisfying experience. This finding comes on the coattails of a recent imaging study in humans that documented activity in reward centers of the brain after humans gave to charity.

©iStockphoto/Robert Deal
Capuchin monkeys, just like humans, find giving to be a satisfying experience, new evidence suggests.

Empathy in seeing the pleasure of another's fortune is thought to be the impetus for sharing, a trait this study shows transcends primate species.

Frans de Waal, PhD, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes Research Center, and Kristi Leimgruber, research specialist, led a team of researchers who exchanged tokens for food with eight adult female capuchins. Each capuchin was paired with a relative, an unrelated familiar female from her own social group or a stranger (a female from a different group).

The capuchins then were given the choice of two tokens: the selfish option, which rewarded that capuchin alone with an apple slice; or the prosocial option, which rewarded both capuchins with an apple slice. The monkeys predominantly selected the prosocial token when paired with a relative or familiar individual but not when paired with a stranger.


Polar Bears Found Swimming Miles From Alaskan Coast

An aerial survey by government scientists in Alaska's Chukchi Sea has recently found at least nine polar bears swimming in open water - with one at least 60 miles from shore - raising concern among wildlife experts about their survival.

polar bears
©iStockphoto/Frederic Audet
Polar bear. An aerial survey by government scientists in Alaska's Chukchi Sea has recently found at least nine polar bears swimming in open water -- with one at least 60 miles from shore -- raising concern among wildlife experts about their survival.

Geoff York, the polar bear coordinator for WWF's Arctic Programme, said that when polar bears swim so far from land, they could have difficulty making it safely to shore and are at risk of drowning, particularly if a storm arises.

"To find so many polar bears at sea at one time is extremely worrisome because it could be an indication that as the sea ice on which they live and hunt continues to melt, many more bears may be out there facing similar risk," he said.

"As climate change continues to dramatically disrupt the Arctic, polar bears and their cubs are being forced to swim longer distances to find food and habitat."

Scientists say the Arctic is changing more rapidly and acutely than anywhere on the planet, noting that 2007 witnessed the lowest sea ice coverage in recorded history.


Cows seem to know which way is north

WASHINGTON - Talk about animal magnetism, cows seem to have a built-in compass. No bull: Somehow, cattle seem to know how to find north and south, say researchers who studied satellite photos of thousands of cows around the world.

Black Cat

Scientist says cat owners threatening fish supplies


Cat owners who feed their pets with fish are contributing to overfishing, which is threatening fish stocks worldwide, a scientist at an Australian university said.

Dr Giovanni Turchini of Deakin University said the global cat food industry each consumes 2.48 million metric tons of forage fish - small, rapidly breeding fish that are eaten by larger fish - each year.