Spring has sprung in Possum Valley as the daffodils are blooming and the days lengthen one by one. Monday is here one more time and the opportunity for science talk is here again. Time to brighten your day with selections from science sites around the globe. New discoveries, new takes on old knowledge, and other bits of news are all available for the perusing in today's information world. Today's tidbits include new bird flu strain seen adapting to mammals and humans, the Arctic may be nearly free of sea ice during the first half of the 21st Century, eating solid food early puts baby marmosets on a path to obesity, and CO2 removal can lower costs of climate protection.
Pull up that comfy chair and grab a spot near the window. There is always plenty of room for everyone. Another session of Dr. Possum's science education, entertainment, and potluck discussion is set to begin.
The possibility of a new flu epidemic is seen in the adaptation of a bird flu virus to animals and humans.
"The human isolates, but not the avian and environmental ones, have a protein mutation that allows for efficient growth in human cells and that also allows them to grow at a temperature that corresponds to the upper respiratory tract of humans, which is lower than you find in birds," says (flu researcher) Kawaoka, a leading expert on avian influenza.As observations about climate change continue to be made scientists predict the Arctic may be nearly free of summer sea ice" in the first half of the 21st Century.
The findings, drawn from genetic sequences deposited by Chinese researchers into an international database, provide some of the first molecular clues about a worrisome new strain of bird flu, the first human cases of which were reported on March 31 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, the new virus has sickened at least 33 people, killing nine. Although it is too early to predict its potential to cause a pandemic, signs that the virus is adapting to mammalian and, in particular, human hosts are unmistakable, says Kawaoka.
For scientists studying summer sea ice in the Arctic, it’s not a question of “if” there will be nearly ice-free summers, but “when.” And two scientists say that “when” is sooner than many thought — before 2050 and possibly within the next decade or two.As many Americans fight signs of obesity we hear from scientists that eating solid food early puts baby marmosets on a path to obesity.
Baby marmoset monkeys that began eating solid food earlier than their peers were significantly more likely to be obese at 1 year of age...What if any consequence these findings may have for humans remains to be seen.
This early life obesity resulted in metabolic damage such as insulin resistance and poor blood sugar control, a companion study showed.
As climate change continues governments struggle with the costs of protecting the climate. Now we have news that removal of CO2 helps reduce those costs.
Directly removing CO2 from the air has the potential to alter the costs of climate change mitigation. It could allow prolonging greenhouse-gas emissions from sectors like transport that are difficult, thus expensive, to turn away from using fossil fuels. And it may help to constrain the financial burden on future generations, a study now published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. It focuses on the use of biomass for energy generation, combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS). According to the analysis, carbon dioxide removal could be used under certain requirements to alleviate the most costly components of mitigation, but it would not replace the bulk of actual emissions reductions.
Knucklehead's Photo of the Week
NOTHING BUT THE BLUES
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Other Worthy Stories of the Week
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Redesigned germanium could lead to lighter, faster electronics
Transient biocompatible electronics disappear when no longer needed
Mayan calendar calibrated to modern European calendar
How 2-million-year-old hominid ancestor moved
New technique measures evaporation globally
'Strikingly similar' brains of man and fly may aid mental health research
Pollution: Learning the limits for marine species
Diamond as a building material for optical circuits
Archeologists shine new light on Easter Island statue
Hidden artwork uncovered with airport full body scanner technology
Discovery of a blue supergiant star born in the wild
For even more science news:
General Science Collectors:
BBC News Science and Environment
Eureka Science News
All-GeoGeology and Earth science
Cantauri Dreams space exploration
Deep Sea News marine biology
List of Geoscience Blogs
Tetrapod Zoology vertebrate paleontology
Science RSS Feed: Medworm
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe--a combination of hard science and debunking crap