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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

New biochar model scrubs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

An economically viable model to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has been developed to thwart runaway, point-of-no-return global warming. The researchers propose using a “bioenergy-biochar system” that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in an environmental pinch, until other removal methods become economically feasible and in regions where other methods are impractical.

Exploring the evolution of spider venom to improve human health

More than 46,000 species of spiders creepy crawl across the globe. Each one produces a venom composed of an average of 500 distinct toxins, putting the conservative estimate of unique venom compounds at more than 22 million. Researchers are studying these toxins to increase our understanding of the evolution of spider venom and contribute to the development of new medicines, anti-venoms and research tools.

Microplastics in agricultural soils: A reason to worry?

Microplastics are increasingly seen as an environmental problem of global proportions. While the focus to date has been on microplastics in the ocean and their effects on marine life, microplastics in soils have largely been overlooked. Researchers are concerned about the lack of knowledge regarding potential consequences of microplastics in agricultural landscapes from application of sewage sludge.

How sharks recycle toxic ammonia to keep their skin moist

The Pacific spiny dogfish shark is a master at recycling the ocean’s toxic ammonia and converting it into useful urea, according to new research.

Fossilized dinosaur brain tissue identified for the first time

Researchers have identified the first known example of fossilized brain tissue in a dinosaur from Sussex. The tissues resemble those seen in modern crocodiles and birds.

A songbird’s travelogue

Biologists recently used light-weight geolocation technology to follow a species of songbird on its 10,000-kilometer migration from the Middle East to sub-Saharan Africa.

Upper Paleolithic humans may have hunted cave lions for their pelts

Upper Paleolithic humans may have hunted cave lions for their pelts, perhaps contributing to their extinction, according to a new study.

New immunotherapy technique holds promise for curing food allergies

A new immunotherapy technique has been developed that nearly eliminates the allergic response to peanut and egg white proteins in food-allergic mice, reducing the anaphylactic response by up to 90 per cent with only one treatment.

Hexavalent chromium is widespread in North Carolina wells but not linked to coal ash

Hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich, is far more abundant in drinking water wells in North Carolina than previously thought, a new study finds.

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Congenital blindness reversed in mice

Researchers have reversed congenital blindness in mice by changing supportive cells in the retina called Müller glia into rod photoreceptors. The findings advance efforts toward regenerative therapies for blinding diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

When viruses infect phytoplankton, it can change the clouds

Microscopic plant-like organisms called phytoplankton support the diversity of life in the ocean. Scientists now report that one species, Emiliania huxleyi, and a virus closely associated with it, might be responsible for changes in cloud properties as well. When infected, E. huxleyi releases its chalky shell into the air, where it acts as an aerosol reflecting sunlight and even affecting cloud creation and movement.

Stern of World War II US destroyer discovered off remote Alaskan island

In the midst of World War II on August 18, 1943, the USS Abner Read struck what was presumed to be a Japanese mine in the Bering Sea. The catastrophic blast took the lives of 71 American sailors. For their families, the final resting place of loved ones lost remained unknown. Until now. On July 16, 2018, a team of researchers using robotics technology discovered the sunken stern of the World War II destroyer -- solving a 75-year-old mystery.