Monkeys and apes are considered edible game in many parts of Africa. As Africans have emigrated to other parts of the world, some have retained their love of this so-called bushmeat. A new study now finds that even when smoked, meat from nonhuman primates — from chimps to monkeys — can host potentially dangerous viruses. Smuggled imports confiscated at U.S. airports provided the samples tested in this investigation.
Found in: Body & Brain, Environment, Food Science, Genes & Cells, Nutrition and Science & Society
Two new studies help explain fate of pollutants released in the biggest offshore spill in U.S. history. (p. 12)
Found in: Earth Science and Environment
Natural disasters in 2011 exerted the costliest toll in history — a whopping $380 billion worth of losses from earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis and more. Only a third of those costs were covered by insurance. And the tally ignores completely any expenses associated with sickness or injuries triggered by the disasters. And except for quake-related events, climate change appears to have played a role in the growing cost of disasters, insurers said.
Found in: Climate Change, Environment and Science & Society
The more things change, the more they stay the same, as a Dec. 29 Associated Press report on genetically engineered corn notes. Like déjà vu, this news story on emerging resistance to Bt toxin — a fabulously effective and popular insecticide to protect corn — brings to mind articles I encountered over the weekend while flipping through historic issues of Science News. More than a half-century ago, our magazine chronicled, real time, the emergence of resistance to DDT, the golden child of pest controllers worldwide. Now much the same thing is happening again with Bt, its contemporary agricultural counterpart. Will we never learn?
Found in: Agriculture, Biology, Botany, Environment and Science & Society
Scientists undertake research to advance knowledge. Normally, one aspect of that advancement is to find as broad an audience for the newly acquired data as possible. But what happens if medically important data could be put to ruthless purposes? That question underlies the ruckus developing over two new bird flu papers.
Found in: Biomedicine and Science & Society
The ingredient of some plastics and food packaging can interfere with cardiac rhythm at surprisingly low concentrations.
Found in: Environment and Genes & Cells
Young fish can suffer severe damage from the ocean acidification expected within this century.
Found in: Environment
When stressed, bacteria can temporarily turn comatose and dodge germ-screening tests. (p. 16)
Found in: Environment and Food Science
Northern climate has changed substantially in the last five years, and the shift is probably permanent.
Found in: Earth and Environment
Years ago, I read (probably in Science News) that viruses can’t survive long outside their hosts. That implied any surface onto which a sneezed-out germ found itself — such as the arm of a chair, kitchen counter or car-door handle — would effectively decontaminate itself within hours to a day. A pair of new flu papers now indicates that although many germs will die within hours, none of us should count on it. Given the right environment, viruses can remain infectious — potentially for many weeks, one of the studies finds.
Found in: Biology, Biomedicine, Environment and Science & Society