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  • News

    The bladderwort: No ruthless microbe killer

    A carnivorous water plant with tiny traplike bladders dotting its leaves may not deserve its reputation as a relentless predator, says a Florida scientist.

    A survey of bladderwort plants in the Everglades found far more bladders harboring living organisms than dead ones, reports Jennifer H. Richards of Florida International University in Miami. Although the plant does kill insect...

    02/05/2001 - 16:34 Plants
  • News

    Antarctic glacier thins and speeds up

    One of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is thinning, according to satellite measurements. The finding spurs concerns that changes in the glacier's ice shelf along the Antarctic coast may increase the amount of ice that drains from the interior of the continent and floats out to sea.

    Each year, the 200-kilometer-long, 25-km-wide Pine Island Glacier depletes the West Antarctic...

    02/05/2001 - 16:27 Earth
  • News

    Life’s Housing May Come from Space

    Gimme shelter! The cell-like envelopes in which life on Earth arose and evolved may literally have dropped from the sky, a new study suggests.

    Scientists exploring the origins of life have focused on two ingredients—proteins, the workhouse molecules that underlie life's activities, and DNA, the molecule that carries the blueprint for future generations. But to thrive, life as we...

    02/05/2001 - 16:24
  • News

    Seismic shivers tell of tornado touchdown

    For years, people unfortunate enough to have been standing close to where a tornado touched down have reported feeling rumbles beneath them.

    Now, researchers say they can use earthquake-detecting seismometers to detect and possibly track all but the weakest tornadoes. They report their analysis in the January/February Seismological Research Letters.

    Currently,...

    02/05/2001 - 16:20 Earth
  • News

    Electricity-leaking office equipment

    Several years ago, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley (Calif.) National Laboratory launched an energy conservation campaign against electronic goods that continue to draw power when switched off (SN: 10/25/97, p. 266). A typical home squanders 50 watts to this leakiness. The lab has now gone on to calculate electrical consumption by office computers, copiers, and related equipment that have...

    02/05/2001 - 16:16 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Contaminants still lace some meats

    In February 1999, panic broke out in Europe with the finding that Belgian producers of livestock feed had inadvertently contaminated 1,500 tons (1.5 million kilograms) of their products with rendered fat containing 50 kg of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 1 gram of dioxin.

    Analyses later confirmed that traces of these organochlorines wound up in the meat of animals that had eaten...

    02/05/2001 - 16:10 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Plastic debris picks up ocean toxics

    Manufacturers melt tiny pellets of resin and shape them into the foam, toys, and other products of our increasingly plastic-filled environment. However, during pellet manufacture and shipping, some pellets invariably escape into the environment. Tokyo researchers now report that toxic chemicals can glom onto these resins, increasing the pellets' potential to poison any fish or bird that...

    02/05/2001 - 15:55 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Resuscitating the Gulf’s dead zone

    Every spring for many years now, a dead zone has formed in the Gulf of Mexico just south of the Mississippi River Delta. This patch of water contains less than 2 milligrams of oxygen per liter, which is too little to sustain most aquatic life. For the past 5 years, this dead zone reached its maximum size—on average, 5,500 square miles, or roughly the size of Connecticut—around midsummer and...

    02/05/2001 - 15:52 Earth & Environment
  • News

    ‘Bug’ spray cuts risk of ear infection

    Swedish researchers are spearheading a truly counterintuitive approach to heading off recurrent ear infections in youngsters. They're spraying bacteria into children's noses.

    Roughly 1 in every 20 kids is prone to ear infections, also known as otitis media. From infancy through their toddler years, these children can average six or more bouts annually.

    Ironically, the antibiotics...

    02/05/2001 - 15:38 Biomedicine
  • News

    Do bacteria swap genes in deadly game?

    In 1982, contaminated hamburger meat triggered a rash of violent illness in the United States and signaled that a bacterial friend of people had turned foe. The culprit turned out to be a virulent strain of Escherichia coli, normally a helpful resident of the lower intestine (SN: 7/22/00, p. 53).

    Now, scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have decoded the genome of the...

    02/05/2001 - 15:34