News in Brief
Sneezing out antimicrobial snot may sound like a superpower, but it actually could be a handicap.Triclosan, an omnipresent antimicrobial compound found in products ranging from soaps and toothpaste to medical equipment, is already known to show up in people’s urine, serum and breast milk. It seeps in through ingestion or skin exposure. Now, researchers have found that it gets into snot, too. And...
04/15/2014 - 14:46
Health, Microbes, Toxicology
Carbon dioxide can really mess with fishes’ heads. Dissolved in ocean water, the acidic chemical turns timid young reef fish into tipsy little daredevils, researchers report April 13 in Nature Climate Change.The findings are the first to show that carbon dioxide makes fish in the wild act just as crazy as fish dosed with the greenhouse...
04/14/2014 - 16:17
Climate, Oceans, Animals
The ocean is full of unique communities. Hydrothermal vents along deep ocean ridges feed chemosynthetic bacteria, specialized tubeworms and bacteria-farming shrimp. Sharks, worms, mollusks and more feed off dead whales as the carcasses fall to the...
04/14/2014 - 15:45
Oceans, Animals, Ecology
Ocean-dwelling bacteria may have vacuumed up carbon and halted a period of extreme warmth some 56 million years ago, according to a study published April 13 in Nature Geoscience.The finding suggests how Earth might once have rapidly reversed a runaway greenhouse effect. However, rapidity is relative: The bacteria would be far too...
04/14/2014 - 13:48
Climate, Oceans, Microbes
The best scenario for slowing global warming by 2100 requires the world to triple or quadruple by 2050 its use of renewable energy and sources of energy that emit only low amounts of greenhouse gases.The recommendation comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its third and final report of its fifth...
04/13/2014 - 19:49
An asteroid almost as wide as Rhode Island may have plowed into Earth 3.26 billion years ago, leaving its mark in South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt.Hitting the planet at a speed of 20 kilometers per second, the 37- to 58-kilometer-wide space rock could have jolted...
04/10/2014 - 12:28
The first sutures in early Earth's skin formed because of the weakness of rock minerals merely a millimeter wide, two scientists propose. The small minerals’ behavior created boundaries defining Earth’s first crustal plates and set the stage for plate tectonics, according to a new computer simulation appearing April 6 in Nature.Plate...
04/06/2014 - 13:05
Society faces lots of problems that science can’t yet fix, from the troubling rise in asthma to the lack of a cheap energy source that doesn’t harm the environment. But there are also plenty of cases in which scientists know enough to avert tragedy. Whether society acts on that knowledge is a separate issue.The resurgence of whooping cough offers one example. A new type of pertussis vaccine was...
04/04/2014 - 15:00
At 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, an earthquake-detection station on Japan’s northeast coast began rocking back and forth, rattled by a powerful seismic wave racing from deep offshore. Just 5.4 seconds later, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a notice that a magnitude 4.3 quake had begun.As the seconds ticked by, however, and more stations picked up the rippling wave, the tremor started...
04/04/2014 - 12:00
At 10:37 a.m. local time on March 22, as much as 5 million cubic meters of sediment slid down a hillside outside Oso, Wash., killing dozens and damming a stretch of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. The debris scraping and bouncing downhill generated seismic waves like those...
04/04/2014 - 08:30