Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dolphin species try common language

Have you ever thought how Dolphins communicate with each other? If yes is the answer for this, it would be probably by their sounds. But do you think that dolphins all around the world sound same? No Dolphins produces different sounds. When two dolphin species come together, they try to find a common language, preface research suggests.

Bottlenose and Guyana dolphins, two faintly related species, often come together to socialize in waters off the coast of Costa Rica. Both species make unique sounds, but when they gather, they change the way they communicate, and begin using a middle language. That raises the possibility the two species are communicating in some way.

It is not yet clear exactly what is taking place between the two dolphin species, but it is the first proof that the animals modify their communications in the presence of other species, not just other dolphins of their own kind.
Biologist Dr Laura May-Collado of the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan made the discovery studying dolphins swimming in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge of the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are larger, measuring up to 3.8m long, with a long dorsal fin. Guyana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) are much smaller, measuring 2.1m long, and have a smaller dorsal fin and longer snout, known as a rostrum. Both species swim in groups made up of their own kind.

When bottlenose dolphins swim together, they emit longer, lower frequency calls that are modulated. In contrast, Guyana dolphins typically communicate using higher frequency whistles that have their own particular structure.

But often, the two species swim together in one group. These communications are usually aggressive, as the larger bottlenose dolphins pester the smaller Guyana dolphins.
When the two dolphins meet, they produce quite dissimilar calls, Dr May-Collado has discovered.
Critically, calls emitted during these multi-species encounters are of a middle frequency and duration. In other words, the dolphins start communicating in a style that is somewhere between those of the two separate species. This may be weird news but it was a surprise when we came to know about this. Scientists were expecting both species to accentuate, perhaps embellish, their species-specific signals. Instead the signals recorded during these encounters became more homogenous. This was a very thrilling discovery.

As yet, Dr May-Collado cannot be sure if both species are changing the way they communicate, or whether it is one species attempting to call more like the other. That is because her sound equipment could only record the total calls produced by mixed species groups of dolphins, and could not separate out sounds made by individuals. This limits how much the scientist can say about how much they are communicating with each other.

However, dolphins are known to have an unusual ability to change their calls when 'talking' to other individuals, or to ensure they are heard over the din of background noise pollution.
So it should’nt be surprise that they can modify their signals to mimic, and even possibly communicate with other species. Particularly when their home ranges force them to interact on a daily basis, which is the case of this study. It is also unclear whether the two species are simply learning to communicate using a common language, or whether the Guyana dolphins alone are making the new sounds due to stress. It could even be that the Guyana dolphins are attempting to emit threatening sounds in the language of the intruder in a bid to make the bottlenose dolphins stop.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Aliens are damaging British and US nuclear missile

Aliens have landed on earth, penetrated British and American nuclear missile sites and sabotaged weapons, according to US Air Force officers. Six retired officers and one former non-commissioned officer claim to have gathered witness proofs from more than 120 military personnel enlightening the penetration of nuclear sites by aliens as recently as 2003.

In some cases, nuclear missiles supposedly went wrong while a disc-shaped object drifted nearby. Captain Robert Salas, a former Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Launch officer was on duty during a missile disruption incident at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana in 1967. And he stated that an object had come over and drifted the site.

The missiles shut down – 10 Minuteman missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later. And it seems that they have strong interest in the missiles, wherever they come from. They are not supposed to be on the planet earth. The US Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it.

Colonel Charles Halt said he watched Unidentified Flying Objects directing beams of light into RAF Bentwaters airbase near Ipswich and heard on the radio that they landed in the nuclear weapons storage area.

Col Halt has said that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted – both then and now – to challenge the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practised methods of disinformation. The group of officers alleged they would distribute declassified government documents on Monday that would prove there had been alien interference at nuclear weapons sites stretching back to 1948.

Premature baby insulated in sandwich bag

Have you ever heard a baby insulated in a sandwich bag? This would be something new and interesting too.

Lexi Lacey was born 14 weeks early weighing just 14 ounces (396 grams) and her parents were told she had a ten per cent chance of surviving in this world.

Medics had to use the smallest insulating jacket they could find - a 15cm plastic sandwich bag from the kitchens at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Lexi is now 11-week-olds old and weighs 5lbs 6oz.

The doctors told us they had never known a baby born as prematurely as Lexi survive.
She was so tiny the only thing they had to keep her body temperature warm was a sandwich bag from the hospital cafeteria - it's unbelievable to think that saved her life.

People looked quite shocked when doctors said them that she’s okay and also people did not like to talk with the doctor at first. But when they see her now better than before people never believed him when the doctor told them how premature she was.

Miss Rowberry and her partner Lee Lacey, 24, feared she was having a miscarriage when she suffered agonizing stomach pains when she was 26 weeks pregnant on the evening of June 26.

She rang the maternity suite at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester but was told it was nothing to worry about and to go back to sleep.

But the pain sustained and she was again carried to the hospital. And she was taken to the labour.

Worcestershire Royal Hospital only has the facilities to care for premature babies born from 28 weeks onwards and doctors wanted to transfer her to a specialist unit at Birmingham's Heartlands Hospital but there wasn't time.

Lexi was kept in the baby unit at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital for three days before being transferred to Shrewsbury Royal Hospital before spending 11 weeks recovering at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. And now she is allowed to her home.

Cherubs swim to break guinness record!

A swimming contest, eager to break the Guiness World Record for the most babies swimming together, was organized at a stadium in Beijing recently.

Hundreds of Chinese babies accompanied by their parents prepare to take part in a baby swimming contest, which the organizer hopes to break the Guinness World Record for the most babies swimming together, at a stadium.

China's government maintains that the one child policy has averted 400 million births since the strict policy implemented in 1979 and has vowed to enforce it until at least 2033, when the population is expected to peak at 1.5 billion people.

Babies prepare to take part in a baby swimming contest, which the organizer hopes to break the Guinness World Record for the most babies swimming together, at a stadium.

'Mumbai-Style' Terror Attack frustrated in Europe

A commando-style terror plot that purportedly called for simultaneous attacks in multiple European cities has been disrupted after the CIA launched a barrage of drone strikes in Pakistan to help thwart the plot.

The plot, which included concurrent attacks on hotels in London, as well as cities in France and Germany, was in an advanced but not imminent stage. The plotters are ostensibly of Pakistani or Algerian origin and have been trained in Pakistan's tribal areas.

While officials are still working to understand the plot, a leading concern is that the plotters were modeling their European attack on the 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, in which armed gunman killed more than 200 people in harmonized attacks at hotels and other easily accessed venues.

Several U.S. officials haven't seen a terror threat as serious as the European plot for many years. This isn't just your typical Washington talk about how the threats have evolved. People are very worried about what they're seeing.

Intelligence important to their arrest had resulted in heightened security at airports across Europe.

The CIA had stepped up buzz strikes in Pakistan in an effort to help thwart the plot. The more than 20 strikes this month represent a monthly record, according to a tally by the New America Foundation.

The government knows [Al Qaeda] wants to attack Europe and the United States. And they persist to work closely with our European allies on the threat from international terrorism, including Al Qaeda.

Without speaking directly of the European plot, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned last week such attacks on publicly accessible areas are a major concern.

European governments have not commented on what plots may have been disrupted, though security officials in Britain have said that the Obama administration's stepped-up attacks in Pakistan has disrupted the ability of Al Qaeda in Pakistan to plan terrorist strikes on the west.

The U.K., which has the second-biggest foreign troop pledge in Afghanistan after the U.S., said the attacks are a matter for the U.S. and Pakistan.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Coral reefs sending a caution signal

In New York many people feel a little global warming is good and there is really nothing that they can see or hear that will make them feel another way. News of warming sea surfaces and bleached coral reefs stir little response when there's a chill in the air and the ocean is hundreds of miles away.

Sure, the ice is off the lakes a few weeks earlier and the growing season is a duo of weeks longer. But there are costs we are seeing now -- mosquitoes, indicates and other species of insects are really flourishing with the warmer weather while some species of trees, like sugar maple, are suffering slow refuses.

However, none of these small, incremental impacts gives one a sense of looming disaster, but the reality is that increased sea-surface temperatures will crash hundreds of millions of people, whether they live in Key West or Kalamazoo.

In contrast to the incremental changes we are seeing here in the heartland, the sea is already undergoing shattering changes on a massive scale, ones that are unparalleled in human history and that may be largely irreversible on human time scales.

During the past few months, coral bleaching near Aceh, Indonesia, in the Coral Triangle and in the Andaman Sea of Southeast Asia has left vast tracts of reefs impacted, with up to 80 percent of the corals dead or dying at some sites.

Bleaching occurs when corals get so thermally harassed that the symbiotic relationship with their solar-powered algae falls apart, and the pigmented algae get barred. The result is a bleached reef that looks starkly white because the white skeleton underlying the coral skin shows through.
Imagine if overnight all of the leaves on the trees in your neighborhood turned white from losing their photosynthetic pigments. Then think about what it would look like if more than half of those trees didn't recover and died.

Coral reefs are an ecosystem rich in biodiversity beyond our wildest imagining -- we are still discovering the countless links that support transforming nutrient- poor tropical oceans into an oasis of life. Reefs provide a home to countless small crabs, worms, starfish and rich zooplankton which hide in the reef by day and come out at night to be a rich banquet for fish.

Young fish shelter and feed in the reef, until large enough to survive elsewhere. Gobies are an example of a small reef fish that shows big declines on reefs affected by bleaching; the butterfly fish also is a species that feeds directly on coral and so declines with reef damage. Reefs that have bleached and died quickly erode and cannot fix carbon from the sun or provide habitat for fish.

Even as I write this, I am anticipating that one of the largest bleaching events in the history of the Caribbean is under way. We don't know yet if this event will become the largest because it has not reached its peak.

Currently, the route is on course to be markedly warmer than the record-breaking summer of 2005. During that year of record-breaking bleaching and shocking hurricanes, including Katrina, scientists identified the extreme sea surface temperatures as a once-in-a-100-year event.
Well, here we are five years later, and with a month to go before the expected temperature maximum during mid-October, it looks like we are in for a greater once-in-a-100-year event in the space of five years!

So, this raises the question -- does this really matter to folks in the heartland? Does it matter that nobody is even aware that this huge event is even going on? Well, it matters if we care about global biodiversity, since those reefs in the Coral Triangle are at the center of both fish and coral biodiversity.

It also matters if we care about the people who make their living on the fish, snails, crabs, and other animals that live on the reefs in the Coral Triangle, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean -- and the people who eat seafood in your town and every town.

It matters if we are concerned about future tsunamis in the Indo-Pacific because those reefs are the strongest wave breaks known to protect fragile coastal communities. And finally, it matters because coral reefs fuel billions in tourist dollars to fragile economies in the developing world as well as in our territorial waters.

So, for people who are concerned about the fate of the global environment and human civilization, it does matter.

We are an ocean nation with vast areas of coral reefs. The elite economic zone of the US includes not only a 200-mile coastal zone around our fifty states, but a 200-mile zone around rich marine resources in the Pacific, including Guam, Midway Island, Palmyra Atoll and American Samoa.
It is important to realize that the effects of climate change are being felt more directly in the oceans than on land. Just because they are out of sight does not mean that they should be out of mind.

Most people have not experienced firsthand the already disastrous impacts of climate change on our ocean. But soon enough we will start to notice disruptions in terrestrial ecosystems as well. To help coral reefs and other affected coastal ecosystems, much more rigorous management policies must be implemented to control overfishing and land-based pollution. This can improve the resilience of these climate-stressed ecosystems.

In the larger policy arena, to slow this sea surface warming we must not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we have to figure out a way to get the CO2 concentration below the level of the 388 parts per million it is at now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pakistani scientist sentenced to 86 years in US prison

A US federal court on Thursday verdict a Pakistani woman scientist to 86 years in prison for the attempted murder of US officers in Afghanistan, in a high-profile case closely watched in Islamabad. Aafia Siddiqui, a neuroscientist trained at the high-status Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was found culpable in February of trying to kill American servicemen in Afghanistan. "It is my judgement that Dr Siddiqui is sentenced to a period of incarceration of 86 years," Judge Richard Berman told on Thursday's hearing.

As the sentence was read out, a woman among about a dozen Siddiqui supporters in court shouted: "Shame, shame on this court!" But Siddiqui repeatedly begged with Muslims to take her sentencing calmly. "Forgive everybody in my case, please.... And also forgive Judge Berman," she said, as her legal team said a demand would be lodged. Legal representative of Dr. Siddiqui, Charles Swift told the journalist appeal goes forward and that those errors be addressed, because there were a lot of errors in this case

Siddiqui, a mother of three, was found guilty of snatching a rifle at an Afghan police station in the town of Ghazni where she was being interrogated in July 2008 and trying to gun down a group of US servicemen. Prosecutors said she had chosen up the rifle and opened fire on US servicemen and FBI representatives trying to take her into confinement. She missed and in a struggle was herself shot by one of the US soldiers.

Defense lawyers argued there was no physical evidence, such as finger prints or gunpowder traces, to show Siddiqui even grabbed the rifle. Siddiqui, her face wrapped in an ivory-white shawl, denied shooting at US officers and said in rambling court commentaries that she had been held in secret prisons for years and tortured at the Bagram US military base near Kabul, where she was "brainwashed."

A frail-looking woman who excelled in her US studies, Siddiqui featured on a 2004 US list of people supposed of al-Qaida links. Her case had already attracted the attention of human rights groups after she disappeared for five years. And protests erupted in Pakistan in February when Siddiqui was found guilty by the New York court. Family members and some human rights groups claimed Siddiqui was imprisoned by US forces after disappearing along with her three children in Pakistan in 2003 and that she is now mentally disturbed.

Her lawyers tried to prove Siddiqui, who reported disturbing illusion involving her missing children, was insane. However, a judge ruled her fit to stand trial.Although she was not charged with terrorism prosecutors described her as a would-be terrorist who had also plotted to bomb New York. And the trial failed to shed light on the mystery of what had happened to the petite, academically brilliant mother of three.

Human rights groups have long speculated she may have been secretly imprisoned and tortured at the US base in Bagram, Afghanistan. Siddiqui vanished in Pakistan at a time of intense efforts by US-backed local security forces to root out al-Qaida. And relatives believe she may have been grabbed in one of the operations. But the US military has denied she was ever held at the base.

While two of Siddiqui's children are missing -- one presumed dead -- one son Mohammad Ahmed, a teenager, now lives with her relatives in Karachi.

Facebook founder to announce $100M donation

Mark Zuckerberg facebook founder will appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" today to announce that he is contributing $100 million toward improving public schools in Newark, New Jersey in which Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will also appear. According to an official familiar with the accord, Zuckerberg's donation will be the first installment from a foundation financed by Zuckerberg and focused on bettering education.

With a predictable net worth of $6.9 billion, Zuckerberg ranked 35th on this year's Forbes 400 list of richest Americans -- up from 158th last year. At 26, he and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz are the youngest billionaires on the list. The statement comes a week ahead of the release of "The Social Network" -- a highly predictable movie about the early years of the social networking powerhouse.

The movie and the book it is based on -- "The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich -- do not portray Zuckerberg in the most positive of lights. Critics have uttered that the donation is being timed to counteract the effects of the movie. Under an agreement between Mayor Booker and Governor Christie, the state will maintain legal control over the district, but will authorize the mayor to develop a inclusive education plan. No details have been released at this time about how the money is to be distributed or used.

Zuckerberg grew up in Westchester County, New York, and founded Facebook in 2004, while studying computer science at Harvard University.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Top Chef Reunion: Pea Puree Problem (lastly) Explained

Who knew pea puree could be so divisive?

Fine, if it's part of Top Chef it can be…

The big question during this most recent season of the cooking competition show has been if Alex really stole Ed's pea puree during one of the removal challenges.

The Los Angeles chef has always maintained his innocence. And host Padma Lakshmi has his back. "He totally didn't steal the pea puree," Lakshmi recently told me. "If he did, he would have been sent home."

Judge Tom Colicchio teased that all will be explained on tonight's reunion special. "It'll come out a little down the road that he utterly did not steal it," he said.
So why the big mystery? Because it makes good television. "We call it creative editing."

US grants political asylum to the reporter of Mexico

Jorge Luis Aguirre, a Mexican journalist who said he got death intimidation from authorities in his country, has been granted political asylum in the US, the online daily La Polaka reported.

Aguirre, who is La Polaka's editor, fled to the US with his family in November 2008, hours after another reporter was murdered and he received direct death intimidation.

The journalist got 'systematic intimidation from the individual later named to head up the Public Safety Secretariat in Chihuahua, the country's most violent state and home to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's murder capital.

The intimidation stemmed from Chihuahua Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez's unhappiness over stories published by La Polaka.

Aguirre documented the intimidation and testified before the US Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs in Washington March 17, 2009.

President Barack Obama's administration finally arranged the journalist asylum.

As long as the war on drugs does not have an effect on the network of economic interests and punishes the narcopoliticians hidden in positions of power, there will be no hope for peace and progress in Mexico, especially in Juarez.

The journalist has been particularly critical of Chihuahua Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza, who in the face of increasing violence has called for the need to stop the killing and reconstruct the state's social fabric.

The killing, however, has not slowed, with more than 2,000 murders this year in Ciudad Juarez, which has seen some 230,000 people, according to a new study, escape to the US or return to their hometowns in Mexico.

The situation is particularly difficult for journalists, who have been under attack by criminals and, in many cases, by officials.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Commonwealth Games in doubt after bridge collapse

A footbridge being built near the main stadium for the Commonwealth Games distorted Tuesday, injuring 23 construction workers and putting the event in further jeopardy less than two weeks before the opening ceremony.

The accident was the latest setback to New Delhi's bothered preparations for the games, which bring together more than 7,000 athletes and officials from the 71 countries and territories in the commonwealth every four years.

Of the 23 workers who were hurt, five were seriously injured and taken to hospitals after the fall down of the footbridge.

The bridge connects the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium the site of the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field competition for the Oct. 3-14 games with a parking set.

Earlier in the day, Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell contacted the Indian government and urged them to finish work on the athletes' village, which many have called "unlivable."

Many nations that have already sent their advanced parties to set up within the village have made it copiously clear that, as of the afternoon of September 20th, the Commonwealth Games Village is seriously compromised. The CGF has asked the Cabinet Secretary to immediately organize the necessary resources to fix all the outstanding issues to an acceptable level.

All games face such problems and they will be resolved before the athletes come in. These are not going to affect the games in any way as all venues are ready to host the ames.

Berbatov hat-trick

Dimitar Berbatov scored a dazzling hat-trick as Manchester United recovered from throwing away a two-goal lead to defeat Liverpool 3-2 in a thrilling English Premier League game at Old Trafford.

The Bulgarian striker rose above the visiting defence with six minutes remaining to secure the three points after Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had scored twice in six second-half minutes to heave his side back into the game.

Berabatov had put United ahead with a header from a corner just before the interval and doubled the home side's lead on the hour mark with a piece of vividness bringing down a cross from Nani before accomplishing a superb overhead volley that found the net via the underside of the crossbar.

But Liverpool came back into the game just five minutes later, Gerrard scoring from the penalty spot after Fernando Torres had been fouled in the area by Johnny Evans.
And the comeback looked to be absolute when Gerrard netted from a direct free-kick that went straight through the Manchester United defensive wall.

United threw away a two-goal lead at Everton last weekend and they looked to be heading the same way until Berbatov interceded to become the first Manchester United player since Stan Pearson in 1946 to score a hat-trick against Liverpool.

The result puts United joint second with Arsenal in the table on 11 points, although the London side is ahead on goal difference.

However, both those teams are four points behind champions Chelsea, who preserved their 100 per cent start to the season with a 4-0 home victory over newly-promoted Blackpool.

All the goals came in the first half as Carlo Ancelotti's side ran riot. Salomon Kalou opened the scoring within two minutes after he was left unmarked at the far post from a corner.

Florent Malouda tapped home the second, after Didier Drogba had beaten the visitors offside trap, and Drogba himself added a third with a deflected shot.

Malouda added his second just before half-time but Blackpool's defence held firm after the break and Chelsea were unable to add to an impressive record of 21 goals in their opening five matches.
Defending champions Chelsea lead the way with a maximum 12 points from four games and they will be expected to increase their lead to four points later on Sunday when they entertain newly-promoted Blackpool.

In the day's other match, Argentine striker Carlos Tevez scored one and created the other goal as Manchester City moved into fourth place in the table with a 2-0 win at struggling Wigan.
Tevez opened the scoring before half-time when he took advantage of a poor header from Mohamed Diame to lob the ball over goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

And more defensive uncertainty from the home side resulted in Tevez clipping over a cross for Yaya Toure to score his first City goal from close range.

Monday, September 20, 2010

U.S. was ready to take Palestinian immigrants

The United States under President George W. Bush was prepared to take in 100,000 Palestinian immigrants as part of a Middle East peace deal, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday.

"The United States was ready to take in 100,000 immigrants as citizens of the United States," Olmert said, in what may be his most revealing comments to date about negotiations with the U.S. and the Palestinians when he was prime minister.

Olmert, who led Israel from 2006 to 2009, spoke weeks after direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians recommenced in Washington.

As prime minister, Olmert confer with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently doing.

Speaking in Tel Aviv, Israel, to a group called the Geneva Initiative, Olmert also said Sunday that he was prepared as prime minister to share Jerusalem's holy sites, which include the Western Wall and the Temple Mount -- known to Muslims as Haram-al-Sharif -- with the Palestinians.

"It will not be ours nor the Palestinians... (it) will be managed by an international trustee which includes (other) countries," Olmert said, describing his vision for the area known as the Holy Basin. "Israel is one of them, the Palestinians are there, the Saudi Arabians, according to my offer, the Jordanians and the Americans. This is a trust fund of five countries."

"This trust is going to ensure the freedom of access to all the holy sites to any Jew, to any Muslim, to any Christian," he said.

Also Sunday, Netanyahu said he does not plan to extend a moratorium on settlement-building in the West Bank, despite a Palestinian threat to walk away from peace talks if building resumes.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also pushing for a new three-month moratorium on Israeli building on land which the Palestinians consider theirs, a diplomatic source said Thursday.

But Netanyahu told leaders of his Likud party that there has been no change in Israel's position, sources familiar with the talks said.

The settlement freeze is due to expire September 26.

The Palestinians have said that if the moratorium ends and building resumes they will walk away from peace talks, which recently resumed after an 18-month hiatus.

The two sides appear to be at a stalemate, the source said.

But Olmert said Sunday that he is hopeful about the new round of talks.

"We have a peace proposal, and I believe that it may bring about a peace accord between us and the Palestinians in a short time," he said.

"The mere fact that the government of Israel agreed to take direct talks even when it causes pain to the government this means that it is courageous," he said. "Maybe it's the beginning of an understanding that there is no other choice."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fountain of Youth in Bile? Longevity Molecule Identified

The human hunt for longer life may be one step closer, thanks to research from Concordia University. Published in the journal Aging, a new study is the first to identify the role of a bile acid, called lithocholic acid (LCA), in extending the lifespan of normally aging yeast. The findings may have significant implications for human longevity and health, as yeast shares some common elements with people.

"Although we found that LCA greatly extends yeast longevity, yeast do not synthesize this or any other bile acid found in mammals," says senior author Vladimir Titorenko, Concordia University Research Chair in Genomics, Cell Biology and Aging and a professor in the Department of Biology. "It may be that yeast have evolved to sense bile acids as mildly toxic molecules and respond by undergoing life-extending changes. It is conceivable that the life-extending potential of LCA may be relevant to humans as well."

Over 19,000 small molecules screened

Titorenko and colleagues screened more than 19,000 small molecules to test their ability to extend yeast-lifespan. Under both normal and stressed conditions, LCA had a major impact.
"Our findings imply that LCA extends longevity by targeting two different mechanisms," says first author Alexander Goldberg, a Concordia doctoral student. "The first takes place regardless of the number of calories and involves the day-to-day or housekeeping proteins. The second system occurs during calorie-restriction and involves stressor proteins."

"Regardless of their triggers both of these mechanisms work to suppress the pro-aging process," he continues.

Bile acids may be beneficial to health

"Although we have an overall idea how LCA works to extend longevity in yeast, we still need to determine if this is the case for other species," says Titorenko. "We do know from previous studies, however, that bile acids are beneficial to health and longevity. For example, they have shown to accumulate in the serum of long living mice and play a role in improving rodent liver and pancreatic function."
"This leads us to believe that bile acids have potential as pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of diabetes, obesity and various metabolic disorders, all of which are age-related," continues Titorenko. "They may indeed offer hope for a healthy aging life."

Arctic species under threat, report warns

Polar bears clinging to melting ice sheets have become one of the most frequently used images to portray the perils of climate change.

But a new report by the U.S. Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and UK-based Care for the Wild International (CWI) is bringing attention to the predicament of other equally endangered Arctic species.

Seventeen Arctic animals are highlighted in "Extinction: It's Not Just for Polar Bears."
The plight of the polar bear due to global warming is very well known and familiar. But many other Arctic species are suffering a similar fate -- from plankton all the way to the great whales.
The impacts of climate change are unfolding far more rapidly in the Arctic than any other area on the planet threatening its ecosystem.

A 2009 study -- "Loss of Sea Ice in the Arctic" -- reported that the sea ice extent in 2007 was one million square miles below the average figure recorded between 1979 and 2000.

This, and other data suggests, say scientists that summer sea ice could completely disappear in the Arctic by 2030.

The ice retreat is already spelling trouble for marine mammals like the Pacific walrus and the harp seal.

Pacific walruses, like many of the mammals, are sea ice dependent, with many having already suffering population declines.

There are 10 to 20,000 walruses holed up on Alaskan Arctic coastline. And that is attributable to sea ice loss.

Walruses need sea ice for resting because they can't swim continuously. When they lose that sea ice, especially moms and calves, they are forced to come to shore -- where calves are very vulnerable to be trampled in stampedes.

Last year, the stampede claimed 131 young walruses.

The number was even higher off the Russian coast in 2007 where several thousand calves died when around 40,000 walruses were pushed ashore.

Ocean acidification -- caused by increased uptake of carbon dioxide -- is happening more quickly in the Arctic than in warmer waters.

Their loss would be potentially devastating for other species.

On land, the Arctic fox -- found on the southern edges of the Arctic tundra -- is facing "myriad threats from climate change," including shrinking sea ice and tundra, declines in lemming prey and increased competition from the larger, more dominant red fox -- which is edging north as temperatures rise.

All the animals are at risk of extinction due to climate change.

The Arctic is ground zero for climate change and many species are been pushed towards extinction. The key to prevent their loss is reducing our greenhouse gas emissions -- specifically carbon dioxide -- to a level of 350ppm or below. That is a level many leading scientists have called for to restore Arctic sea ice.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yen hits fresh 15-year high against US dollar

The yen has hit a new 15-year high against the US dollar after Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan won a vote for run of the ruling party.

The dollar slid to 83.09 yen curtly after it was confirmed that Mr Kan had survived the leadership contest. It was later trading at about 83.40 yen.

Analysts fear the rising yen is undermining Japan's recovery, making exports less aggressive overseas.

The record low for the dollar is 79.75 yen, reached in April 1995.
Mr Kan's defeated foe, Ichiro Ozawa, had been seen as more likely to take action to combat the strength of the yen.

"Ozawa had made comments that had been stronger on intervention, so there was a knee-jerk reaction to Kan’s wins," commented Simon Derrick, head of currency explore at Bank of New York Mellon in London.

But Koichi Haji, chief economist at NLI Research Institute in Tokyo, said: "Kan probably won't be as forceful in calling for monetary easing by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) as Ozawa. But that doesn't mean the BoJ won't come under force. If the economy worsens, Kan will certainly ask for further monetary easing."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Firepower on water and in the air

Gydroaviasalon is an international air show on hydro-aviation held in Russia. It's held every even year since 1996 on a seashore at Gelendzhik. The event alternates with MAKS Air Show on general aviation, which is held in odd years. The air show draws special attention to amphibious aircraft and seaplanes, ship-based aircraft, fire-fighting aviation, missiles and sea-based space systems, search-and-rescue aviation, sea ecological monitoring aviation, navigation equipment, small ships, launches and yachts, Wing-In-Ground effect (WIG) crafts. Aircraft such as Beriev Be-200, A-40, Be-12P-200 and Be-103 are frequently shown at this show.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Computer Simulation Cracks Chicken-Egg Puzzle

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Scientists in Britain think it was probably the chicken, after using new computer technology to try and crack the age-old riddle.

Researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick, in northern and central England, say the secret lies in the eggshell -- specifically the vital role played by a chicken protein in forming it.

Scientists already knew that the protein, vocledidin-17 (OC-17), plays a part in eggshell formation, but the new technology allowed the team to demonstrate exactly how the protein makes it happen.

In a computer simulation, the OC-17 protein acted as a catalyst to kickstart the formation of crystals that make up an eggshell by clamping itself on to calcium carbonate particles.

The OC-17 protein then dropped off when the crystal nucleus was large enough to grow on its own, freeing up the protein to start the process again.

Eggshells are created when this happens many times over within a short period of time.

"Understanding how chickens make eggshells is fascinating in itself but can also give clues towards designing new materials and processes," said Professor John Harding from Sheffield University, one of the authors of the research.

Nature has found innovative solutions that work for all kinds of problems in materials science and technology -- we can learn a lot from them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bone drugs may raise throat cancer risk: study

People who take bone-strengthening drugs for several years may have a little higher risk of esophageal cancer, a new study suggests.

The findings are in contrast to another recent study that used the same database of 80,000 patients and concluded that there was no link between the drugs and esophageal cancer. That study was published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Authors of the new study say they tracked patients for nearly twice as long — nearly eight years. Other studies have been divided over whether the risk is real.

In the latest study, British researchers started with nearly 3,000 people with esophageal cancer and matched each one to five similar people who didn't have the disease. Ninety of the cancer patients and 345 people in the comparison group had been prescribed bone-building pills called bisphosphonates.

These drugs, sold as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and other brands, are widely used after menopause to prevent or treat osteoporosis.