Impermafrost (Science Daily)
Due to global warming, a lot of permafrost is thawing. That means the frozen vegetable matter in it will finally start rotting, giving off carbon dioxide and methane, increasing the global warming. Vicious circle. This has not been included in climate models yet.
Less deforested (Nature)
On the other hand, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is at an all-time low. (Don’t get carried away; that just means it’s vanishing slower than ever before. It’s still shrinking.)
Unknown sea (Nature, Science Daily)
A third to two thirds of all the species in the sea remain to be discovered, according to a recent report by UNESCO.
A substitute for sex (ScienceNOW, Science Daily)
Bdelloid rotifers are microscopic (but multicelled) animals that have been reproducing without sex for millions of years. But that doesn’t mean they’re all clones of each other. They have acquired bits and snips of DNA from various places, including other species. These borrrows make up 10% of their genome. But no one knows how they do it.
A half million years of spears (New Scientist, Science News)
People — and people-like creatures — have been making spears for half a million years, according to new archeological discoveries. That’s 200,000 years further back than we thought before. Homo heidelbergensis is the species that would have been making and throwing these spears.
Nanotech vs MS (Phys.org, Science News)
Researchers have used a biodegradable nanoparticle to deliver antigens to the immune systems of mice, blocking the attack on the mice’s nerves, which means saving the mice from multiple sclerosis. This therapy calms the immune system back to a normal level, instead of shutting it down entirely as other MS therapies do.
“Stem-like” cells (Science Daily)
There are embryonic stem cells, which are controversial to use, and pluripotent stem cells, which are limited. And both can produce tumors. But now there are “stem-like” cells, produced from adult skin cells and _not_ producing tumors. A new tool for regenerative therapy.
Immune therapy for Alzheimer’s (Science Daily)
Researchers in Berlin and Zurich have been able to greatly reduce the equivalent of Alzheimer’s in mice but blocking production of cytokines, molecules used to transmit signals in the immune system.
Smells white (ScienceNOW, Discover Magazine)
Researchers studying the sense of smell have produced a “white” smell. It smells of … nothing in particular. There’s a smell there; it just has no character at all. An exciting new lack of experience.
Exo photo (New Scientist, Science Daily)
Astronomers have photographed a super-Jupiter, 13 times as big as Jupiter. We’ve detected loads of planets, but this is only the sixth planet outside the Solar System that we’ve seen.
Ancient ice bugs (New Scientist)
Explorer scientists in Antarctica have taken samples from Lake Vida, which is liquid but has been buried in ice for 3000 years. They found a living community of bacteria, eking out a living on various subdued chemical reactions.
Snakebot (Science News)
Roboticist Howard Choset has built a robot snake. It looks like a chain of tin cans connected by joints, but it can burrow through holes and climb trees.
Long and thin (Science Daily)
More snakes in the news. Zoologists in Ecuador have discovered a new, very thin, very long snake. Its head is about as big as a penny but its several feet long.