Carbon dioxide hits 400 ppm for the first time in human history

Carbon dioxide levels throughout the northern hemisphere hit 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history in April – the ominous threshold has been reached, and it continues to go up. Time is running out I’m sad that I was right when I wrote: The Inevitable 2014 Headline: ‘Global CO2 Level Reaches 400 PPM For First Time

Genghis Han killed so many people, that it was actually good for the environment, new study claims

Genghis Khan might have been the greenest invader of all time – his bloody conquests killed so many people, that in their path, huge swathes of cultivated land returned to forest, eliminating a huge amount of carbon from the atmosphere. When some 600 years after your lifetime, people don’t refer to you by your real name, but by a name

New study shows plants talk to each other through fungus in the ground

Plants can communicate with each other, signaling a potential incoming attack through an underground network of fungi, researchers found. Instances of plants communicating with each other have already been picked up through the air – with chemicals emitted by one plant being picked up by another plant. But below ground? They rely on fungi called mycorrhizae. A new study published in Ecology

Science shows HIV can cut and paste parts in the human genome

For the first time, researchers have modified HIV virus particles so that they can simultaneously, as it were, ‘cut and paste’ in our genome via biological processes. Developed by biologists from the Aarhus University, the technology makes it possible to repair genomes in a new way. It also offers new perspectives for treating several viral infections: “Now we can simultaneously cut out

Trillions of pieces of plastic in the Arctic ice

The Arctic ocean likely holds trillions of pieces of plastic in ice; as global warming starts to tick in and the ice starts to melt, all those pieces will drift into the oceans. Even though the finding has huge implications, it is so surprising that researchers don’t know yet how bad of an effect this will have on wildlife. The pollutants

Chinese research agencies push for open access journals

China has officially joined the international movement to make research papers free to read. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), one of the country’s major basic-science funding agencies, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), which funds and conducts research at more than 100 institutions, have together announced that they will soon make all their papers open access

Global warming could make all turtles female

Rising temperatures could provide a short term boost in the numbers of turtle populations (as hotter water stimulates the growth of female offspring), but if the current trends continue for a long time, the entire population might go extinct soon. ”There’ll be a bit of a breathing space … but down the track it’ll be serious,” said Graeme Hays from

Ultra-sensitive chip can detect cancer fast from only a drop of blood

Most cancer diagnosis tools and procedures today involve detecting the disease on the microscopic level. There is no single test that can accurately diagnose cancer. The complete evaluation of a patient usually requires a thorough history and physical examination along with diagnostic testing – a lot and a lot of tests. If that wasn’t enough, these tests are only designed

New way to make affordable high efficiency stacked solar cells

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign report they’ve devised a new type of highly efficient solar cell that is potentially easier to manufacture and cheaper than cells of similar performance. The stacked cell allows photon energy to be garnered from across the whole solar spectrum, and this new design makes use of a novel technique which basically electrically

Tiny plastic timebomb: how cosmetic microbeads are killing the fish in the oceans

People using cosmetics are indirectly pouring hundreds of tons of tiny plastic beads into the oceans every year. These beads ultimately end up contaminating the marine wildlife, a big part of which ends up on your plate. You probably don’t know this, but many cosmetic products (including tooth paste and detergents) contain thousands of plastic microbeads deliberately added by producers

NASA activates veggie growing system on the ISS

Growing vegetables in outer space – something which science fiction readers are very familiar with, but in the real world, this is a first – NASA’s veggie growing chambers have activated. We were telling you a while ago about NASA’s plans to start growing vegetables onboard the ISS – and now, the system is online. The main question which is

Oldest most complete skeleton found in the New World

In what is quite an exciting study, a mixed team of researchers and cave divers announced the discovery of a near-complete early American human skeleton with an intact cranium and preserved DNA. Over 40 meters (130 feet) below sea level, in the Hoyo Negro area in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, there lies an intricate cave system which was once above the

Why octupus arms never get entangled

Roboticists and mechanical engineers hold octopuses to great respect and admiration because of their many skills, like great water propulsion, camouflage and independent limbs. Each octopus tentacle is equipped with numerous suckers that allows it to easily cling to most surfaces, no matter how smooth they may be. Whether the octopus needs to attach itself to a surface or run

3D Bioprinted liver-inspired device traps toxins and detoxifies blood

Inspired by the healing properties of the human liver, researchers at University of California, San Diego created a 3D-printed biodevice which mimics the liver and removes dangerous toxins from the blood. Used outside the body, like a dialysis machine, the device employs nanoparticles to trap pore-forming toxins that can damage cellular membranes. These toxins often result from animal bites and stings, and

Mice with multiple sclerosis walk and run again after human stem cell treatment

In a feat that surprised even the scientists who made the experiment, mice disabled by a condition similar to multiple sclerosis (MS) began to walk and even run again after human stem cells had been transplanted. The findings could potentially offer new means of treating MS, a terribly disease which plagues some 2.3 million people worldwide. Growing stem cells and new legs University

Who’s got the most efficient muscle engine : the tuna or the grey whale?

The humongous grey whale and the skipjack tuna, though of contradicting sizes, both employ similar propelling mechanisms through water. Pound per pound, however, which of the two animals is most energy efficient? Engineers at Northwestern University have developed a new metric for analyzing such problems and found that the two marine animals are almost just as energy efficient despite the great

There probably is no such thing as gluten intolerance, study shows

This is one of those science stories where it gives to show that even scientists can be biased and, most of all, that it’s only when you stand-up and become willing to contradict yourself that you come closer to the truth. Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology at Monash University and director of the GI Unit at The Alfred Hospital

Cutting down CO2 emission might save the economy $71 trillion by 2050

“We can’t give up oil and coal because it will ruin our economy.” This is an argument often thrown about by politicians, ignorant policy makers and Fox News peeps. In reality, they couldn’t be more wrong. It’s enough to read the extensive report published by the IEA, titled  Energy Technology Perspectives 2014, which analyzes how the energy sector might look like

Russia will deny the US access to the ISS come 2020 over Ukraine sactions

I’ve expressed my fears that something like this might happen a few weeks ago when the first US sanctions hit the Russian government and its oligarchs, but all this time I was hoping that any political feuds may spare interfering with the International Space Station. Following the US government’s recent denial of export licences for hi-tech items that could help the

Graphene: unlimited heat conductivity

It’s official – graphene is the wonder material of the millennium. A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the National Univ. of Singapore found that thermal conductivity of graphene diverges with the size of the samples. What’s the big deal? Well, the findings show that the thermal conductivity of graphene is not