Culture

An international team of scientists, headed by Prof. Daniel Rosenfeld of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has come up with a surprising finding to the disputed issue of whether air pollution increases or decreases rainfall. The conclusion: both can be true, depending on local environmental conditions.

The determination of this issue is one with significant consequences in an era of climate change and specifically in areas suffering from manmade pollution and water shortages, including Israel.

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Armed guards once kept polar bears away while Cathy Cripps collected mushrooms and fungi on the island of Svalbard between Norway and the North Pole. Another time, Cripps encountered musk-oxen while gathering fungi in Greenland.

It's no wonder, then, that some of the world's top experts on fungi asked if they would face grizzly bears in Montana, said Cripps, a Montana State University mycologist who hosted a recent International Symposium on Arctic-Alpine Mycology. Cripps is president of ISAM and curator of the MSU fungi collection.

Scientists studying arsenic pollution have discovered a living sensor that can spot contamination. They have also discovered new bacteria that can clean up arsenic spills even in previously untreatable cold areas, microbiologists heard today (Monday 8 September 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

The Giant Mine in Canada is in the sub-arctic. It contains over 230,000 tonnes of arsenic-containing dust, making it one of the most polluted places on Earth as well as one of the most inhospitable.

The development and path of Hurricane Gustav is shown via a sequence of satellite images acquired by Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument on 25 August, 28 August, 30 August and 1 September 2008 (from right to left).

Gustav formed on 25 August 2008 some 400 km southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti (seen above far right image), when a tropical wave developed curved bands and an upper level eye feature (visible), causing the U.S. National Hurricane Center to designate it Tropical Depression Seven.

Standardized video coding techniques still have their snags -- digitally transmitted images are not always disruption-free. An extension of the H.264/AVC coding format allows to protect the most important data packets to ensure they arrive safely at the receiver.

A decade old US double murder probe has received a new breakthrough following investigations by a University of Leicester forensic scientist at Northamptonshire Police.

Dr John Bond, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leicester Forensic Research Centre and Scientific Support Manager at Northamptonshire Police, revealed today that he found fingerprints on bullet shell casings fired at the crime scene in 1999.

The casings had been brought to Dr Bond by US detective Christopher King in a bid to shed new light on the investigation.

Chicago, IL – September 4, 2008 – For young children, all states currently require the use of child safety seats, and the minimum age and weight requirements to graduate to seat belts has been increasing over time. A new study in the journal Economic Inquiry reveals that lap-and-shoulder seat belts perform as well as child safety seats in preventing serious injury. However, safety seats tend to be better at reducing less serious injuries.

A researcher on a short trip to a foreign country, with little money, but a digital camera in hand has devised a novel approach to digitizing foreign archives that could speed up research.

Bumblebees learn to avoid camouflaged predators by sacrificing foraging speed for predator detection, according to scientists from Queen Mary, University of London.

One of the bumblebee's main predators is the crab spider. Crab spiders hunt pollinating insects like bees and butterflies by lying in wait on flowers, and are particularly difficult for their prey to spot because they can change their colour to blend in with their surroundings.

Researchers reporting in the September 4th Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, have new insight into the motivating factors that drive breeding pairs of some tropical bird species to sing duets. Those duets can be so closely matched that human listeners often mistake them for solos.

Lowell, MA – September 4, 2008 – A new study in Latin American Politics and Society highlights the multifaceted nature of the Colombian conflict, identifying the factors that are driving conflict and illustrating how disregard for the range of these factors lends support to policies that do not enhance prospects for peace.

Logan, UT – September 4, 2008 – There is not a universally accepted definition of predatory lending by policy makers, regulators or people involved in the mortgage business. Predatory lending has been equated to mortgage abuse, mortgage fraud, loans with hidden prepayment penalties or even the legally acceptable loans that simply offer higher interest rates, or any other unethical practices in a mortgage transaction. The often-repeated term "predatory lending" apparently carries a wide variety of meaning in the mortgage market, depending on the context in which it is used.

Up to 20 million people, thousands of whom are already displaced from their homes following the devastating Chinese earthquake, are at increased risk from flooding and major power shortages in the massive Sichuan Basin over the next few decades and possibly centuries.

Dr Alex Densmore, a geographer from Durham University, makes the observations on returning from carrying out investigative fieldwork in the China earthquake zone, where nearly 100,000 people were killed in May 2008. He has been studying the active faults in Sichuan for the past eight years.

GALVESTON, Texas — University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have discovered a key biochemical link in the process by which the Ebola Zaire virus infects cells — a critical step to finding a way to treat the deadly disease produced by the virus.

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) used to detect and report events including hurricanes, earthquakes, and forest fires and for military surveillance and antiterrorist activities are prone to subterfuge. In the International Journal of Security and Networks, computer scientists at Florida Atlantic University describe a new antihacking system to protect WSNs.