Earth

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (July 1, 2009) — University of Minnesota Medical School researcher Michael Mauer, M.D., has found a treatment that significantly slows the progression of eye injury in people with type 1 diabetes, a common complication caused by this disease. By administering an antihypertensive, medication commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure, Mauer and colleagues were able to slow progression of diabetic eye damage in more than 65 percent of participants involved in the study.

Researchers from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, have drawn together 200 years' worth of oceanographic knowledge to investigate the distribution of a notorious deep-sea giant – the king crab. The results, published this week in the Journal of Biogeography, reveal temperature as a driving force behind the speciation and radiation of a major seafloor predator; globally, and over tens of millions of years of Earth's history.

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (July 1, 2009) — University of Minnesota Medical School researcher Michael Mauer, M.D., has found a treatment that significantly slows the progression of eye injury in people with type 1 diabetes, a common complication caused by this disease. By administering an antihypertensive, medication commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure, Mauer and colleagues were able to slow progression of diabetic eye damage in more than 65 percent of participants involved in the study.

Palo Alto, CA— When glaciers advanced over much of the Earth's surface during the last ice age, what kept the planet from freezing over entirely? This has been a puzzle to climate scientists because leading models have indicated that over the past 24 million years geological conditions should have caused carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to plummet, possibly leading to runaway "icehouse" conditions. Now researchers writing in the July 2, 2009, Nature report on the missing piece of the puzzle – plants.

New Haven, Conn. — Fifty million years ago, the North and South Poles were ice-free and crocodiles roamed the Arctic. Since then, a long-term decrease in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has cooled the Earth. Researchers at Yale University, the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the University of Sheffield now show that land plants saved the Earth from a deep frozen fate by buffering the removal of atmospheric CO2 over the past 24 million years.

Pittsburgh, PA…According to new research published online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) on July 1, 2009, a new fossil primate from Myanmar (previously known as Burma) suggests that the common ancestor of humans, monkeys and apes evolved from primates in Asia, not Africa as many researchers believe.

A team led by Yale University researchers has successfully implemented simple algorithms using a quantum processor based on microwave solid-state technology--similar to that found in computers and cell phones. The new processor is far from conventional, however, in that it uses the potent power of quantum mechanics to bring the dream of quantum computing a small but significant step closer to reality.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- During the past decade, residents of Pasto, Colombia, and neighboring villages near Galeras, Colombia's most dangerous volcano, have been threatened with evacuation, but compliance varies. With each new eruption -- the most recent explosion occurred June 7-9 -- Colombian officials have grown increasingly concerned about the safety of the residents who live within striking distance of Galeras, located 700 km from Bogota.

Whether it's the summer grass that tickles your feet or the red Bordeaux smacking on your palette, nearly every part of the world around you carries special chemical markers. These markers, called isotopes, can tell scientists where the molecules that compose a substance are from, where they traveled, and what happened to them along the way. But doing these analyses has been complex and costly. Now, Stanford chemists have developed a new method to make isotopic analysis easier and less expensive.

Cambridge, Md. (June 29, 2009) – An international team of scientists warns that accelerating losses of seagrasses across the globe threaten the immediate health and long-term sustainability of coastal ecosystems. The team has compiled and analyzed the first comprehensive global assessment of seagrass observations and found that 58 percent of world's seagrass meadows are currently declining.

An international team of researchers has modified chlorophyll from an alga so that it resembles the extremely efficient light antennae of bacteria. The team was then able to determine the structure of these light antennae. This is the first step to converting sunlight into energy using an artificial leaf. The researchers will be publishing an article on their research findings in the online Early Edition of the PNAS journal in the week starting 29 June.

Particulate pollution thought to be holding climate change in check by reflecting sunlight instead enhances warming when combined with airborne soot, a new study has found.

Like a black car on a bright summer day, soot absorbs solar energy. Recent atmospheric models have ranked soot, also called black carbon, second only to carbon dioxide in potential for atmospheric warming. But particles, or aerosols, such as soot mix with other chemicals in the atmosphere, complicating estimates of their role in changing climate.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Composite materials such as fiberglass, which take on a mix of properties of their constituent compounds, have been around for decades. Now, an MIT materials scientist is taking composites to the nanoscale, where entirely new properties, not found in any of the original compounds, can emerge.

NEWPORT NEWS, VA, June 29, 2009 – A new calculation clarifies the complicated relationship between protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus and offers a fascinating resolution of the famous NuTeV Anomaly.

The calculation, published in the journal Physical Review Letters on June 26, was carried out by a collaboration of researchers from the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Tokai University and the University of Washington. It grew out of attempts to make sense of the complex environment found in the nucleus of the atom.