Tech

Reliable measurements of the air-sea flux of carbon dioxide – an important greenhouse gas – are needed for a better understanding of the impact of ocean-atmosphere interactions on climate. A new method developed by researchers at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) working in collaboration with colleagues at the Bjerknes Center for Climate Research (Bergen, Norway) promises to make this task considerably easier.

Public employees have long been subject to performance reviews that evaluate how well they are performing their jobs. But can judges, public employees who literally hold the power of life and death in their hands, be assessed in the same way? New research from North Carolina State University and East Carolina University shows that there is an effective way to evaluate judges, which benefits both the public and the judges themselves.

BOSTON (January 19, 2010) — A team of researchers has developed a dynamic mapping tool to gain a more nuanced view of the links between diseases and environmental exposures. The application of the method is illustrated by a number of examples of associations between environmental exposures and Salmonella infections among people in the US age 65 and over in 2002. Analysis of the dynamic maps revealed that Salmonella infections were more common during the summer months, were highly clustered in the South, and were potentially more common in areas with high broiler chicken sales.

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- A recent study, published in the January issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, demonstrates that in elderly patients undergoing hip fracture repair under spinal anesthesia with propofol sedation, the prevalence of delirium can be decreased by 50 percent with light sedation, compared to deep sedation.

*"A fleet of fighter planes is not necessary to attack a power station; a keyboard is sufficient. And if you don't have the skills, there are enough mercenary hackers who can do it for you," says Dr. Yaniv Levyatan, a University of Haifa expert on information warfare.*

A randomised controlled trial of fish oil given intravenously to patients in intensive care has found that it improves gas exchange, reduces inflammatory chemicals and results in a shorter length of hospital stay. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Critical Care investigated the effects of including fish oil in the normal nutrient solution for patients with sepsis, finding a significant series of benefits.

SEATTLE--More and more Americans with chronic pain not caused by cancer are taking medically prescribed opioids like Oxycontin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone). The January 19 Annals of Internal Medicine features the first study to explore the risk of overdose in patients prescribed opioids for chronic noncancer pain in general health care. The study links risk of fatal and nonfatal opioid overdose to prescription use—strongly associating the risk with the prescribed dose.

Following a rule expanding coverage of weight-loss surgery under Medicare, bariatric procedures in the Medicare population were centralized to a smaller number of certified centers, were more likely to be minimally invasive and were associated with improved outcomes, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The combination of low concentrations of oxygen and nutrients in the lower layers of the beaches of Alaska's Prince William Sound is slowing the aerobic biodegradation of oil remaining from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, according to researchers at Temple University.

Considered one of the worst environmental disasters in history, the Exxon Valdez spilled more than 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, contaminating some 1,300 miles of shoreline, killing thousands of wildlife and severely impacting Alaska's fishing industry and economy.

In humans and animals, periodically recurring movements like walking or breathing are controlled by small neural circuits called "central pattern generators" (CPG). Scientists have been using this principle in the development of walking machines. To date, typically one separate CPG was needed for every gait. The robot receives information about its environment via several sensors – about whether there is an obstacle in front of it or whether it climbs a slope. Based on this information, it selects the CPG controlling the gait that is appropriate for the respective situation.

The remarkable feat of tying light in knots has been achieved by a team of physicists working at the universities of Bristol, Glasgow and Southampton, UK, reports a paper in Nature Physics this week.

Understanding how to control light in this way has important implications for laser technology used in wide a range of industries.

CLEMSON, S.C. — Resources to solve the housing crisis in Haiti may already be on hand.

Some Clemson University researchers have been experimenting with ways to convert shipping containers into emergency housing in the hurricane-prone Caribbean, where a surplus of the sturdy boxes often sits in port yards.

HOBOKEN, N.J. – A research paper that has potential implications for homeland defense, work place safety, and health care has been published in the Journal of Advanced Materials (volume, issue, 2010). Stevens Institute of Technology's Dr. Henry Du, Professor and Director of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, together with Dr.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – One way to help address the epidemic of obesity in the United States is improved access to pleasant hiking trails and an ambitious parks and recreation program, a recent study suggests, but programs such as this are increasingly being reduced in many states due to budget shortfalls.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — What we learn from our siblings when we grow up has – for better or for worse – a considerable influence on our social and emotional development as adults, according to an expert in sibling, parent-child and peer relationships at the University of Illinois.

Laurie Kramer, a professor of applied family studies in the department of human and community development at Illinois, says that although a parent's influence on a child's development shouldn't be underestimated, neither should a sibling's.