Archive for March, 2006

Antarctica’s Atmosphere Warming Dramatically, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 30, 2006   View Article

The air over Antarctica has warmed dramatically over the past 30 years, according to a new study of archived data collected by weather balloons floated over the icy continent.

The greatest warming—nearly 1.4ºF (0.75ºC) per decade in the winter—has occurred about 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the surface.

Car Free Days Bring Quiet to Communities, Advocates Say

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 29, 2006   View Article

Beep beep. Vroom vroom. Thump thump.

The constant cacophony of honking horns, roaring engines, and booming car stereos has helped fuel a sixfold increase in noise pollution over the past 15 years that is driving people from cities, according to advocates for peace and quiet.

Wouldn’t it be nice, they ask, if cars were on the fringe of our daily lives?
To help find an answer, “car-free day” events held in a handful of cities across the U.S. are giving urban dwellers a taste for life with fewer—and in some cases no—cars.

Mouse Testicles Yield Promising Stem Cells

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 24, 2006   View Article

German researchers announced today that they have isolated stem cells in adult mouse testicles that have properties similar to those of embryonic stem cells.

When injected into early mouse embryos, the cells contributed to the growth of various mouse organs, including heart, brain, and lungs.

If the method works in humans, it could provide an alternative source for stem cells, avoiding the ethical controversy of generating stem cells from human embryos, said the researchers from the Georg-August University of Göttingen.

Global Warming Is Rapidly Raising Sea Levels, Studies Warn

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 23, 2006   View Article

Water from melting ice sheets and glaciers is gushing into the world’s oceans much faster than previously thought possible, sending scientists scrambling to explain why.

The unexpected deluge is raising global sea levels, which scientists say could eventually submerge island nations, flood cities, and expose millions of coastal residents to destructive storm surges.

By the end of this century the seas may be three feet (one meter) higher than they are today, according to a pair of studies that appear in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Science.

Photo in the News: “Cool” Brown Dwarf, Small Star Found Near Earth

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 23, 2006   View Article

Astronomers have discovered a “cool” brown dwarf circling a star relatively close to Earth.

Brown dwarfs are neither stars nor planets. They are typically dozens of times more massive than Jupiter, the most massive planet in our solar system, but too small to shine like a star.

Alaska Oil Spill Fuels Concerns Over Arctic Wildlife, Future Drilling

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 20, 2006   View Article

A recent spill of about 267,000 gallons (1 million liters) of oil in the tundra of Alaska’s North Slope is raising a new round of questions from environmental groups about proposed plans to open more land in the region to oil drilling.

The North Slope region of Alaska borders the Arctic Ocean and contains most of the state’s petroleum reserves. It is also home to thousands of migratory birds, caribou, and other creatures.

Ants Use Acid to Make “Gardens” in Amazon, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 20, 2006   View Article

Ants in the Amazon rain forest labor to keep their territory free of all plants except for one tree species, according to a new study. Scientists call these cultivated spaces devil’s gardens, after the local legends that hold they’re home to evil spirits. Some of the gardens are at least 800 years old.

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