Archive for April, 2009

Summer to Kill Swine Flu in U.S. and Mexico?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 30, 2009   View Article

The hot and humid days of summer could prove a death knell for the swine flu outbreak currently sweeping around the globe—at least in the U.S., Mexico, and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, experts say.

“If [the new swine flu strain] is like other types of influenza that have been tested, it would have a lower transmission rate in the summer,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an assistant professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis, who studies how the water cycle affects the spread of disease.

Hubble Telescope’s Highs and Lows

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: April 29, 2009   View Article

The Hubble Space Telescope has circled Earth once every 97 minutes since it was launched in 1990, peering into deep space and sending back digital postcards that have wowed the world. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the world’s best-known eye in the sky. Click through this slideshow to learn about the space telescope’s highs and lows, as described by the experts most familiar with Hubble’s history.

Ancient Ice Yields Good, Not Great, News for Earth

Publication: By John Roach   Date: April 26, 2009   View Article

Air trapped in ancient Greenland ice has yielded some good, but not great, news about the future on a warming planet, according to a new study.

Wetlands were responsible for a substantial increase in the potent greenhouse gas methane in the atmosphere at the end of the last ice age about 11,600 years ago, the study shows.

The finding is cast as “good news” for the planet because it indicates methane clathrates, an even greater source of methane, remained stable in ocean sediments and permafrost.

“The amount of carbon locked up in methane clathrates is about equal to all the fossil fuels combined, so all of oil, gas, and coal,” study lead author Vasilii Petrenko of the University of Colorado at Boulder told me.

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Cow Genome Decoded – Cheaper Beef for Everybody?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 23, 2009   View Article

The humble cow has now had its entire genome sequenced, a new study says.

Six years in the making, the feat could lead to healthier, cheaper beef and milk, according to scientists.

Tree Kangaroo Twins Filmed in the Pouch – A First

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 22, 2009   View Article

In a video first, twin tree kangaroos have been filmed inside their mother’s pouch—and the footage proves that the rare joeys can survive even if they detach early from the teat.

Previously, wildlife managers had assumed baby tree kangaroos that went off the nipple wouldn’t survive, noted John Chapo, president and CEO of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska.

10 technologies on the ‘green’ frontier

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: April 21, 2009   View Article

Technology helped humans blast off from Earth and circle the moon in the 1968, giving astronauts the chance to make an iconic image of planet Earth. Scientists and environmentalists are now hoping technology will help humans grounded on terra firma find harmony at home. Check out 10 technologies on the green frontier.

Earth Day Facts: When It Is, How It Began, What to Do

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 20, 2009   View Article

From not-so-humble beginnings in 1970, when 20 million participated across the U.S., Earth Day has grown into a global tradition, with a billion expected to take part in 2009. Find out when it is, how it started, how it’s evolved, and what you can do.

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