Analysis of Marcellus flowback finds high levels of ancient brines

Ethical Markets Earth Systems Science

Analysis of Marcellus flowback finds high levels of ancient brines

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 05:35 PM PST

Brine water that flows back from gas wells in the Marcellus Shale region after hydraulic fracturing is many times more salty than seawater, with high contents of various elements, including radium and barium. The chemistry is consistent with brines formed during the Paleozoic era, a new study found.

Ants aquaplaning on a pitcher plant

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 05:35 PM PST

An insect-trapping pitcher plant in Venezuela uses its downward pointing hairs to create a ‘water slide’ on which insects slip to their death, new research reveals.

Birdsong bluster may dupe strange females, but it won’t fool partners

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 05:35 PM PST

Male birds use their song to dupe females they have just met by pretending they are in excellent physical condition. Just as some men try to cast themselves in a better light when they approach women, so some male birds seek to portray that they are fitter than they really are. But males do not even try to deceive their long-term partners, who are able to establish his true condition by his song.

Ozone levels have sizeable impact on worker productivity

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 12:32 PM PST

Researchers assessed the impact of pollution on agricultural worker productivity using daily variations in ozone levels. Their results show that ozone, even at levels below current air-quality standards in most parts of the world, has significant negative impacts on worker productivity. Their findings suggest that environmental protection is important for promoting economic growth and investing in human capital in contrast to its common portrayal as a tax on producers.

Host cholesterol secretion likely to influence gut microbiota

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 11:30 AM PST

For more than half a century, researchers have known that the bacteria that colonize the gastrointestinal tract of mammals influence their host’s cholesterol metabolism. Now, researchers show that changes in cholesterol metabolism induced by diet can alter the gut flora.

Internet outages in the US doubled during Hurricane Sandy

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 10:31 AM PST

Scientists who track Internet outages throughout the world noted a spike in outages due to Hurricane Sandy, with almost twice as much of the Internet down in the US as usual.

The Green Revolution is wilting

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 10:31 AM PST

The Green Revolution has stagnated for key food crops in many regions of the world, according to a new study.

Study of pipestone artifacts overturns a century-old assumption

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 09:15 AM PST

In a new study, the first to actually test pipestone from quarries across the upper Midwest, researchers conclude that those who buried ceremonial pipes in a famous mound site in southeastern Ohio got the stone ? and perhaps even the finished, carved pipes ? from Illinois. The findings offer new insight into the Hopewell people, who lived in the region from about 100 B.C. to A.D. 400.

Survival of the females: Horse embryo study provides important new information

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 08:20 AM PST

It is well known that many mammals are able to adjust the ratio of male and female young depending on the surrounding conditions at the time of conception. A recent study provides important information on how the survival of female embryos may be enhanced under conditions that would otherwise favor the birth of males.

Crisis in Syria has Mesopotamian precedent, experts say

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 08:19 AM PST

New research has revealed intriguing parallels between modern day and Bronze-Age Syria as the Mesopotamian region underwent urban decline, government collapse, and drought.

Bad news for bats: Deadly fungus persists in caves

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 06:42 AM PST

Researchers have found that the organism that causes deadly white-nose syndrome persists in caves long after it has killed the bats in those caves.

Botany experiment will try out zero gravity aboard space station

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 06:42 AM PST

Gravity: It?s the law in these parts. But to reach the stars, humans may have to learn to live outside the law.

Bugs in the Christmas tree

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 05:18 AM PST

Your Christmas tree may be adorned with lights and glitter. But 25,000 insects, mites, and spiders are sound asleep inside the tree.

Prehistoric ghosts revealing new details: Synchrotron helps identify previously unseen anatomy preserved in fossils

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 05:17 AM PST

Scientists have used synchrotron-based imaging techniques to identify previously unseen anatomy preserved in fossils. Their work on a 50-million-year-old lizard skin identified the presence of teeth (invisible to visible light), demonstrating for the first time that this fossil animal was more than just a skin moult. This was only possible using some of the brightest light in the universe, X-rays generated by a synchrotron.

Antibiotics based on a new principle may defeat MRSA

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 05:17 AM PST

Scientists have presented a new principle for fighting bacterial infections, in other words, a new type of antibiotic. The new antibiotic mechanism is based on selectively blocking the thioredoxin system in the cells, which is crucial to the growth of certain bacteria. Scientists hope to be able to treat such conditions as stomach ulcers, TB and MRSA.

Consequences of abandoning alpine meadows: Scrubs now encroaching on land that had been cultivated for centuries

Posted: 18 Dec 2012 05:16 AM PST

Agriculture is increasingly vanishing from the Alps. Land that was cultivated for centuries is now being abandoned and scrubs are encroaching on it. This affects not only the landscape, but also the water balance and will in future also have an impact on power generation. These are the conclusions reached by an interdisciplinary research group supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Who’s zooming who? Frogs, fractals and the tree of life

Posted: 17 Dec 2012 08:49 PM PST

As ecologists assemble ever larger parts of the tree of life, whose evolutionary branches connect the millions of species on Earth, they need better ways of presenting and organizing information. Now, a biologist has developed a revolutionary way of visualizing the tree of life.

Tropical trees are largest emitter of methane in their ecosystem

Posted: 17 Dec 2012 08:49 PM PST

Researchers have found that trees in Bornean rainforests emit more methane than any other element of the ecosystem, which provides a new understanding about sources of this powerful greenhouse gas from tropical ecosystems.

Pharaoh’s throat was cut during royal coup, study shows

Posted: 17 Dec 2012 04:06 PM PST

Conspirators murdered Egyptian king Ramesses III by cutting his throat, concludes a new study.

Experts discover why Rudolph’s nose is red

Posted: 17 Dec 2012 04:06 PM PST

Rudolph’s nose is red because it is richly supplied with red blood cells which help to protect it from freezing and to regulate brain temperature.