ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Earth’s wobble ‘fixes’ dinner for marine organisms

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science, Nature/Biomimicry

Earth’s wobble ‘fixes’ dinner for marine organisms

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 04:51 PM PDT

The cyclic wobble of the Earth on its axis controls the production of a nutrient essential to the health of the ocean, according to a new study. The discovery of factors that control this nutrient, known as “fixed” nitrogen, gives researchers insight into how the ocean regulates its own life-support system, which in turn affects the Earth’s climate and the size of marine fisheries.

Assumptions about origins of life challenged

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 03:58 PM PDT

Before there was life on Earth, there were molecules. A primordial soup. At some point a few specialized molecules began replicating. This self-replication, scientists agree, kick-started a biochemical process that would lead to the first organisms. But exactly how that happened — how those molecules began replicating — has been one of science’s enduring mysteries. Biochemists now offer an intriguing new view on how life began.

Spider silk coated with carbon nanotubes has multiple surprising uses

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 03:58 PM PDT

Physicists have discovered that simple methods can result in surprising and environmentally friendly high-tech outcomes during their experiments with spider silk and carbon nanotubes. Spider silk coated with nanotubes can act as a humidity sensor, a strain sensor, an actuator (a device that acts as an artificial muscle, for lifting weights and more) and as an electrical wire, according to researchers.

‘Grassroots action’ in livestock feeding to help curb global climate change

Posted: 13 Sep 2013 07:18 AM PDT

Scientists offer new evidence that a potent chemical mechanism operating in the roots of a tropical grass used for livestock feed has enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.