Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Signaling Pathway Ensures That Plants Remember To Flower

Why do some plants blossom even when days are short and gray?

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology have found the answer to this question: An endogenous mechanism allows them to flower in the absence of external influences such as long days. A small piece of RNA, a so-called microRNA, has a central role in this process, as a decline of its concentration in the shoot apex triggers flowering.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Climate Change Could Deepen Poverty In Developing Countries, Study Finds

These maps show projected changes in frequency and magnitude of climate extremes. A Purdue team found that the occurrence and magnitude of what are currently the 30-year-maximum values for wet, dry and hot extremes are projected to substantially increase for much of the world. (Credit: Diffenbaugh lab image)
Urban workers could suffer most from climate change as the cost of food drives them into poverty, according to a new study that quantifies the effects of climate on the world's poor populations.A team led by Purdue University researchers examined the potential economic influence of adverse climate events, such as heat waves, drought and heavy rains, on those in 16 developing countries. Urban workers in Bangladesh, Mexico and Zambia were found to be the most at risk.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Climate talks risk failure unless they accelerate: U.N.

 U.N. talks on a new climate treaty due to be agreed in December risk failure unless negotiations accelerate, a senior U.N. official said  after a sluggish week-long session involving 180 countries.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Mars is Really Like!

NASA has released stunning photographs of the planet Mars. Taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the views are amazing! Some show the Victoria crater which has been explored close up by a rover vehicle for two years. Another shows a dust devil in the Martian atmosphere.

The new oblique view of Victoria Crater shows layers on steep crater walls, difficult to see from straight overhead, plus wheel tracks left by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity between September 2006 and August 2008. The orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera shot it at an angle comparable to looking at landscape from an airplane window. Some of the camera's earlier, less angled images of Victoria Crater aided the rover team in choosing safe routes for Opportunity and contributed to joint scientific studies.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Prehistoric humans used fire to improve tools and weapons

Prehistoric humans harnessed fire to make sharp stone blades, say archaeologists who have recreated ancient fire-hardened tools dug up in South Africa. At 47,000 to 164,000 years old, the blades may date from the dawn of modern human behaviour, involving not just complex tool use but also language and art.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Space shuttle Endeavour lands safely after 16-day mission

The shuttle Endeavour descended safely to Earth on Friday, ending a successful 16-day assembly mission to the International Space Station (ISS) with the final piece of Japan's Kibo science laboratory.