Archive for February, 2006

It’s Invaders vs. Invaders as Scientists Target Alien Species

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 22, 2006   View Article

Empowered by a lack of natural enemies, invasive species often overwhelm the regions they infiltrate.

But some scientists are fighting invaders with invaders, importing natural enemies from the problem species’ native regions.

Greenland Glaciers Losing Ice Much Faster, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 16, 2006   View Article

Due to global warming, glaciers on Greenland are slipping into the ocean twice as fast as they were just five years ago, scientists announced today.

Current estimates already suggest that Greenland is contributing to rising seas. Now it seems that those estimates may have underestimated the melting island’s effect, says Eric Rignot, a glaciologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Warming surface temperatures in Greenland are allowing more meltwater to trickle down to the glacier bed. There, where glacier meets earth, the water acts as a lubricant, allowing the ice to flow more quickly to the ocean.

Elephants “Hear” Warning Sounds With Their Feet, Study Confirms

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 16, 2006   View Article

When African elephants stomp and trumpet as a predator approaches, other distant elephants can get the news by feeling the ground rumble, a team of scientists recently confirmed.

The vocalizations and foot stomps resonate at a frequency that elephants can detect in the ground, according to Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell, a biologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Toxic Toads Evolve Longer Legs, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 15, 2006   View Article

New generations of cane toads in northern Australia have longer legs than those in older populations, according to a new study.

The longer legs are allowing the toxic toads to spread even faster to new territory.

Will Doctors Diagnose by Listening to Your Cells?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 13, 2006   View Article

With the aid of a tiny device that works like the needle on the arm of a record player, a scientist has pumped up the sounds made by tiny proteins zipping around inside a yeast cell.

The discovery is driving the development of a new tool that may allow doctors to detect diseases like cancer by listening to the sounds of their patients’ bodies, said James Gimzewski, a biochemistry professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Polar Bears Being Considered for U.S. Endangered List

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 10, 2006   View Article

The Bush Administration yesterday kicked off a process to determine whether polar bears should be added to the United States endangered species list because their habitat is melting.

The action is “a significant acknowledgement of what global warming is doing to the Arctic ice,” said Kassie Siegel, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity in Joshua Tree, California.

NASA Budget Diverts Funds From Science to Spaceships

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 8, 2006   View Article

Is Earth the only planet with life?

It’s one of many tantalizing scientific questions that NASA is failing to adequately address, several experts said in response to the 16.8-billion-dollar 2007 budget that President George W. Bush’s proposed for the U.S. space agency on Monday.

The spending plan, which is a 3.2 percent increase over 2006, places priority on the space shuttle’s return to flight, space station construction, and development of the next-generation spacecraft to ferry humans to the moon and, eventually, Mars.

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