Archive for April, 2006

Family Quarantine Is a Key to Fighting Bird Flu, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 26, 2006   View Article

Strict isolation of households is among the tactics touted by scientists in a new study on how to combat a bird flu pandemic.

The study recommends rapid treatment and quarantine of not only infected people but also their uninfected household contacts. Travel restrictions, school closures, and vaccines were also studied to estimate their effectiveness in mitigating an avian influenza pandemic.

Black Holes Are “Green,” X-Ray Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 24, 2006   View Article

Supermassive black holes are actually “green,” scientists announced today as they described a new study on the energy efficiency of black holes.

If cars were as fuel efficient as these black holes, researchers say, the vehicles could theoretically travel over a billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) on a gallon of gasoline.

Climate Less Sensitive to Greenhouse Gases Than Predicted, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 19, 2006   View Article

How sensitive is Earth’s climate? Sufficient to warm by at least several degrees in response to greenhouse gas pollution but perhaps not as sensitive as some scientists have feared, according to a new study.

Climate sensitivity is a measure of how much the global temperature will warm in response to greenhouse gas emissions, explained Gabriele Hegerl, a climate scientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

The measure specifically estimates how the climate might respond to a doubling of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Shorebirds Face Extinction Due to Crab Decline

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 18, 2006   View Article

The food web around the horseshoe crab—one of Earth’s oldest species—is beginning to unravel, scientists say.

Certain species of migratory shorebirds depend on excess crab eggs to fuel the final leg of their spring journey to the Arctic. Researchers are concerned the birds are in jeopardy.

100 Years Later, San Francisco Ripe for Another Megaquake

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

A hundred years ago a massive earthquake reduced much of the San Francisco Bay Area to piles of smoldering rubble.

As the anniversary of that disaster approaches, scientists are warning that the heavily populated California region has a 62 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or greater quake between now and 2032.

Fossil Find Is Missing Link in Human Evolution, Scientists Say

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

When the famous skeleton of an early human ancestor known as Lucy was discovered in Africa in the 1970s, scientists asked: Where did she come from?

Now, fossils found in the same region are providing solid answers, researchers have announced.

Color Changing Clothes Could Match Mood, Surroundings

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 11, 2006   View Article

Next-generation threads may soon give a whole new meaning to the phrase “change your clothes”—advanced new fibers that can change color with a flip of a switch.

The threads may one day be used to make clothing that suits the wearer’s mood or to allow a person to blend in with the environment.

The concept is similar to the way light-sensitive eyeglass lenses darken when exposed to sunlight.

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