Culture

The growth and conversion of biofuel crops could raise rather than lower greenhouse gas emissions, says a new study led by Nobel prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen, best known for his work on the ozone layer.

He and his colleagues have calculated that growing some of the most commonly used biofuel crops releases around twice the amount of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O, also known as ‘laughing gas’) than previously thought – wiping out any benefits from not using fossil fuels and, worse, probably contributing to global warming.

What began more than 50 years ago as a way to improve fishing bait in California has led a University of Tennessee researcher to a significant finding about how animal species interact and that raises important questions about conservation.

In the middle of the 20th century, local fishermen who relied on baby salamanders as bait introduced a new species of salamander to California water bodies. These Barred Tiger salamanders came into contact with the native California Tiger salamanders, and over time the two species began to mate.

Much like any vacation in a warm climate sounds wonderful in the middle of winter, hungry people given a wide array of choices will often deviate from their normal fare, even if a favorite meal is among the options.

Recently we had a conversation about where we ranked among science sites. There are a few measurement services out there, and they all give different numbers ( none of which are truly accurate) plus they all seem to have their own method for determining 'reach' that goes beyond simple traffic.

We decided to compare all the science sites, including ones that are doing different things like articles, blogging and news releases, against each other, using the results from two traffic ranking services, one opt-in popularity service and one service that measures inbound links.

Iceland is the world's leading nation in utilising renewable energy. Its next aim is to tackle the transport industry. Renewable energy for vehicles and sustainable solutions for transport are the focus of Driving Sustainability '07 Conference (http://www.driving.is) held in Reykjavik on September 17-18.

Terrorists and extremists have set up shop on the Internet, using it to recruit new members, spread propaganda and plan attacks across the world. The size and scope of these dark corners of the Web are vast and disturbing.

This week, more than eight hundred pathologists from around Europe and the world will take part in a first of its kind, large-scale virtual microscopy slide seminar on the web. The seminar is arranged by the Biomedical Informatics Research Group from the University of Helsinki in conjunction with the 21st European Congress of Pathology, which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey.

Thousands of interesting new compounds have been discovered inside the bodies of marine sponges according to scientists speaking today (Tuesday 4 September 2007) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 161st Meeting at the University of Edinburgh, UK, which runs from 3-6 September 2007.

Over half of the bodyweight of living sea sponges – including the sort that we use in our baths – is made up of the many different bacteria that live inside them, in the same way that we all have bacteria living in our guts which help us to digest our food.

University of St Andrews scientists have been awarded a three year grant to create an on-site life-saving device to help predict volcano eruption.

The work is funded by nearly £400K from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), bringing the team's recent research funding to just over £1 million, following a £700K sub-contract from ERA Technology Limited for new work on military security.

Research Scientist Arja Laitila from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has investigated the impacts of bacterial and fungal communities on barley germination and on malt properties in her PhD thesis work. She will defend her thesis "Microbes in the tailoring of barley malt properties" at the University of Helsinki on 31 August 2007.Arja Laitila