Earth

Tidal tugs on Teflon faults drive slow-slipping earthquakes

Tidal tugs on Teflon faults drive slow-slipping earthquakes

Unknown to most people, the Pacific Northwest experiences a magnitude-6.6 earthquake about once a year. The reason nobody notices is that the movement happens slowly and deep underground, in a part of the fault whose behavior, known as slow-slip, was only recently discovered.

Ocean bacteria get 'pumped up' by dying phytoplankton

Ocean bacteria get 'pumped up' by dying phytoplankton

The ocean has been sucking up heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) building up in our atmosphere--with a little help from tiny plankton. Like plants on land, these plankton convert CO2 into organic carbon via photosynthesis. But unlike land plants that are held fast to terra firma, plankton can sink into the deep ocean, carrying carbon with them. Along the way they decompose when bacteria convert their remains back into CO2.

Bumblebees use nicotine to fight off parasites

Bumblebees use nicotine to fight off parasites

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), gave bumblebees the option to choose between a sugar solution with nicotine in it and one without. Those bees infected with the Crithidia bombi parasite were more likely to go for the nicotine-laced nectar than those that weren't infected.

Controlling arterial tone and blood flow in the brain

Controlling arterial tone and blood flow in the brain

Researchers have performed the first human-based study to identify calcium channels in cerebral arteries and determine the distinct role each channel plays in helping control blood flow to the brain. The study appears in the May issue of The Journal of General Physiology.

Incomes are rising and more people will want air conditioning - we need viable green energy

The continual increase in global incomes means people are living more comfortably, including having the ability to afford air conditioning. Staying cool is good but there's a wealth of fallout. The demand for more "AC" will also cause consumers to use more electricity causing stress on energy prices, infrastructure, and environmental policy, according to a new study.

High-pitched sounds cause seizures in old cats

One of the concerns about the switch from the government-mandated switch from incandescent to fluorescent lighting was that while the ballasts were higher frequency now - humans did not have to hear that annoying hum - they were right in the range that pets still hear.

Unexplained gap in global emissions of potent greenhouse gases solved

Reported emissions of a group of potent greenhouse gases from developed countries are shown to be largely accurate, but for the wrong reasons, according to new findings from an international team, led by researchers at the University of Bristol,UK.

Chilesaurus diegosuarezi: Bizarre 'platypus' dinosaur discovered

Although closely related to the notorious carnivore Tyrannosaurus rex, a new lineage of dinosaur discovered in Chile is proving to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle, as it preferred to graze upon plants.

Palaeontologists are referring to Chilesaurus diegosuarezi as a 'platypus' dinosaur because of its extremely bizarre combination of characters that include a proportionally small skull and feet more akin to primitive long-neck dinosaurs.

Chemistry of seabed's hot vents might explain emergence of life

Hot vents on the seabed could have spontaneously produced the organic molecules necessary for life, according to new research by UCL chemists. The study shows how the surfaces of mineral particles inside hydrothermal vents have similar chemical properties to enzymes, the biological molecules that govern chemical reactions in living organisms. This means that vents are able to create simple carbon-based molecules, such as methanol and formic acid, out of the dissolved CO2 in the water.

Could smell hold the key to ending pesticide use?

UK scientists may have uncovered a natural way of avoiding the use of pesticides and help save plants from attack by recreating a natural insect repellent.

Scientists from Cardiff University and Rothamsted Research have, for the first time, created tiny molecules which mirror a natural occurring smell known to repel insects.

The scientists were able to make similar smelling insect repellent molecules, by providing the enzyme, ((S)-germacrene D synthase), which creates the smell, with alternative substrate molecules.