Culture

One of the most important developments in human civilisation was the practice of sustainable agriculture. But we were not the first - ants have been doing it for over 50 million years. Just as farming helped humans become a dominant species, it has also helped leaf-cutter ants become dominant herbivores, and one of the most successful social insects in nature. According to an article in the November issue of Microbiology Today, leaf-cutter ants have developed a system to try and keep their gardens pest-free; an impressive feat which has evaded even human agriculturalists.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland concludes that unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as very happy spend more time reading and socializing. The study appears in the December issue of the journal Social Indicators Research.

Wetlands contribute to our lives in remarkable ways by providing food and water, controlling floods, protecting against storms and supporting biodiversity, yet they are experiencing loss and degradation on a massive scale.

Wetlands are areas that are covered with water for long enough periods to support plants that thrive in wet soils, so they are not all wet year-round. The areas include marshes, swamps, bogs and wet meadows.

Suppose you have a cherished home video, taken at your birthday party. You're fond of the video, but your viewing experience is marred by one small, troubling detail. There in the video, framed and hanging on the living room wall amidst the celebration, is a color photograph of your former significant other.

Bummer.

But what if you could somehow reach inside the video and swap the offending photo for a snapshot of your current love? How perfect would that be?

In future it can be expected that the drill used in material processing will become even faster and the compressor used for vehicles and airplanes even more compact. In order to drive these rotary applications directly, efficiently and in a controlled fashion, there must be electrical drive systems with the appropriate rpm and engine power. Up to now, industrially-deployed motors have normally reached 250,000 revolutions per minute.

Stricter regulation of the financial services sector is likely to result from the latest upheaval in national and global markets. It is being demanded by politicians of all parties while the Financial Services Authority, which polices the sector in the UK, has announced that it is recruiting additional staff as part of a more stringent regulatory approach.

SANTA CRUZ, CA--An unusual microorganism discovered in the open ocean may force scientists to rethink their understanding of how carbon and nitrogen cycle through ocean ecosystems. A research team led by Jonathan Zehr, professor of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, characterized the new microbe by analyzing its genetic material, even though researchers have not been able to grow it in the laboratory.

It has all the hallmarks of a Cretaceous melodrama. A dinosaur sits on her nest of a dozen eggs on a sandy river beach. Water levels rise, and the mother is faced with a dilemma: Stay or abandon her unhatched offspring to the flood and scramble to safety?

Seventy-seven million years later, scientific detective work conducted by University of Calgary and Royal Tyrrell Museum researchers used this unique fossil nest and eggs to learn more about how nest building, brooding and eggs evolved. But there is a big unresolved question: Who was the egg-layer?

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Researchers at MIT's Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research have produced a report concerning key design issues of proposed "cap-and-trade" programs that are under consideration in the United States as a way of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The first contribution of the three-part study found that, based on an examination of the European Union's system and of similar U.S. programs for other emissions, such a program can indeed be effective in reducing emissions without having a significant economic impact.

Just after Americans have headed to the polls to elect their next president, a new report in the November 13th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, reveals how one species of fish picks its leaders: Most of the time they reach a consensus to go for the more attractive of two candidates.