Geoscientist finds beavers play a role in climate change

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further North American beaver (Castor canadensis) Credit: Wikipedia. © 2013 Phys.org Beavers: Dam good for songbirds More information: Geophysical Research Letters DOI: 10.1002/grl.50710center_img Most people are aware that beavers build dams. They’re responsible for river and stream blockage across many parts of North America. What has not been known, until now, is what sort of impact beaver dams and their backed up water have on carbon sequestering.Carbon of course, exists in the wood of trees. When trees die and decompose, that carbon is released into the atmosphere. But what happens when the wood of a dead tree becomes submerged beneath the water of a dam built by a beaver? That’s what Wohl set out to learn.In a field study in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, Wohl took samples from areas known as beaver meadows—the land that has become submerged or wet due to dams backing up flowing rivers or streams. She collected 29 sediment samples from the wet areas around 27 streams in the park. Upon analysis, the sediment turned out to be harboring 12 percent carbon by weight. This was in stark contrast to sediment samples she and colleagues collected last year in beaver meadows where the dams had been abandoned allowing the land to dry. There the samples revealed carbon content of just 3.3 percent. Wood buried beneath water and sediment decays more slowly than wood left on dry land. Thus, by building dams, beavers cause the carbon in the wood to be sequestered—at least until they abandon the dam and allow the water behind it to dry up.Wohl’s data suggests that if all the beaver meadow land now dried due to abandoned dams were still wet, the amount of additional carbon sequestered would add up to 2.7 million metric tons. Much of that carbon was released in the years shortly after the North American continent was colonized—trappers significantly reduced the population of beavers leaving millions of dams abandoned.Carbon sequestered by beaver dams hardly registers on a global scale of course—almost ten billion tons of it is added to the atmosphere worldwide each year. Nonetheless, Wohl’s study shows that at least some of those emissions can come from some surprising places. Ellen Wohl, a geology professor at Colorado State University, has published a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, describing the role beavers play in climate change. In a field study she undertook, she found that carbon is sequestered when beavers build dams and is released after the beavers abandon the dams they’ve built. Journal information: Geophysical Research Letters Citation: Geoscientist finds beavers play a role in climate change (2013, July 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-geoscientist-beavers-role-climate.htmllast_img read more

XPRIZE announces Global Learning XPRIZE—15 million competition to disrupt education

first_img More information: learning.xprize.org/press-rele … 250-million-childrenlearning.xprize.org/ Explore further (Phys.org) —XPRIZE chairman Peter Diamandis has announced the launch of a new competition—this time to disrupt education so that children living everywhere, including impoverished countries, can use technology to teach themselves basic reading, writing and mathematics skills. Those interested in competing will have a six month registration period, followed by an 18 month development phase. Five of the top entries will receive $1 million to further develop and test their idea (in cooperation with children in 100 African villages), with the eventual winner receiving $10 million. Citation: XPRIZE announces Global Learning XPRIZE—$15 million competition to disrupt education (2014, September 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-09-xprize-global-xprize15-million-competition.html Tricorder XPRIZE: 10 teams advance in global competition to develop consumer-focused diagnostic devicecenter_img Officially called Global Learning XPRIZE—Empowering Young Minds Everywhere, the new competition follows others run by the organization which have not only made news, but have contributed to the advancement of science and technology (private spacecraft development, renewable energy, Star Trek tricorder, etc.) and sometimes the betterment of our planet (cleaning up the oceans). Funding comes from donations and its Board of Trustees is made up of movers and shakers from all walks of life.The new competition is meant to attract the attention of educators, technologists or anyone with a good idea, to hopefully come up with a new way to help kids that can’t get a basic education the traditional way, i.e. by sitting in classrooms. Competitors are challenged to come up with a way to employ self-teaching techniques on smartphones and tablet computers—the team at XPRIZE, Diamandis told reporters, believes that trying to get kids living in remote villages or other impoverished places to attend classes is not realistic—the problem is too big. That’s why a new approach is needed, one where the kids (and their family) are able to take charge of their own basic education. All they’ll need is a tablet computer and access to the Internet (the educational system will be open access). The software should be able to take it from there, offering children a system that is easy to use without the need for any prior training. Children should be able to teach themselves how the alphabet works, and then how to read, and they should be able to do the same with basic math principles. That’s the whole idea. Beyond that, presumably contestants are free to add other features, such as a way to share learning with friends or family, if they deem it helpful.Diamandis also said that he and those at XPRIZE would like to see the technology work on every phone and tablet in the world, revolutionizing the way people are educated in the future and making it more democratic in the process. © 2014 Tech Xplore This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Research provides insights into molecular gas in the massive spiral galaxy NGC

first_img © 2019 Science X Network Explore further SDSS r-band image of the central 4′ × 4′ region of NGC 5908. The circles are the location of the IRAM 30m beams with the size indicating the beam size at 12CO J = 1−0 band. The black solid circles have twice the exposure time as the white solid ones. The two dashed circles (“8” and “9”) are taken in the 2018B semester, with “9” has an exposure time comparable to the black solid circles while “8” has much shorter exposure time. Most of the observations are along the dustlane, except for position “8” which is on the galactic center and slightly offset from the dustlane. The scale bar has a length of 20 kpc assuming a distance of d = 51.9 Mpc. Image credit: Li et al., 2019. Citation: Research provides insights into molecular gas in the massive spiral galaxy NGC 5908 (2019, April 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-insights-molecular-gas-massive-spiral.html Massive spiral galaxies, with stellar masses few times greater than that of the Milky Way, often have relatively low star formation rates (SFRs), even lower than that of our home galaxy. This baffles astronomers, as it is impossible for these galaxies to build up such huge stellar mass with just continuous star formation at this SFR. Hence, some other mechanisms that influence galactic evolution are likely taking place in massive spiral galaxies.In order to gain more insights on this topic, further research on overall content and spatial distribution of molecular gas in galaxies of this type are required. Such studies could disclose how molecular gas builds up the stellar content of these massive objects.With that aim in mind, a team of astronomers led by Jiang-Tao Li of University of Michigan, used the IRAM 30m millimeter radio telescope, located in Spain, to conduct observations of molecular lines of carbon monoxide and its isotopologues from NGC 5908. The target of the observational campaign, carried out under the Circum-Galactic Medium of MASsive Spirals (CGM-MASS) project, is a highly inclined massive spiral galaxy about 170 million light years away from the Earth, with a stellar mass of around 256 billion solar masses and SFR of approximately 3.81 solar masses per year.”In this paper, we focus on the initial results from the IRAM 30m observations of NGC 5908, which has the highest-quality data and is the nearest galaxy in the CGM-MASS sample,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.The study found that the total mass of molecular gas in NGC 5908 is about 8.3 billion solar masses, while with the addition of atomic hydrogen, the total cool gas mass is at a level of 13 billion solar masses, which makes it one of the most massive isolated spiral galaxies. However, although these results confirm that the cool gas in NGC 5908 makes a significant contribution to the galaxy’s gas budget, it is still far from sufficient to account for the galaxy’s expected total baryon mass of around 2 trillion solar masses.The observations also revealed that NGC 5908 has a dark matter halo with the mass of approximately 10 trillion solar masses. This, together with other results, indicates that NGC 5908 is one of the most massive spiral galaxies yet known in the local universe, and suggest that it evolved largely in isolation.Furthermore, the researchers found that one of the studied molecular lines and the estimated gas temperature indicate a relatively weak star formation in NGC 5908. The results also suggest that radiative cooling of the hot circum-galactic medium (CGM) or any other external gas supplies are probably insufficient to compensate the gas consumed in star formation.Therefore, analyzing all the results of IRAS observations, the researchers concluded that NGC 5908 is probably now at an early stage after the starburst, with plenty of leftover cool gas. “Since there is no signature of recent triggering of star formation (such as galaxy merger, gas transfer, or enhanced cooling of the CGM etc.), we conclude that NGC 5908 is not completely quiescent, and it may be in the early stage after the previous starburst, before the star formation is completely extinguished and the ejected gas cools and falls back to the galaxy,” the astronomers wrote. More information: Jiang-Tao Li et al. Molecular Gas of the Most Massive Spiral Galaxies I: a Case Study of NGC 5908. arXiv:1904.05413 [astro-ph.GA]. arxiv.org/abs/1904.05413 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Astronomers study star formation and gas flows in the galaxy NGC 1365 In a recently published research, which is part of a broader observational campaign focused on studying massive spiral galaxies, astronomers have investigated molecular lines of carbon monoxide and its isotopologues in NGC 5908. The study, detailed in a paper published April 10 on arXiv.org, sheds more light on properties of molecular gas in this galaxy, what could be helpful to better understand the evolution of such massive objects.last_img read more

Russian website reportedly selling science article authorships

first_imgCredit: CC0 Public Domain Citation: Russian website reportedly selling science article authorships (2019, July 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-russian-website-reportedly-science-article.html Scientists call on funders to make research freely available immediately Explore further © 2019 Science X Networkcenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The name of the entity accused of selling authorships is International Publisher—translations made by Science Chronicle suggest the group behind the site is selling authorships on finished articles listed in Scopus—and also some listed by Web of Science. There are apparently authorship guarantees and tiered pricing.The website also reportedly has listings for 344 articles that are currently ready for publication for which interested parties can purchase first, second, third or lower authorships. Science Chronicle notes that 73 of the papers are to be published in India-based journals, 54 based in Venezuela, 48 in the U.S., 33 in Russia and 28 in Pakistan—the names of the journals are not given. They also note that the site claims that all of the papers have already been approved for publication, though they do not name them or the original authors.Science Chronicle spoke with the Web of Science group’s external communications director, Amy Bourke-Waite, about the site in Russia, and say she believes that the website is dealing in authorships on real papers. She reportedly also told them that they are continuing to investigate the site and the group behind it.Meanwhile, the team at retractionwatch is reporting that they have found evidence of 10,000 researchers paying to have their names added to over 2000 published articles they played no role in creating. They further claim that they have found evidence of paper authorships being sold for as much as $500 for first authorship. They also claim to have received ideas on how the website works from Web of Science Editor in Chief Nandita Quaderi—junior level people working for a publisher are called with requests by a “professor” claiming to have forgotten to include a certain co-author. Because such papers have already been accepted for publication, names can be added after editorial review. Several websites are reporting that a Russian website is selling authorships for research papers being published in several journals. Sites making such claims include retractionwatch.com and Science Chronicle—they are further claiming that the Web of Science group Clarivate Analytics has been investigating the Russian-based website—called 123mi.ru—and has found evidence that the group behind the site is selling authorships on research papers that are set for publication in scientific journals.last_img read more

Facebook finally wants to help humans build meaningful connections

first_imgAfter 15 years of homage to the idea that more connection is always better, Facebook seems to be waking up to the reality that quality matters and humans are not designed to be hyper-connected. “Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks,” he wrote, suggesting of course that we have been very much not-ourselves for the past 15 years. “Humans need others to survive,” says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. “Regardless of one’s sex, country, or culture of origin, or age or economic background, social connection is crucial to human development, health, and survival.” Her research found that being disconnected posed comparable danger to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and was more predictive of early death than the effects of air pollution or physical inactivity. Read the whole story: Quartz On Wednesday (March 6) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a post outlining Facebook’s latest pivot, away from the town square model of very publicly sharing videos, pictures, and status updates with everyone, to something more akin to your living room. The question is whether trying to connect people in more intimate settings can promote actual social connection, which appears to be fraying in contemporary culture. Connecting is a biological imperative, honed over millions of years to protect us from being eaten by lions, but also to help us thrive as humans. Indeed, the absence of social connection can lead to profound loneliness, which is on the rise and deemed a public health threat by some countries. Facebook has just done an about-face. After turning the world into one big, aggressive, competitive, depressing, hyper-connected community that shares tons of information nobody needs to know about their personal lives, the social network is now emphasizing privacy.last_img read more

Naked And Unafraid 6 Wild Facts About Naked M

first_img Gregory G Dimijian Naked And Unafraid: 6 Wild Facts About Naked Mole Rats by NPR News Pien Huang 8.21.19 2:03pm Naked mole rats don’t look like they’d be one of nature’s superstars. They’re about the size and shape of small sweet potatoes. These rodents are native to the grasslands of East Africa, and are mostly hairless, wrinkled, and blind. And yet, they’ve evolved some special behaviors and features that help them thrive in harsh environments in which other mammals (humans included) would wither.Kenton Kerns, assistant curator of small mammals at The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC, says visitors often scurry past their naked mole rat exhibit in disgust. “I always feel like, ‘No, come back! Let us tell you what you’re running away from,’ ” he says.When they were new to science, in the 1970’s, researchers studied them for their unusual behavior and social structure. In the past two decades or so, scientists have been looking into their super survival traits — long life spans and apparent lack of aging — for lessons on how humans can stay healthy and live longer.And for some of us — they’re just one of nature’s most delightful, weird wonders. Here’s a primer on what makes them so amazing:It’s just one big naked mole rat colony.They’re eusocial, which means they live all crowded together underground, in a colony, like bees or ants, with a queen who has babies and a bunch of workers who do everything else — tend to the nursery, dig out new tunnels, find new tubers to eat, and guard the den.”If you think about being the size of a cocktail hot dog, and everyone out there on the African plains wants a snack, it’s not an easy life,” says Stan Braude, a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis who studies naked mole rats in the wild. Living in groups, he says, allows them to divide up the labor of staying safe, finding enough food, and birthing and raising baby mole rats.Does your skin hang low? Yes, if you’re a naked mole rat.Naked mole rats have physical traits that seem uniquely suited to their environments.Their skin hangs wrinkly and loose on their bodies — it snags like a sweater, but doesn’t tear, on pebbles and other hindrances in their underground tunnels.It’s consistently hot and humid in those tunnels — generally about 90 degrees F, with up to 70% humidity. Naked mole rats are cold-blooded, which saves them the trouble (and energy) of thermoregulating.They chew like a beaver. A quarter of their muscle mass resides in their jaws, and their lips close behind their teeth, so they don’t get mouthfuls of soil while digging. They use their two front teeth to burrow underground in the East African grasslands, through hard-packed dirt. They have even been known to chew through concrete with their teeth-shovels.They’re icons of resilience.They don’t drink water, and can survive up to 18 minutes without oxygen with no apparent brain damage. They don’t feel pain from injury and inflammation.”It just seems like now, they do everything,” says Eileen Lacey, biology professor and curator of mammals at the University of California, Berkeley. Researchers are studying the biology and physiology of naked mole rats, in hopes of finding new treatments that could help humans lessen pain, prevent cancer, and live longer. They’re just gonna live forever.Or it seems like that, to other rodents. Naked mole rats are the longest-living rodents we know of. While mice and rats live for a maximum of four to five years, some naked mole rats are over 30 years old and going strong.They also don’t seem to exhibit the typical mammalian signs of aging. The queen can have babies throughout her life. And while they do slow down as they get older, they appear to be resistant to aging-related diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s (Scientists caution that we haven’t been studying them long enough to know the natural end to their lifespan). Day and night? It’s all the same.The National Zoo and the Pacific Science Center have live 24-hour feeds of their naked mole rat exhibits. They’re active around the clock, so you can catch them eating, napping, doing their business, moving piles of shavings, and generally hanging out anytime. They’re here for you, when you’re ready to give them a second look.Pien Huang is NPR’s Reflect America Fellow. She fell in love with naked mole rats on first sight at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.last_img read more

Beyond the picture postcards

first_imgBattling the scorching summers of Delhi, pigeons take refuge where once cannons struck Kashmiri Gate. 11 May 1857: the saga of Mangal Pandey, the followed up Sepoy Mutiny, the first war of Indian independence, and the post war catastrophic fall of the Mughal era; the date stands for a tumultuous epoch in the history of Indian independence. The carousel of life oscillates between time, bringing back the memories of 1857 and its imprints on Delhi post 156 years. It was in the sweltering heat of May that the sepoys blitzkrieg-‘ed’ into  the walled city of Shahjahanabad to strengthen Mughal power under Bahadurshah Zafar and overthrow Britishers. Roused by the incident of animal fat on cartridges, they marched to topple British power in Delhi. The remnants of Shahjahanabad’s walls, the confines of Kashmiri gate, the shrouded telegraph memorial, and the garden of Qudsia beckon you into history.Saddle up your horses to gallop into the lanes of Kashmiri gate and witness some of its vignettes this May. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ Kashmiri Gate Swerving through the lanes of Old Delhi, his school bus travelled from Ludlaw castle, passing by Qudsia Bagh, through the then open gates of Kashmiri gate back in 1954, revels the 63 year old Chartered Accountant, Suresh Malik. The gate is now confined, literally, to the four walls under the Archaeological survey of India.Leading to the road to Kashmir, walled city’s northern gate was built by Shahjahan in 1638 AD. Withering through the onslaught of 1857, it came under the downpour of cannon balls; marks still visible in the holed up façade taken over by the pigeons to rest in peace now. A plaque inside the monument entails the story of 1857; how the mutineers assembled and strategized here, and how on the morning of 14 September, 1857 the left bridge and the right leaf of the gate were bombarded by British forces, gradually marking the end of the siege in Delhi. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSt. James ChurchOne of the oldest churches of Delhi lies a stone’s throw away from Kashmiri gate. The copper ball and the cross atop its dome bore the scathing attack from sepoys in 1857. The marks may not be visible as the replicas took over but the magnificence of British era emanates through its grandeur. Telegraph Memorial and the magazineShrouded by trees stands Telegraph Memorial: the site from where the revolt was signaled off to Ambala before the officers on duty evacuated their cabin in fear. The magazine next to it was blasted by the Britishers  in fear of loss of weaponry to the mutineers. Interestingly one plaque  calls the mutineers as rebels and the other below bestows an honor of ‘patriots’ to the sepoys  Nicholson CemeteryLike Pere Lechaise in Paris, it doesnt have violonists but it  still conjures up lives of people in 19th century. Walk through its carved tombs, read through its epitaphs; the moss grown gravestones turn into expression of poetry in mourning;, offering a peaceful experience dedicated to the British Brigadier General John Nicholson who was mortally wounded in 1857.   Qudsia BaghA wisp of elegance en-wraps it. Once Yamuna ran through its sides, breezing in air through its corridors. Though the river changed its course, the garden still dots with men playing cards, laborers  catching up noon’s nap, and tired travelers. A mosque, a gateway and some domes carved in diamond cut style, is what remains of the sprawling palace of Qudsia, made by Mohammad Shah Rangeela in honor of his begum.  The palace bore the brunt of the British forces during the seige of 1857. Perhaps, one can take down bricks and mortar, but the signature of splendor stays on.last_img read more

Weaving in winter

first_imgDastkar, in partnership with Delhi Tourism, presents the winter season handloom textiles special the Dastakar Winter Weaves 2013. This exhibition brings together the best of the diverse and rich regional handloom weaving and embroidery traditions from across the States of India. The focus of the exhibition is on seasonal Silks and Wools in a wide range of sarees, dupattas, running fabric, shawls, knits and made-up garments. Tussar silks will come from Chhattisgarh and Bihar, as well as tussar and  wools from Uttrakhand where the silk worms are raised in groves of Himalayan walnut trees.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Single and double weave ikat silks will be present in both the Orissa and Andhra Pradesh traditions. Banarasi brocades will gleam in winter sunshine and the tiny dotted designs of finely worked bandhini silks will amaze the eye. Light and multi-hued Maheshwari cotton-silks will be available too.Lovely kullu and kinnauri wool shawls from Himachal Pradesh will be showcased alongside the colourful Kutch shawls and stoles of the expert Vankar weaver community. Khadi handlooms, organic wools from Uttrakhand and patchwork quilts and bags will be available, as well as knitted sweaters, capes, gloves and socks.Authentic quality pashmina in both traditional and innovative modern designs will come from Kashmir and the famed Changthang plateau of Ladakh. Kashmiri, Kutchchi and kantha embroidered textiles and accessories will be present as well as dhurries from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, along with the revived namda felt rug tradition from Kashmir.last_img read more

Fresh cyclonic circulation to bring in thundershowers MeT

first_imgKolkata: Kolkatans as well as those residing in the South Bengal districts may witness thundershowers for the next few days starting on Thursday as a fresh cyclonic circulation has formed in the north-east of Jharkhand. The Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore on Wednesday predicted that cyclonic circulation is moving towards the Gangetic West Bengal ushering in some more rain in some of the South Bengal districts in the next few days. It may be mentioned that last Saturday and Sunday, several parts of South Bengal including the city witnessed thunderstorms accompanied with rain. This brought down the temperature by a few notches. It again started soaring in the city from Tuesday. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsAccording to the latest weather office prediction, the temperature may again go down from Thursday due to the thunderstorm. Some of the South Bengal districts may also witness hailstorm, the MeT office predicted. It was learnt that a strong wind will be sweeping through various parts of the districts like Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda in North Bengal and East Burdwan, West Burdwan, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, Murshidabad, Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram and Birbhum in the southern parts. There is also a prediction of thundershowers in many of these districts. A senior official of the Alipore MeT office said that strong winds may be blowing in South Bengal in the next few days which will bring the temperature further down giving a relief from the hot and humid conditions.last_img read more

Over 200 BJP workers switch over to Trinamool in S Dinajpur

first_imgBalurghat: Ahead of the rural polls in Bengal, district general secretary of BJP’s South Dinajpur unit Uttam Dutta, along with 200 of his followers, joined Trinamool Congress. They attended a programme at Tapan School on Tuesday evening, where the chairman of Gangarampur civic body and Trinamool leader Prasanta Mitra handed over the Trinamool flag to Dutta and his followers. Dutta was the former secretary of BJP’s state committee’s farmers cell (Kishan Morcha). “I was in the wrong party, which stressed division and polarisation of people instead of development. I have joined Trinamool Congress as it is a party that works for development, beyond the lines of religion. Also, Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee always backs farmers for their overall development, which has also inspired me to shift,” he said. Dutta had distanced himself from the party’s activities for the past six months and did not attend meetings of the cell. A rumour broke out some days ago that Dutta is likely to join the ruling party. He had also expressed his desire to join Trinamool then. Dutta, who worked for the development of local farmers in Tapan block, is very popular in the region. Some other workers from different political parties including BJP, Congress and Left Front might join Trinamool soon.last_img read more