EU trawling ban only partially succeeds The European Parliament today agreed to curb fishing practices deemed destructive for deep-sea ecosystems. But it narrowly rejected calls for a complete ban, to the dismay of many scientists and environmental campaigners.
Last month, the Parliament's Fisheries Committee approved a report to restrict bottom trawling and gillnetting in the northeast Atlantic, but rejected the initial proposal to ban them altogether, an idea put forward by the European Commission in July last year.
Breakthrough in Hydrogen Production Scientists in Lyon, a French city famed for its cuisine, have discovered a quick-cook recipe for copious volumes of hydrogen (H2). The breakthrough suggests a better way of producing the hydrogen that propels rockets and energizes battery-like fuel cells. In a few decades, it could even help the world meet key energy needs -- without carbon emissions contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change.
Driving Declines in US Urban Areas, Public Transit and Biking on the Rise A new report by the U.S.PIRG Education Fund details reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in America's most populous urbanized areas. The study also finds a greater use of public transit and biking in most cities. The report, "Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America's Biggest Cities," is the first ever national study to compare transportation trends for America's largest cities and lists results for each.
Conventional satellite imagery may underestimate forest clearing for subsistence agriculture Analysis of forest cover using medium-scale satellite imagery may miss deforestation for small-scale subsistence agriculture, finds a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The study, which involved researchers from the University of Maryland, the State University of New York and Woods Hole Research Center, is based on change in forest cover in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which accounts for the bulk of the world's second largest tropical rainforest.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Lead Exposure Researchers striving to understand the origins of dementia are building the case against a possible culprit: lead exposure early in life. A study spanning 23 years has now revealed that monkeys who drank a lead-rich formula as infants later developed tangles of a key brain protein, called tau, linked to Alzheimer's disease. Though neuroscientists say more work is needed to confirm the connection, the research suggests that people exposed to lead as children—as many in America used to be before it was eliminated from paint, car emissions, water, and soil—could have an increased risk of the common, late-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease.
Even in small doses, lead can wreak havoc on the heart, intestines, kidneys, and nervous system. Children are especially prone to its pernicious effects, as it curbs brain development. Many studies have linked early lead exposure with lower IQs. Researchers estimate that one in 38 children in the United States still have harmful levels of the metal in their systems, but evidence linking this exposure to dementia later in life has been tenuous.
UN shows how mobile-phone data can map human need Tracking people’s movements after the Haiti earthquake, mapping malaria spread in Kenya, evaluating Mexico’s government policies on flu outbreak, improving national census surveys in Latin America and Africa... These are just a few examples of how mobile-phone data has been used in development, as highlighted by a recent UN report.
Scientists record primates regularly using caves for the first time After playing, feeding, and socializing in trees all day, some ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) take their nightly respite in caves, according to a new study in Madagascar Conservation and Development. The findings are important because this is the first time scientists have ever recorded primates regularly using caves. "The remarkable thing about our study was that over a six-year period, the same troops of ring-tailed lemurs used the same sleeping caves on a regular, daily basis," said the lead author, Michelle Sauther, with the University of Colorado Boulder.