Hinterland Green

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Study: Modern Humans May Have Originated from Southern Africa, Challenges View Humans Originated in Eastern Africa

New study finds modern humans may have originated from southern Africa, challenging the view we originated in eastern Africa. This is fascinating news and I have long held Africa was the cradle of civilization.
From BBC News:

Data showed that hunter-gatherer populations in the region had the greatest degree of genetic diversity, which is an indicator of longevity.

It says that the region was probably the best location for the origin of modern humans, challenging the view that we came from eastern Africa.

The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Africa is inferred to be the continent of origin for all modern human populations," the international team of researchers wrote. "But the details of human prehistory and evolution in Africa remain largely obscure owing to the complex histories of hundreds of distinct populations."
CLICK HERE to read entire article.

Monday, March 7, 2011

SHOCK: Increased Export of Brazilian Beef Indirectly Leads to Deforestation in Amazon

From Science Daily: Increased export of Brazilian beef indirectly leads to deforestation in the Amazon. New research from Chalmers and SIK in Sweden that was recently published in Environmental Science & Technology shows that impact on the climate is much greater than current estimates indicate. The researchers are now demanding that indirect effect on land be included when determining a product's carbon footprint.

CLICK HERE to read entire article.

NASA Technology 1st Developed for Plant Growth Experiments, Successfully Reduces Painful Side Effects from Chemo & Radiation

From Science Daily:
A NASA technology originally developed for plant growth experiments on space shuttle missions has successfully reduced the painful side effects resulting from chemotherapy and radiation treatment in bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients.

In a two-year clinical trial, cancer patients undergoing bone marrow or stem cell transplants were given a far red/near infrared Light Emitting Diode treatment called High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate, or HEALS, to treat oral mucositis -- a common and extremely painful side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The trial concluded that there is a 96 percent chance that the improvement in pain of those in the high-risk patient group was the result of the HEALS treatment.
CLICK HERE to read the entire article. This is fascinating information that could go a long way in reducing the painful side effects patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation experience!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Scientists Discover Malignant Cancer-Causing Molecule

I came across an interesting article on the Environmental News Network detailing how scientists at the University of Montreal's Department of Biochemistry and the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre identified a molecule known as PML, which directly affects whether or not a cancer cell become malignant. This may be a breakthrough in cancer research if scientists are able to ascertain how malignant tumors can be converted to benign tumors. The team was led by Dr. Gerardo Rebeyre of the University of Montreal.
"We discovered that benign cancer cells produce the PML molecule and display abundant PML bodies, keeping them in a dormant, senescent state. Malignant cancer cells either don't make or fail to organize PML bodies, and thus proliferate uncontrollably," said Ferbeyre.

A dormant, senescent state is one in which the cell has matured and is no longer able to reproduce. PML is the body's natural defense against the cancer spreading to other cells and other parts of the body. Previously, the mechanism for how PML worked was a mystery. However, the team’s research has managed to shine a light on it by collecting samples from hospital patients.

"Our findings unravel the unexpected ability of PML to organize a network of tumor suppressor proteins to repress the expression or the amount of other proteins required for cell proliferation," explained researcher VĂ©ronique Bourdeau. Researcher Mathieu Vernier emphasized that "this is an important finding with implications for our understanding on how the normal organism defends itself from the threat of cancer."

Read published article: http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/25/1/41.abstract

Alaska Pipeline Shut Down After Leak Discovered at Intake Pump Station at Prudhoe Bay

(Reuters) - The Trans Alaska Pipeline shut down on Saturday after a leak was discovered at the intake pump station at Prudhoe Bay, constricting supply in one of the United States' key oil arteries. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., the operator of the 800-mile (1,280 kilometre) line which runs from the Prudhoe Bay oilfield to the tanker port of Valdez, said the leak was discovered Saturday morning. Oil producers are in the process of cutting output to 5 percent of the normal rate of around 630,000 barrels per day. There is no estimate yet of how long the pipeline -- which carries about 12 percent of U.S. oil production -- will be shut down or when normal production can resume, said Alyeska spokeswoman Michelle Egan.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tens of Thousands of Dead Crabs Litter Thanet Coast in the UK

The Thanet Coast in the United Kingdom is littered with thousands of dead crabs. According to the Huffington Post, the BBC notes that this is the third year in a row thousands of dead devil crabs, also known as velvet swimming crabs, have turned up on the coastline near Kent, England. It is estimated that 40,000 of the dead crabs have washed up on the beaches this year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thousands of Dead Fish Found on Shores in Calvert County & Kent Island May have Died Due to Stress of Cold Water in Chesapeake Bay

From WBAL11.com:

The Maryland Department of the Environment said that tens of thousands of small fish have died in the Chesapeake Bay due to the stress of the cold water.

MDE spokeswoman Dawn Stolzfus said reports of a fish kill started coming in last week from Calvert County and Kent Island.

Many 11 News viewers wrote in Monday to report that the fish had begun washing onto the shore.

Stolzfus said the types of fish that have died are menhayden, spots and croakers.

She said the fish usually swim to warmer waters before the severe cold weather that the area experienced in December. There is no word on why the fish didn't do that.

Hundreds of Dead & Dying Red-Winged Blackbirds Cover Quarter Mile Stretch of Louisiana Highway

SHOCK: Hundreds of dead and dying red-winged blackbirds have littered a quarter-mile stretch of a highway in Pointe Coupee Parish on Monday, according to 2theadvocate.com. This comes in the aftermath of nearly 3,000 red-winged blackbirds falling from the skies over Beebe, Arkansas.
State biologists are trying to determine what led to the deaths of the estimated 500 red-winged blackbirds and starlings on La. 1 just down the road from Pointe Coupee Central High School.

The discovery of the dead birds — some of which were lying face down, clumped in groups, while others were face up with their wings outstretched and rigid legs pointing upward — comes just three days after more than 3,000 blackbirds rained down from the sky in Beebe, Ark.
This is shocking and it seems to be happening to one specie of birds. According to the Associated Press, the necropsies performed Monday on the birds in Arkansas showed the birds suffered internal injuries that formed blood clots leading to their deaths.

California Farmworkers Challenging Approval of State-Listed Carcinogen, Methyl Iodide, on Strawberry Fields

From the Los Angeles Times:
A  group of environmental and community health organizations is challenging the state’s approval late last month of the agricultural fumigant methyl iodide, a state-listed carcinogen. The coalition representing farmworkers and environmental groups charges that the California  Department of Pesticide Regulation fast-tracked the registration of methyl iodide, and then invoked an emergency regulation to avoid legally mandated public hearings. The fumigant, used by strawberry growers to prepare soil, was approved on Dec. 20 and designated a restricted material, requiring a permit from a county agricultural commission.
Read more:  Farmworkers challenge approval of methyl iodide on strawberry fields | LA Times

West Virginia Environmental Activist Judy Bonds Dies

Our deepest condolences go out to the family of West Virginia environmental activist Judy Bonds, who died Monday evening, according to Coal River Mountain Watch. She was the executive director of Coal River Mountain Watch, which is an activist group that fights mountaintop removal coal mining. No word on the cause of her death.
"Judy will be missed by all in this movement, as an icon, a leader, an inspiration, and a friend," Coal River Mountain Watch co-director Vernon Haltom said in a statement on the group's website. "No words can ever express what she has meant, and what she will always mean. We will tell stories about her, around fires, in meeting rooms, and any place where people are gathered in the name of justice and love for our fellow human beings.

"When we prevail, as we must, we will remember Judy as one of the great heroes of our movement. We will always remember her for her passion, conviction, tenacity, and courage, as well as her love of family and friends and her compassion for her fellow human beings. While we grieve, let’s remember what she said, “Fight harder.” Source: WVNS 59

Vermont Law School Releases Inaugural Top 10 Environmental Watch List, Spotlights Policy Issues of 2010

(PR Newswire) Vermont Law School (VLS) today releases its inaugural Top 10 Environmental Watch List spotlighting the nation's most critical environmental law and policy issues of 2010 and how they may play out in 2011. Below is the Top 10 list, which is produced by the nation's top-ranked environmental law school. The full report is available at http://watchlist.vermontlaw.edu/. The report evaluates 10 judicial, regulatory, legislative and other actions that significantly affect humans and the natural world.

"We can continue our short-sighted addiction to fossil fuels or we can adopt innovative, healthier, more sustainable practices," said VLS Dean Jeff Shields. "The Environmental Watch List will help improve public understanding of how to use the law to take action on the critical issues of our time."

1. Congressional failure to enact climate change legislation: Professor Gus Speth, a pioneer of the environmental movement, explores what went wrong and whether the EPA and state and local lawmakers will step forward in 2011.

2. The nation's worst oil spill: Associate Professor Betsy Baker, an expert in the law of the sea, examines the legal and policy fallout from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

3. First U.S. greenhouse gas rules: Professor Pat Parenteau, whose expertise includes climate change, looks at whether the EPA's efforts to restrict global warming pollutants will survive judicial and political challenges.

4. Climate change in the courts: Associate Professor Martha Judy, an expert in environmental liability, delves into a Supreme Court case that would allow public nuisance lawsuits against major air polluters.

5. California's climate law dodges a bullet: Professor John Echeverria, whose expertise includes climate change, looks at what's next for the Golden State's landmark anti-global warming law that survived a challenge at the ballot box.

6. EPA clamps down on mountaintop removal coal mining: Professor Mark Latham, an expert in environmental enforcement and regulation, examines the EPA's crackdown on the coal industry's practice of tearing off mountain peaks.

7. Wind and solar projects make breakthroughs: Assistant Professor Don Kreis, an expert in energy efficiency, law and regulation, examines plans for the nation's first offshore wind projects and the largest solar energy projects on public lands.

8. Supreme Court reviews genetically modified crops: Professor Jason Czarnezki, whose expertise includes food law and agricultural policy, scrutinizes the Supreme Court's first ruling on so-called Frankenfoods.

9. EPA's water transfer exemption remains in force: Assistant Professor Laura Murphy, an expert in the Clean Water Act, explores the conflict over transferring polluted water from one water body to another.

10. U.S. military going green: Professor Stephen Dycus, an expert in national security law and environmental law, delves into the Pentagon's efforts to use more renewable energy and decrease its reliance on fossil fuels.

Bonus—The Accidental Environmentalist: Professor John Echeverria, whose expertise includes Constitutional law, reflects on the retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Brazil Expects Oil Output to More Than Double in 10 Years

From Bloomberg News:
Brazil aims to more than double oil output in the next 10 years as part of 1 trillion reais ($604 billion) of energy investments expected for the period, Energy Minister Edison Lobao said today. The country’s oil output will rise 161 percent, Lobao told reporters in Brasilia today. Brazil produced a record 2.5 million barrels a day of oil and natural gas in November, according to government data. The country plans to auction licenses for its so-called pre-salt deepwater reserves in the second half, he said.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-run oil producer, plans to spend $224 billion in the five years through 2014, the industry’s biggest investment program. Foreign oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Chevron Corp. are also increasing production in the country as they develop offshore oil fields.

Petrobras investments include tapping the Lula field, formerly known as Tupi, the second-largest find in the Americas since Mexico discovered Cantarell in 1976. Libra, the largest, will be part of the first pre-salt auction this year.

Study: General Anesthesia More Like a Reversible Drug-Induced Coma than a Deep Sleep

So, you think going under general anesthesia is like going into a deep sleep? Well, a group of researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York beg to differ. They found that general anesthesia is more like a reversible drug-induced coma and the findings could lead to better treatments for coma and even better anesthesia.
"General anesthesia is pharmacological coma, not sleep," said Dr. Nicholas Schiff of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, who worked on the study with Dr. Emery Brown of Massachusetts General Hospital and Dr. Ralph Lydic of the University of Michigan. Their findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, represent a three-year exploration of the similarities and differences of sleep, anesthesia and coma.

They said while doctors and patients commonly describe general anesthesia as going to sleep, there are significant differences between the states, with only a bit of overlap between the deepest states of sleep and the very lightest phases of anesthesia.

While sleeping usually involves moving through a series of phases, in general anesthesia, patients are typically taken to a specific phase or state and kept there during the surgery. This phase most closely resembles a coma. Source:  Science Daily
So, it would seem that the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, was doing more harm to his body when he used propofol as a method of getting a good night's sleep.

China Boasts it Made Breakthrough in Nuclear Technology, Could Potentially Save its Uranium Supply Woes

From Reuters:
Chinese scientists have made a breakthrough in nuclear technology that could potentially solve China's uranium supply problem, as well as help move the coal dependent mega-nation away from their heavy reliance on fossil fuels. The new technology will enable the re-use of irradiated fuel and is able to boost the usage rate of uranium materials at nuclear plants by 60 folds.  

"With the new technology, China's existing detected uranium resources can be used for 3,000 years," Chinese Central Television reported. China has 171,400 tons of proven uranium resources spread throughout eight provinces -- Jiangxi, Guangdong, Hunan, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Liaoning and Yunnan. The breakthrough offers hope that China can stay true to its plans to wean itself off coal, one of the dirtiest sources of greenhouse gas pollution. 

China's modest push into nuclear power already showcases 12 working reactors with 10.15 gigawatt of total generating capacity. Although the country had planned to quadruple that capacity to about 40 gigawatts in the next decade, the government now believes it could double the goal to about 80 gigawatts by 2020.
This is fascinating news, not show how the powers that be in the U.S.A. view this news. China is on its way to changing the world order with this breakthrough and others.

Australian "Biblical Floods" Turn Deadly as First Victim Swept Away from Car in Queensland

It seems that a flood of "biblical" proportions is ravishing Queensland, Australia, as we speak. Days of torrential rain has left northeastern Australia under a sea of muddy water, with the flooding affecting about 200,000 people and climbing. The rain stopped but the rivers are still rising and over-flowing into low-lying communities, according to the Huffington Post.
Australia's "bibilical" flood claimed its first victim when a woman was swept away in her car as authorities warned the waters had yet to peak in the one of the worst affected areas of Queensland. As further thunderstorms were forecast across the region, bringing the potential for flash flooding, residents of the city of Rockhampton braced themselves for the Fitzroy river to reach its peak in the next 48 hours. An area the size of France and Germany combined has been hit by the flooding of three river systems.

The woman who drowned was trying to cross a flooded causeway when her car was swept into a river in Burketown, western Queensland, on Saturday. The body of the 41-year-old was recovered yesterday about a mile away, Queensland police said. Two other people are feared drowned.

In Rockhampton many residents have already fled low-lying areas and up to 40% of the city is expected to be affected.
Read more:  Australian Woman Dies as Queensland Floodwaters Rise | U.K. Guardian

Wildlife Experts Baffled After Thousands of Red-Winged Blackbirds Fall From Skies Over Beebe, Arkansas

SHOCK: Wildlife experts are baffled as to why nearly 2,000 reg-winged blackbirds fell from the skies over Beebe, Arkansas New Year's Eve. According to media reports, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Keith Stephens said the birds fell in an area about a mile long and a half-mile wide. An aerial survey has indicated that no other birds were found outside that narrow area. An examination of some of the carcasses will be carried out in laboratories in Arkansas, Georgia and Wisconsin. Results could come as early as next week.
Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe said the birds showed physical trauma, and she speculated that "the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail." The commission also speculated that New Year's Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area could have startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress. Source
No matter how you view this situation, it is a sad one and certainly not normal. Something caused these birds to die in this area. If the birds were hit by hail, wouldn't that be visible on their bodies? What is equally baffling is why thousands of dead fish were found in a stretch of the Arkansas River. Fireworks is highly unlikely in the deaths of the fish. It should be noted that only one type of fish died. Stay tuned. More to follow.