Tag Archives: News

The clothes which shares Europe

The Dutch government has decided on January 27th 2012, after France and Belgium: generally prohibits the wearing of the burqa and the niqab in public places, public buildings, like schools, hospitals and public transport. The fine may have at most 380 euro. In Germany( Hesse) mustn’t wear burqa or niqab for public employees on their  workplace. Because their job requires the  political and religious neutrality.  It can form an exception, such as cleaners working night shifts. In Denmark, the wearing of burqa and niqab are limited in public places, but the schools, public administrations and companies can decide free that they allow it for their employees.  Continue reading

One of the most shameful acts in the human history

“Each day the traders are kidnapping our people – children of this country, sons of our nobles and vassals, even people of our own family.This corruption and depravity are so widespread that our land is entirely depopulated. We need in this kingdom only priests and schoolteachers, and no merchandise, unless it is wine and flour for Mass. It is our wish that this Kingdom not be a place for the trade or transport of slaves.” – Written by the King of Congo, King Alfonso I.(1456-1543) to Joao III of Portugal. Continue Reading …

A threatened primate appears in a new habitat

An endangered primate has extended its range. Presbytis hosei canicrus has indeed been seen in a forest that is not part of its known habitat. This is good news as long as this population is viable and that the subspecies is still present in its former habitat. Continue Reading here 

Primate subspecies Presbytis hosei canicrus in the forest of Wehea. © Eric Fell

warriors sacrifice themselves for their colony

Among a certain number of social insects, the body is adapted to the functions of the individual. Ants or termites soldiers, for example, feature powerful jaw stuck on huge heads. This is not the case of bees which ensure yet many roles in their lives. An exception confirms the rule, with the first war ever described bee: Jadai bee. Continue reading 

 

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Why dogs paws are not cold?

Children often ask this excellent question: Do the dogs have cold feet? The answer is no. Like many wild animals living in cold climates, dogs have heat exchangers within their pads. The bloodstream back toward the body is always warm … until the outside temperature is -35 ° C.
Dogs can walk in the snow without any fear. They have anatomical adaptations (counterflow heat exchangers) in the pads that are normally found in animals living in cold climates. © C.-J. Richey121, Flickr, CC by-nc-nd 2.0 Counterflow heat exchangers in the legs

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Mercury atmospheric pollution back to the ground!

Thousands of tons of mercury are released into the atmosphere each year. Is this element so toxic to humans? It would be transformed into an oxidized form at the top of the atmosphere. After returning to the ground, transformed mercury can then integrate ecosystem water and accumulate along the food chain. In short, it is polluting our health.

Several thousand tonnes of mercury are released into the atmosphere each year. Incineration of waste is also involved in this phenomenon. © Swanksalot, Flickr, CC by-sa 2.0

Mercury is extremely toxic to human health and for all living organisms. This heavy metal causes, among other neurological diseases, renal disturbances or decreased fertility. Yet it is widely used in metallurgical industry and for the production of chlorine and electricity. Thousands of tons of mercury are freed into the atmosphere each year. Inhaled, it is just as toxic when ingested. So what happens to all that mercury?

Seth N. Lyman and Daniel A. Jaffe, from University of Washington Bothell, provide some answers in an article in Nature Geoscience. The researchers traveled the U.S. and European skies in an airplane from the National Center for Atmospheric Research to measure the various forms of mercury in the atmosphere: pure and oxide mercury . Data were collected in the troposphere, between 6,000 and 7,000 meters, with a measuring device developed for this occasion. The aircraft had a chance to move in air currents coming down from the stratosphere, collecting data on the area higher in the atmosphere.

Pure mercury is transformed into oxidized mercury at the top of the atmosphere. The top of the troposphere and the lower stratosphere would act as real chemical reactors promoting the transformation of pure mercury (Hg) in its oxidized form (Hg 2 + ). The measurements have shown a low stratosphere pure element. At present, the various stages of this transformation are not yet known.

The Arctic as a source of oxidized mercury

Mercury is a liquid metal highly toxic to humans and living organisms. It is present in the atmosphere as fine droplets that can be inhaled. © Valentino Tombesi, Flickr, CC by nc-nd 2.0

The sky in the Arctic is home to the largest concentration of oxidized mercury. Weather conditions in spring and summer would be the cause according to researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Large amounts of oxidized mercury were also measured in the atmosphere above the Dead Sea. No explanation can be given at present to justify these results.

Rain or movement of air masses encourage a return of the oxidized mercury to the ground, especially to aquatic ecosystems. Once in the water, earlier studies have shown that this compound could undergo the action bacteria. It is then transformed into methylmercury, an organic molecule of the most toxic. Mercury can therefore enter the food chain and accumulate in organisms belonging to different trophic levels.

Thus, the mercury released into the atmosphere can be inhaled directly to contaminate us or end up in our food after going into the stratosphere. The system is very vicious because the return of mercury in aquatic ecosystems may take some time and take place thousands of miles from the pollution source.

Source for further read: EVISA published 20-Dec-2011

In short: the dogs are listening with eyes, same like human children

The word is not enough. Dogs look before they act just like us. Responsiveness of dogs to human communication would be identical to that of a young child. This result justifies the love that many people carry for these pets.

Written by Abdullah Al Abbadi/Blue Line News

Dogs test, the following of the eyes of those who have spoken highly by looking into his eyes. This experience gives the same results on young children. This is the first time that monitoring techniques have been applied visual pathways to the dogs. © Tegler et al., 2012, Current Biology

Many masters have already realized it: dogs are very attentive to our gaze and our posture when they receive orders. To understand this behavior, researchers at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has decided to study the responsiveness of these animals in relation to human communication. They used a device to visually follow the trajectory of the dogs respond to various visual or auditory stimuli.

The dogs were confronted with two videos. They show a person behind a table upon which two identical pots. In the first video, the person looking at the canines and talking out loud before turning his head and look at one of the pots. In the second video, the person does not make visual contact and speaks in a whisper. The look of the dogs is analyzed. The findings, published in Current Biology, show that dogs are more attentive to the intentions of showing human communication before acting (eye contact, speech). They then follow the gaze of the experimenter and end up looking the same pot.

This test is not new but was previously used on children. By comparison, it appears that the responsiveness of dogs to human communication is similar to that of children aged 6 months to 2 years. More and more evidence shows that men and dogs share identical social skills , with a significant sensitivity with respect to the communicative intentions. This conclusion justifies the attraction of mankind for these pets. But we still do not know how the brain processes information canids.

Selected source for further read: CBS42 published 2 days ago

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Angkor, between droughts and torrential rains

The decline of Angkor is due, at least in part, to the extreme variability of weather conditions to which the Khmer were unable to adjust their water system to be sophisticated.

Written by Abdullah Al Abbadi/Blue Line news

Bayon temple, constructed by Angkorian King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. The faces may be representations of Buddha, the bodhisattva Lokesvara, Jayavarman VII, or a combination. CREDIT: Mary Beth Day, University of Cambridge

From the 11 th century, Khmer civilization flourished and moved over the Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia, and has developed the largest urban complex of the preindustrial era. Even today, many temples remain, including Angkor Wat, and the remains of a large water system. At the end of the 14 th and beginning of the 15 th century, the Khmer empire sank into oblivion. Several factors have been proposed to explain this decline: war, arrival of Theravada Buddhism, modifications of trade routes, overpopulation, ecological constraints … To see more clearly, Mary Beth Day, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and colleagues studied sediments to highlight changes in the environment and water management practices.

These studies confirm the thesis of the role of climate fluctuations and suggest that the Khmer failed to fight the droughts.

Angkor possessed a complex network of channels, moats, and embankments and reservoirs known as barays to collect and store water from the summer monsoons for use in rice paddy fields in case of drought. One of the the largest reservoirs is the Western Baray, a pool of eight kilometers long and two wide, at its center a temple perched on an artificial island, called the Western Mebon temple. Dug from the eleventh century, this basin contains up to 53 million cubic meters, of which 65 percent came from the Siem Reap River, and 35 percent of precipitation. The studied sediments were collected at the bottom of the basin in a core sample of two meters long (the longest ever collected), corresponding to about
1000 years of history. What have they found?

The site of the Western Baray. © NASA SPOT.

The strontium isotope ratios, sedimentation rates, sediment density and color (which reflects their content of organic compounds) show that the Western Baray received significantly less sediment from the fourteenth century, the early decline of ‘Khmer empire. The volume of water was also much lower. The analysis also corroborated the episodes of droughts (the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) that were deduced from the study of tree rings from Vietnam. These events have alternated with periods of unusually heavy rain. From the
sixteenth century, after the fall of the empire, there was a reduction in erosion. Similarly, changing the ecology of the basin at this time, with a proliferation of plant species related to the decrease in turbidity (water was no longer used or, consequently, circulated).

In addition, traces have revealed large-scale siltation of the hydraulic system during the 12th and 14 th centuries, just before the drought. Finally, deterioration, cracks, etc.. from the time when the network was used were found.

The Western Baray and Western Mebon (an artificial island) in the foreground. © R. Clark

These changes in sedimentation, maintenance and ecology of the basin are the result of complex interactions between climatic and anthropogenic factors, such as water management and land use, such as the expansion of the urbanization. It is difficult to distinguish the role of each, but they often work hand in hand, the environmental constraints leading to behavior change. However, according to Mr. B. Day, these results show that maintenance of the hydraulic system was not adequate in terms of climate and hydrological changes. The extreme variability of weather patterns overcame adaptive capacity of the Khmer. In other words, they were overtaken by events.

Selected source for further read” live science published 2-Jan-2012

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Mammals have taken advantage of past climate changes

 The evolution of mammals is strongly correlated with climate, at least for the species in North America who lived in the aftermath of the Cretaceous . This is reflected in a U.S. study that compares the temperature with the demographics of these animals.

Written by Abdullah Al Abbadi/Blue Line News

Paraceratherium, a giant rhinoceros that lived during the Oligocene, is the largest land mammal of all time. © 2011 Ex Machina

The first mammals appeared on Earth date back to over than 220 million years. There are 65 million years, to the end of the Cretaceous , before the fifth mass extinction, they had already filled all the continents. Following this crisis, their numbers have dropped considerably and it is followed by an adaptive radiation. Since then, other stages of diversification – less important however – have occurred and American researchers came to discover its causes.

The population of mammals study in North America over the past 65 million years shows that these animals have suffered six periods of high diversification or high population growth. That is to say that for various species, population peaks were observed at the same times. They are called stages of adaptive radiation.

Climate and population correlation

Typically, an adaptive radiation is initiated by an event that allows species to occupy niches that were previously inaccessible. Either because they were occupied by other species, or because no body had adapted to live there. Thus, diversification allows new species to conquer these habitats neglected by others.

Climate change not always negative

In the case of North American mammals, what are the causes of these episodes? According to researchers, it is mainly climate change. To reach this conclusion, scientists at Brown University have paralleled the demographics of mammals with paleoclimatic data. And in particular temperature, they were able to assess by analyzing the atmospheric concentrations of oxygen. Their results are published in PNAS.

Four of the six evolutionary radiations, explain the researchers, there is a strong correlation with temperature change. Thus, the evolution of mammals would have followed climate change. The immigrations are also responsible for these phases.

This study shows that all episodes of climate change are not penalized for biodiversity, in contrast, probably the one we live right now and that, along with other factors, is now causing the sixth mass extinction .

Selected Source for further read: Brown university News published in 22-Dec-2011

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Why Mosquitoes bite you? scientists found the reason now..

Mosquitoes are attracted to certain smells of our body, which depend on … peopl’s contains of becteria. Dutch scientists have identified more specifically these reasons that attract mosquitoes. This is not a track for a new deodorant but hope to limit the Plasmodium infection , the vector of malaria .

Written by Abdullah Al Abbadi

Plasmodium falciparum, visible here at the center of this picture, is the vector of malaria. It colonizes the human cells and is transmitted through the saliva of a mosquito in the sting. © Ute Frevert, Wikipedia, cc by 2.5

Each has been seen: we are not all equal before the mosquitoes . Some suffer all the bites while others are often spared. It’s not a coincidence, but rather because their body odor are more popular with insects .

Originally the fragrances unique to each individuaal, are from the bacteria of the skin . The microbial community varies in number and kind of an individual to another. Researchers at the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands) were asked what were the bacterial compositions most likely to attract female mosquitoes (the males do not sting). Their results are published in Plos One.

Their animal model, Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto, is one of the main of malaria vectors in Africa. The midge has had leisure to taste the blood of 48 male volunteers, which had first examined to know the odor and bacterial community inhabiting their skin.

The bacteria which attract mosquitoes

Among the guinea pigs, nine have been very attractive to mosquitoes and 7, on the contrary, very unattractive. In general, the researchers noted two characteristics of those most frequently bitten:

  • Their skin bears a large amount of bacteria;
  • Species diversity is lower than that of individuals spared

Most effective mosquito traps

On entering the details, they were able to show that the presence of bacteria Variovorax sp. and Pseudomonas sp. was associated with a low number of bites. Conversely, those associated by Leptotrichia sp. , Delftia sp. and GP3 Actinobacteria sp. mosquitos attracting by highly volatile compounds they emit.

“Compounds that inhibit microbial production of human smell, or manipulation of the composition of bacteria of the skin can reduce the attractiveness of a person for mosquitoes, said Niels Verhulst, lead author of the study. Bacteria identified in this study may help contribute to the development of attractive products for placement in traps for the malaria mosquito. “

Remember that malaria is the disease most common parasitic due to protozoa of the Plasmodium genus . In 2011, a report of the WHO reported 216 million people infected worldwide, of which 81% were in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2010, 655,000 people died. Mosquitoes also cause other parasitic diseases such as dengue , the yellow fever or chikungunya .

Selected sources from editor for further read

Mirror.co.uk

revoseek

Evolution: the first tetrapods were not reckless

Amphibians evolved from fish during the Devonian. It is a certainty. However, the environment in which this transition has occurred remains hypothetical. A new study situated the occurrence of tetrapods in wetlands and woodlands. Limb development and mobility of the neck would have allowed them to take advantage of this environment.

Written by Abdullah Al Abbadi/Blue Line News

For Alfred Romer, the fish would be out of the water as a result of drastic changes in environmental conditions. These have caused the drying up of water points (left). According to Gregory Retallack, fish have developed new structures (legs and neck mobile) allowing them to leave the water and enjoy their environment (right). © University of Oregon

The evolution of tetrapods from fish would have taken place during the Devonian, or there is between 390 to 360 million years. The presence of four limbs and a neck differentiates fish from amphibians. Two theories explained so far how and where this crucial stage of evolution could have occurred.

According to Alfred Romer, amphibians have evolved from fish and forced to live out of water after their ponds were drained. Movements would have been necessary to find a new living space. Over time, natural selection would have selected individuals with an effective terrestrial locomotion. Hosting environments to such fishs had to be subjected to drought.
Grzegorz Niedbwiedzki and his colleagues on the other hand proposed intertidal model in 2010. The intertidal zone is the coastal strip subject to the tides, tide pool and open air at low tide. Amphibians are differentiated from fish out of the sea Their theory is based on the discovery of fossilized footprints in a rock that was to be in a lagoon.

Gregory J. Retallack, professor at the University of Maryland, has just published an article describing a third event in the Journal of Geology. He studied footprints and fossilized bones of organisms from the period of transition between fish and amphibians in three sites in the United States. Remarkably, these fossils were still in the soil characteristics of wetlands and forested plains. No trace of dry pond was observed.

According to the work of Gregory J. Retallack, the ancestor of tetrapods was an opportunist rather than a rash venturing out of his pond during a drought. He took advantage of the environment that was open to him to adjust to a new life. This fish was populated in humid regions hosting lakes invaded by roots and tree trunks. Limbs observed by the geologist are mobile and able to enter the wood or roots. The ancestor of tetrapods thus had to take advantage of the presence of roots out of the water.

The mobility of the neck was acquired in order to eat in shallow water. This assumption justifies the development of a more mobile neck out brutal fish of the lakes located in a desert area. To reject the theory of Alfred Romer, Gregory Retallack also relies on the fact that no fish ancestor of tetrapods has never been found in geological structures that may correspond to ancient ponds drained.

Thus, the origin and the release of water from tetrapods would be to link with the development of structures adapted to a new environment. It was not caused by drastic changes in environmental conditions.

Selected source for further read : News Feed Researchers  Published 29-Dec-2011

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The evolution of fish: the head before the body