Science

Phosphorus Is Vital for Life, and We’re Running Low

All life needs phosphorus and agricultural yields are improved when phosphorus is added to growing plants and the diet of livestock. Consequently, it is used globally as a fertilizer – and plays an important role in meeting the world’s food requirements. In order for us to add it, however, we first need to extract it from a concentrated form – and the supply comes almost exclusively from phosphate mines in Morocco (with far smaller quantities coming from China, the US, Jordan and South Africa). Within Morocco, most of the mines are in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony which was ...

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Nearly Two-Thirds of Cancers Are Due to Random DNA ‘Mistakes’

Cancer is caused by mistakes in DNA, and a new study finds that in most cancer cases, these mistakes are completely random; they’re not due to heredity or environmental factors, but rather the result of random errors. The mistakes, or mutations, cause cancer to happen because even a tiny error in DNA can make cells multiply out of control, the study said. Scientists had thought these mutations resulted mainly from two things: Either the mutation was inherited, or it was caused by outside factors that can damage DNA, such as cigarette smoke or ultraviolet radiation, the researchers wrote. But a ...

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Improved cognition in male turtles exposed to BPA during development

Bisphenol A (BPA) has earned a bad reputation as a potential endocrine disrupting chemical in several studies of developing animals. Some studies even report correlations of BPA levels with certain diseases in humans. Thus it is not surprising there are a plethora of BPA-free food containers, especially for baby food and bottles, as our most common route of exposure is through our diet. It gets there from the epoxy resin lining of some canned foods as well as our use of polycarbonate food containers or tableware. Turtles and reptiles are also affected by BPA that leaches into their environment. Male turtles and reptiles exposed to BPA during development can undergo partial and even ...

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Boaty McBoatface submarine set for first voyage

The yellow submarine named Boaty McBoatface is set to leave for Antarctica this week on its first science expedition. The robot is going to map the movement of deep waters that play a critical role in regulating Earth’s climate. Boaty carries the name that a public poll had suggested be given to the UK’s future £200m polar research vessel. The government felt this would be inappropriate and directed the humorous moniker go on a submersible instead. But what many people may not realise is that there is actually more than one Boaty. The name covers a trio of vehicles in ...

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Mississippi River: North America’s Mighty River

The Mississippi River is the second longest river in North America (after the Missouri River) and the fourth longest river in the world (after the Nile, Amazon and Yangtze rivers). The river’s basin is the largest drainage system in North America, reaching parts of 31 states and two Canadian provinces. The Missouri and Ohio rivers merge with the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis, Missouri, and at Cairo, Illinois, respectively. Although these are major rivers themselves, the Missouri River and the Ohio River are considered tributaries of the Mississippi River. When the lengths of these three rivers are combined, ...

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Brain is ten times more active than previously measured

Date:March 9, 2017 Source:University of California – Los Angeles Summary:A new study could change scientists’ understanding of how the brain works — and could lead to new approaches for treating neurological disorders and for developing computers that ‘think’ more like humans. A new UCLA study could change scientists’ understanding of how the brain works — and could lead to new approaches for treating neurological disorders and for developing computers that “think” more like humans. The research focused on the structure and function of dendrites, which are components of neurons, the nerve cells in the brain. Neurons are large, tree-like structures ...

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