Posts tagged "environmental science"
Fortified by Global Warming, Deadly Fungus Poisons Corn Crops, Causes Cancer: Scientific American
This is one of those stories that I see somewhere and think “wow, this would be great on the Tumblr!” and then I read it and I want to run home and hide and never eat anything but food I have grown myself ever again. Aspergillus flavus is a mold that thrives in hot, dry weather, just like last year’s epic drought in the U.S. It has rendered huge portions of corn crops unsaleable; just the equivalent of 100 kernels per truckload of corn turns the whole lot into garbage. This is a very real and very scary threat. Read at your own risk. ~AR
Haha. Scary indeed. I wonder what kind of solutions will arise from this. Surely, you can’t control the weather. Is this going to lead to breeding for lines that are resistant? Or special greenhouses or closed conditions for raising corn where you can adjust the temperature? And I worry about the repercussions of such developments for poorer corn farmers who can’t afford such adjustments.
Today’s dose of “we’re all fucked”. TA-DAAAAA!!!
“Plastic islands being used to restore African lake”
As the ever-growing giant flotilla of floating refuse known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will show us, we shouldn’t be putting plastic waste in our waterways. A new project, however, is aimed at helping the environment by doing so … in a roundabout way of speaking. The participants plan on taking several artificial floating islands made from post-consumer plastic, planting papyrus on them, and then using them to help rebuild the ecosystem of Africa’s Lake Naivasha.
Very cool. It’s always nice to see creative solutions for problems, especially if we take a problem and turn it around to solve another one.
Shame on you Monsanto. EUugh.
I really really really disapprove when advertising is targeted toward children. And my disapproval quadruples if not more when it comes to propaganda targeted toward anyone. HOW DARE YOU TRY TO CONVINCE ME OF ANYTHING ASSUMING I’D AGREE. I hope financial ruin falls upon this corporation.
The article says it can survive just on polyurethane anaerobically, making it perfect for the bottom of landfills where people bury their plastic. Hm. That certainly is promising. Though that’s no excuse for people to continue consuming crap tons of plastic everyday, it does seem like a good step toward figuring out what to do with the plastic we already have piling up as waste.
I also saw someone post this on Tumblr a couple days ago, but now I can’t find who I intended to reblog, so whoever had this up earlier, thanks for sharing! orz
An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan has been that millions of spiders climbed up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters. Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs.
HOLY SHIT. I do not want to walk around those trees. Eugh. Sticky mess. Yet another example of habitat disruption and its consequences. I never did understand why some of my classmates felt like ecology and environmental science wasn’t important, especially since it almost seems like it’s the study of “things that will come and bite us back in the ass for our actions” a lot of the time…
Helpful uranium-munching bacteria breathe it through electric wires
So, do these bacteria produce an enzyme that helps them process uranium in this way, or is there something else going on? That’s been the question for some time now. A group of microbiologists suspected that pili—tiny, thread-like appendages on the surface of many bacteria—might have something to do with it. To test this, they compared mutants that could not develop pili to normal bacteria. They found that the pili were indeed central to the mineralization of uranium. To understand why, we’ve got to include a study that was published in Nature Nanotechnology just last month.
The second study discovered that the pili of that same Geobacter species are electrically conductive. In fact, they are just as conductive as metallic nanowires. As if the first example of metal-like conductivity in a biological structure wasn’t enough, the researchers were even able to get films of these bacteria to function as transistors.
So what’s the practical upshot of this knowledge? If we understand how these bacteria go about their work of attenuating groundwater contamination, we’re better equipped to facilitate the conditions required to optimize uranium mineralization. What’s more, we may even work out how to engineer synthetic or biological improvements to the process.
Haha. Awesome. The first thing I thought of when I was reading this, was how this would be useful for the Hanford Site in Washington. Basically, it was part of the Manhattan Project and used to produce the plutonium for nuclear missiles. Of course, safety and handling procedures were not exactly the best back then, and so now it is “the most contaminated nuclear site in the US.” Lo and behold, I look it up on Wikipedia, and the same Pacific NW National Laboratory is helping with the clean up through research. Haha. Great!
Orange Goo Fungus Lining Alaskan Shore
This really makes me want to go out there, get a sample, grind that shit up, run it through a spin column a couple times, and extract the DNA. We could totally run some gels and compare against existing rust causing fungi. Or if we have the money, get it sequenced.
And then do some time consuming molecular phylogenetic analysis. Man. So much work. But hot damn, that sounds like fun. ADVENTUUUUUUURE. @ u @
Biology in Relation to Fish Medicine~
I said I would post up my research on the bacterial flora in my fish tank. So I suppose I will. If you’re not interested, here’s a pic of Fatty up there. Ah. He had such a perky dorsal fin and gorgeous caudal fin. orz
Look for microbio and other science related stuff below: