196 articles from TUESDAY 3.11.2020

Terrawatch: dust is speeding up melting of Himalayan snow

Human activities are increasing wind-blown dust, depleting crucial freshwater supplyHimalayan snow and ice is diminishing fast. Global heating is certainly playing a significant role, but now a recent study in Nature Climate Change reveals that wind-blown dust is worsening the melting effect.Winter snowfall and spring snowmelt provide more than half of the annual freshwater needs of around 700...

How to fix the movement for fossil fuel divestment

Bankers and environmentalists alike are increasingly calling for capital markets to play a bigger role in the war on carbon. In the absence of a meaningful global price on carbon, however, capital continues to flow freely toward fossil fuels and other carbon-intensive industries. The movement for fossil fuel divestment has been trying since 2012 to reverse this trend. A strong media presence and...

Scientists hail earwax test for checking stress hormone levels

Researchers say cortisol sampling technique could transform diagnostics for people with depressionA test that uses earwax to measure levels of the stress hormone cortisol could “transform diagnostics and care for millions of people with depression or stress-related conditions”, scientists have said.The researchers believe the test, which can be done at home without clinical supervision, may...

Mapping to predict the distribution of ticks in Switzerland

A comprehensive study by EPFL and Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) has enabled researchers to map the geographical distribution of ticks in Switzerland for the first time, as well as to determine whether they are carriers of chlamydia. Little is known about these bacteria, but ticks can potentially pass them to humans. The team found that zones conducive to tick proliferation have expanded by...

Invisible fungi revealed by their genetic material

How can new life forms that we cannot see be discovered? Using a novel method based on looking for DNA in soil samples, researchers at Uppsala University have revealed the existence of two hitherto unknown, but very common fungus species. They are thought to perform a key function in the ecosystem, but their exact role remains to be clarified. The study is published in the journal IMA Fungus.

The cement for coral reefs

Coral reefs are hotspots of biodiversity. As they can withstand heavy storms, they offer many species a safe home, and at the same time, they protect densely populated coastal regions as they level out storm-driven waves. However, how can these reefs that are made up of often very fragile coral be so stable? A team of researchers from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and...

The birth of a bacterial tRNA gene

Translation is the process by which genetic information is converted into proteins, the workhorses of the cell. Small molecules called transfer RNAs (tRNAs) play a crucial role in translation; they are the adapter molecules that match codons (the building blocks of genetic information) with amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Organisms carry many types of tRNAs, each encoded by one or...

Rich states' Covid deals 'may deprive poor of vaccine for years'

Wealthy countries already have agreements for 3.73bn doses, with another 5m under negotiation, study findsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageGovernments in predominantly wealthy countries are negotiating to buy nearly 8.8bn doses of prospective Covid-19 vaccines in a “frenzy of deals” that could mean many poor countries would not get access to immunisation until at...

Britain's new polar ship, 'Boaty McBoatface', heads for open seas

Britain's new polar ship, the Sir David Attenborough, headed for the open seas on Tuesday to start trials after a storm delay, before making its maiden voyage to Antarctica next year for climate change research. Officially the ship is named after the veteran BBC naturalist David Attenborough, but to many Britons it will always be known as "Boaty McBoatface", after that suggestion topped a public...