The 192 countries with a coast bordering the Atlanta, Pacific and Indian oceans, Mediterranean and Black seas produced a total of 2.5 billion metric tons of solid waste. Of that, 275 million metric tons was plastic, and an estimated 8 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste entered the ocean in 2010.

Warming pushes Western US toward driest period in 1,000 years

A representation of the summer moisture in the US Central Plains and Southwest is shown. The brown line represents the variation in dryness since the year 1000; the lower the line on the graph, the drier the conditions. Colored lines to the right side of the graph represent what climate models see ahead: a trend toward dryness not seen in the previous millennium. As the authors describe it: Regional average time series of the summer season moisture balance metrics from the NADA and CMIP5models.The observational NADA PDSI series (brown) is smoothed using a 50-year loess spline to emphasize the low-frequency variability in the paleo-record. Model time series (PDSI, SM-30cm, and SM-2m) are the multimodel means averaged across the 17 CMIP5models, and the gray shaded area is the multimodel interquartile range for model PDSI.During the second half of the 21st century, the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains will face persistent drought worse than anything seen in times ancient or modern, with the drying...

Evolution of the Darwin's finches and their beaks

This is the large ground finch (<i>Geospiza magnirostris</i>) on Daphne Major Island. Reproduced with the permission of Princeton University Press.Darwin's finches, inhabiting the Galápagos archipelago and Cocos island, constitute an iconic model for studies of speciation and adaptive evolution. A team of scientists from Uppsala University and Princeton University...

Menopausal whales are influential and informative leaders

Two killer whales are spyhopping.Menopause is a downright bizarre trait among animals. It's also rare. Outside of the human species, only the female members of two whale species outlive their reproductive lives in such...

Genetic evidence shows penguins have 'bad taste'

This is a king penguin.Penguins apparently can't enjoy or even detect the savory taste of the fish they eat or the sweet taste of fruit. A new analysis of the genetic evidence reported in...

Phthalates potentially alter levels of a pregnancy hormone that influences sex development

<p>This is an image of a healthy baby. <p>Exposure to hormone-altering chemicals called phthalates -- which are found in many plastics, foods  and personal care products -- early in pregnancy is associated with a disruption in an essential pregnancy hormone and adversely affects the masculinization of male genitals in the baby, according to research led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.Exposure to hormone-altering chemicals called phthalates -- which are found in many plastics, foods and personal care products -- early in pregnancy is associated with a disruption in an essential...

The Lancet: Scientists report bionic hand reconstruction in 3 Austrian men

Three Austrian men have become the first in the world to undergo a new technique called "bionic reconstruction," enabling them to use a robotic prosthetic hand controlled by their mind,...

Geoengineering report: Scientists urge more research on climate intervention

Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, while necessary, may not happen soon enough to stave off climate catastrophe. So, in addition, the world may need to resort to so-called geoengineering...

Bumblebees make false memories too

New evidence suggests bumblebees may experience 'confusion' between flower patterns.It's well known that our human memory can fail us. People can be forgetful, and they can sometimes also "remember" things incorrectly, with devastating consequences in the classroom, courtroom, and...

Massive amounts of Saharan dust fertilize the Amazon rainforest

This conceptual image depicts dust from the Saharan Desert crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the Amazon rainforest in South America.The Sahara Desert and the Amazon rainforest seem to inhabit separate worlds. The former is a vast expanse of sand and scrub stretching across the northern third of Africa, while...

A high-salt diet could protect against invading microbes

Most people consume more salt than they need and therefore have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the two leading causes of death worldwide. But a...

Monster black hole discovered at cosmic dawn

This is an artist's impression of a quasar with a supermassive black hole in the distant universe.Scientists have discovered the brightest quasar in the early universe, powered by the most massive black hole yet known at that time. The international team led by astronomers from Peking...

Epigenomics of Alzheimer's disease progression

Our susceptibility to disease depends both on the genes that we inherit from our parents and on our lifetime experiences. These two components -- nature and nurture -- seem to...

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Study finds peanut consumption in infancy prevents peanut allergy

Introduction of peanut products into the diets of infants at high risk of developing peanut allergy was safe and led to an 81 percent reduction in the subsequent development of...

Earliest-known arboreal and subterranean ancestral mammals discovered

This is an illustration of <i>Agilodocodon</i> and <i>Docofossor</i>. The skeletal features of <i>Agilodocodon</i> (top left) suggeset it was an agile and active arboreal animal. The skeletal features of <i>Docofossor</i> (bottom right) suggest it lived in burrows and fed on worms and insects.The fossils of two interrelated ancestral mammals, newly discovered in China, suggest that the wide-ranging ecological diversity of modern mammals had a precedent more than 160 million years ago.

Widely used food additive promotes colitis, obesity and metabolic syndrome, research shows

Dr. Benoit Chassaing and Dr. Andrew T. Gewirtz, from left to right.Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter the gut microbiota composition and localization to induce intestinal inflammation that promotes the...

First direct observation of carbon dioxide's increasing greenhouse effect at the Earth's surface

The scientists used incredibly precise spectroscopic instruments at two sites operated by the Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility. This research site is on the North Slope of Alaska near the town of Barrow. They also collected data from a site in Oklahoma.Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide's greenhouse effect at Earth's surface for the first time. The researchers, led by scientists from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley...

In a first, astronomers catch a multiple star system in the process of forming

A triple star system forming within a dense gas filament in a numerical simulation modeling a group of forming stars. The color indicates the gas density, where lighter colors are higher densities. Rhe image is about 10,000 astronomical units across where the projected separations between the three objects is about 2,000 and 4,000 AU.This week an international team of astronomers reports the first multiple-star system to be observed during the earliest stage of formation. This finding supports model predictions about how two- and...

People use handshakes to sniff each other out

Scientists find that people use the touch of a handshake to sample and sniff signaling molecules. A sterile glove was used to identify signaling molecules transmitted via a handshake.Limp or firm, your handshake conveys subliminal social cues. Now, research reveals it also transmits chemical signals that could explain why the greeting evolved in the first place.

Sharp rise in experimental animal research in US

The use of animals in experimental research has soared at leading US laboratories in recent years, finds research published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Interstellar technology throws light on spinning black holes

A moderately realistic accretion disk, created by Double Negative artists and
gravitationally lensed by a black hole.The team responsible for the Oscar-nominated visual effects at the centre of Christopher Nolan's epic, Interstellar, have turned science fiction into science fact by providing new insights into the powerful...

Gorilla origins of the last two AIDS virus lineages confirmed

Two of the four known groups of human AIDS viruses (HIV-1 groups O and P) have originated in western lowland gorillas, according to an international team of scientists from the...