Decade of rising seas slowed by land soaking up extra water

New measurements from a NASA satellite have allowed researchers to identify and quantify, for the first time, how climate-driven increases of liquid water storage on land have affected the rate of sea level rise. A new study shows that while ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt, changes in weather and climate over the past decade have caused Earth’s continents to soak up and store an extra 3.2 trillion tons of water in soils, lakes and underground aquifers, temporarily slowing the rate of sea level rise by about 20 percent. —> Read More

Cryogenically Frozen Rabbit Brain Hailed As Scientific First

For the first time, scientists say the detailed structure of a fully intact mammalian brain has been cryogenically preserved — but could it pave the way toward the preservation of human brains and memory? It might be too soon to say.

The scientific achievement was announced Tuesday by the Brain Preservation Foundation after a group of researchers successfully froze a rabbit brain as part of a contest and published research about their cryopreservation technique in the December edition of the journal Cryobiology.

While the preserved brain was dead tissue, all of its synaptic connections — or the junctions of nerve cells — were maintained, Robert McIntyre, a scientist at company 21st Century Medicine who led the research, told The Huffington Post.

“This research is a first because it works on whole brains and preserves
all of the synaptic details,” he said. “Previous techniques, such as resin embedding, are only able to preserve detailed synaptic information in small brain slices.”

Indeed, since the 1960s, scientists have been preserving small samples of brain tissue at this level of detail, but they haven’t been able to preserve an entire brain until now, according to the BPF.

“The brain was able to be sliced and viewed in an electron microscope which suggested that all the connections had been preserved,” Dr. Michael Cerullo, a psychiatrist at the Virginia-based foundation, told Newsweek.

To preserve the rabbit brain, the researchers used a new chemical technique called Aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation, or ASC, that involved the combination of processes called chemical fixation and cryogenic cooling.

First, the oily liquid glutaraldehyde was used to bind the proteins in the brain together, McIntyre said, and then ethylene glycol — a powerful antifreeze used in the automotive industry — was used to protect the brain from the extreme cold.

Next, the researchers —> Read More

About one in five adolescent victims of sexual harassment on social media report abuse to provider

Among adolescents who encountered sexual harassment on social networking sites (mostly on Facebook), 21.8% reported the incident to the provider, but in nearly half of those cases the provider took no action, according to the results of a study reported in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free to download on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website until March 11, 2016. —> Read More

Crowdsourcing Science in Just 15 Minutes

How has the most powerful El NiƱo in nearly two decades and the extraordinary weather patterns it spawned this winter affected birds?

You can join with tens of thousands of volunteer citizen scientists to help find the answer by spending just 15 minutes in your backyard or neighborhood this weekend during the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

It’s science crowdsourcing at its best: Grab a pair of binoculars or just head outside and invite your family and friends to help count all the birds you spot within a 15-minute period. No previous experience necessary.

Last year, more than 140,000 citizen participants submitted their bird observations online to birdcount.org, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.

This year’s citizen count is going to be more important to science and conservation efforts than ever. We learned during our earlier citizen science event, the annual Christmas Bird Count, that this year’s record warm winter kept Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes lingering longer in the north. And other birds were showing up far from their usual homes and rest stops.

The Great Backyard Bird Count, held February 12 to 15 at the start of the spring migration season, will help scientists understand even more about the impact a record warm winter and unusually fierce storms are having on where birds are living and migrating.

Audubon – which helped originate science crowdsourcing with its annual Christmas Bird Count 116 years ago–is engaging citizen scientists to change science and conservation as we know it.
The Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual census nearly two decades old, is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society along with Canadian partner Bird Studies —> Read More

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