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Keeping the flu away - synthetic protein outsmarts the influenza virus

Keeping the flu away - synthetic protein outsmarts the influenza virus | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A new discovery from SDSU’s Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center finds that EP67, a powerful synthetic protein, is able to activate the innate immune system within just two hours of being administered.

 

The research showed that by introducing EP67 into the body within 24 hours of exposure to the flu virus caused the immune system to react almost immediately to the threat, well before your body normally would. Because EP67 doesn’t work on the virus but on the immune system itself, it functions the same no matter the flu strain, unlike the influenza vaccine, which must exactly match the currently circulating strain.

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Scientists say NASA's 'new arsenic form of life' was untrue

Scientists say NASA's 'new arsenic form of life' was untrue | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Two new scientific papers have disproved a controversial claim made by NASA-funded scientists in 2010 that a new form of bacterial life had been discovered that could thrive on arsenic.

 

"Contrary to an original report, the new research clearly shows that the bacterium, GFAJ-1, cannot substitute arsenic for phosphorus to survive," said a statement by the US journal Science, a prestigious, peer-reviewed magazine.

 

Science published Sunday the much-hyped initial study in December 2010, with lead researcher Felisa Wolfe-Simon, then a fellow in NASA's astrobiology program, announcing that a new form of life had been scooped from a California lake.

 

The bacterium in arsenic-rich Mono Lake was said to redefine the building blocks of life, surviving and growing by swapping phosphorus for arsenic in its DNA and cell membranes. Biologists consider these six elements as necessary for life: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Arsenic is similar to phosphorus but is typically poisonous to living organisms.

 

The original study needed to be confirmed in order to be considered a true discovery, and two separate teams found that indeed, the bacterium needed some phosphate to survive, and could not fully substitute arsenic to live.

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Web3.0 - The Evolving Web: Mapping the World's Data

Web3.0 - The Evolving Web: Mapping the World's Data | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Web 2.0 has been largely about social sharing, collaboration and user-generated content -- contributing to a more detailed web of information. But much of the information presented throughout the Web until recently has tended to be isolated content lacking relevant and dynamic context about how entities -- including people, objects, interests, locations, events or decisions -- are connected.

 

As we move towards Web 3.0 and the Semantic Web -- characterized by related, contextualized and personalized data -- there's a growing push for more robust context and relationship mapping. Several companies, from search engines to social networks, have already begun mapping and graphing the way their customers use, interact with and understand data.

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Science in three dimensions: The print revolution - 3D printers are opening up new scientific worlds

Science in three dimensions: The print revolution - 3D printers are opening up new scientific worlds | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Three-dimensional printers are opening up new worlds to research. Research labs use many types of 3D printers to construct everything from fossil replicas to tissues of beating heart cells. Arthur Olson’s team at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, produces models of molecules; some are shown here partway through the printing process.

 

Christoph Zollikofer witnessed the first birth of a Neanderthal in the modern age. In his anthropology lab at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, in 2007, the skull of a baby Homo neanderthalensis emerged from a photocopier-sized machine after a 20-hour noisy but painless delivery of whirring motors and spitting plastic. This modern miracle had endured a lengthy gestation: it took years for Zollikofer's collaborators to find suitable bones from a Neanderthal neonate, analyse them with a computed-tomography (CT) scanner and digitally stitch them together on the computer screen. The labour, however, was simple: Zollikofer just pressed 'print' on his lab's US$50,000 three-dimensional (3D) printer.

 

A pioneer in the use of 3D printing for research, Zollikofer started 20 years ago with a prototype that was even more expensive and required toxic materials and solvents — limitations that put off most scientists. But now newer, cheaper technology is catching on. Just as an inkjet printer sprays ink onto a page line by line, many modern 3D devices spray material — usually plastic — layer by layer onto a surface, building up a shape. Others fuse solid layers out of a vat of liquid or powdered plastic, often using ultraviolet or infrared light. Any complex shape can be printed, sometimes with the help of temporary scaffolding that is later dissolved or chipped away. These days, personal kits go for as little as $500, says Terry Wohlers, a consultant and market analyst based in Fort Collins, Colorado — although industrial systems cost an average of $73,000. Last year, he says, nearly 30,000 printers were sold worldwide, with academic institutions buying one-third of those in the $15,000–30,000 price range.

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World’s First Solar Energy DC Air Conditioning System

World’s First Solar Energy DC Air Conditioning System | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

SplitCool DC18 is the world’s first air conditioning system powered by DC (or direct current) that is generated from solar photovoltaic. Compared to other conventional air conditioning system that regularly uses AC (or alternating current), SplitCool is more efficient. This innovative air conditioning system is powered by solar energy a clean and renewable energy. No CFC or chlorofluorocarbons that deplete our ozone layer is used in the design. Additionally, the product is certified by TUV, known as the world’s strictest quality agency in approving any products.

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Acid-wielding worms drill through bones at the bottom of the sea

Acid-wielding worms drill through bones at the bottom of the sea | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Tiny 'bone-devouring worms', known to both eat and inhabit dead whale skeletons and other bones on the sea floor, have a unique ability to release bone-melting acid, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego have recently discovered.

 

Dr Sigrid Katz, a postdoctoral researcher working with Greg Rouse and Martin Tresguerres, said: "These worms are unique in using bone as a habitat and nutrient source. We have learned a lot about these worms in the past 10 years, but one of the most intriguing questions has been how they penetrate bone and take up nutrients."

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Surprisingly Rapid Changes In Earth’s Core Discovered

Surprisingly Rapid Changes In Earth’s Core Discovered | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
The movements in the liquid part of the Earth's core are changing surprisingly quickly, and this affects the Earth's magnetic field, according to new research.

 

The Ørsted satellite’s very precise measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field over the past nine years have made it possible for Nils Olsen, Senior Scientist with DTU Space, and several German scientists, to map surprisingly rapid changes in the movements in the Earth’s core.


“What is so surprising is that rapid, almost sudden, changes take place in the Earth’s magnetic field. This suggests that similar sudden changes take place in the movement of the liquid metal deep inside the Earth which is the reason for the Earth’s magnetic field,” Nils Olsen explains.


The Earth’s core consists of an inner solid core which is surrounded by an outer liquid core approx. 3,000 km below our feet. Both the liquid core and the solid core consist primarily of iron and nickel, and it is the movements in the outer liquid part of the Earth’s core which create the Earth’s magnetic field. Changes in these movements are seen as changes in the magnetic field, and scientists can therefore use satellite measurements of the magnetic field to find out what is going on in the liquid core deep inside the Earth.

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Specific Modifications of the Drosophila Genome by Means of an Easy TALEN Strategy

Specific Modifications of the Drosophila Genome by Means of an Easy TALEN Strategy | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Technology development has always been one of the forces driving breakthroughs in biomedical research. Since the time of Thomas Morgan, Drosophilists have, step by step, developed powerful genetic tools for manipulating and functionally dissecting the Drosophila genome, but room for improving these technologies and developing new techniques is still large, especially today as biologists start to study systematically the functional genomics of different model organisms, including humans, in a high-throughput manner. Here, we report, for the first time in Drosophila, a rapid, easy, and highly specific method for modifying the Drosophila genome at a very high efficiency by means of an improved transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) strategy. We took advantage of the very recently developed “unit assembly” strategy to assemble two pairs of specific TALENs designed to modify the yellow gene (on the sex chromosome) and a novel autosomal gene. The mRNAs of TALENs were subsequently injected into Drosophila embryos. From 31.2% of the injected F0 fertile flies, we detected inheritable modification involving the yellow gene. The entire process from construction of specific TALENs to detection of inheritable modifications can be accomplished within one month. The potential applications of this TALEN-mediated genome modification method in Drosophila are discussed.


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Unprecedented subatomic details down to picometer precision of exotic ferroelectric nanomaterials

Unprecedented subatomic details down to picometer precision of exotic ferroelectric nanomaterials | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
Brookhaven scientists used a technique called electron holography to capture images of the electric fields created by the materials’ atomic displacement with picometer precision — that’s the trillionths-of-a-meter scale crucial to understanding these promising nanoparticles. By applying different levels of electricity and adjusting the temperature of the samples, researchers demonstrated a method for identifying and describing the behavior and stability of ferroelectrics at the smallest-ever scale, with major implications for data storage.

 

"This kind of detail is just amazing — for the first time ever we can actually see the positions of atoms and link them to local ferroelectricity in nanoparticles,” said Brookhaven physicist Yimei Zhu. “This kind of fundamental insight is not only a technical milestone, but it also opens up new engineering possibilities.”

 

Direct polarization images of individual ferroelectric nano cubes captured with electron holography. The fringing field, or “footprint” of electric polarization, can be seen clearly in (a), but it vanishes when the material is subjected to high temperatures (b). The lower images show that no fringing field can be observed before application of electricity (c), but a clear field emanates after current is applied (d).


Ferroelectrics are perhaps best understood as the mysterious cousins of more familiar ferromagnetic materials, commonly seen in everything from refrigerator magnets to computer hard drives. As the name suggests, ferromagnetics have intrinsic magnetic dipole moments, meaning that they are always oriented toward either “north” or “south.” These dipole moments tend to align themselves on larger scales, giving rise to the magnetization responsible for attraction and repulsion. Applying an external magnetic field can actually flip that magnetization, allowing programmers and engineers to manipulate the material.

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Novel Nanotherapeutic Developed that Delivers Clot-Busting Drugs Directly to Obstructed Blood Vessels

Novel Nanotherapeutic Developed that Delivers Clot-Busting Drugs Directly to Obstructed Blood Vessels | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed a novel biomimetic strategy that delivers life-saving nanotherapeutics directly to obstructed blood vessels, dissolving blood clots before they cause serious damage or even death. This new approach enables thrombus dissolution while using only a fraction of the drug dose normally required, thereby minimizing bleeding side effects that currently limit widespread use of clot-busting drugs.

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UCLA develops world’s fastest camera to hunt down cancer in real time

UCLA develops world’s fastest camera to hunt down cancer in real time | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Engineers at UCLA, led by Bahram Jalali and Dino Di Carlo, have developed a camera that can take 36.7 million frames per second, with a shutter speed of 27 picoseconds. By far the fastest and most sensitive camera in the world — it is some 100 times faster than existing optical microscopes, and it has a false-positive rate of just one in a million — it is hoped, among other applications, that the device will massively improve our ability to diagnose early-stage and pre-metastatic cancer.

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Solar System's "Grotesque" Twin Found (GJ676A) - With Similar Exoplanets To Ours

Solar System's "Grotesque" Twin Found (GJ676A) - With Similar Exoplanets To Ours | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Dubbed GJ676A, the system has two rocky planets orbiting close to its host star, and two gas giants orbiting far away. This means the system is arranged like our system—though in GJ676A, everything is much larger. For instance, the smallest rocky planet in GJ676A is at least four times the mass of Earth, while the largest gas giant is five times the size of Jupiter.

 

Other multiple-planet systems have been discovered, such as HD10180, which has been called the richest exoplanetary find ever because of the seven to nine planets orbiting its host star.

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New 'electronic skin' patch monitors health wirelessly

New 'electronic skin' patch monitors health wirelessly | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Like the colorful temporary tattoos that children stick to their arms for fun, people may one day put thin "electronic skin" patches onto their arms to wirelessly diagnose health problems or deliver treatments. A scientist recently reported on the development of "electronic skin" that paves the way for such innovations at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

 

John Rogers, Ph.D., said the patches have the potential to eliminate the need for patients to stay tethered to large machines in a doctor's office or hospital room for hours of treatment or monitoring. Each year, hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide have electroencephalograms, electrocardiograms and electromyograms to check the health of their brains, hearts or muscles.

 

The procedures are uncomfortable, Rogers explained, with patients hooked to machines by cumbersome wires or pins adhering to the skin with gels or tape that can be painful to remove and can leave a sticky residue. More importantly, the tests detect brain, heart and muscle activity while patients are in a medical setting, rather than carrying out activities of everyday life.

 

http://tinyurl.com/a7wpufs

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U.S. experiences warmest 12-month period on record

U.S. experiences warmest 12-month period on record | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Weather Underground provides local & long range Weather Forecast, weather reports, maps & tropical weather conditions for locations worldwide. Thanks in part to the historic heat wave that demolished thousands of high temperature records at the end of June, temperatures in the contiguous U.S. were the warmest on record over the past twelve months and for the year-to-date period of January - June, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Monday. June 2012 was the 14th warmest June on record, so was not as extreme overall as March 2012 (first warmest March on record), April (third warmest April), or May (second warmest May.) However, temperatures were warm enough in June to set a new U.S. record for hottest 12-month period for the third straight month, narrowly eclipsing the record set just the previous month. The past thirteen months have featured America's 2nd warmest summer (in 2011), 4th warmest winter, and warmest spring on record. Twenty-six states were record warm for the 12-month period, and an additional sixteen states were top-ten warm. The year-to-date period of January - June was the warmest on record by an unusually large margin--1.2°F.

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Scientists twist light to send data at new speed record - 2.56 terabits per second

Scientists twist light to send data at new speed record - 2.56 terabits per second | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A multi-national team led by USC with researchers hailing from the U.S., China, Pakistan and Israel has developed a system of transmitting data using twisted beams of light at ultra-high speeds – up to 2.56 terabits per second. To put that in perspective, broadband cable (which you probably used to download this) supports up to about 30 megabits per second. The twisted-light system transmits more than 85,000 times more data per second.


Their work might be used to build high-speed satellite communication links, short free-space terrestrial links, or potentially be adapted for use in the fiber optic cables that are used by some Internet service providers.

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Brazilian researchers develop new anti-inflammatory for severe pain

Brazilian researchers develop new anti-inflammatory for severe pain | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Researchers at Butantan Institute in São Paulo, Brazil, have developed a powerful new anti-inflammatory to relieve hard-to-control pain. Initial tests have confirmed the efficacy of the medication, which is based on a protein found in the blood.

 

The main breakthrough of the research is the successful synthesizing of a protein produced by the human body, the calcium binding S100A9. Under certain conditions, this protein is used by our bodies to keep pain under control. To make the medication, the scientists discovered that only a small part of the protein is required, which leads to reduced production costs.

 

According to researcher Renata Giorgi, the discovery represents an important step forward in relation to drugs available in Brazil. In particular the new drug offers two important advantages: it is more powerful and it can be administered orally.


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Aspen Ideas Festival 2012: Innovations - Marissa Mayer, Jerry Murdock, Tim O'Reilly and others...

Aspen Ideas Festival 2012: Innovations - Marissa Mayer, Jerry Murdock, Tim O'Reilly  and others... | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Eric Feng, Dave Morin, Marissa Mayer, Jerry Murdock, Tim O'Reilly explore the question at the Aspen Ideas Festival 2012.

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3D Printshow will make body scans of attendees

3D Printshow will make body scans of attendees | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
A 3D printing show in London later this year will offer visitors the chance to have their complete body scanned and printed.

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How we’re playing God now

How we’re playing God now | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The accelerating pace of technological change is leading to the creation of entirely new opportunities for humans to “play God” — to create and transform life in a way that has never been possible. What was once thought to be the exclusive realm of a higher power is now within the grasp of human beings.


Via Szabolcs Kósa, Frederic Emam-Zade Gerardino
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Objet Ltd sets 100-material 3D printing record

Objet Ltd sets 100-material 3D printing record | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
A new, significant milestone has been reached in the world of 3D printing. Objet, French for “Object,” of course, entered into a 3D printing merger with Stratasys earlier this year. That has boosted the company’s ability to rapidly expand its research and development to the point where, recently, it announced that it now has the technology to use 107 different materials in 3D printing applications. Most low-level commercial 3D printers only focus on one kind of plastic or similar substance.

 

But for industrial-grade purposes, there needs to be a lot more flexibility. Objet allows printing of flexible and rigid materials, opaque and transparent, and all manner of colors and shades. “Objet has become the first 3D printing company to break the 100 materials barrier. Considering that we had half this number just a few short years ago, this growth in material choice confirms our commitment to consistently deliver new and enhanced material properties to our customer,” the company said in a statement.


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Large wing pattern variety seen in Drosophila fruit fly - similar to butterflies

Large wing pattern variety seen in Drosophila fruit fly - similar to butterflies | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Like butterflies, different species of fruit flies decorate their wings with a great diversity of spots and patterns. Digging deep into a single gene that produce pigmentation in the flies, a group led by UW-Madison biologist Sean Carroll has found the molecular switches that control where the pigmentation is deployed. The finding explains how common genes can be controlled to produce the seemingly endless array of patterns, decoration and body architecture found in animals. 

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Needle-free jet injection with real-time controlled linear Lorentz-force actuators for painless drug deposit

Needle-free jet injection with real-time controlled linear Lorentz-force actuators for painless drug deposit | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Recently, MIT has developed a prototype device that is able to inject medicine into the body without the passage of a needle. The device will literally shoot the medication past the skin, depositing it into the underlying tissue.

 

Now the question: does it hurt? Remarkably, not at all! Because the nozzle size of the apparatus is extremely narrow - as wide as a mosquito's proboscis - the injection process is nearly undetectable to one's senses (in theory). No more dreaded visits to the doctor's office!

 

In designing this jet-injection mechanism, the engineers relied on what's known as a Lorentz force actuator. The Lorentz force actuator in this case is a small permanent magnet surrounded by a coil of wires. The coil of wires, or solenoid, is part of a piston system that is separate from the permanent magnet which lies in the center. If we recall from high school physics, we know that when a current is passed through the wires of a solenoid, the solenoid becomes an electromagnet which, in turn, creates its own magnetic field. Now, if this new field is opposite that of the permanent magnet, meaning if their fields repel, then a repulsive force will be established. This force will accelerate the piston towards the nozzle, creating a sudden change in pressure which then ejects the medicine out of the nozzle.

 

http://tinyurl.com/ayo4lvo

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Stomach Contents of Seabirds Show that Marine Plastic Pollution Is out of Control

Stomach Contents of Seabirds Show that Marine Plastic Pollution Is out of Control | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Plastic pollution off the northwest coast of North America is reaching the level of the notoriously polluted North Sea, according to a new study led by a researcher at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

 

The study examined stomach contents of beached northern fulmars on the coasts of British Columbia, Canada and the states of Washington and Oregon.

 

Northern fulmars forage exclusively at sea and retain ingested plastics for a long period of time, making them ideal indicators for marine littering. Analysis of beached fulmars has been used to monitor plastic pollution in the North Sea since the 1980s. The latest findings, when compared to previous similar studies, indicate a substantial increase in plastic pollution over the past four decades.

 

The research group performed necropsies on 67 beached northern fulmars and found that 92.5 percent had plastics—such as twine, Styrofoam and candy wrappers—in their stomachs. An average of 36.8 pieces per bird were found. The average total weight of plastic was 0.385 grams per bird. One bird was found with 454 pieces of plastic in its stomach.

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Man and robot linked remotely by brain scanner

Man and robot linked remotely by brain scanner | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Robot avatars have got a step closer to being the real world doubles of those who are paralysed or have locked-in-syndrome. Scientists have made a robot move on a human's behalf by monitoring thoughts about movement.

 

The man-machine link joined a man in a brain scanner in Israel and a robot wandering a laboratory in France. The person controlling the robot could also see through the eyes of his electronic surrogate. The researchers are now working on ways to make the man-machine link more sensitive and to let people speak via the robot.


The research project connected a robot to a man having his brain scanned using fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This monitors blood flowing through the brain and can spot when areas associated with certain actions, such as movement, are in use. Using brain scanners is a step beyond current efforts to link up men and machines. Much recent work involved teleoperated robots in which humans manipulate controls, such as joysticks, to make a robot move.

 

By contrast, the scanning approach is more subtle and attempts to fool the human subject into thinking that they are embodied in the robot. Eventually the small robot will be swapped for one the size of an average human.

 

The experiment helping to prove the technology works linked up student Tirosh Shapira who was in a lab at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, with a small two-legged robot thousands of kilometres away at Beziers Technology Institute in France.

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Greenhouse gas levels pass symbolic 400ppm CO2 milestone - before industrial age levels were at 275ppm

Greenhouse gas levels pass symbolic 400ppm CO2 milestone - before industrial age levels were at 275ppm | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The world's air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant. Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn't quite a surprise, because it's been rising at an accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350ppm mark that many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide. It now stands globally at 395.

 

Carbon dioxide is the chief greenhouse gas and stays in the atmosphere for 100 years. Some carbon dioxide is natural, mainly from decomposing dead plants and animals. Before the industrial age, levels were around 275 parts per million. For more than 60 years, readings have been in the 300s, except in urban areas, where levels are skewed. The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal for electricity and oil for gasoline, has caused the overwhelming bulk of the man-made increase in carbon in the air, scientists say.

It's been at least 800,000 years – probably more – since Earth saw carbon dioxide levels in the 400s, Butler and other climate scientists said.

 

Readings are coming in at 400 and higher all over the Arctic. They've been recorded in Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Iceland and even Mongolia. But levels change with the seasons and will drop a bit in the summer, when plants suck up carbon dioxide, NOAA scientists said.

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