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T-Cell Therapy Eradicates an Aggressive Leukemia in Two Children

T-Cell Therapy Eradicates an Aggressive Leukemia in Two Children | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

Two children with an aggressive form of childhood leukemia had a complete remission of their disease—showing no evidence of cancer cells in their bodies—after treatment with a novel cell therapy that reprogrammed their immune cells to rapidly multiply and destroy leukemia cells. A research team from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania published the case report of two pediatric patients Online First today in The New England Journal of Medicine. It will appear in the April 18 print issue.

 

The current study builds on Grupp’s ongoing collaboration with Penn Medicine scientists who originally developed the modified T cells as a treatment for B-cell leukemias. The Penn team reported on early successful results of a trial using this cell therapy in three adult chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients in August of 2011. Two of those patients remain in remission more than 2½ years following their treatment, and as the Penn researchers reported in December 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, seven out of ten adult patients treated at that point responded to the therapy. The team is led by the current study’s senior author, Carl H. June, M.D., the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of Translational Research in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center.

 

“We’re hopeful that our efforts to treat patients with these personalized cellular therapies will reduce or even replace the need for bone marrow transplants, which carry a high mortality risk and require long hospitalizations,” June said. “In the long run, if the treatment is effective in these late-stage patients, we would like to explore using it up front, and perhaps arrive at a point where leukemia can be treated without chemotherapy.”

 

The research team colleagues adapted the original CLL treatment to combat another B-cell leukemia: ALL, which is the most common childhood cancer. After decades of research, oncologists can currently cure 85 percent of children with ALL. Both children in the current study had a high-risk type of ALL that stubbornly resists conventional treatments.

The new study used a relatively new approach in cancer treatment: immunotherapy, which manipulates the immune system to increase its cancer-fighting capabilities. Here the researchers engineered T cells to selectively kill another type of immune cell called B cells, which had become cancerous.

 

The researchers removed some of each patient’s own T cells and modified them in the laboratory to create a type of CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) cell called a CTL019 cell. These cells are designed to attack a protein called CD19 that occurs only on the surface of certain B cells.

 

By creating an antibody that recognizes CD19 and then connecting that antibody to T cells, the researchers created in CTL019 cells a sort of guided missile that locks in on and kills B cells, thereby attacking B-cell leukemia. After being returned to the patient’s body, the CTL019 cells multiply a thousand times over and circulate throughout the body. Importantly, they persist for months afterward, guarding against a recurrence of this specific type of leukemia.

 

While the CTL019 cells eliminate leukemia, they also can generate an overactive immune response, called a cytokine release syndrome, involving dangerously high fever, low blood pressure, and other side effects. This complication was especially severe in Emily, and her hospital team needed to provide her with treatments that rapidly relieved the treatment-related symptoms by blunting the immune overresponse, while still preserving the modified T cells’ anti-leukemia activity.

 

“The comprehensive testing plan that we have put in place to study patients’ blood and bone marrow while they’re undergoing this therapy is allowing us to be able to follow how the T cells are behaving in patients in real time, and guides us to be able to design more detailed and specific experiments to answer critical questions that come up from our studies,” Kalos said.

 

The CTL019 therapy eliminates all B cells that carry the CD19 cell receptor: healthy cells as well as those with leukemia. Patients can live without B cells, although they require regular replacement infusions of immunoglobulin, which can be given at home, to perform the immune function normally provided by B cells.

 

The research team continues to refine their approach using this new technology and explore reasons why some patients may not respond to the therapy or may experience a recurrence of their disease. Grupp said the appearance of the CD19-negative leukemia cells in the second child may have resulted from her prior treatments. Unlike Emily, the second patient had received an umbilical cord cell transplant from a matched donor, so her engineered T cells were derived from her donor (transplanted) cells, with no additional side effects. Oncologists had previously treated her with blinatumomab, a monoclonal antibody, in hopes of fighting the cancer. The prior treatments may have selectively favored a population of CD19-negative T cells.

 

“The emergence of tumor cells that no longer contain the target protein suggests that in particular patients with high-risk ALL, we may need to broaden the treatment to include additional T cells that may go after additional targets,” added Grupp. “However, the initial results with this immune-based approach are encouraging, and may later even be developed into treatments for other types of cancer.”


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Soumya Rao's comment, May 1, 2013 5:17 AM
Wow... really amazing!!! Hope it transforms lives soon...
Nacho Vega's curator insight, May 1, 2013 1:58 PM

YES we CAN!!!

Nacho Vega's comment, May 1, 2013 2:02 PM
YES we CAN!
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Scientists Just Found a Completely New Kind of Symbiotic Relationship

Scientists Just Found a Completely New Kind of Symbiotic Relationship | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
In a scientific first, researchers have discovered a bizarre inter-species relationship in which salamanders and algae cozy up together to share cells. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why these two very different organisms have adopted such an intimate arrangement, but the discovery could represent a completely new form of symbiotic relationship.

Cell-within-cell arrangements between species are common in nature, but up until this point it’s only been seen in creatures like coral, clams, and insects. New research published in the science journal eLife describes the first known example of photo-cellular symbiosis involving the cells of a fully grown vertebrate animal, that is, an animal with a spinal column or backbone.

 

As a collaborative research team from the American Museum of Natural History and Gettysburg College revealed, the green alga Oophila amblystomatis makes its home inside of cells located across the body of the spotted salamander Ambystoma maculatum. The salamander doesn’t appear to be negatively affected by its microbial roommates, and in fact the amphibian may even be benefitting from this arrangement. The normally photosynthetic green algae, on the other hand, are completely stressed out, forced rely on an alternative means of energy production.

 

The finding is so strange and so unexpected that the scientists involved in the study aren’t sure why this relationship evolved in the first place, or how each creature might be benefitting. Intracellular “mutualists,” as they’re called, are extremely common in nature, where both parties benefit from the relationship. Examples include single-celled dinoflagellates that accumulate on coral and giant clams and use photosynthesis to provide sustenance to their hosts, and gut bacteria that helps bugs break down plant compounds.

 

Back in the late 19th century, biologists learned that green algae grows in the egg cases of spotted salamanders, providing a win-win situation for both; the embryos produce nitrogen-rich waste for the algae, and in turn, the algae increases the oxygen content found in the fluid around the breathing embryos through photosynthesis. For well over a century, scientists had assumed that this mutually-beneficial arrangement only occurred between the salamander embryo and the algae living outside it.

 

But the green algae is not limited to the egg cases—it’s also located inside cells of a mature salamander’s body. As previous research has shown, the algae enter the eggs, proliferate, and then later invades the tissues and cells of the developing embryos. Aside from the initial egg and algae symbiotic relationship, it wasn’t known if this subsequent arrangement incurred any kind of benefit, or if it was simply a residual or parasitic infection.


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Quantum trickery: Mystery of begonia's bizarre iridescent blue leaves is solved

Quantum trickery: Mystery of begonia's bizarre iridescent blue leaves is solved | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

The researchers, from Bristol University, found the leaves only develop this color when put in almost dark conditions - and in bright light the sheen slowly disappears.

 

Begonias with striking blue leaves may represent a next step in plant evolution that puts them ahead of their ordinary green neighbors, research suggests. The blue color results from a super-efficient form of photosynthesis that allows them to use light other plants reject. These findings could help scientists develop light-harvesting devices to make better electronics.

 

The researchers looked at Begonia pavonina - a flower found under the thick canopies of tropical forests in Malaysia. It has iridescent blue leaves because of its unusual chloroplasts, known as iridoplasts, in its surface layers. These contain regularly spaced stacks of three to four 'thylakoids' - which resemble a photonic crystal and strongly reflect wavelengths of light between 430 and 560 nanometers. This is what causes the leaves' blue iridescence. The thylakoids look very similar to the artificial structures commonly used to make miniature lasers that control the flow of light.

 

In the Malaysian forests, the small amount of light that reaches the plant's leaves is mainly at the green-red end of the spectrum. The iridoplasts concentrate these specific wavelengths onto the plant's photosynthetic apparatus - increasing the efficiency of its photosynthesis by five to ten per cent.

 

The study, published in Nature Plants, rules out a previous popular hypothesis that it was to to deter predators. 'The real novelty of what the begonia is doing is combining the light harvesting mechanism with the photonic structure - light is being both structurally manipulated and harvested with high levels of quantum efficiency within the same material,' Dr Heather Whitney, from Bristol University, said.

 

The plants - including species commonly grown as houseplants or in gardens - have long been using a special form of nanotechnology called photonics to create structures in their leaves to help them harvest light. 'We discovered under the microscope, individual chloroplasts in these leaves reflected blue light brightly, almost like a mirror,' said Matt Jacobs, a PhD student at Bristol University.

 

'Looking in more detail by using a technique known as electron microscopy, we found a striking difference between the 'blue' chloroplasts found in the begonias, also known as "iridoplasts" due to their brilliant blue iridescent coloration, and those found in other plants.

 


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Blue Eyes Originated 10,000 Years Ago In The Black Sea Region

Blue Eyes Originated 10,000 Years Ago In The Black Sea Region | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

A team of researchers from Copenhagen University have located a single mutation that causes the mysterious phenomenon of blue eyes. And all blue eyed people are genetically related to a person who lived in the Black Sea region sometime between 6 – 10,000 years ago.

 

The research was published in the Journal of Human Genetics. A mutation in a gene called OCA2 came into being nearly 8,000 years ago. It can be definitively traced back to an ancestor from the Black Sea.

 

Dr. Hans Eiberg claims that before this time, every human being had brown eyes. “A genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a ‘switch,’ which literally ‘turned off’ the ability to produce brown eyes,” Eiberg said. When blue-eyed peoples from Jordan, Denmark and Turkey were examined, their genetic difference was traced back to the maternal lineage according to Eiberg’s team.

 

The brown melanin pigment is still dominant. However, following the last Ice Age, Europeans developed this rare mutation that differentiated them from the rest of the human race. Ninety-five percent of Europeans in Scandinavian countries have blue eyes.

 

They are also found to have a greater range of hair and skin color.

Comparatively, Europe has a wider variety of hair color and skin pigment than is found in any other continent in the world. These mutations are recent as Europe was colonized only a few thousand years ago, say mainstream scientists.


Via Levin Chin, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Why scientists are so worried about sea-level rise in the second half of this century

Why scientists are so worried about sea-level rise in the second half of this century | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
Seas could rise by a foot off the U.S. east coast by 2040 if we continue at a high level of emissions.

 

Even as negotiators meet in Marrakech, Morocco to take the next steps to avert dangerous human-caused climate change — and, even as the U.S. decides whether or not to elect a president who is skeptical it is happening — a new study has highlighted the sharp stakes involved, particularly when it comes to the ongoing rise in global sea level and the dramatic but uneven way in which it could affect the world’s coastlines.

 

The goal of the Paris climate agreement is to hold the planet’s temperature rise to “well below” a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase above what it was in pre-industrial times. We’ve already seen about a 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase since then.

 

But the new research just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that if we stay on a current, high-emissions pathway and do not achieve the cuts that the Paris agreement seeks to institutionalize, then we could hit 2 degrees Celsius by 2040 or so. For the planet’s sea level, this would mean over a half-foot rise averaged around the globe, in comparison with average sea levels from 1986 to 2005. The sea-level increase, however, would be far worse in certain places, such as the U.S. East Coast, where it could be over a foot.

 

And that’s just the beginning. Assuming we still don’t reform our ways, the 40 years after 2040 could then see another sharp 2 degree increase in temperatures — to 4 degrees Celsius — and another dramatic surge in sea level, culminating in a rise of 2 feet averaged across the globe, or more if we’re unlucky. The study finds that by 2100, New York could see a sea level rise of more than 3.5 feet.

 

“Basically we spent 200 years to warm our planet by 2 degrees, and then we will do it in 40 years time, this shows a completely different scale of what’s going on,” said Svetlana Jevrejeva, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the National Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom, in describing the scenario presented in the study. Jevrejeva completed the work with researchers at institutions in the U.K., the Netherlands, Denmark, China, and Finland.


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“Singing” fish rely on circadian rhythm and melatonin for for nocturnal courtship vocalization

“Singing” fish rely on circadian rhythm and melatonin for for nocturnal courtship vocalization | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
For widemouthed, musical midshipman fish, melatonin is not a sleep hormone — it’s a serenade starter.

In breeding season, male plainfin midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) spend their nights singing — if that’s the word for hours of sustained foghorn hums. Males dig trysting nests under rocks along much of North America’s Pacific coast, then await females drawn in by the crooning.

New lab tests show that melatonin, familiar to humans as a possible sleep aid, is a serenade “go” signal, says behavioral neurobiologist Ni Feng of Yale University.

From fish to folks, nighttime release of melatonin helps coordinate bodily timekeeping and orchestrate after-dark biology. The fish courtship chorus, however, is the first example of the hormone prompting a launch into song, according to Andrew Bass of Cornell University. And what remarkable vocalizing it is.

The plainfin midshipman male creates a steady “mmm” by quick-twitching specialized muscles around its air-filled swim bladder up to 100 times per second in chilly water. A fish can extend a single hum for about two hours, Feng and Bass report October 10 in Current Biology. That same kind of super-fast muscle shakes rattle-snake tails and trills vocal structures in songbirds and bats.

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Saturn’s moon Dione harbours a subsurface ocean

Saturn’s moon Dione harbours a subsurface ocean | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

A subsurface ocean lies deep within Saturn’s moon Dione, according to new data from the Cassini mission to Saturn. Two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, are already known to hide global oceans beneath their icy crusts, but a new study suggests an ocean exists on Dione as well.

 

In this study, researchers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium show gravity data from recent Cassini flybys can be explained if Dione’s crust floats on an ocean located 100 kilometers below the surface. The ocean is several tens of kilometers deep and surrounds a large rocky core. Seen from within, Dione is very similar to its smaller but more famous neighbor Enceladus, whose south polar region spurts huge jets of water vapor into space. Dione seems to be quiet now, but its broken surface bears witness of a more tumultuous past. The study is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

 

The authors modeled the icy shells of Enceladus and Dione as global icebergs immersed in water, where each surface ice peak is supported by a large underwater keel. Scientists have used this approach in the past but previous results have predicted a very thick crust for Enceladus and no ocean at all for Dione. “As an additional principle, we assumed that the icy crust can stand only the minimum amount of tension or compression necessary to maintain surface landforms,” said Mikael Beuthe, lead author of the new study. “More stress would break the crust down to pieces.”

 

According to the new study, Enceladus’ ocean is much closer to the surface, especially near the south pole where geysers erupt through a few kilometers of crust. These findings agree well with the discovery last year by Cassini that Enceladus undergoes large back-and-forth oscillations, called libration, during its orbit. Enceladus’ libration would be much smaller if its crust was thicker. As for Dione, the new study finds it harbors a deep ocean between its crust and core. “Like Enceladus, Dione vibrates but below the detection level of Cassini,” said Antony Trinh, co-author of the new study. “A future orbiter hopping around Saturn’s moons could test this prediction.”


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Theory of everything? How spacetime is built by quantum entanglement

Theory of everything? How spacetime is built by quantum entanglement | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

A collaboration of physicists and a mathematician has made a significant step toward unifying general relativity and quantum mechanics by explaining how spacetime emerges from quantum entanglement in a more fundamental theory. 

 

Physicists and mathematicians have long sought a Theory of Everything (ToE) that unifies general relativity and quantum mechanics. General relativity explains gravity and large-scale phenomena such as the dynamics of stars and galaxies in the universe, while quantum mechanics explains microscopic phenomena from the subatomic to molecular scales.

 

The holographic principle is widely regarded as an essential feature of a successful Theory of Everything. The holographic principle states that gravity in a three-dimensional volume can be described by quantum mechanics on a two-dimensional surface surrounding the volume. In particular, the three dimensions of the volume should emerge from the two dimensions of the surface. However, understanding the precise mechanics for the emergence of the volume from the surface has been elusive.

 

The paper announcing the discovery by Hirosi Ooguri, a Principal Investigator at the University of Tokyo's Kavli IPMU, with Caltech mathematician Matilde Marcolli and graduate students Jennifer Lin and Bogdan Stoica, will be published in Physical Review Letters as an Editors' Suggestion "for the potential interest in the results presented and on the success of the paper in communicating its message, in particular to readers from other fields."

 

Now, Ooguri and his collaborators have found that quantum entanglement is the key to solving this question. Using a quantum theory (that does not include gravity), they showed how to compute energy density, which is a source of gravitational interactions in three dimensions, using quantum entanglement data on the surface. This is analogous to diagnosing conditions inside of your body by looking at X-ray images on two-dimensional sheets. This allowed them to interpret universal properties of quantum entanglement as conditions on the energy density that should be satisfied by any consistent quantum theory of gravity, without actually explicitly including gravity in the theory. The importance of quantum entanglement has been suggested before, but its precise role in emergence of spacetime was not clear until the new paper by Ooguri and collaborators.

 

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon whereby quantum states such as spin or polarization of particles at different locations cannot be described independently. Measuring (and hence acting on) one particle must also act on the other, something that Einstein called "spooky action at distance." The work of Ooguri and collaborators shows that this quantum entanglement generates the extra dimensions of the gravitational theory.


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VIDEO: Saving the art of mapmaking

VIDEO: Saving the art of mapmaking | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

"If you're heading out on the road for your vacation this year, you'll probably get directions from a GPS or navigational system. Does that mean that the traditional map is a relic of the past? Mark Albert hits the road to find out."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 23, 2016 10:16 AM

This video is designed for a general news audience and it nicely shows the public how cartography is not rendered unimportant in the era of digital maps, but has become all the more useful.  I could see this video as useful resource to share with parents who are worried that studying geography won't lead to careers.  

 

Tags: GIS, video, mapping, cartography, geospatial, technology.

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Physicists just found a link between dark energy and the arrow of time

Physicists just found a link between dark energy and the arrow of time | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

Is dark energy the reason time moves forward?
BRENDAN COLE 20 MAY 2016

For years, physicists have attempted to explain dark energy - a mysterious influence that pushes space apart faster than gravity can pull the things in it together. But physics isn’t always about figuring out what things are. A lot of it is figuring out what things cause.

And in a recent paper, a group of physicists asked this very question about dark energy, and found that in some cases, it might cause time to go forward.

When you throw a ball into the air, it starts with some initial speed-up, but then it slows as Earth’s gravity pulls it down. If you throw it fast enough (about 11 km per second, for those who want to try), it’ll never slow down enough to turn around and start falling back towards you, but it’ll still move more slowly as it moves away from you, because of Earth’s gravity.

Physicists and astronomers in the 1990s expected something similar to have occured after the big bang - an event that threw matter out in all directions. The collective gravity from all that matter should have slowed it all down, just like the Earth slows down the ball. But that’s not what they found.

Instead, everything seems to have sped up. There’s something pervading the Universe that physically spreads space apart faster than gravity can pull things together. The effect is small - it’s only noticeable when you look at far-away galaxies - but it’s there. It’s become known as dark energy - "dark", because no one knows what it is.

Science is nothing if not the process of humans looking for things they can’t explain, so this isn’t the first time the Universe has stumped us. For centuries, one of those stumpers has been time itself: Why does time have an arrow pointing from the past to the present to the future?

It might seem like a silly question - I mean, if time didn’t go forward, then effects would precede causes, and that seems like it should be impossible - but it’s less of one than you might think.

The Universe, as far as we can tell, only operates according to laws of physics. And just about all of the laws of physics that we know are completely time-reversible, meaning that the things they cause look exactly the same whether time runs forward or backward.

One example is the path of a planet going around a star, which is governed by gravity. Whether time runs forward or backward, planetary orbits follow the exact same paths. The only difference is the direction of the orbit.

But one important piece of physics isn’t time-reversible, and that’s the second law of thermodynamics. It states that as time moves forward, the amount of disorder in the Universe will always increase. Just like dark energy, it’s something we’ve noticed about the Universe, and it’s something that we still don’t totally understand - though admittedly we have a better idea of it than we do of dark energy.

Physicists have, for this reason, reluctantly settled on the second law as the source of time’s arrow: disorder always has to increase after something happens, which requires that time can only move in one direction.

So physicists A. E. Allahverdyan from the Yerevan Physics Institute and V. G. Gurzadyan from Yerevan State University, both in Armenia, decided to see if - at least in a limited situation - dark energy and the second law might be related. To test it, they looked at the simple case of something like a planet orbiting a star with a changing mass.

They found that if dark energy either doesn’t exist or if it pulls space together, the planet just dully orbits the star without anything interesting happening. There’s no way to tell an orbit going forward in time from one going backward in time.

But if dark energy pushes space apart, like it does in our Universe, the planet eventually gets thrown away from the star on a path of no return. This gives us a distinction between the past and the future: run time one way, and the planet is flung off, run it the other way, and the planet comes in and gets captured by the star.

Dark energy naturally leads to an arrow of time.

The authors stress that this is a really limited situation, and they’re certainly not claiming dark energy is the reason time only ever moves forward. But they’ve shown a possible link between thermodynamics and dark energy that could help us to understand either - or maybe both - better than we ever have.

The research has been published in Physical Review E.


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India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought

India to 'divert rivers' to tackle drought | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
India is to divert water from major rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Ganges to deal with severe drought, a senior minister tells the BBC.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 16, 2016 11:09 AM

The drought has been bad enough that (coupled with rising debt to seed companies) many farmers are committing suicide to escape the financial pain of this drought.   The monsoon rains can be lethal, but critical for the rural livelihoods of farmers and the food supply.

 

TagsIndia, agriculture, labor, agriculture, South Asia, physical, weather and climate.

 

 

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Utah's Great Salt Lake is shrinking

Utah's Great Salt Lake is shrinking | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
Human activity is playing a role in the dwindling size of Utah's Great Salt Lake, according to new research.While the research group acknowledged the role that climate fluctuations, such as droughts and floods, have played in the shift of the lake's water levels over time, the decrease in the lake's size is predominantly due to human causes. According to the report, the heavy reliance on consumptive water uses has reduced the lake level by 11 feet and its volume by 48 percent.

 

Tags: physical, Utah, environment modify, environment, water.


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 6, 2016 12:15 PM

The railroad causeway that creates the color difference between the northern and sotuhern portions of the Great Lake is as the Union Pacific plans to change the causeway; the proposed bridge would allow for the two distinct salinities to intermingle more.  Environmentally, this lake is not exceptional.  Like many lakes in dry climates with growing populations, the people are using the freshwater flow into the lakes more extensively than they have in the past.  The Great Salt Lake, the Aral Sea, Lake Chad, Lake Urmia, and the Dead Sea are all drying up.  

Sally Egan's curator insight, April 10, 2016 11:05 PM
Another great example of human activities changing the biophysical environment.
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Wall for nothing: the misjudged but growing taste for border fences

Wall for nothing: the misjudged but growing taste for border fences | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

"Globalisation was supposed to tear down barriers, but security fears and a widespread refusal to help migrants and refugees have fuelled a new spate of wall-building across the world, even if experts doubt their long-term effectiveness. When the Berlin Wall was torn down a quarter-century ago, there were 16 border fences around the world. Today, there are 65 either completed or under construction, according to Quebec University expert Elisabeth Vallet."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 18, 2015 12:11 PM

This is an intriguing opinion piece that would be good fodder for a class discussion on political geography or the current events/refugee crisis. 


Tags: borders, political.

Nflfootball Live's curator insight, September 19, 2015 8:04 AM

https://www.reddit.com/3ljqnq/

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 23, 2015 3:53 PM

unit 2 or 4

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Living in the Shadow of Industrial Farming

"The world eats cheap bacon at the expense of North Carolina's rural poor." 


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Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, August 17, 2015 1:50 PM

Industrial farming, manure lagoons... do you know this type of farming?

Lilydale High School's curator insight, August 17, 2015 7:33 PM

Consequences of living near industrial sites - even if it is farming.

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, September 28, 2015 12:23 PM

This is pretty insane. I've seen other video's where it is a similar situation around chicken farms in the U.S. The people can't even go outside most of the time due to the smell, and it makes me wonder how much of the way we eat is truly devastating the planet. Beyond the smell, I can't help wonder what these types of farms would do the ground water beneath.

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This Crab Clones Its Allies by Ripping Them in Half

This Crab Clones Its Allies by Ripping Them in Half | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
It wields sea anemones like boxing gloves; if it loses one, it makes another by bisecting the remaining one.

 

The American novelist S. E. Hinton once said, “If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.” By that logic, boxer crabs are the luckiest creatures alive because they can turn one good friend into two by tearing it in half.

 

These tiny, inch-long crabs carry sea anemones, holding them in place with special hooks on the inner edges of their claws. With their crowns of wavy tentacles, the anemones look like pom-poms, and the crabs like cheerleaders. But those tentacles also pack powerful stings, and a quick jab from them is often enough to ward off an attacking fish. Hence the name: boxer crabs.

 

Most crabs gather food with their powerful claws, but boxer crabs have adapted so thoroughly to holding anemones that their claws are now feeble, delicate tweezers rather than powerful, crushing pincers. Instead, they rely on their anemones. Some species use the anemones like cutlery, dabbing them onto morsels of food and then bringing them over to their mouths. Others wait for the anemones to passively ensnare food, which they then scrape into their mouths with their front legs. If you remove the anemones, as Yisrael Schnytzer and his colleagues from Bar Ilan University have repeatedly done, the crabs struggle to gather enough to eat.

 

The anemones, however, flourish apart from the crabs. When Schnytzer freed them from the crabs’ grasp, their colors got brighter, their tentacles became longer, and they more than doubled in size. Left to their own devices, they can grow far bigger than the crabs that once held them. In the words of Schnytzer’s colleague Ilan Karplus, the crabs cultivate “Bonsai anemones,” deliberately stunting their growth to keep them at a manageable size.


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New Zealand quake lifted seabed by 2m

New Zealand quake lifted seabed by 2m | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit New Zealand’s South Island lifted up the seabed by two metres, pushing it above the ocean’s surface.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, November 18, 2016 10:00 AM

Plates on the Earth's crust typically move forward at very slowly (about the same speed as the fingernail growth).  While that is the usual, plates snag along the edges and pressure can build over the years, only to lead to explosive, quick changes like happened recently in New Zealand.  This complex series of tremors has people disconnected as much of the physical infrastructure has be damaged

 

Tags: New Zealandphysical, tectonicstransportation, geology, geomorphology.

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Giant Crack in Africa Will Create a New Ocean

Giant Crack in Africa Will Create a New Ocean | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
A 35-mile rift in the desert of Ethiopia will likely become a new ocean eventually, researchers now confirm.

 

The crack, 20 feet wide in spots, opened in 2005 and some geologists believed then that it would spawn a new ocean. But that view was controversial, and the rift had not been well studied.

A new study involving an international team of scientists and reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the processes creating the rift are nearly identical to what goes on at the bottom of oceans, further indication a sea is in the region's future.

 

The same rift activity is slowly parting the Red Sea, too. Using newly gathered seismic data from 2005, researchers reconstructed the event to show the rift tore open along its entire 35-mile length in just days. Dabbahu, a volcano at the northern end of the rift, erupted first, then magma pushed up through the middle of the rift area and began "unzipping" the rift in both directions, the researchers explained in a statement today.

 

"We know that seafloor ridges are created by a similar intrusion of magma into a rift, but we never knew that a huge length of the ridge could break open at once like this," said Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study.

 

The result shows that highly active volcanic boundaries along the edges of tectonic ocean plates may suddenly break apart in large sections, instead of in bits, as the leading theory held. And such sudden large-scale events on land pose a much more serious hazard to populations living near the rift than would several smaller events, Ebinger said.

 

"The whole point of this study is to learn whether what is happening in Ethiopia is like what is happening at the bottom of the ocean where it's almost impossible for us to go," says Ebinger. "We knew that if we could establish that, then Ethiopia would essentially be a unique and superb ocean-ridge laboratory for us. Because of the unprecedented cross-border collaboration behind this research, we now know that the answer is yes, it is analogous."


Via Kathy Bosiak, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Michael Rodriguez's comment, November 16, 2016 6:06 PM
This article is about how a rift has formed in Ethiopia that is 35 miles in length and that it will form a new ocean in the region. They start to explain how that ocean ridges are formed from rifts and how that they are connect to the bottom of the ocean and that the red sea will eventually fill the rift and then become a ocean and it will connect all the water sources in the area. I chose this because I found it very cool and interested.
Bwana Moses's comment, November 17, 2016 5:26 AM
The article has all the elements of the where, when, how and looks forward to a possible next event. Its gives the rare opportunity of observing a natural process in real time.
Jonathan ��'s comment, November 17, 2016 7:37 PM
Why does this remind me of Ice Age? Heck, I don't even LIKE Ice Age. It's one of my least favorite movies of all time besides Norm Of The North, but that's a topic for another day. So apparently, there's this huge rift in Ethiopia, and some scientists suspect this thing is gonna become an ocean. It's also pulling a Moses on us and parting the Red Sea. According to the article's information, this thing is obviously a divergent rift, pulling apart from itself. It's also quite volcanic. So until further information, I agree with the theory that this will make a new ocean.

And I'd call this new ocean the Moses Ocean.
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Mysterious origin of European bison revealed using DNA and cave art

Mysterious origin of European bison revealed using DNA and cave art | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

Threatened forest icon may be a hybrid of two extinct species.

 

The European bison (Bison bonasus) may be the continent’s largest land mammal, but its origins have long been a mystery. Hunted for millennia and pushed into the wild corners of Europe as agriculture expanded, the bison — also known as wisent — were reduced to just a few zoo specimens by the late 1920s. Today, a semi-wild population roams Białowieża Forest, near the Poland–Belarus border, where they slip between hornbeams and mighty oaks, their curly coats and horns lending an aura of the Pleistocene to the ancient forest. It took a reach into the past using ancient DNA and cave art to unveil the wisent’s origin story. Researchers published the species’ family tree on 19 October in Nature Communications1.

 

The team took almost a decade to complete their work. Much of the analysis used ancient mitochondrial DNA derived from 65 bison specimens ranging from 14,000 to more than 50,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until technological advances made it possible to examine nuclear DNA that researchers were able to produce a coherent family tree.

 

According to the team’s analysis, the wisent is a hybrid of two extinct animals: the steppe bison (Bison priscus), the Eurasian ancestor of the American bison, and the aurochs (Bos primigenius), the ancestor of modern cattle. The steppe bison went extinct more than 11,000 years ago and the last aurochs was shot in 1627. From the DNA evidence researchers estimate that hybridization took place 120,000 or more years ago. In most cases, hybrid animals are less fertile and fit than their parents. But in this case, a whole new species seems to have taken flight.


Via Integrated DNA Technologies, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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What's the tallest mountain on Earth?

What's the tallest mountain on Earth? | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

"Mount Everest is usually said to be the highest mountain on Earth. Reaching 29,035 feet at its summit, Everest is indeed the highest point above global mean sea level—the average level for the ocean surface from which elevations are measured. But the summit of Mt. Everest is not the farthest point from Earth’s center.

Earth is not a perfect sphere, but is a bit thicker at the Equator due to the centrifugal force created by the planet’s constant rotation. Because of this, the highest point above Earth’s center is the peak of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo, located just one degree south of the Equator where Earth’s bulge is greatest. The summit of Chimborazo is 20,564 feet above sea level. However, due to the Earth’s bulge, the summit of Chimborazo is over 6,560 feet farther from the center of the Earth than Everest’s peak. That makes Chimborazo the closest point on Earth to the stars.  

You may be surprised to learn that Everest is not the tallest mountain on Earth, either. That honor belongs to Mauna Kea, a volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea originates deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, and rises more than 32,800 feet from base to peak."


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 25, 2016 6:42 PM

I've tried to answer this question without any visual aids and there is always at least one confused look in the class.  This infographic is the most straightforward way to give the 'long' answer to a seemingly simple question, "what is the tallest mountain on Earth?"  It all depends on how you measure it and what your reference point is.   

 

Tags: physicalEcuador, Nepal.

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The Viruses That Made Us Human

The Viruses That Made Us Human | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

Viruses that infected our ancestors provided the genetic foundations for many traits that define us.

 

The rise of the mammals may be feel like a familiar tale, but there’s a twist you likely don’t know about: If it wasn’t for a virus, it might not have happened at all.

 

One of the few survivors of the asteroid impact 65 million years ago was a small, furry, shrew-like creature that lived in underground burrows and only ventured out at night, when predators weren’t active. The critter—already the product of some 100 million years of evolution—looked like a modern mammal, with body hair and mammary glands, except for one tiny detail: according to a recent genetic study, it didn’t have a placenta. And its kind might never have evolved one if not for a chance encounter with a retrovirus.

 

Unlike most viruses, which infect, replicate, and then leave their host, retroviruses elbow their way into their host’s genome where they are copied and passed on to daughter cells for the life of the host. This retrovirus, however, managed to sneak its way into one of our ancestor’s sperm or egg cells, able to be passed on to every cell in every subsequent generation. Virus and host had become one.


Via Neelima Sinha, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Canada is a huge country. Most of it is unfit for human habitation.

Canada is a huge country. Most of it is unfit for human habitation. | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

"The area below the red line includes most of Nova Scotia, in Canada's east, but most of the population comes from the area a little farther west, in a sliver of Quebec and a densely populated stretch of Ontario near the Great Lakes."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 5, 2016 5:15 PM

Admitted, the web Mercator projection of this map distorts the far northern territories of Canada, but still it hammers home some fascinating truths about Canada's population distribution.  Land-wise, Canada one of the world's biggest countries, but population-wise, most of it is quite barren.  What geographic factors explain the population concentration and distribution in Canada?  

 

TagsCanada, map, North America, population, density.

Ivan Ius's curator insight, June 4, 2016 10:27 AM
This article highlights the geographic concept of Spatial Significance
Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, June 4, 2016 5:13 PM

Factors influencing settlement patterns - concentrations of population 

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Cancer-patient big data can save lives if shared globally

Cancer-patient big data can save lives if shared globally | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

Sharing genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could revolutionize cancer prevention and care, according to a paper in Nature Medicine by the Cancer Task Team of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH). Hospitals, laboratories and research facilities around the world hold huge amounts of this data from cancer patients, but it’s currently held in isolated “silos” that don’t talk to each other, according to GA4GH, a partnership between scientists, clinicians, patients, and the IT and Life Sciences industry, involving more than 400 organizations in over 40 countries. GA4GH intends to provide a common framework for the responsible, voluntary and secure sharing of patients’ clinical and genomic data.

 

“Imagine if we could create a searchable cancer database that allowed doctors to match patients from different parts of the world with suitable clinical trials,” said GA4GH co-chair professor Mark Lawler, a leading cancer expert fromQueen’s University Belfast. “This genetic matchmaking approach would allow us to develop personalized treatments for each individual’s cancer, precisely targeting rogue cells and improving outcomes for patients.

 

“This data sharing presents logistical, technical, and ethical challenges. Our paper highlights these challenges and proposes potential solutions to allow the sharing of data in a timely, responsible and effective manner. We hope this blueprint will be adopted by researchers around the world and enable a unified global approach to unlocking the value of data for enhanced patient care.”

 

GA4GH acknowledges that there are security issues, and has created a Security Working Group and a policy paper that documents the standards and implementation practices for protecting the privacy and security of shared genomic and clinical data.

 

Examples of current initiatives for clinico-genomic data-sharing include the U.S.-based Precision Medicine Initiative and the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project, both of which have cancer as a major focus.

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Herve Moal's curator insight, May 26, 2016 4:47 AM

l'enjeu du partage des données

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Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity

Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
The Roman Catholic Church’s claim on the region is lessening as a younger generation turns to Protestantism, a Pew study found.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 18, 2016 3:36 PM

The Catholic Church was a main governing force in colonial times and was a significant political force in rallying support for independence movements throughout the Americas.  In the early twentieth century over 90% of Latin American were Catholic, but recently polls now show that the Catholic population is under 70%.  The Catholic Church is responding; in addition to a charismatic renewal to mass services appealing to younger audiences, the first non-European pope (Pope Francis) is from Latin America.      

 

Tags: culture, religionChristianityMiddle America, South America.

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Thirsty Yet? Eight Cities That Are Improbably Running out of Water

Thirsty Yet? Eight Cities That Are Improbably Running out of Water | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it
The amount of rainfall a place gets isn't the only factor in how much water is available to it. These major urban areas show how dire the coming global freshwater shortage could get.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 13, 2016 3:58 PM

Seen from space, this planet is a blue marble, a world where the surface is dominated by water.  The Pacific Ocean alone is nearly half of the surface area of our planet.  Add in polar ice caps and the rivers and lakes, we can see that water profoundly impacts Earth.  Yet most of that water is salt water (97%) and two-thirds of our non-salty water locked away in ice sheets (2% of the global water). Everything else, rivers, lakes, marshes, aquifers, and reservoirs represent that remaining 1% of the Earth's water supply--and that 1% of water is what sustains human settlements and allows for agricultural expansion.  The geography of this 1% is highly uneven and a huge water crisis can cause governments crumble--the fact that this precious resources has been wasted and polluted becomes more frustrating as water resources are being strained in so many places.  In this article, it  describes 8 major metro areas where water is being depleted rapidly -- Tokyo, Miami, London, Cairo, Sao Paulo, Beijing, Bangalore and Mexico City. 

 

Tags: urban, water, land use, megacities, urban ecology, consumption, environment, resources.

Ken Feltman's curator insight, April 24, 2016 8:24 AM
Seth Dixon has another "uh oh!" article.
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It's official: a global mass extinction is under way

It's official: a global mass extinction is under way | Scientific anomalies | Scoop.it

"New research confirms that the next mass extinction is in progress, and we’re the cause. There’s been little doubt that humans have been severely altering the planet and reducing biodiversity, but it has been unclear how many species go extinct under normal circumstances, without human influence.

This new research clarifies the rate of 'background extinction' (the rate of extinction during the point before humans became a primary contributor to extinction). The research confirms that human activity is driving species extinct at a rate far higher than the background rate. A look at previous events suggests cause for concern. Geologists recognize five previous mass extinction events— the end of the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods, meaning that we’re now in the 6th."

 

Tags: physical, biogeography, environment, ecology, environment modify, sustainability, geology.


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Ivan Ius's curator insight, February 28, 2016 7:03 PM

Geographic Thinking Concepts: Patterns and Trends; Interrelationships;

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How Not to Be Ignorant About the World

How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know. Play along with his audience quiz — then, from Hans’ son Ola, learn 4 ways to quickly get less ignorant.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 17, 2015 5:01 PM

Our preconceived notions of places, as well as some of the dominant narratives about regions, can cloud our understanding about the world today.  This video is a good introduction to the Ignorance Project which shows how personal bias, outdated world views and news bias collectively make combating global ignorance difficult.   However, the end of the video shows some good rules of thumb to have a more fact-based world view.  


Tagsstatistics, placeregions, media, models, gapminderdevelopment, perspective.

Adilson Camacho's curator insight, September 18, 2015 11:32 PM

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