Sex, drugs and animal parts: Will Viagra save threatened species?

Viagra may help to save many species of animals and plants that are now endangered due to the demand for animal sexual potency products, according to new research from the University of New South Wales and the University of Alaska. The research suggests that the availability of viagra is having an impact on trade in some of the products, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat impotence, including body parts from seals, deer, green turtles, sea cucumbers, pipefishes, sea horses and geckos.

Asian dust storm causes plankton to bloom in the North Pacific

The plankton, my friend, is blowin' in the wind...In the spring of 2001, two robotic Carbon Explorer floats recorded the rapid growth of phytoplankton in the upper layers of the North Pacific Ocean after a passing storm had deposited iron-rich dust from the Gobi Desert. The carbon measurements, reported in the October 25 issue of Science, are the first direct observation of wind-blown terrestrial dust fertilizing the growth of aquatic plant life.

Better detection, not global warming, behind iceberg increase

I've been here all along.Contrary to an opinion held by some researchers, a new analysis of more than 20 years of historical data has found no evidence that the increasing number of large icebergs off Antarctica’s coasts is a result of global warming trends. “The dramatic increase in the number of large icebergs as recorded by the National Ice Center database does not represent a climatic change,” said Brigham Young University’s David Long. “Our reanalysis suggests that the number of icebergs remained roughly constant from 1978 to the late 1990s.” Using BYU’s supercomputers, Long enhanced images of the waters around Antarctica transmitted by satellite. Comparing this data to records from the federal government’s National Ice Center, which tracks icebergs larger than ten miles on one side, he determined that previous tracking measures were inadequate, resulting in a gross undercounting.

Anchorage Area Fault May Be Due for 6 or 7 Magnitude Quake

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the Castle Mountain fault in south-central Alaska may be ready to produce a strong magnitude 6 to 7 earthquake. Peter Haeussler, the principal investigator in the study, said his research demonstrated that major earthquakes occurred on this fault on average every 700 years or so in the last 2,700 years, and that the last significant earthquake along the fault occurred about 650 years ago. The Castle Mountain fault is the only active fault that comes to the earth’s surface in the Anchorage region, and the eastern part of the fault produced light to moderate magnitude 5.7 and 4.6 earthquakes in 1983 and 1996.

Progress Made by Seismologists in Identifying Violations of Nuclear Test Ban

Detection techniques and technology have improved so much in recent years that seismologists now say they are able to detect and identify virtually all events that might be nuclear explosions of possible military significance under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Verification was a major issue in the U.S. Senate debate in 1999, in which American ratification of the treaty was defeated.

Sandia, Cray, AMD team for Opteron-based supercomputer

Intel-rival Advanced Micro Devices got a nice science win Monday when Sandia National Laboratory and Cray Inc. said they would build a supercomputer capable 40 trillion calculations per second using AMD’s forthcoming Opteron processor. Ten thousand of them, to be precise. Total cost: $90 million. Sandia says it will use the computing heavyweight for “modeling and simulation of complex problems that were only recently thought impractical, if not impossible.”

Fractals Help Researchers Design Antennas for New Wireless Devices

Antennas for the next generation of cellphones and other wireless communications devices may bear a striking resemblance to the Santa Monica Mountains or possibly the California coastline.
That’s because UCLA researchers are using fractals ? mathematical models of mountains, trees and coastlines ? to develop antennas for next-generation cellphones, cars and mobile communications devices. These antennas need to be miniature and be able to operate at multiple frequencies simultaneously.

New planet detection technique can spot even small worlds around distant stars

An extrasolar planet has been discovered using a new technique that will allow astronomers to detect planets no other current method can. Planets around other stars have been previously detected only by the effect they have on their parent star, limiting the observations to large, Jupiter-like planets and those in very tight orbits. The new method uses the patterns created in the dust surrounding a star to discern the presence of a planet that could be as small as Earth or in an orbit so wide that it would take hundreds of years to observe its effect on its star.

Diesel cars may promote more global warming than gasoline cars

More auto news. A Stanford researcher has found that although diesel cars obtain 25 to 35 percent better mileage and emit less carbon dioxide than similar gasoline cars, they can emit 25 to 400 times more soot per kilometer. The warming due to soot may more than offset the cooling due to reduced carbon dioxide emissions over several decades. Laws that favor diesel cars over standard gasoline, therefore, may be doing more harm than good.

Freeway living not for the weak of lung

Get a little distance from the matter.In case there was any doubt, researchers in — where else? — Los Angeles have determined that living near a freeway exposes you to a lot more pollution than if you lived further away. Specifically, a UCLA team found people who live, work or travel within 165 feet downwind of a major freeway or busy intersection are exposed to potentially hazardous particle concentrations up to 30 times greater than normal background levels.