Hexbyte Glen Cove Biden administration will restore key environmental protections thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Biden administration will restore key environmental protections

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The Endangered Species Act is credited with saving iconic species like the bald eagle.

The administration of President Joe Biden on Friday announced it would restore protections under the Endangered Species Act, a law credited with saving iconic animals like the gray wolf and bald eagle, which were loosened by his predecessor Donald Trump.

Conservation groups welcomed the move but said they were concerned about how long the reversal might take.

“The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is committed to working with diverse federal, Tribal, state and industry partners to not only protect and recover America’s imperiled wildlife but to ensure cornerstone laws like the Endangered Species Act are helping us meet 21st century challenges,” said the agency’s Martha Williams.

The executive branch doesn’t have the power to change an act of Congress, but under Trump the protections for plants and wildlife were tweaked in key ways.

They included removing a rule that automatically conveys the same protections to threatened species and , and allowing information on economic impact to be gathered when making determinations on how wildlife is listed.

The FWS now proposes to undo those changes, saying it would formulate new rules in the coming months.

“We are grateful the Biden administration is moving to protect the most imperiled species by reversing the Trump-era rules, but time is of the essence,” environmental law non-profit group Earthjustice said in response.

“Each day that goes by is another day that puts our imperiled species and their habitats in danger.”

© 2021 AFP

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Indonesian women take on plastic waste brick by brick thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Indonesian women take on plastic waste brick by brick

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Novita Tan launched recycling company Rebrick after Indonesia drew headlines as the second-biggest producer of marine waste in the world behind China.

Alarmed by the mountains of plastic waste leaching into Indonesia’s waters, two best friends are taking on the environmental menace by turning crisp bags and shampoo packets into paving bricks.

Ovy Sabrina and Novita Tan launched Rebricks after their country drew headlines as the second-biggest producer of marine waste in the world, behind China.

Indonesia has pledged to reduce by some 75 percent over the next four years—a mammoth task in the Southeast Asian nation of nearly 270 million people.

The pair got their start two years ago visiting food stalls across the capital Jakarta on the hunt for discarded instant coffee sachets, dried noodle packs and shopping bags.

Thanks to a viral social media campaign, the pair now receive reams of plastic waste packaging from donors across the country.

That rubbish flows in daily and is piled high at the little firm’s Jakarta-area factory.

“It shows how Indonesians have a strong awareness of recycling plastic waste, but they don’t know where to do it,” 34-year-old Sabrina said.

Rebricks staff mulch the packaging into tiny flakes that are then mixed with cement and sand and moulded into .

They make look like conventional bricks, but break one open and it is dotted with flecks of plastic.

Rebricks now receives plastic waste packaging from donors across the country.

Tonnes of trash

The two entrepreneurs say their method diverts waste that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill or the ocean—about four tons so far and counting.

“Every day, we can stop about 88,000 pieces of plastic sachets from littering the environment,” Tan said, adding that the company has produced more than 100,000 bricks.

Some Indonesian cities have banned single-use plastics, but waste recycling is still rare.

The problem was underscored in 2018 by the discovery of a dead sperm whale that washed ashore in a with nearly six kilograms (13 pounds) of plastic waste in its stomach.

The Rebricks pair spent two years trying to perfect their method, and picked up hints from a building materials business run by Sabrina’s family.

Some Indonesian entrepreneurs are molding plastic into flower vases, umbrellas or purses.

But the two women decided to focus on bricks so they could reach more customers.

“If our approach was to sell expensive decorative goods, there would only be a few people buying our products,” Sabrina said.

The two women hope to expand their company, which employs four people, and said they were in talks with a big consumer-goods firm about a possible collaboration.

Customer Andi Subagio said he had used the eco-bricks for repaving a restaurant walkway.

“They’re not as fragile as conventional bricks because of the inside,” he said. “And it’s about the same price.”

© 2021 AFP

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Substantial carbon dioxide emissions from northern peatlands drained for crop cultivation thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Substantial carbon dioxide emissions from northern peatlands drained for crop cultivation

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Arctic peatland in Svalbard. Credit: Angela Gallego-Sala

A new study shows that substantial amounts of carbon dioxide were released during the last millennium because of crop cultivation on peatlands in the Northern Hemisphere.

Only about half of the carbon released through the conversion of peat to croplands was compensated by continuous carbon absorption in natural northern peatlands.

Peatlands are a type of wetland which store more than any other type of land ecosystem in the world.

Due to waterlogged conditions, dead plant materials do not fully decay and carbon accumulates in peatlands over thousands of years.

Therefore, natural peatlands help to cool the climate by capturing (CO2) from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and trapping carbon in soils.

However, artificial drainage of peatlands for agriculture aerates the soil and enhances the decay of organic matter, rapidly releasing carbon into the atmosphere.

Peatlands are a missing piece of the carbon cycle puzzle; little is known about how much carbon has been released due to drainage and conversion of to cropland during the historical sprawl of agriculture, and about the role of cultivated peatlands versus natural peatlands.

The new international study, led by INRAE and LSCE, and including the University of Exeter, quantified CO2 fluxes in natural and cultivated peatlands between 850 and 2010.

The study provides the first detailed estimates of historical carbon losses from cultivated northern peatlands.

“We incorporated peatland hydrological and carbon processes into a process-based land surface model,” said Chunjing Qiu who developed the model and designed the study, and worked at the Institut National de de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement (INRAE) and the Laboratory for Sciences of Climate and Environment (LSCE) in France.

“This model is one of the first to simulate natural peatland and the conversion of peatland to cropland and resultant CO2 emissions.

“We also looked at how the carbon rates of cultivated peatlands vary with time after conversion.

“High CO2 emissions can occur after the initial drainage of peatland, but then, the emission rates decrease with time because of depletion of labile carbon and increasing recalcitrance of the remaining material.”

Professor Angela Gallego-Sala, of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute, said: “This study highlights how much carbon is lost if you drain peatlands, as we have done to many peatlands in Europe, but it also reminds us how important it is to make sure we manage peatlands appropriately.”

The study shows that cultivated northern peatlands emitted 72 billons tons of carbon over 850-2010, and 40 billons tons over the period 1750-2010.

According to the authors, this indicates that historical CO2 emissions caused by land-use changes are greater than previously estimated.

It also implies an underestimation of historical carbon uptake by terrestrial ecosystems if carbon emissions from cultivated peatlands is ignored.

“Carbon emissions from drainage of peatlands are a source of concern for national greenhouse gas budgets and future emission trajectories,” said Philippe Ciais from LSCE, who co-lead the study with Chunjing Qiu.

“However, we have only a very few observations, and peatland drainage and cultivation are not explicitly considered by bookkeeping models and dynamic global vegetation models used to compute the annual carbon budget.

“Emissions from cultivated peatlands are omitted in previous global carbon budget assessments.

“Our study brings new and important implications for a better understanding of the global carbon budget.”

The paper, published in the journal Science Advances, is entitled: “Large historical emissions from cultivated northern peatlands.”

More information:
C. Qiu el al., “Large historical carbon emissions from cultivated northern peatlands,” Science Advances (2021). advances.sciencemag.org/lookup … .1126/sciadv.abf1332

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Magnetism drives metals to insulators in new experiment thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Magnetism drives metals to insulators in new experiment

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An illustration of two domains (blue and orange) divided by a domain wall (white area) in a material. The magnetic order is designated with organized arrows (electron spins) while the colors represent two different domains (but the same magnetic order). In the material pictured here, the domain walls are conductive and the domains are insulating. Credit: Yejun Fang

Like all metals, silver, copper, and gold are conductors. Electrons flow across them, carrying heat and electricity. While gold is a good conductor under any conditions, some materials have the property of behaving like metal conductors only if temperatures are high enough; at low temperatures, they act like insulators and do not do a good job of carrying electricity. In other words, these unusual materials go from acting like a chunk of gold to acting like a piece of wood as temperatures are lowered. Physicists have developed theories to explain this so-called metal-insulator transition, but the mechanisms behind the transitions are not always clear.

“In some cases, it is not easy to predict whether a material is a or an insulator,” explains Caltech visiting associate Yejun Feng of the Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology Graduate University. “Metals are always good conductors no matter what, but some other so-called apparent metals are insulators for reasons that are not well understood.” Feng has puzzled over this question for at least five years; others on his team, such as collaborator David Mandrus at the University of Tennessee, have thought about the problem for more than two decades.

Now, a new study from Feng and colleagues, published in Nature Communications, offers the cleanest experimental proof yet of a theory proposed 70 years ago by physicist John Slater. According to that theory, magnetism, which results when the so-called “spins” of electrons in a material are organized in an orderly fashion, can solely drive the metal-insulator transition; in other previous experiments, changes in the lattice structure of a material or based on their charges have been deemed responsible.

“This is a problem that goes back to a theory introduced in 1951, but until now it has been very hard to find an experimental system that actually demonstrates the spin-spin interactions as the driving force because of confounding factors,” explains co-author Thomas Rosenbaum, a professor of physics at Caltech who is also the Institute’s president and the Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair.

“Slater proposed that, as the temperature is lowered, an ordered magnetic state would prevent electrons from flowing through the material,” Rosenbaum explains. “Although his idea is theoretically sound, it turns out that for the vast majority of materials, the way that electrons interact with each other electronically has a much stronger effect than the magnetic interactions, which made the task of proving the Slater mechanism challenging.”

The research will help answer fundamental questions about how different materials behave, and may also have applications in technology, for example in the field of spintronics, in which the spins of electrons would form the basis of electrical devices instead of the electron charges as is routine now. “Fundamental questions about metal and insulators will be relevant in the upcoming technological revolution,” says Feng.

Interacting Neighbors

Typically, when something is a good conductor, such as a metal, the electrons can zip around largely unimpeded. Conversely, with insulators, the electrons get stuck and cannot travel freely. The situation is comparable to communities of people, explains Feng. If you think of materials as communities and electrons as members of the households, then “insulators are communities with people who don’t want their neighbors to visit because it makes them feel uncomfortable.” Conductive metals, however, represent “close-knit communities, like in a college dorm, where neighbors visit each other freely and frequently,” he says.

Yejun Feng (left), Yishu Wang (right), and Daniel Silevitch (bottom), are pictured here setting up an experiment in the Rosenbaum lab at Caltech. Credit: California Institute of Technology

Likewise, Feng uses this metaphor to explain what happens when some metals become insulators as temperatures drop. “It’s like winter time, in that people—or the electrons—stay home and don’t go out and interact.”

In the 1940s, physicist Sir Nevill Francis Mott figured out how some metals can become insulators. His theory, which garnered the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physics, described how “certain metals can become insulators when the electronic density decreases by separating the atoms from each other in some convenient way,” according to the Nobel Prize press release. In this case, the repulsion between the electrons is behind the transition.

In 1951, Slater proposed an alternate mechanism based on spin-spin interactions, but this idea has been hard to prove experimentally because the other processes of the metal-insulator transition, including those proposed by Mott, can swamp the Slater mechanism, making it hard to isolate.

Challenges of Real Materials

In the new study, the researchers were able at last to experimentally demonstrate the Slater mechanism using a compound that has been studied since 1974, called pyrochlore oxide or Cd2Os2O7. This compound is not affected by other metal-insulator transition mechanisms. However, within this material, the Slater mechanism is overshadowed by an unforeseen experimental challenge, namely the presence of “” that divide the material into sections.

“The domain walls are like the highways or bigger roads between communities,” says Feng. In pyrochlore oxide, the domain walls are conductive, even though the bulk of the material is insulating. Although the domain walls started out as an experimental challenge, they turned out to be essential to the team’s development of a new measurement procedure and technique to prove the Slater mechanism.

“Previous efforts to prove the Slater metal-insulator transition theory did not account for the fact that the domain walls were masking the magnetism-driven effects,” says Yishu Wang (Ph.D. ’18), a co-author at the Johns Hopkins University who has continuously worked on this study since her graduate work at Caltech. “By isolating the domain walls from the bulk of the insulating materials, we were able to develop a more complete understanding of the Slater mechanism.” Wang had previously worked with Patrick Lee, a visiting professor at Caltech from MIT, to lay the basic understanding of conductive domain walls using symmetry arguments, which describe how and if electrons in materials respond to changes in the direction of a magnetic field.

“By challenging the conventional assumptions about how electrical conductivity measurements are made in magnetic through fundamental symmetry arguments, we have developed new tools to probe spintronic devices, many of which depend on transport across domain walls,” says Rosenbaum.

“We developed a methodology to set apart the domain-wall influence, and only then could the Slater mechanism be revealed,” says Feng. “It’s a bit like discovering a diamond in the rough.”

More information:
Yejun Feng et al, A continuous metal-insulator transition driven by spin correlations, Nature Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23039-6

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Social identity within the anti-vaccine movement thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Social identity within the anti-vaccine movement

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Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

A study of more than 1,000 demographically representative participants found that about 22 percent of Americans self-identify as anti-vaxxers, and tend to embrace the label as a form of social identity.

According to the study by researchers including Texas A&M University School of Public Health assistant professor Timothy Callaghan, 8 percent of this group “always” self-identify this way, with 14 percent “sometimes” identifying as part of the anti-vaccine movement. The results were published in the journal Politics, Groups, and Identities.

“We found these results both surprising and concerning,” Callaghan said. “The fact that 22 percent of Americans at least sometimes identify as was much higher than expected and demonstrates the scope of the challenge in vaccinating the population against COVID-19 and other .”

Researchers also found that participants who scored high on the anti-vaccine measure were less trusting of scientific experts and more individualistic. Additionally, study results show that there is increased opposition to childhood vaccine requirements among those who self-identify as anti-vaxxers.

The study serves as a “blueprint” for other researchers to further examine how socially identifying as an anti-vaxxer impacts health policies and public health. Callaghan notes that Americans socially identifying as anti-vaxxers adds another layer of complexity to mitigating the anti-vaccine movement. Changing a core feature of one’s underlying is a difficult task—one that likely cannot be fixed with traditional messaging.

Moving forward, Callaghan and other members of the research team hope to investigate how endorsement of the anti-vaccine label varies across the country based on states and levels of rurality, as well as interventions that might reduce individuals’ social attachment to the label.

More information:
Matt Motta et al, Identifying the prevalence, correlates, and policy consequences of anti-vaccine social identity, Politics, Groups, and Identities (2021). DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2021.1932528

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Researchers investigate mining-related deforestation in the Amazon thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Researchers investigate mining-related deforestation in the Amazon

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Most gold mines in the Peruvian Amazon are unregulated, small-scale operations, leaving governments without ways to protect the surrounding environment or track how much forest is lost to mining. Credit: Lisa Naughton

If you’re wearing gold jewelry right now, there’s a good chance it came from an illegal mining operation in the tropics and surfaced only after some rainforest was sacrificed, according to a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and alumni who studied regulatory efforts to curb some of these environmentally damaging activities in the Amazon.

The researchers, including UW-Madison geography Professor Lisa Naughton, investigated mining-related deforestation in a biodiverse and ecologically sensitive area of the Peruvian Amazon to see whether formalizing and legalizing these mining operations might curb some of their negative effects.

Their study, published June 2 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, was co-authored by a group including UW-Madison alumnae Nora Álvarez-Berríos, now studying land-use and at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, and Jessica L’Roe, now a geography professor at Middlebury College.

The team focused on an area around the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru from 2001 to 2014. During this , Naughton says, demand for gold rose, roads penetrated the region and mining surged. In turn, mining-related deforestation rose by almost 100,000 acres over their study period.

“Because the gold is in the sediment scattered under the , to extract the gold, you have to remove the forest and dig,” Álvarez-Berríos says. “You have to cut a lot of the forest and excavate sensitive waterways.”

While these mining operations are often called “artisanal” or “small-scale,” in aggregate they are very destructive. In many countries they operate outside the law, and millions of people are involved across the tropics. Álvarez-Berríos says the typical first step to reducing the environmental impact of artisanal mining is bringing it under governmental oversight, formalizing the activity. That way, local agencies can manage the impacts and protect both ecologically sensitive areas and the economic well-being of poor mine workers.

“Peruvian authorities, like authorities in other gold-rush sites, have given up on trying to stop gold mining. They’re trying to confine it and contain it,” L’Roe says. “Most of the studies about formalization are mainly about trying to help the poor, or make it more fair for the poor. Seldom, almost never, as far as we can tell, have these formalization projects been assessed for their environmental impact. So that’s what we were looking at.”

During their study period, local agencies issued provisional titles to miners to conduct their operations safely. After receiving a provisional title, miners would, in theory, undergo a series of environmental impact and compliance assessments before they started work.

But, as L’Roe says they found, the regulation process took a long time. Many miners simply took their provisional title as a green light to start mining, and never went through with the environmental impact assessments. Over their study period, no mining operations made it through the full compliance process, and as such they found little evidence for improved environmental outcomes in formalized mining areas.

To assess environmental outcomes, the team used satellite imagery analysis to see how much of the forest had been cut down, as compared to areas without formalized mining regulations.

Naughton says while formalizing mining has the potential to decrease environmental damage, it needs enforcement and regulations that match the local context. Formalization without environmental impact assessment or enforcement could just encourage more damaging and dangerous mining, or the expansion of these operations under the pretense that what they’re doing is legal.

But gold rushes are exactly what they sound like, Naughton says: rushed. They’re fast, and slow formalization processes with many steps and provisions and impact assessments often cannot keep up with the pace of extraction.

“To sort out in a fair way who owns what land, with what rights, that is a slow process,” Naughton says. “This gold rush is explosive. By the time you have well-regulated and transparent public land and property rights, the forest will be gone.”

The team plans to go back to Tambopata to present its results to local stakeholders. Many members of the community are already aware of the problems with mining formalization but have not had a chance to systematically study the environmental consequences. The three co-authors hope their study will set a precedent for monitoring formalization interventions in Tambopata and other tropical sites losing forest to mining. They are already sharing results and methods with colleagues concerned about gold mining impacts in Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia.

“We’ll go back to our study site and share the results—but in a humble way because folks there know that it hasn’t worked well, and they know the problems,” says Álvarez-Berríos. “So, yes, it’s important to share it with that group of stakeholders and experts, but maybe even more important is to share the results and our methods and design for studying this problem with folks working in the many, many other areas where there’s uncontrolled small-scale and where formalization efforts are being launched with best intentions.”


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Hexbyte Glen Cove Arctic sea ice thinning faster than expected thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Arctic sea ice thinning faster than expected

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The research vessel Polarstern drifting in Arctic sea ice. Source: MOSAiC website image library https://multimedia.awi.de/mosaic/ . Credit: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

Sea ice in the coastal regions of the Arctic may be thinning up to twice as fast as previously thought, according to a new modelling study led by UCL researchers.

Sea ice thickness is inferred by measuring the height of the ice above the water, and this measurement is distorted by snow weighing the ice floe down. Scientists adjust for this using a map of snow depth in the Arctic that is decades out of date and does not account for .

In the new study, published in the journal The Cryosphere, researchers swapped this map for the results of a new computer model designed to estimate snow depth as it varies year to year, and concluded that sea ice in key coastal regions was thinning at a rate that was 70% to 100% faster than previously thought.

Robbie Mallett (UCL Earth Sciences), the Ph.D. student who led the study, said: “The thickness of sea ice is a sensitive indicator of the health of the Arctic. It is important as thicker ice acts as an insulating blanket, stopping the ocean from warming up the atmosphere in winter, and protecting the ocean from the sunshine in summer. Thinner ice is also less likely to survive during the Arctic summer melt.”

“Previous calculations of sea ice thickness are based on a snow map last updated 20 years ago. Because sea ice has begun forming later and later in the year, the snow on top has less time to accumulate. Our calculations account for this declining snow depth for the first time, and suggest the sea ice is thinning faster than we thought.”

3D picture of the floe based on highly resolved aerial imagery from the helicopter nadir camera. Source: MOSAiC image gallery https://multimedia.awi.de/mosaic/#1622663686901_1 . Credit: Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Niels Fuchs

Co-author Professor Julienne Stroeve (UCL Earth Sciences) said: “There are a number of uncertainties in measuring sea ice thickness but we believe our new calculations are a major step forward in terms of more accurately interpreting the data we have from satellites.

“We hope this work can be used to better assess the performance of climate models that forecast the effects of long-term climate change in the Arctic—a region that is warming at three times the global rate, and whose millions of square kilometres of ice are essential for keeping the planet cool.”

To calculate sea ice thickness researchers used radar from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite. By timing how long it takes for radar waves to bounce back from the ice, they can calculate the height of the ice above the water, from which they can infer the ice’s total thickness.

In the new study, researchers used a novel snow model previously developed by researchers at UCL and Colorado State University, SnowModel-LG, which calculates snow depth and density using inputs such as air temperature, snowfall and ice motion data to track how much snow accumulates on sea ice as it moves around the Arctic Ocean. By combining the results of the snow model with satellite radar observations, they then estimated the overall rate of decline of sea ice thickness in the Arctic, as well as the variability of sea ice thickness from year to year.

Polar bears close to the research vessel Polarstern. Source: MOSAiC image gallery https://multimedia.awi.de/mosaic/#1622663686901_1 . Credit: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

They found that the rate of decline in the three coastal seas of Laptev, Kara and Chukchi seas increased by 70%, 98% and 110% respectively, when compared to earlier calculations. They also found that, across all seven coastal seas, the variability in from year to year increased by 58%.

Sea ice in the coastal seas typically varies from half a metre to two metres thick. Increasingly, the ice in this region is not surviving the summer melt. The faster thinning of sea ice in the coastal Arctic seas has implications for human activity in the region, both in terms of shipping along the Northern Sea Route for a larger part of the year, as well as the extraction of resources from the sea floor such as oil, gas and minerals.

Mallett said: “More ships following the route around Siberia would reduce the fuel and carbon emissions necessary to move goods around the world, particularly between China and Europe. However, it also raises the risk of fuel spillages in the Arctic, the consequences of which could be dire. The thinning of coastal sea ice is also worrying for indigenous communities, as it leaves settlements on the coast increasingly exposed to strong weather and wave action from the emerging ocean.”

Mallett, Professor Stroeve and co-author Dr. Michel Tsamados (UCL Earth Sciences) spent several weeks investigating and ice in the Arctic onboard the German research vessel Polarstern, which explored the central Arctic Ocean in 2019 and 2020.

More information:
“Faster decline and higher variability in the sea ice thickness of the marginal Arctic seas when accounting for dynamic snow cover”, The Cryosphere (2021). tc.copernicus.org/articles/15/2429/2021/

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Cultural, belief system data can inform gray wolf recovery efforts in US thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Cultural, belief system data can inform gray wolf recovery efforts in US

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Humans regularly exert a powerful influence on the survival and persistence of species, yet social-science information is used only sporadically in conservation decisions.

Researchers at Colorado State University and The Ohio State University have created an index depicting the mix of social values among people across all 50 states, providing data that can be useful for wildlife conservation policy and management.

As a specific illustration, the research team found a supportive social context for gray wolf reintroduction in Colorado. Last fall, citizens in the state voted by ballot initiative to mandate the reintroduction of gray wolves. The data and maps in the study reveal that Colorado’s is far more conducive to wolf recovery than states like Montana and Idaho, which currently have state legislative efforts to reduce wolf populations.

The study, “Bringing to wildlife conservation decisions,” was published online June 3 in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Michael Manfredo, the study’s lead investigator and head of CSU’s Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, said the research reveals how people fall into the categories of traditionalists—those who believe animals should be used for purposes that benefit humans, like hunting and medical research—or mutualists, those who believe that animals deserve the same rights as humans. Mutualists view animals as companions and part of their social networks and project human traits onto animals.

“You can see what the ‘flavor’ is of the state or county, and what policies or initiatives people are likely to support or be opposed to,” said Manfredo.

Highly modernized states, including California, Nevada, Colorado and Washington, are leaning more toward mutualism, according to the research. North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana have more residents with traditionalist values.

Tara Teel, CSU professor and a lead author on the study, said that the data is relevant for other hot and new topics and drills down to the county level.

“This study builds on a 50-state study on America’s Wildlife Values—the largest and first of its kind,” said Teel. “It is one of the first broadly accessible social science datasets to inform wildlife conservation efforts across the United States.”

Data provides insight on conservation decisions

While the results are particularly relevant for the U.S., the technique used by the team could be applied to better account for human factors in for addressing issues like , species reintroductions and human-wildlife conflict globally.

The research team used data from a survey conducted from 2017 to 2018 of 46,894 U.S. residents and applied a sociocultural index to inform decision-making through an understanding of public values toward wildlife. Scientists measured mutualist and traditionalist values, which have previously been shown to be highly predictive of attitudes on a wide range of policy issues. The team subsequently developed state and county maps.

‘Values don’t change quickly’

“Previous research has found that there is a strong relationship between the laws passed in any given state and people’s values,” said Manfredo. “In the last two decades, there’s been a substantial change in how people value wildlife,” he added.

“Values don’t change quickly,” he said. “They’re not like how a person feels about political issues. Values are formed in a person’s youth and stay with you forever.”

Manfredo said data showed that as far back as the early 2000s, people in Colorado were in favor of wolf reintroduction. But in places like Jackson County, a sub-alpine valley in northern Colorado, people were not so excited about wolves.

“Society is changing, and there’s been a backlash from traditionalists who feel that their values and their voices in decision-making are being threatened,” he said. “Ultimately, state and local agencies need to pay more attention to constituents. That means everybody in the state, not just a segment or a particular county. Policies need to fall more in line with the values of the public.”

Cultural, belief system data can inform gray wolf recovery ef

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Space bubble experiment could lead to more effective early cancer screenings thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Space bubble experiment could lead to more effective early cancer screenings

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International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Researchers studying how bubbles form and function are sending a fully automated, self-contained experiment into space.

The study, led by Tengfei Luo, a professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, will be initiated by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Using real-time results sent back to Earth for analysis, Luo and his team hope to gain a better fundamental understanding of how bubbles form, grow and detach from solid surfaces with different nanoscale features.

This information could improve diagnostic capabilities for life-threatening diseases including certain cancers.

“What we are looking at in parallel to the research taking place on the ISS is how to use these bubbles for cancer detection at early stages—when cancerous cells are still at very low concentrations,” Luo said. “Our method is a potential method to increase sensitivity and improve early cancer detection.”

In a 2020 study published in Advanced Materials Interfaces, Luo successfully used laser heating to generate bubbles in a solution containing biological molecules. The researchers found they could attract those biomolecules to the bubble and deposit them on the surface, creating a “highly concentrated island.” The findings could influence future development of highly sensitive diagnostics—which is the subject of a study Luo is working on with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Several competing factors can influence bubble dynamics: gravity, which affects the buoyancy of a bubble; the interface of the bubble and a , or capillary force; and the minimization of surface tension due to the bubble trying to be spherical in the liquid. Luo’s experiment aboard the ISS will test how bubbles behave in the absence of gravity.

“One question we’d like to answer is, without the influence of buoyancy, how do the other two factors impact bubble dynamics?” Luo said.

Bubble behavior is key when they are used to gather biomarkers for early cancer detection. “We want the bubble to stay on the surface for as long as possible so it can collect more biomolecules in a solution,” he said. “If it gets too big it will detach, so we want to know how to engineer the surface geometry—using nanostructures at the surface to optimize capillary force and keep the bubble on the for a longer period of time. We know buoyancy is a big factor and can prevent a bubble from growing too big before it detaches, so that’s why we thought to look at an environment where there’s no gravity to allow us to elucidate the fundamental physics.”

Luo received funding from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space and began work on the ISS project in 2018, but encountered a number of delays, including postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the experiment, he needed a device that could create a bubble and record visuals and readings of the bubble’s behavior without the use of a laser—which would have cost an extra $2 million—and without biomolecules, which, in space, can create a biohazard concern. “So we’re focusing on the fundamentals,” Luo said.

Working with Space Tango, a company specializing in the design and build of automated health and technology hardware for use in space, the Notre Dame investigation will be installed on the ISS in June.

The investigation is housed in a small cube, known as a CubeLab, that is equipped with four fluid compartments, thermal capabilities to heat the solution, and a camera that will capture and send back images of each compartment in near real-time. Luo and his team will also receive temperature and pressure readings as well as heating power values.

“We’ll compare those findings to what we already know of bubble dynamics on Earth, giving us a better understanding of the roles different fluids forces play,” Luo said.

The experiment will take place over approximately three weeks aboard the ISS.

More information:
Seunghyun Moon et al, Biocompatible Direct Deposition of Functionalized Nanoparticles Using Shrinking Surface Plasmonic Bubble, Advanced Materials Interfaces (2020). DOI: 10.1002/admi.202000597

Space bubble experiment could lead

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Oldest human traces from the southern Tibetan Plateau in a new light thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Oldest human traces from the southern Tibetan Plateau in a new light

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The excavation site Su-re is located immediately north of the Mount Everest-Cho Oyu massif (on the left) in the so-called Tingri graben at an elevation of 4,450 meters. Credit: Luke Gliganic

Stone tools have been made by humans and their ancestors for millions of years. For archaeologists, these rocky remnants—lithic artifacts and flakes—are of key importance. Because of their high preservation potential, they are among the most common findings in archaeological excavations. Worldwide, numerical dating of these lithic artifacts, especially when they occur as surface findings, remains a major challenge. Usually, stone tools cannot be dated directly, but only when they are embedded in sediment layers together with, for example, organic material. The age of such organic material can be constrained via the radiocarbon technique. If such datable organic remains are missing or if stone artifacts lack a stratified sedimentary context, but rather occur as scattered surface artifacts, numerical dating becomes very difficult or is simply impossible.

“The Earth’s surface is highly dynamic and erosion and redeposition of material, especially over long timescales, is common. A precise age determination of lithic artifacts that occur as surface finds has therefore hardly been possible so far. Many aspects of ancient human behavior have only been preserved as surface finds, hence cannot be dated precisely with currently available dating methods. By further developing the Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating technique, we can now, for the first time, carry out precise, and direct age measurements on lithic artifacts. In our current study we used artifacts from an archaeological surface site in south-central Tibet,” explains Michael Meyer, head of the Luminescence Laboratory at the Department of Geology at the University of Innsbruck and one of the main authors of the study now published in the renowned journal Science Advances.

OSL dating is based on the measurement of light stored in natural minerals and is one of the most important absolute dating tools in archaeology and the earth sciences. “This dating method uses natural light signals that accumulate over time in natural dosimeters, such as quartz and feldspar grains that are important constituents of sediments, as well as rocks and lithic artifacts. These minerals can be imagined as miniaturized clocks. Each grain is a tiny clock that can be ‘read-out’ under controlled laboratory conditions. The light signal allows us to infer the age of the archaeological sediment layer or artifact. The more light, the older the sample,” says the geologist. “In this study, we have now taken a new approach and focused not on sediment grains of sand, but—for the first time—on stone artifacts themselves.”

Fieldwork on site on the Tibetan Plateau: sampling of surface artefacts under black lightproof cover. Credit: Michael Meyer

Quarrying activities more than 5,000 years ago

Due to its extreme environmental and climatic conditions the dry highlands of Tibet are considered to be one of the last regions on earth that were occupied by humans. When exactly peopling of this remote and rather extreme environments occurred has caused a lot of scientific debate over the course of the last decade. In 2017, Michael Meyer dated the famous human foot and hand prints of Chusang in the central part of the Tibetan plateau to an age between 8,000 and 12,000 years.

In the current study, Meyer and his team analyzed archaeological finds from southern Tibet in the Innsbruck OSL Laboratory: The excavation site Su-re is located immediately north of the Mount Everest-Cho Oyu massif in the so-called Tingri graben at an elevation of 4450 meters. Surface artifacts are particularly common in Tibet. To date them, the researcher used the so-called rock surface burial dating technique and applied it to lithic surface artifacts. This method determines the point in time when the stone artifact was discarded by humans and at least partly covered by earth.

“With our luminescence method, we can look inside the stone and create a continuous age-depth profile. The inside of a rock has never been exposed to sunlight, so we have a saturated luminescence signal there and an infinite high age. However, if the rock surface is exposed to daylight for a long enough time, the signal in the top millimeters or centimeters of the rock will be erased. This happens during knapping, when the stone tool is produced, and also during the subsequent artifact use by humans. When the artifact is then discarded and at least partially buried in sediment and shielded from light, the luminescence signal in this artifact surface recharges. By measuring this depth-dependent luminescence signal in the rock surfaces, we can calculate the age of the artifact discard, taking into account the dynamics of local earth surface processes. Such an approach allows us to date stone artifacts directly, even if they occur as surface finds,” Meyer explains.

The analyses on the artifacts from southern Tibet revealed an age between 5,200 and 5,500 years. “We assume that the artifact findings at Su-re are related to quarrying activities at this site.” Very old sites have been discovered in the central part of the Plateau, however, for southern sector of the Tibetan Plateau, Su-re is currently to oldest securely dated site.

For Michael Meyer, the analysis of these Tibetan artifacts is just the beginning: “This OSL-based method opens up new vistas in archaeological dating and holds great potential also for sites on other continents that preserve lithic artifacts in a favorable setting,” concludes the geologist.

More information:
L.A. Gliganic el al., “Direct dating of lithic surface artifacts using luminescence,” Science Advances (2021). advances.sciencemag.org/lookup … .1126/sciadv.abb3424

Oldest human traces from the southern Tibetan Plateau in a new light (2021, June 2)
retrieved 2 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-oldest-human-

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