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Index: Sierra Leone has unhealthiest seas

Seychelles and Germany have the healthiest seas of any inhabited territory, while Sierra Leone has the unhealthiest, according to a new index that says many oceans score poorly for biodiversity and as a human resource. Topping the list with a score of 86 out of 100 was the uninhabited South Pacific territory of Jarvis Island, owned by the United States, as…

Scientists find gene variants that could explain malaria resistance

Scientists in Germany and Africa on Wednesday said they had found two variants of genes that help to explain why some lucky individuals do not develop severe malaria. The two variants were netted in a comparison of 1,325 people in the West African state of Ghana who had fallen ill with severefalciparum malaria and of 828 counterparts who…

Greenland breaks ice melting record by four weeks

In a terrifying reminder that climate change is reality, researchers have discovered that Greenland’s ice sheet melted as much as all of last year by Aug. 8—a full four weeks ahead of schedule and breaking any record since scientists began recording data on the ice sheet 30 years ago. “With more yet…

Research: Asian economies most at risk for natural disaster crisis

Asian countries dominate a league table of economies most at risk from earthquakes, floods, storms and other natural hazards, according to research published on Wednesday. In an assessment of 197 countries, British risk consultancyMaplecroft said six Asian countries were among the 10 countries whose economies were most vulnerable to catastrophes. The list is headed…

Researchers: Infant drug tests for marijuana are unreliable

The most commonly used drug testing methods for detecting marijuana exposure are unreliable when used on infant babies and “should not be reported” without additional testing and followup by hospital staff and social workers, according to new research published recently in the scientific journal Clinical Chemistry. While infant drug testing…

Solar-powered toilet wins sanitation prize

A solar powered toilet that breaks down water and human waste into hydrogen gas for use in fuel cells has won first prize in a competition for next-generation toilets to improve sanitation in the developing world. The California Institute of Technology in the US received the $100,000 (£64,000) first prize…

India to launch Mars mission: PM

India plans to launch a space probe that will orbit Mars, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confirmed on Wednesday after press reports that the mission was scheduled to begin late next year. The project would mark another step in the country’s ambitious space programme, which placed a probe on the moon…

Addiction to morphine and heroin can be blocked: research

Addiction to morphine and heroin can be blocked, according to research released on Wednesday which could prove a major breakthrough in treating addicts and in pain relief treatments. Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia worked with colleagues at the University of Colorado in the United States to pinpoint…

ISS crew to embark on two spacewalks in August

LOS ANGELES — Four International Space Station crew members will embark on two spacewalks to install new equipment and replace defective installations, the US space agency NASA said Tuesday. Russia’s Gennady Padalka and Yury Malenchenko will carry out a six-hour spacewalk on August 20, the lead flight director for the…

Dutch gynecologist finds golden ratio in uteruses

The golden ratio is a scientific nugget that that has, for at least two thousand years, belonged as much to mysticism as to mathematics. It is just a number – 1.618 – but to its devotees the ratio expresses aesthetic perfection, and can be found wherever there is beauty. For…

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