With the help of satellite data, scientists have shown that low-level cloud cover in the tropics thins out as the earth warms. Since this cloud cover has a cooling effect on the climate, the two-degree warming target may therefore be reached earlier than many models have predicted.
Researchers are on a real-life search for what one calls 'the ultimate Pokémon': Zenkerella, an elusive scaly-tailed squirrel that has never been spotted alive by scientists. However, biologists recently found three newly dead specimens that hint at how the 'living fossil' has evolved over the past 49 million years. Based on DNA results, the researchers determined that Zenkerella is a very distant cousin of two scaly-tailed squirrels that glide from tree to tree.
A trio of researchers has identified the location of the genes that control production of toxins that harm people infected by Clostridium difficile bacteria. The gene locus, agr1, forms part of a signaling communication system that produces a small molecule that, in turn, tells the rest of the population to turn on their toxin genes.
An anonymous reader writes: Consumers think smartphone makers are releasing too many new models each year, a survey showed on Tuesday. The survey conducted in six countries, commissioned by the environmental group Greenpeace, showed that more than half of those who responded would prefer to change their phones less frequently. Handset devices are one of the most frequently replaced electronics products. The top cellphone companies, Samsung and Apple, launch new flagship phone models at least once every year, showing off the latest display and mobile processor technologies. Phone makers typically upgrade their cheaper lineups as well. "Over half of respondents across the countries surveyed agree that manufacturers are releasing too many new models, many designed to only last a few years," said Chih An Lee, global IT campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia. "In fact, most users actually want their phones to be more easily dismantled, repaired and recycled."
Mark Wilson, writing for BetaNews: Professional social network LinkedIn is suing 100 anonymous individuals for data scraping. It is hoped that a court order will be able to reveal the identities of those responsible for using bots to harvest user data from the site. The Microsoft-owned service takes pride in the relationship it has with its users and the security it offers their data. Its lawsuit seeks to use the data scrapers' IP addresses and then discover their true identity in order to take action against them. LinkedIn says that a botnet has been used to gain access to user data which is then passed on to third parties. The site has a number of measures in place to prevent this type of data harvesting, but it seems that scrapers have found a way to circumvent these security restrictions. A series of automated tools -- FUSE, Quicksand, Sentinel, and Org Block -- are used to monitor suspicious activity and blocking scraping.
A new national survey in the United States of nearly 600 individuals with psoriasis, reveals that although patients have numerous treatment options, they have difficulty finding treatment plans that work. In addition, respondents reported a heavy emotional toll, with many feeling isolated and stigmatized due to the condition.
A fossil that has been in the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History since it was discovered in 1951 is today helping scientists piece together the evolutionary history of whales and dolphins, including the origins of the endangered South Asian river dolphin.