chimp main 1Hercules and Leo are only 11 years old, but they’ve already come close to retiring twice. The two chimpanzees, born and raised at Louisiana’s New Iberia Research Center, became lab animals at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2011. There they shared a three-room enclosure, where scientists inserted small electrodes into their muscles to study the evolution of bipedalism. In 2013, they were the subject of an unusual legal gambit. An animal rights group sued to declare the pair legal persons and retire them to a Florida sanctuary, but the effort failed.

Two years later, Hercules and Leo returned to New Iberia, where they mingled with other chimps in outdoor domes with ladders and ropes. But retirement to a sanctuary, where they could climb real trees and have more room to roam, again seemed imminent: The U.S. government had just effectively ended invasive work on chimpanzees, and many observers expected all lab chimps to move to sanctuaries in short order. Yet today, Hercules and Leo, along with nearly 600 of their kind across the country, remain at research facilities. It’s unclear when or whether they’ll leave.

In the past 2 years, only 73 chimps have entered sanctuaries, and the slow pace has heightened tensions between the laboratory and sanctuary communities. There’s plenty of blame to go around. Labs have dragged their feet, sanctuaries haven’t expanded quickly enough, and the government itself didn’t have a concrete plan for retirement, despite setting the process in motion in the first place.

“The biomedical community has spent years defending the use of chimpanzees in research instead of figuring out how to retire them,” says Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who has studied chimpanzee behavior at sanctuaries around the world. “Now we’re scrambling to do something about it.”

New source: science news

Posted On Tuesday, 13 June 2017 10:38

iStockThere's open-source software, open-source pharma research, and open-source beer. Now, there are open-source seeds, too. Breeders from Göttingen University in Germany and Dottenfelderhof agricultural school in Bad Vilbel, Germany, have released tomato and wheat varieties under an open-source license. Their move follows similar schemes for sharing plant material in India and the United States but is the first that provides legal protection for the open-source status of future descendants of plant varieties.

The idea behind the open-source license is that scientists and breeders can experiment with seeds and improve them unimpeded by legal restrictions. The license “says that you can use the seed in multiple ways but you are not allowed to put a plant variety protection or patent on this seed and all the successive developments of this seed,” says agricultural scientist Johannes Kotschi, who helped write the license last year. Kotschi manages OpenSourceSeeds for the nonprofit Agricole in Marburg, Germany, which announced the tomato and wheat licensing in Berlin in late April.

Since then, university, nonprofit, and organic breeders have expressed interest in issuing open-source licenses for their hop, potato, and tomato varieties, Kotschi says. Many have also requested the open-source tomato seeds, he adds. People have been breeding plants in search of desirable features, such as drought and pest resistance, for millennia. But until 1930, when the United States began applying patent law to plants, there was little a breeder could do to assert ownership over a new variety.

New source: science news

Posted On Tuesday, 13 June 2017 10:25

wildfireWashington , June 13 (IANS) Smoke from wildfire worldwide could impact the atmosphere and climate much more than previously thought, new research using data collected during NASA  airborne science  campaigns has found. 

Brown  carbon particles released into the air from burning trees and other organic matter are much more likely than previously thought to travel  to the upper levels of the atmosphere, where they can interfere with rays from the Sun sometimes cooling the air and at other times warming it, the findings showed.

"Most of the brown carbon released into the air stays in the lower atmosphere, but we found that a fraction of it does get up into the upper atmosphere, where it has a disproportionately large effect on the planetary radiation balance much stronger than if it was all at the surface," said Rodney Weber , Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology  in the US.  

The research used air samples collected during two airborne science missions supported by researchers from NASA's Langley-Research-Center  in Hampton, Virginia. The two missions together made observations in the central, southeast and western US.  

The researchers found surprising levels of brown carbon in the samples taken from the upper troposphere about seven miles above the Earth 's surface but much less black carbon, according to the study published online in the journal Nature-Geoscience.

While black carbon can be seen in the dark smoke plumes rising above burning fossil or biomass fuels at high temperature, brown carbon is produced from the incomplete combustion that occurs when grasses, wood or other biological matter smolders, as is typical for wildfires.

As particulate matter in the atmosphere, both can interfere with solar radiation by absorbing and scattering the Sun's rays.

The researchers found brown carbon to be much more likely than black carbon to travel through the air to the higher levels of the atmosphere where it can have a greater impact on climate.

New source: economictimes news

Posted On Tuesday, 13 June 2017 08:46

dogGavel the puppy may have started from the bottom, but now he’s one of the fanciest dogs in the world with the title of Vice Regal Dog in Queensland, Australia.

The German Shepherd was originally enrolled in a police dog academy with the Queensland Police Service. But his handlers there decided he was too friendly and did not have the “necessary aptitude for a life on the front line”, BBC News reports.

So in February, they kicked him out of the 16 month program early. Fortunately, he wasn’t out on the streets. Gavel had been living at the official residence of the Queensland governor since April 2016, and once he realized he wasn’t suited for police work, Gov. Paul de Jersey gave his four-legged friends a new job.

“He has outgrown four ceremonial coats, undergone a career change (his official title is now Gavel VRD, 'Vice - Regal Dog'), brought untold joy to the lives of the governor, Mrs de Jersey, Government House staff, and the thousands of Queenslanders who have since visited the estate,” the office of Governor Paul de Jersey told BBC News.

While Gavel may not be tracking criminals as the police department once hoped, he has been hard at work welcoming guests and playing with tour groups at the governor’s house. Since his promotion to vice - regal dog became official in February, the governor’s office has started posting many photos of Gavel’s best moments on social media.

“We hope Gavel's with us for a long, long time into the future,” Governor de Jersey told 7 News Brisbane.

New source: times news

Posted On Saturday, 10 June 2017 12:03

aljazeeraTurkey's parliament has approved a legislation allowing its troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar.

The bill, first drafted in May, passed with 240 votes in favour, largely with support from the ruling AK Party and nationalist opposition MHP.

Wednesday's decision is an apparent support for Qatar as it faces diplomatic and trade isolation from some of the biggest Middle Eastern powers.
Turkey is a key ally of Qatar and is setting up a military base in the country which also hosts the largest US air base in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, accusing it with financing extremist groups.

Qatar vehemently denies the accusations. It is the worst split between powerful Arab states in decades.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has criticised the Arab states' move, saying isolating Qatar and imposing sanctions will not resolve any problems and adding that Ankara will do everything in its power to help end the crisis.

Turkey has maintained good relations with Qatar as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbours.

Turkey set up a military base in Qatar, its first such installation in the Middle East, as part of an agreement signed in 2014. In 2016 Ahmet Davutoglu, then Turkish prime minister, visited the base where 150 troops have already been stationed, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported.

In an interview with Reuters in late 2015, Ahmet Demirok, Turkey's ambassador to Qatar at the time, said 3,000 ground troops would eventually be deployed at the base, planned to serve primarily as a venue for joint training exercises.

News Source: Al Jazeera

Posted On Thursday, 08 June 2017 07:21
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