Friday, July 31, 2009

What Makes a Rolling Landscape Roll?

Anyone who has flown over the western United States knows the patterns well: Seemingly endless repetitions of similar landforms, ridges and valleys and ridges and valleys arranged with nearly the regularity of the teeth on a comb. Now, an MIT geologist and co-workers say they have found the underlying mechanism that explains these widespread patterns — and how they vary from one place to another. The new findings, which include computer simulations that show how evenly spaced ridges and valleys emerge over many thousands of years, are described in a paper appearing in the journal Nature on July 23, written by Perron along with James Kirchner and William Dietrich of Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division. More>

Reader Commentary: Berkeley Lab's BELLA Laser

I was one of several commentators who penned an opinion piece for the July 9 Berkeley Planet which criticized Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) for their fast-tracked and inadequate review of potential hazards from their proposed BELLA laser-accelerator facility. By issuing themselves a “No Danger To the Public” environmental assessment unlike a normal EIR review under the NEPA-CEQA federal and California statutes which allow citizens a chance to inquire, learn and comment on any development in their area, and by issuing it to themselves at this time when many folks are on vacation, LBNL has once again demonstrated arrogant disregard for the well being of neighbors. More>

Oppenheimer's secretary dies at 91

Priscilla Duffield, who served as scientist Robert Oppenheimer's secretary during the development of the atomic bomb, has died at 91 in Colorado. Duffield was born Priscilla Greene in California and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1943, she became secretary to E.O. Lawrence at what is now known as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. More>

Klutzes make fine astronomers

The weight of those top layers bears down on what's beneath, generating extreme pressures unlike anything that occurs naturally on Earth. And that's when astrophysicists go to the laboratory: To find out what happens to planetary innards at these high pressures, scientists squeeze samples of planet-stuff (like carbon) between the tips of two diamonds. Pressure gets even more extreme when lasers are added to the mix, vaporizing the diamond and sending a powerful shock wave through the sample. Even black holes are being recreated -- or, at least, simulated -- in the lab. Ziang Xhang, of the University of California Berkeley at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is mimicking black holes using exotic "metamaterials"--the same stuff that can bend light backwards and might one day create real-life invisibility cloaks. More>

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Glass leaf 'sweats' to generate electricity

Artificial photosynthesis has yet to be cracked, but electrical engineers in the US think that synthetic leaves could be used to generate electricity in a different way – by sweating. Natural leaves constantly lose water through evaporation in a process called transpiration, which draws water from the roots to the very top of even the tallest trees. The new synthetic leaves also lose water through evaporation to create that mechanical water pump effect, and use it to generate power. Michel Maharbiz, with Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division, working with colleagues at the University of Michigan and MIT, built their leaves from glass wafers shot through with a branching network of tiny water-filled channels arranged like the veins of a leaf. More>

Novel Approach Offers Insight into Protein Structure

John Spence, a physicist at Arizona State University, is a longtime user of the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he has contributed to major advances in lensless imaging. It's a particularly apt propensity for someone who works with x-rays, since they can't be focused with ordinary lenses. More>

White Roofs Catch On as Energy Cost Cutters

Relying on the centuries-old principle that white objects absorb less heat than dark ones, homeowners are in the vanguard of a movement embracing “cool roofs” as one of the most affordable weapons against climate change. Around the country, roof makers are racing to develop products in the hope of profiting as the movement spreads from the flat roofs of the country’s malls to the sloped roofs of its suburbs. Years of detailed work by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory have provided the roof makers with a rainbow of colors — the equivalent of a table of the elements — showing the amount of light that each hue reflects and the amount of heat it re-emits. More>

Jet-propelled Imaging for an Ultrafast Light Source

A particle gun that fires liquid droplets less than a millionth of a meter in diameter, faster than hundreds of thousands of times a second, is poised to revolutionize biological imaging. Tested at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source and soon to be installed at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source, the sample jet injects a beam of droplets across a tightly focused x-ray beam in single file, each droplet so small it contains only a single protein or virus. More>

Nanotech: The Key to Storing Carbon?

A recent breakthrough at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is bringing together two sectors that people love to fixate on: nanotechnology and carbon sequestration. Although the combo may sound unusual, nanotechnology could actually be the only way we’ll figure out if geologic carbon sequestration — stuffing CO2 underground — actually works. More>

Chemical Spill Forces REI Store Evacuation

A chemical spilled from a backpack at West Berkeley’s REI store Wednesday afternoon forced the evacuation of scores of customers and employees. The red liquid spilled from the backpack of a customer after he submitted it for security screening just inside the entrance to the large facility at 1338 San Pablo Ave. Within seconds, everyone standing nearby—at least 25 people—began coughing and choking as fumes from the fluid hit the air, said Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong. The department was planning to take a sample to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where Dong said he hoped a spectrometer analysis would determine the precise nature of the noxious compound. More>

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Techs and the city

San Francisco conjures up images of hippies and of free love, the psychedelic 60s and leftist politics. But as someone who writes about science, I don’t see a region full of people looking to escape reality; I see scientists and engineers at universities, companies, and national labs probing and investigating that reality on a daily basis. Plutonium was first discovered in a Berkeley lab (as were the aptly-named berkelium and californium). The Bay Area [Berkley Lab] is the birthplace of “big science” and of the atom smashers that have told us so much about the fundamental building blocks of matter. More>

SNS Mercury Target Replaced for the First Time

The US Department of Energy (DOE)-operated Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennesse, is the proud owner of the world's largest accelerator-based neutron source, the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). Built and funded by an unprecedented cooperative effort from six DOE laboratories (Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Brookhaven, Jefferson, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge), the SNS has been operating its original mercury target since early 2006. Having broken all expectations, it has functioned way past its “expiry date,” and is only now, more than three years later, that it is being replaced for the first time. More>

Jet-propelled Imaging For An Ultrafast Light Source

John Spence, a physicist at Arizona State University, is a longtime user of the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he has contributed to major advances in lensless imaging. It’s a particularly apt propensity for someone who works with x-rays, since they can’t be focused with ordinary lenses. More>

Keep a cool head

On bright days, the rooftop of the Anaheim Hilton Hotel is so blindingly white that it looks like a mirror positioned directly at the sun. That dazzling glare might just be the greenest thing to happen to the top of a building since solar panels. Mass implementation of cool roofs in the 100 largest cities would offset 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, or the equivalent of taking 600 million cars off the road for 18 years, according to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. More>

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Drive to make biofuels thrive

Within the next decade, drivers in the Bay Area and around the country may get around powered by fuel made from pecan shells, switch grass or even poplar trees, thanks to local research funded by more than $700 million in grants. And researchers say the plant-based fuels nurtured by these efforts could be widely available at the pump at a cost comparable to gasoline, but better for the environment. Chris Somerville of the Energy Biosciences Institute and Blake Simmons of the Joint BioEnergy Institute are studying bioconversion, meaning biological processes like digestion, to access sugars. More>

Monday, July 27, 2009

More Than Meets the Eye: New Blue Light Nanocrystals

Berkeley Lab researchers have produced non-toxic magnesium oxide nanocrystals that efficiently emit blue light and could also play a role in long-term storage of carbon dioxide, a potential means of tempering the effects of global warming. In its bulk form, magnesium oxide is a cheap, white mineral used in applications ranging from insulating cables and crucibles to preventing sweaty-palmed rock climbers from losing their grip. Using an organometallic chemical synthesis route, scientists at the Molecular Foundry have created nanocrystals of magnesium oxide whose size can be adjusted within just a few nanometers. And unlike their bulk counterpart, the nanocrystals glow blue when exposed to ultraviolet light. More>

Geothermal project review under way

A decision to delay a new geothermal project in The Geysers until further study is completed appears to have come directly from the top of the federal Department of Energy. Ernie Majer, a scientist and geophysics department deputy division director for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said the decision to halt the project while more study was done came directly from his old boss, Steven Chu, now head of the Department of Energy. Chu, Majer said, didn't want to let the project go forward until it was reviewed, and wanted the community fully informed all throughout the process. More>

Are we seeing atoms diffuse?

Following the path of a single atom or point defect as it diffuses inside a solid remains one of the most sought after but undemonstrated feats of microscopy. In a paper in Physical Review B, Damien Alloyeau, Sefa Dag, Lin Wang, and Christian Kisielowski at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US, and Bert Freitag at FEI Company in the Netherlands report their use of one of the new aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopes and claim to have imaged the three-dimensional positions of Ge self-interstitials generated by the beam [1]. Have they finally succeeded in imaging diffusion? More>

Decoding Synthetic Biology

Imagine living cells acting as memory devices; biofuels brewing from yeast, or a light receptor taken from algae that makes photographs on a plate of bacteria. With the new science of synthetic biology, the goal is to make biology easier to engineer so that new functions can be derived from living systems. Find out the tools that Bay Area synthetic biologists are using and the exciting things they are building. Interim Associate Berkeley Lab Director Jay Keasling is featured in this broadcast. More>

Friday, July 24, 2009

NASA Ames to Host Energy Summit to Accelerate Innovation

The Western Energy Summit is an invitation-only leadership roundtable event and workshop that will conclude a four-part series of regional energy summits being hosted by the Council on Competitiveness. The morning leadership roundtable will feature prominent leaders from federal, state and private sectors around the Western Region and will also include a keynote luncheon address by Steven E. Koonin, Under Secretary for science, U.S. Department of Energy. The summit aims to examine activities taking place in California and other Western states that have encouraged the development and deployment of new energy technologies. Event co-sponsors include Arun Majumdar, director of the Environemtal Energy Technologies Division. More>

Energy gets jump on implementing DNS security on ESnet research network

The Energy Department has started implementing Domain Name System Security Extensions on its high-performance Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), using a commercial appliance to digitally sign DNS records and manage cryptographic keys. The first zones on the network were signed July 8 and it will be at least another month before necessary software updates and testing are completed, and signed records can be published, said R. Kevin Oberman, a network engineer at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. More>

Reflective paint reduces air-conditioning costs, carbon emissions

On bright days, the rooftop of the Anaheim Hilton Hotel is so blindingly white that it looks like a mirror positioned directly at the sun. That dazzling glare might just be the greenest thing to happen to the top of a building since solar panels. Mass implementation of cool roofs in the 100 largest cities would offset 44 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, or the equivalent of taking 600 million cars off the road for 18 years, according to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. More>

FEMA Toxic Trailer Exposure Confirmed

People put in FEMA trailers after the 2005 hurricanes were exposed to possible health risks, says a report of the Homeland Security Department inspector general. An analysis by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, finds Katrina trailers emit the toxic chemical at four to 11 times of that found in a typical U.S. home. Residents of 42 percent of Katrina trailers tested were exposed to formaldehyde levels higher than what’s recommended for an occupational exposure of 15-minutes. More>

Compare-and-contrast reading on climate change

This morning George Will offered another in his series of reassuring columns about the "overstated" threat of climate change. Will presented the lack of youthful clamor as a sign of wholesome common sense. If you would like another way to think about the evidence, this one provided not by a columnist but by a Berkeley Lab physicist who has won a MacArthur grant, I recommend Richard Muller's book Physics for Future Presidents. I happened to read most of it on a long plane flight yesterday, so I was all set for Will's column today. So you can be ready before his next one appears, I recommend ordering the book now. More>

Our City Among the Greenest in Nation

The city of Alameda joined the East Bay Green Corridor Partnership June 26, becoming part of what is shaping up to be a major player in the sustainable technologies industry. The city officially became a member at the Partnership's annual meeting, along with six more new members from cities and educational institutions, to participate in the development of green employment and industry in the East Bay. The Partnership was officially created December of 2007 with Berkeley, Richmond, Emeryville and Oakland. Birgeneau brought in UC Berkeley and was joined by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. More>

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Researchers Develop Alternative to NMR, Crystallography for Determining Protein Structure

Researchers have developed a high-throughput method for determining protein structure based on small angle X-ray scattering, or SAXS, that they said is much quicker that current approaches based on X-ray crystallography or nuclear magnetic resonance. Because it allows analysis of proteins in solution, co-lead author Gregory Hura, a scientist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Advanced Light Source, told GenomeWeb Daily News, SAXS shifts the bottleneck in determining protein structure away from crystallization and onto the protein purification step. More>

A story on this research also appeared in medGadget.

Breaking Down the Tower of Babel

Research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recognized that buildings can lose up to 20 percent of their savings post-retrofit without proper monitoring, which concerned many utilities at the height of the first wave of demand-side management programs in the late '80s. LBNL recommended the development of a protocol to ensure that ongoing building performance was staying close to the expected baseline. Thus was born the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP). More>

White is the new black

Most people know that if they want to stay cool in the summer, they should wear white, not black. Turns out, the same may apply to roofs and roadways. U.S. Energy Secretary and Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu says painting roofs and roads white is one way to fight global warming. While it may not be feasible to repaint all the roofs and roads in America, Chu says it makes sense for new projects and some retrofits. He based his opinion on research from Arthur Rosenfeld of the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. More>

New study endorses building commissioning

Evan Mills, PhD, staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), has just released an important report quantifying the costs and benefits of commissioning: “Building Commissioning: A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” Based on data from 37 commissioning providers representing 643 buildings comprising 99 million sq ft of floor space from 26 states the median cost for new-construction Cx amounted to $1.16 and would save13% on whole-building energy consumption. For existing buildings, the median cost amounted to $0.30 and median whole-building energy savings amounted to 16%. Payback times are 4.2 years for new construction, and 1.1 years for existing buildings. More>

Drive to Make Biofuels Thrive

Within the next decade, drivers in the Bay Area and around the country may get around powered by fuel made from pecan shells, switch grass or even poplar trees, thanks to local research funded by more than $700 million in grants. And researchers say the plant-based fuels nurtured by these efforts could be widely available at the pump at a cost comparable to gasoline, but better for the environment. Chris Somerville of the Energy Biosciences Institute and Blake Simmons of the Joint BioEnergy Institute are studying bioconversion, meaning biological processes like digestion, to access sugars. More>

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Researchers bring fluorescent imaging to mobile phones for low-cost screening in the field

Researchers at UC Berkeley — including Berkeley Lab physical bioscientist Dan Fletcher — are proving that a camera phone can capture far more than photos of people or pets at play. They have now developed a cell phone microscope, or CellScope, that not only takes color images of malaria parasites, but of tuberculosis bacteria labeled with fluorescent markers. More>

This story also appeared in Technology Review, NPR's Science Friday, and Scientific American.

Mitchell Celaya chosen as new UC Berkeley chief of police

Mitchell J. Celaya III, a University of California, Berkeley, assistant police chief with more than 25 years of experience handling everything from protests, sit-ins and critical emergency situations to visits by world leaders, has been selected as the campus's new chief of police. The UC Berkeley Police Department's jurisdiction includes the central campus as well as remote UC-owned property such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University Village in Albany and the Richmond Field Station. More>

New blue light nanocrystals

Berkeley Lab researchers have produced non-toxic magnesium oxide nanocrystals that efficiently emit blue light and could also play a role in long-term storage of carbon dioxide, a potential means of tempering the effects of global warming. Using an organometallic chemical synthesis route, scientists at the Molecular Foundry have created nanocrystals of magnesium oxide whose size can be adjusted within just a few nanometres. And unlike their bulk counterpart, the nanocrystals glow blue when exposed to ultraviolet light. More>

A story on this research also appeared in the Gaea Times, Softpedia, and Photonics Online.

Ytterbium's Broken Symmetry: Largest Parity Violations Ever Observed In An Atom

Ytterbium was discovered in 1878, but until it recently became useful in atomic clocks, the soft metal rarely made the news. Now ytterbium has a new claim to scientific fame. Measurements with ytterbium-174, an isotope with 70 protons and 104 neutrons, have shown the largest effects of parity violation in an atom ever observed – a hundred times larger than the most precise measurements made so far, with the element cesium, according to Berkeley Lab research. More>

A story on this research also appeared on Azom.com.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Berkeley Lab award winners promise cost-competitive solar cells and a 3-D look at nanoscale matter

Four of R&D Magazine’s prestigious R&D 100 Awards for 2009, which recognize the 100 most significant proven technological advances of the year, have gone to researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and their colleagues. “The Department of Energy’s national laboratories are incubators of innovation, and I’m proud they are being recognized once again for their remarkable work,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. More>

Energy Efficient Ethernet hits standards milestone

This week the effort hit a standards milestone with the approval of a draft of the IEEE P802.3az Energy-Efficient Ethernet standard. The goal of Energy Efficient Ethernet is to reduce Ethernet power consumption by 50 percent or more - which isn't a trivial thing to do. "This is the first project in the history of Ethernet aimed specifically at reducing energy use," says Michael Bennett, Senior Network Engineer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Chair, IEEE P802.3az, Energy Efficient Ethernet Task Force in a statement. More>

Stories on this research also appeared in Control Engineering.

Spotlight on soot behaviour

Soot aerosols are a key unknown in predicting future climate. The particles absorb solar radiation but the extent of this effect depends on their interactions with other chemical species; estimates for soot-radiative forcing currently range from 0.2 to 1.2 W/sq. m. To firm up these figures, a team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, US, has measured the size-resolved mixing state, optical properties and ageing timescales for soot particles in Riverside, California, and Mexico City. They carried out the measurements in situ using aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry. More>

Wind becoming “significant” part of US energy mix, says report

The US is continuing to lead the world as the fastest-growing wind power market, according to a report from the US Department of Energy (DOE) by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). For the past four years, the US has led the world in new wind capacity, overtaking Germany in cumulative wind capacity installations. “At this pace, wind is on a path to becoming a significant contributor to the US power mix,” says report author Ryan Wiser of LBNL. More>

Stories on this research also appeared in OregonLive.com, Columbus Business First, EE Times, East Oregonian, Post Chronicle, BNET, Energy Efficiency News, and Science Daily.

Testing Relativity, Black Holes And Strange Attractors In The Laboratory

Even Albert Einstein might have been impressed. His theory of general relativity, which describes how the gravity of a massive object, such as a star, can curve space and time, has been successfully used to predict such astronomical observations as the bending of starlight by the sun, small shifts in the orbit of the planet Mercury and the phenomenon known as gravitational lensing. Now, thanks to research by Berkeley Lab scientist Xiang Zhang, it may soon be possible to study the effects of general relativity in bench-top laboratory experiments. More>

A story on this research also appeared in Softpedia.

New research finds possible genetic link to cause of pregnancy loss and disorders

Scientists at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have published new findings about a cause of a condition at the root of genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome, pregnancy loss and infertility. Called aneuploidy, the condition is an abnormal number of chromosomes, and the research team found that if a mother's egg cell has a mutation in just one copy of a gene, called Bub1, then she is less likely to have offspring that survive to birth. More>

Stories on this research also appeared in softpedia, ScienceBlog, insciences organisation, Medical News Today, and the Examiner,

Moon landing 40 years ago today

Looking back on Neil Armstrong's moon walk 40 years ago, many Americans may feel that the thrilling potential of human space exploration lost its promise years later after the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters. Berkeley Lab physicist Richard Muller makes that case as well. "I think the glory of NASA in the last 25 years has been in the unmanned exploration of the solar system," says Muller. ""So if the goal is scientific discovery, it makes no sense to put humans in space, and I can say confidently that I speak for the majority of scientists on this." More>

Friday, July 17, 2009

How does a solar cell work?


Paul Altivisatos, interim director for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at UC Berkeley, explains how a solar cell works and how the solar energy of the future, via a solar fuel generator that converts energy the same way plants do, can become more efficient. He says that rather than looking for what’s next, he looks to the end result–an ideal usage for materials. More>

United States becomes world leader in wind power

Aggressive investments in 2008 helped the United States surpass Germany to become the world's leader in wind power, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Energy. The report, prepared by Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, provides an overview of trends in the U.S. wind power market in 2008. More>

Stories on this research also appeared in Azo Cleantech.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Laser-Powered Accelerator Plan Gets Boost from Recovery Act

A strangely colored beam pouring out a quadrillion watts of peak power spewing out subatomic particles juiced up by a ten-billion-electronic-volt laser plasma accelerator housed in a facility dubbed the “experimental cave?” While it may sound like Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) officials are calling it BELLA—short for Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator and not for that Lugosi guy who played Dracula, though he too lurked in dark, cavernous places. More>

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Radioactive and toxic exposure screening program expands to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Former employees of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory are eligible for free confidential medical screening to determine if they have any health problems related to on-the-job exposure to radioactive or toxic substances such as beryllium, the universities running the program announced Monday. Experts from UC San Francisco and Boston University School of Public Health will do the evaluations of workers at Kaiser Permanente occupational medicine facilities in Northern California. More>

Job Fair Offering 500 Bay Area Openings

President Obama promised to create 3.5 million jobs with the stimulus plan but unemployment remains at a 26-year high. While there is talk that the plan isn't working, there's a small glimmer of hope coming from Berkeley. There are more than 150 new jobs with benefits posted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, because of new energy and infrastructure projects fueled by stimulus money. More>

Tiny ‘pillars’ could spell cheaper, more efficient solar cells

Tiny pillars with dimensions on scale of billionths of a metre could spell cheaper and more efficient solar cells, according to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley. Unlike conventional solar cells, nanoscale pillars offer a much larger surface area for collecting light. They should be much more sensitive to light and be more efficient at converting collected light to electricity. More>

A story on t his topic also appeared in gizmag.

New Technique Can Fast-track Better Ionic Liquids for Biomass Pre-treatments

The use of ionic liquids — salts that are liquids rather than crystals at room temperature — to dissolve lignocellulose and later help hydrolyze the resulting liquor into sugars, shows promise as a way of pre-treating biomass for a more efficient conversion into fuels. However, the best ionic liquids in terms of effectiveness are also prohibitively expensive for use on a mass scale. Furthermore, scientists know little beyond the fact that ionic liquids do work. Understanding how ionic liquids are able to dissolve lignocellulosic biomass should pave the way for finding new and better varieties for use in biofuels. A new technique that is providing some much needed answers has been developed by researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). More>

Researchers find early markers of Alzheimer's disease

A large study of patients with mild cognitive impairment revealed that results from cognitive tests and brain scans can work as an early warning system for the subsequent development of Alzheimer's disease. "Not all people with mild cognitive impairment go on to develop Alzheimer's, so it would be extremely useful to be able to identify those who are at greater risk of converting using a clinical test or biological measurement," said the study's lead author, Susan Landau, with Berkeley Lab. The study's lead investigator, William Jagust, is also with Berkeley Lab. More>

A story on this topic also appeared in Reuters and Science Daily.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Green Scene: Replanting burned areas

According to www.livescience.com, researchers found that when there is a "warm spring and early summer, areas get drier earlier overall and there is a longer season in which a fire can be started." And there's more opportunity for ignition. Researchers went on to say that the increase in wildfire activity has been "correlated with rising seasonal temperatures and the earlier arrival of spring." According to researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Forest Service, "warmer, windier weather and longer, drier summers would mean higher firefighting costs." More>