Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Freed From a Glacier's Hold, Ancient Moss Grows Again

for the entire story, click here:
Freed From a Glacier's Hold, Ancient Moss Grows Again

Roff Smith

for National Geographic

Published May 28, 2013

In one of nature's more astonishing never-say-die stories, clumps of frozen mosses that were entombed beneath an advancing glacier more than 400 years ago have revived.

The glacier is now retreating, exposing the mosses to air and sunlight for the first time in centuries, and they are growing green and healthy once more. (Read about "The Big Thaw" in National Geographic magazine.)

The discovery was made by a team of researchers from the University of Alberta who were conducting a biodiversity study of mosses and vascular plants in an area around the retreating Teardrop Glacier in the central mountains of Canada's remote Ellesmere Island (map).

"As we walked up to the edge of the glacier, we could see patches of mosses that seemed to be coming out from underneath the ice," recalled project leader Catherine La Farge.

"They were blackened, but there were also tints of green in there as well. As I looked more closely I thought, 'Oh my gosh, what's this? Either this has somehow managed to retain a vestige of its original color or it's just started to grow again after centuries under the ice.' The thought of that just blew my mind."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Washington state man bulldozes neighbors' homes!

Video. A man angry with his neighbours got in his bulldozer and went on a rampage in Washington state on Friday10 May 2013. Authorities say four homes have been damaged and power supplies for thousands have been affected. No-one is thought to have been injured in the tirade, for which the 54-year-old man has been charged with malicious mischief

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pets may help cut risk of heart disease | Business Standard

Pets may help cut risk of heart disease | Business Standard

Press Trust of India | Washington May 10, 2013 Last Updated at 13:55 IST
Pets may help cut risk of heart disease

Good news for pet owners! Having a pet, particularly a dog, may lower your risk of heart disease, according to new research.

"Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease," said Glenn N Levine, professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas in a scientific statement released by the American Heart Association.

Levine also chaired the committee that reviewed previous studies of the influence of pets and wrote the statement.

Pet ownership is probably associated with a reduction in heart disease risk factors and increased survival among patients. But the studies aren't definitive and do not necessarily prove that owning a pet directly causes a reduction in heart disease risk.

"It may be simply that healthier people are the ones that have pets, not that having a pet actually leads to or causes reduction in cardiovascular risk," Levine said.

Dog ownership in particular may help reduce cardiovascular risk. People with dogs may engage in more physical activity because they walk them, the study suggested.

In a study of more than 5,200 adults, dog owners engaged in more walking and physical activity than non-dog owners, and were 54 per cent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity.

Owning pets may be associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a lower incidence of obesity.

Pets can have a positive effect on the body's reactions to stress.

"In essence, data suggest that there probably is an association between pet ownership and decreased cardiovascular risk," Levine said.

"What's less clear is whether the act of adopting or acquiring a pet could lead to a reduction in cardiovascular risk in those with pre-existing disease. Further research, including better quality studies, is needed to more definitively answer this question," Levine said.

Even with a likely link, people shouldn't adopt, rescue or buy a pet solely to reduce cardiovascular risk, Levine said.

The study was published in the journal Circulation.