Archive for June 10, 2011

Sprouts to Blame for E. Coli Outbreak

June 10, 2011 Comments off


Despite no positive findings of Escherichia coli on sampled produce, German officials have determined that bean sprouts are the source of the deadliest outbreak in recent European history.

“It’s possible to narrow it down. It’s the sprouts. However, it’s not yet been possible to detect the pathogen on this product,” said Reinhard Burger, chief of Germany’s national disease control center, during a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Burger said that the pattern of the outbreak, which has sickened 3,082 and killed 31, has led them to conclude that the source of E. coli is an organic farm in Bienenbuettel, Germany, which is about 70 miles south of Hamburg, the epicenter of the outbreak.

It is possible that no traces of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) will ever be linked to the outbreak, as most of the suspected sprouts have been consumed or thrown into the garbage after spoiling, German officials said. However, the hunt for the bacterium is not over.

“Of the 18 samples taken [from the organic farm], eight Read more…


Rare Snowfall Blankets African Desert

June 10, 2011 Comments off


Namib-Naukluft Park as it normally looks and as it appeared this week. Images Wiki and The Namibian

Namib-Naukluft Park as it normally looks and as it appeared this week. Images Wiki and The Namibian

Parts of the south-west Africa nation of Namibia usually associated with heat and dust have been blanketed in snow.

A storm brought sub zero temperatures and snow to the Namib-Naukluft Park this week, which local forecasters have described as an extremely rare event. The average overnight temperature, measured from Tuesday 18h00 until 06h00 Wednesday, was a record low of 2.1 degrees Celsius.

According to, the lowest temperature recorded by weather stations on Tuesday was Read more…

Hawaii Volcano May Overflow As Lava Levels Rise

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Rising lava levels at the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii are being monitored closely by scientists.

Video released by the US Geological Survey showed a stream of orange molten rock gathering at the volcano’s Halema’uma’u vent.

It represents a natural phenomena scientists call a pyroclastic flow, with lava surging into a lake where temperatures can rise as high as 700C.

The lake, which is believed to have formed in the later part of 2009, has been reported to resemble an above-ground swimming pool.

But there are concerns the lava level could overflow the rim – while there was also new activity at the Puu Oo crater, which appeared to be draining lava until recently.


The Water Crisis in African Cities

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Access to running water remains in a state of crisis for a huge number of people across Africa, writes Michel Makpenon. With growing urbanisation across the continent, African cities will need the political determination to ensure sustainable water resources based on social need rather than commercial concerns, he stresses.

The water issue is a major problem for people in sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the water situation in sub-Saharan Africa remains characterised by the difficult access to this resource, the poor supply management of watering places and the high costs of water network connections. For instance, in Benin one household in three doesn’t have access to drinking water, and the problem is much more acute in rural areas.

Households having access to drinking water are considered as households who have drinking water at home or within 200 metres from home: running water from the company’s distribution network, fountain water, water from the village pump, water tank and water from protected wells.

Various consultations led with the populations have indeed confirmed that the water issue is a major problem for them. The concerns, as raised by the populations, focus on the difficult access to water and the poor management of the watering places, the difficulties to call for the financial participation of the population for the creation and the management of watering places and the borehole characteristics which are Read more…


Study: Toxins From Monsanto GMO Found In Human Blood And Passed On To Unborn Children

June 10, 2011 1 comment


Genetically modified Bt Brinjal

Bt toxin is widely used in genetically modified crops.

Fresh doubts have arisen about the safety of genetically modified crops, with a new study reporting presence of Bt toxin, used widely in GM crops, in human blood for the first time.

Genetically modified crops include genes extracted from bacteria to make them resistant to pest attacks.

These genes make crops toxic to pests but are claimed to pose no danger to the environment and human health. Genetically modified brinjal, whose commercial release was stopped a year ago, has a toxin derived from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis ( Bt).

Till now, scientists and multinational corporations promoting GM crops have maintained that Bt toxin poses no danger to human health as the protein breaks down in the human gut. But the presence of this toxin in human blood shows that Read more…


Giant “Surfing” Waves Roll Through Sun’s Atmosphere

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Surfer waves — initiated in the sun, as they are in the water, by a process called a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability — have been found in the sun’s atmosphere. Credit: NASA/SDO/Astrophysical Journal Letters

Surf’s up on the Sun! Our favorite gnarly spacecraft, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has caught conclusive evidence of classic “surfer waves” in the Sun’s atmosphere. But these waves trump ‘Hawaii Five-O’ surfing big time. These solar waves are about the same size as the continental U.S, and spotting these waves will help our understanding of how energy moves through the solar atmosphere, known as the corona.

Just like a surfing wave on Earth, the solar counterpart is formed by Read more…


China warns neighbors: Stop oil search in Spratlys

June 10, 2011 Comments off


Liu Jianchao AP – Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao gestures during a news conference at the Ambassador’s …

MANILA, Philippines – China warned Asian neighbors Thursday to stop searching for oil near the Spratly Islands and vowed to assert its sovereignty over the potentially petroleum-rich territory in the South China Sea that several nations claim.

China and the Philippines have swapped diplomatic protests over the islands, with Filipino officials accusing Chinese forces of intruding into Manila-claimed areas six times since February and of firing shots at least once. Beijing denied the allegation Thursday and said it would use violence only when attacked.

Vietnam, meanwhile, has accused China of flaring tensions in Read more…