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Germany's Withdrawal of Funding Threatens Plan to Save Ecuador Forest

The Ecuadorian government's plan to keep oil in the ground in Yasuni National Park in exchange for compensation from world governments has taken a severe blow in recent days. Germany had tentatively pledged up to $50 million a year for the so-called Yasuni ITT Initiative but had reportedly been having second thoughts. Last week, the Die Zeit newspaper disclosed that the country was indeed withdrawing its support, and German officials and others involved in the negotiations for the funding have confirmed that decision. Given this development, scientists and activists concerned about Yasuni are debating whether the initiative is dead and whether they should now concentrate on minimizing any damage from anticipated oil exploration.

from Science Insider

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Turning Back the Cellular Clock Could Repair Heart Attack Damage

British scientists have achieved a breakthrough in the treatment of heart disease, after finding a means of repairing cells damaged during a heart attack in mice.

from the Guardian (U.K.)

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AIDS Vaccines: Recognizing the Human Potential

At the beginning of 1991--almost ten years after the cause of AIDS had been identified--researchers thought they might have a vaccine. Evidence from several laboratories suggested that it was possible to develop a vaccine against HIV by inoculating individuals with a crippled version of the virus that could not replicate--a time-tested strategy similar to that used to produce effective measles, mumps, and polio vaccines.

from the Scientist

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Weeds Increasingly Immune to Herbicides

Agriculture's most effective pesticides are rapidly losing their punch as weeds evolve resistance to the chemicals. With no game-changing alternatives in the pipeline, researchers warn that farmers could soon see crop yields drop and production prices climb.

from Science News

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Ecologists: Time to End Invasive-Species Persecution

They're treated as outsiders, as opportunity-stealing intruders who ought to be greeted with government crackdowns rather than open arms. They're immigrants--immigrant species, that is. And some ecologists say it's time to declare amnesty, demilitarize our environmental borders and accept the inevitable reality of non-native invasion.

from Wired Science

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Time Up for Relativity Table-Top Test?

Can the time-warping ways of Einstein's theory of general relativity be measured by the quantum 'ticking' of an atom? In 2010, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, claimed in Nature that they had used an inexpensive table-top apparatus to show how gravity had altered a fundamental oscillation of two atoms.

from Nature News

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Study: The Perils of a Heavy Bottled-Water Habit

Americans quaff nearly 10 billion gallons of bottled water each year, in large part because they assume, wrongly, that it's healthier and safer than tap water. Somewhat surprisingly, the data has suggested, underserved black and Latino families tend to spend more money than whites do on bottled water, and provide it exclusively for their kids.

from Time

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Clues to Autism Emerge in Protein Network

Autism is as puzzling for scientists as it is heartbreaking for parents. Some patients function well despite a few behavioral quirks, whereas others are profoundly disabled. The dozens of "suspect genes" are scattered among various types of the disorder and show up in only a handful of patients. Now, by shifting focus from the genes to the proteins they produce, researchers have identified a densely connected network that may help reveal how autism develops. The finding may also lay the framework for developing new treatments, even for very different types of the disorder.

from ScienceNOW Daily News

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Slideshow: Fire’s Weird Behavior in Space

In the microgravity environment of outer space, flames burn very differently than they do on Earth... (click the link above to read more).

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