Tag Archive: University of New South Wales


Cancer ‘tidal wave’ on horizon, warns WHO

Mammograms Large numbers of people do not know there is a lot they can do to reduce their exposure to risk

The globe is facing a “tidal wave” of cancer, and restrictions on alcohol and sugar need to be considered, say World Health Organization scientists.

It predicts the number of cancer cases will reach 24 million a year by 2035, but half could be prevented.

The WHO said there was now a “real need” to focus on cancer prevention by tackling smoking, obesity and drinking.

The World Cancer Research Fund said there was an “alarming” level of naivety about diet’s role in cancer.

Fourteen million people a year are diagnosed with cancer, but that is predicted to increase to 19 million by 2025, 22 million by 2030 and 24 million by 2035.

The developing world will bear the brunt of the extra cases.

Predicted global cancer cases to 2035

Chris Wild, the director of the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, told the BBC: “The global cancer burden is increasing and quite markedly, due predominately to the ageing of the populations and population growth.

“If we look at the cost of treatment of cancers, it is spiralling out of control, even for the high-income countries. Prevention is absolutely critical and it’s been somewhat neglected.”

The WHO’s World Cancer Report 2014 said the major sources of preventable cancer included:

  • Smoking
  • Infections
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity and inactivity
  • Radiation, both from the sun and medical scans
  • Air pollution and other environmental factors
  • Delayed parenthood, having fewer children and not breastfeeding

For most countries, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. However, cervical cancer dominates in large parts of Africa.

Dr Chris Wild, WHO: “We’re not going to be able to address this problem by simply improving treatment”

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major cause. It is thought wider use of the HPV and other vaccines could prevent hundreds of thousands of cancers.

One of the report’s editors, Dr Bernard Stewart from the University of New South Wales in Australia, said prevention had a “crucial role in combating the tidal wave of cancer which we see coming across the world”.

Dr Stewart said human behaviour was behind many cancers such as the sunbathe “until you’re cooked evenly on both sides” approach in his native Australia.

He said it was not the role of the International Agency for Research on Cancer to dictate what should be done.

But he added: “In relation to alcohol, for example, we’re all aware of the acute effects, whether it’s car accidents or assaults, but there’s a burden of disease that’s not talked about because it’s simply not recognised, specifically involving cancer.

Read More Here

Related Stories

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

 

Nov 5, 2013 by Sci-News.com

 

An Australian-U.S. team of paleontologists has found a unique fossil of a huge, carnivorous platypus that lived in what is now Australia during the late Miocene.
This is an artist's reconstruction of Obdurodon tharalkooschild. The inset shows its first lower molar. Image credit: Peter Schouten.

This is an artist’s reconstruction of Obdurodon tharalkooschild. The inset shows its first lower molar. Image credit: Peter Schouten.

The modern platypus is a duck-billed, venomous, semi-aquatic mammal with webbed feet and is covered in short waterproof fur. It is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth.

The new extinct species of platypus, named Obdurodon tharalkooschild, has been described from a unique tooth fossil found at the famous Riversleigh World Heritage Area of Queensland.

The specific name, tharalkooschild, honors an Indigenous Australian creation story about the origin of the platypus.

Unlike the living species, Obdurodon tharalkooschild had fully functional teeth that may have been used to kill and consume a wide range of animals that lived alongside it in ancient pools and lakes. Based on the size of its tooth, it is estimated that Obdurodon tharalkooschild would have been twice the size of the modern platypus, around 3.3 feet (1 m) long.

“Like other platypuses, it was probably a mostly aquatic mammal, and would have lived in and around the freshwater pools in the forests that covered the Riversleigh area millions of years ago,” explained Prof Suzanne Hand from the University of New South Wales, a co-author of the article published in the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta

File:3 examples of internal climate variability (1950-2012), the El Niño – Southern Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation, and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NOAA).png

3 examples of internal climate variability (1950-2012), the El Niño – Southern Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation, and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NOAA)

Image Source  :  Wkimiedia .Org

Source NOAA Climate Services: Climate Variability (Flash object), publisher: NOAA

…..

File:El Niño Conditions.jpg

El Niño Conditions. Warm water pool approaches South American coast. Absence of cold upwelling increases warming.

Image Source  : Wikimedia . Org

Source http://www.srh.noaa.gov/; exact image source

……….

El Niño Is Becoming More Active

Oct. 28, 2013 — A new approach to analyzing paleo-climate reconstructions of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon resolves disagreements and reveals that ENSO activity during the 20th century has been unusually high compared to the past 600 years. The results are published in Climate of the Past by a team of scientists from the University of New South Wales, the University of Hawaii International Pacific Research Center and the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

El Niño events can wreak havoc across the globe, spawning floods or giving rise to droughts in many regions of the world. How ENSO behaves as a result of a warming planet, however, is still uncertain. One window to determine its sensitivity to climate change is a look into the past. Because the instrumental record is too short for getting a reliable picture of natural variations in ENSO magnitude and frequency, climate scientists rely on geological and biological clues, such as from lake sediment cores, corals, or tree rings as proxies for past ENSO behavior. The problem has been, though, that reconstructions of ENSO from such paleo-proxies have not been telling the same story.

Some of these discrepancies in ENSO reconstructions arise because the methods typically applied to combine individual paleo-proxy records do not handle small dating uncertainties amongst the proxies well. The usual approach has been to combine the individual ENSO proxies and then to calculate the activity of this combined ENSO signal. McGregor and his team found that by turning this analysis around — first calculating the activity of ENSO in each of the individual paleo-climate reconstructions and then combining the activity time series — yields a much more consistent and robust view of ENSO’s past activity. The scientists confirmed this new approach with virtual ENSO data obtained from two multi-century-long climate model simulations.

Applying their improved method of reconstructing ENSO activity by synthesizing many different existing proxies and comparing these time series with instrumental data, the scientists found that ENSO was more active during 1979-2009 than during any 30-year period between 1590 and 1880.

“Our results represent a significant step towards understanding where current ENSO activity sits in the context of the past.” says Axel Timmermann, professor at the University of Hawaii and co-author of the study.

“Climate models provide no clear indication of how ENSO activity will change in the future in response to greenhouse warming, so all we have to go on is past records,” explains McGregor. “We can improve the projections of climate models, however, by selecting those that produce past changes in ENSO activity consistent with the past instrumental records.

“Our new estimates of ENSO activity of the past 600 years appear to roughly track global mean temperature,” says McGregor, “but we still don’t know why.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. McGregor, A. Timmermann, M. H. England, O. Elison Timm, A. T. Wittenberg. Inferred changes in El Niño–Southern Oscillation variance over the past six centuries. Climate of the Past, 2013; 9 (5): 2269 DOI: 10.5194/cp-9-2269-2013
Enhanced by Zemanta

File:Iceberg with hole crop.jpg

Image Source  :  Wikimedia Commons

Author Brocken Inaglory

*******************************************************************************

Live Science

Seaweed could smother polar underwater ecosystems as melting sea ice exposes the seafloor to more sunlight, new research shows.

Animals that dwell on the seafloor of the Arctic and Antarctic spend most of their lives in total darkness: Sea ice blocks rays during the spring and early summer, and the sun sets completely in the winter. Late summer and early fall — when the ocean warms up enough to thaw the ice — often marks the only time these critters see light.

But as climate change causes sea ice to begin melting earlier and earlier in the summer, shallow-water ecosystems will soak up increasingly more rays. New research from a team of Australian biologists suggests this could cause a major shift in the seafloor communities along the coast of Antarctica, where invertebrates like sponges, worms and tunicates — globular organisms that anchor to rocks on the seafloor — currently dominate. A manuscript of the report is currently in press at the journal Global Change Biology. [6 Unexpected Effects of Climate Change]

“Some areas where ice breaks out early in summer are already shifting to algal domination,” said Graeme Clark, a biologist at the University of New South Wales who was involved in the study.

Seasons and tipping points

Early-summer ice melt not only lengthens the amount of time photosynthesizing organisms like macroalgae (or seaweed) can thrive under the sun during the summer, but it also increases the intensity of that exposure. The sun sits highest in the sky during the summer solstice — the period when Earth tilts most directly toward the sun — that occurs between June 20 and 23 in the Northern Hemisphere and Dec. 20 and 23 in the Southern Hemisphere, depending on the phase of the Earth’s orbit. Rays travel directly to the seafloor during this time. During spring and fall, however, low-angle rays reflect off the sea surface and often never make it to the seafloor.

This compounding effect of a longer sunlit season and higher-intensity rays could exponentially increase the amount of sunlight hitting benthic, or seafloor, communities in the coming decades and cause major tipping points for those invertebrate-dominated ecosystems, Clark said.

Tipping points occur when relatively minor environmental changes — like sea ice melting several days earlier than usual — cause rapid and significant ecological transformation. In this case, the tipping point would push ecosystems from invertebrate-dominated to algae-dominated.

Read More and Watch Video  Here

Enhanced by Zemanta

A noble undertaking to  be  sure.  Were  it not for the  simple  fact that  Science has  not  , for the  most  part, respected the  right of creatures  to  exist in an environment  that  is suitable  for  their rightful existence.  Science  and  mankind  alike  have, for the  most  part,  considered  only it’s pleasure  and curiosity where   animals  are  concerned.  They have  neither  respected  their  lives  nor  their  habitats.  Always  putting their  selfish  needs  before  anything else. 

Which  leads  one  to  wonder as  to the  why of  this  undertaking?  I  would  venture  to say   it is  all for the  greater  glory  of their  Scientific  careers.  They  nether  care  nor  are  concerned  with the  well being  or  happiness of  any of these  creatures.  The  proof is in the lack  of impetus where pollution, experimental animal  research and  deforestation are  concerned.  Just  look  at the  palm oil plantations  flourishing  at the  expense of  the  Orangutang ,  the  bees  and  pollinators   dying off  due to  GMO’s.   The  Whale, porpoise and a  long  list  of  sea life.   The endless  list  of   animals  that  are  endangered,  being  poached and savaged on a  daily  basis, and then  there is  always   the commercialization of the  creatures.    Aquariums for  profit,  Zoos that confine  these  poor  animals to cages or  concrete  pens in many  cases in   environments that  are  completely  alien  and  detrimental to the  species.  Exotic  animals  captured and  sold for the  highest dollar to people  who think they  are  pretty  and since they  have  the  money   why  not ?   Of course if they  can  afford it  they  want  what  no one  else has, regardless of the morality of  such a desire.  Avarice and social standing know  no  limits to   satiating  these desires

Photograph by Tim Laman

A lesser bird of paradise flaunts his flank plumes to entice females.

Purchase this print »

www.timlaman.com

 

Who  cares  what  these poor  creatures  had to endure  to  make it  to  that pet shop or  dealer.  The only thing that  matters is they  got  what they  wanted , the  animal  be  damned.  After  all it is  just  an  animal  isn’t it ? 

Let’s not  forget  the  Circus,  animals  taken  from their  mothers  at  a young  age   that  are  savagely   beaten and traumatized to  conform for the  amusement  of those  willing to  pay for the entertainment  and for the profit of  those unethical beasts  that mistreat and terrorize  them on a  daily  basis.  Their  suffering is  of  no consequence and  trivial  to those  who  want to  possess  them.

 

 Image Source                                                             Image Source

 

Image Source                                                 Image source

In light of  the cruelty  and  callousness with  which  humanity has  treated  the  creatures  of this planet,  I  would venture  to  say  they are  better  off  as  a part  of  history   than   part  of the  next  series of  experiments  for the  glory  of greedy  and  soulless enterprises.

~Desert Rose~

*******************************************

Jennifer Welsh | Mar. 17, 2013, 10:39 AM

On Friday at a National Geographic sponsored TEDx conference, scientists met in Washington, D.C. to discuss which animals we should bring back from extinction. They also discussed the how, why, and ethics of doing so.They called it “de-extinction.”

There are a few guidelines for which ancient species are considered, and sadly, dinosaurs are so long dead they aren’t in the picture. Their DNA has long ago degraded, so researchers are fairly sure that Jurassic Park will never happen.

But there are plenty of other animals on the table. The list of candidates is actually pretty long, considering.

Here are the 24 animals they are hoping to one day resurrect.

********************************************************************************

10 Animals That Were Hunted To Extinction

Tasmanian tiger (Extinct since 1936)

Tasmanian Tiger

Wikipedia

Tasmania Tigers were hunted by humans to extinction

Woolly Mammoth (Extinct for ~10,000 years)

Dodo Bird (Extinct since ~1681)

Stellar’s Sea Cow (Extinct since 1768)

Passenger Pigeon (Extinct since 1914)

Passenger Pigeon (Extinct since 1914)

Stuffed passenger pigeon on display at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Wikipedia/Keith Schengili-Roberts

Bubal Hartebeest (Extinct since ~1954)

Javan Tiger (Extinct since ~1970s)

Zanzibar leopard (Extinct since ~1990s)

Pyrenean Ibex (Extinct since 2000)

Western Black Rhino (Extinct 2011)

Western Black Rhino (Extinct 2011)

Na Son Nguyen/AP

********************************************************************************
For Those Of Us who Love Animals And  Understand  Why They Need To Be  Protected.  This  One Is For You !!
British photographer Tim Flach is known for taking human-like photographs of animals. His latest body of work, called “More Than Human,” captures the emotions of wild creatures through intensely close shots — like the stunning picture of a gorilla below.

The intimate animal portraits, which feature everything from a featherless chicken to a pair of affectionate chimpanzees, are meant to illuminate the similarities between animal poses, gestures, and gazes, and our own.

Photographing animals on a set, as opposed to in their natural habitat comes with a unique set of challenges.

“You can never predict an animal’s mood,” Flach says on his website. “So you have to plan beforehand to get what you want.” To make the animals feel as comfortable as possible, Flach may adjust the temperature of the studio or play music.

You can purchase a hardcover copy of Flach’s animal portraits here or visit his website to see more of the award-winning photographer’s work.

A chimpanzee affectionately cradles its child.

A chimpanzee affectionately cradles its child.

See The Animals

Earth Watch Report

Incoming! Tunguska-class bolide to miss Earth by just 22,500km on 15 February 2013

Lucie Bradley
Cosmos Online

© ESA
Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass by Earth at a distance of 22,500km on 15 February 2013. How long before one of these things hits?

An asteroid the size of a city block is due to come whizzing past Earth closer than any other of its size in recorded history in February next year, according to astronomers.

The asteroid, referred to as 2012 DA14, has a diameter of approximately 45m and an estimated mass of 130,000 tonnes. It was discovered at the start of 2012 and is set to travel between the Earth and our geostationary communication satellites on 15 February 2013. At a distance of just 22,500km this will be the closest asteroid ‘fly by’ in recorded history.

Asteroid and comet researchers will be gathering at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, U.S., to watch the event, but experts say there is no chance of a collision – this time.

“I think perhaps the most important thing about this asteroid is that it reminds us that the threat from such objects is very real,” said Jonti Horner, an independent astronomer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

The destructive force of an atomic bomb

It is important to monitor all asteroids that pass close by in case any are on a collision course with Earth. NASA has identified 4,700 asteroids that are potential threats to us, some of which are up to two or three kilometres in diameter.

Any asteroid likely to collide with Earth must have its composition and structure analysed so that it can be deflected, according to a statement from UCF.

A collision with even a small asteroid could be disastrous, with an impact from 2012 DA14 estimated to equal the destructive force of an atomic bomb. “The world’s most famous impact crater – the Barringer Crater in Arizona, U.S. – which is about 1,200m in diameter and 170m deep, was formed when an object thought to have been just 50m in diameter hit the Earth,” said Horner.

“An incredibly near miss”

“While it’s not unusual for asteroids to come close to the Earth, there are a couple of reasons the approach of this one is particularly exciting for astronomers,” said Horner.

“Having a 45m space rock pass under 30,000km from the Earth is an incredibly near miss in astronomical terms, which should mean we can learn a great deal about it as it tears past the Earth,” he said.

Asteroids offer valuable insight into the formation of our Solar System, according to Humberto Campins who is an asteroid and comet expert at UCF and led the first team to discover ice on an asteroid in 2010.

The asteroid will not pass through our atmosphere and so is unlikely to break up. However, “forces from Earth could change its shape if it is a rubble pile and not a single rock. At this time we do not know which of those two it is,” added Campins.

Any change in the composition or shape of the asteroid has the capability to alter its path, which could see it come even closer to Earth in the future.

The asteroid will be too faint to see with the naked eye, although it will be visible through binoculars or a telescope. Additionally, live feeds from telescopes in Spain will offer the public the chance to witness the event.