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How El Niño slows the Earth’s spin

Posted on 21 Oct 2007 in Earth Science, Environment, Journalism

El Niño has an immense impact on the weather, so great in fact that the ocean warming phenomenon actually makes the planet spin more slowly. Until now, though, no one knew why. Image: FlyingSinger

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Tree sap makes a formidable underwater insect trap

Posted on 17 Oct 2007 in Earth Science, Journalism, Palaeontology, Uncategorized

Getting fossilised in tree sap seems an odd way for an aquatic insect to meet its maker. Biologists have been left scratching their heads over how it happened. “Most previous studies have focused on non-aquatic insects, assuming that most resin solidifies at the tree bark,” says Alexander Schmidt of the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, Germany. Image: Rockman of Zymurgy

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Himalayas created during a high-speed impact

Posted on 17 Oct 2007 in Earth Science, Journalism

It brings a new meaning to the land speed record. After the break-up of the Gondwanan supercontinent 140 million years ago, India sped north at 20 centimetres per year – about five times as fast as any other landmass in the recent geological past. The speed of its collision with Asia propelled the Himalayas to the top of the world. Image: James C Farmer

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Speeding up fat metabolism may prevent diabetes

Posted on 13 Oct 2007 in Health, Journalism

Ramping up fat metabolism doesn’t just stop weight gain – it could also prevent type 2 diabetes. Previous studies had shown that mice engineered to lack an enzyme called ACC2 deposited less fat in their tissues, despite eating up to 40 per cent more than normal mice. Image: terriem

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Cell squirting needles could ‘weave’ new organs

Posted on 12 Oct 2007 in Health, Journalism, Technology

A new approach to “printing” living cells could make it easier to arrange them into precise structures without harming them. This could enable future therapies where replacement limbs or organs can be printed to order. Image: Suwan Jayasinghe

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