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Costa Rica Powered Entirely by Renewables So Far This Year

The country’s tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Image: The country’s tropical climate with high rainfall, mountainous interior and low population gives it a distinct advantage in terms of renewable energy. Photo credit: Shutterstock

ecowatch.com - March 23rd 2015 - Tierney Smith

For the last 82 days, Costa Rica has powered itself using only renewable energy sources

That means the Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015.

Last week, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced that 100 percent of the country’s electricity came from renewables for the first 75 days of the year, as heavy rains boosted the country’s hydroelectric power plants.

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New Kind of “Tandem” Solar Cell Developed

Tandem solar chips.

Image: Tandem solar chips.

wirelessdesignmag.com - March 25th 2015 - David L. Chandler

Researchers at MIT and Stanford University have developed a new kind of solar cell that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harvest a broader range of the sun’s energy. The development could lead to photovoltaic cells that are more efficient than those currently used in solar-power installations, the researchers say.

The new cell uses a layer of silicon — which forms the basis for most of today’s solar panels — but adds a semi-transparent layer of a material called perovskite, which can absorb higher-energy particles of light.

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Ebola whole virus vaccine shown effective, safe in primates

SCIENCE DAILY                                                March 26, 2015

(Scroll down for complete paper.)
An Ebola whole virus vaccine, constructed using a novel experimental platform, has been shown to effectively protect monkeys exposed to the often fatal virus.

The vaccine, described today (March 26, 2015) in the journal Science, was developed by a group led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a University of Wisconsin-Madison expert on avian influenza, Ebola and other viruses of medical importance. It differs from other Ebola vaccines because as an inactivated whole virus vaccine, it primes the host immune system with the full complement of Ebola viral proteins and genes, potentially conferring greater protection.

"In terms of efficacy, this affords excellent protection," explains Kawaoka, a professor of pathobiological sciences in the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and who also holds a faculty appointment at the University of Tokyo. "It is also a very safe vaccine."

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Fighting cancer and Ebola with nanoparticles

CNN  by

In medicine, finding a substance that attacks cancerous tumors without destroying the healthy tissue around it has long been the Holy Grail.

From targeted remedies such as monoclonal antibodies to surgery, cancer has still managed to elude a treatment that discretely and separately attacks it alone.

Nanotechnologies, however - the manipulation of matter at a molecular and even atomic scale to penetrate living cells -- are holding out the promise of opening a new front against deadly conditions from cancer to Ebola.

According to Dr Thomas Webster, the chair of chemical engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, research into medical nanotechnology is gaining pace and the medical establishment is starting to sit up and pay attention.

Read complete story.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/25/tech/webster-nanoparticles-cancer-mci/

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Fighting cancer and Ebola with nanoparticles

CNN  by

In medicine, finding a substance that attacks cancerous tumors without destroying the healthy tissue around it has long been the Holy Grail.

From targeted remedies such as monoclonal antibodies to surgery, cancer has still managed to elude a treatment that discretely and separately attacks it alone.

Nanotechnologies, however - the manipulation of matter at a molecular and even atomic scale to penetrate living cells -- are holding out the promise of opening a new front against deadly conditions from cancer to Ebola.

According to Dr Thomas Webster, the chair of chemical engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, research into medical nanotechnology is gaining pace and the medical establishment is starting to sit up and pay attention.

Read complete story.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/25/tech/webster-nanoparticles-cancer-mci/

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One Year Later, Ebola Outbreak Offers Lessons for Next Epidemic

IN DEPTH OVERVIEW OF THE EBOLA CRISIS AND LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE
NEW YORK TIMES  by Sheri Fink, MD,   and Pam Belluck                                     March 23, 2015

One year has passed since the declaration of what became the largest Ebola outbreak in history, with more than 10,000 deaths..

Assessing the lessons of an Ebola outbreak that became the largest in history, with 10,000 dead. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

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UN Warns World Could Have 40 Percent Water Shortfall by 2030

CLICK HERE - The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015

CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

CLICK HERE - REPORT - The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015 (139 page .PDF report)

phys.org - by Hillel Italie - March 20, 2015

The world could suffer a 40 percent shortfall in water in just 15 years unless countries dramatically change their use of the resource, a U.N. report warned Friday.

The report predicts global water demand will increase 55 percent by 2050, while reserves dwindle. If current usage trends don't change, the world will have only 60 percent of the water it needs in 2030, it said.

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How to stop the next epidemic

THE ECONOMIST                                                                                    May 19, 2015

..when the next epidemic breaks out, how do we prevent it from spreading around the world? It is easier said than done.
 
First: Early detection is critical, and it relies on good surveillance. But only 64 of the 194 member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) have the surveillance procedures, laboratories and data-management capabilities required by the International Health Regulations. Improvements in things like basic public health infrastructure are needed...

Second: A swift response to an outbreak – which might involve getting skilled people, equipment and money to the right places – can potentially save more lives than drugs and vaccines. ... The World Health Organisation and the global community were slow to recognise that there was an international public health emergency.

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Energy Agency Sees More Oil Declines, Potential for Conflict

         

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, file photo, oil pumps work at sunset in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain. Oil prices have further to drop with no signs of slowing production in the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency, Friday, March 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File) - Associated Press

ABC News - AP - March 13, 2015

Oil prices have further to drop with few signs of slowing production in the U.S., according to a global energy agency.

The International Energy Agency, a watchdog group based in Paris that represents the world's main oil-importing nations, said in its monthly report Friday that the recent stabilization in oil prices is "precarious."

"Behind the facade of stability, the rebalancing triggered by the price collapse has yet to run its course," it said.

That may be playing out right now. Oil prices tumbled 10 percent this week, including a 5 percent drop Friday.

The IEA cautioned that risks of oil supply disruptions are growing. Low prices could raise the risk of social disruption in some countries dependent on oil, the agency said, and the ongoing conflict in Iraq and Libya hasn't slowed down.

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FDA panel to discuss Ebola vaccine development in May

REUTERS                                                    March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON ==The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said an advisory panel will discuss the development of Ebola vaccines, days after an American health worker was flown back after being tested positive for Ebola in Sierra Leone.

The federal health regulator would discuss the development of vaccines on May 12, it announced on its website on Wednesday.

The resurgence of the virus last year prompted drugmakers from across the world to develop new treatments that are in different stages of studies....

The World Health Organization said it will decide on mass vaccination against the virus in August.

See full story.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/18/us-health-ebola-fda-idUSKBN0ME1D520150318
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See Federal Register notice of meeting.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/03/17/2015-06116/vaccines-and-related-biological-products-advisory-committee-notice-of-meeting

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