Will a New Glass Battery Accelerate the End of Oil?

John Goodenough, coinventor of the lithium-ion battery, heads a team of researchers developing the technology that could one day supplant it.  Photo: Cockrell School of Engineering

spectrum.ieee.org - by Mark Anderson - March 3, 2017

Electric car purchases have been on the rise lately, posting an estimated 60 percent growth rate last year. They’re poised for rapid adoption by 2022, when EVs are projected to cost the same as internal combustion cars. However, these estimates all presume the incumbent lithium-ion battery remains the go-to EV power source. So, when researchers this week at the University of Texas at Austin unveiled a new, promising lithium- or sodium-glass battery technology, it threatened to accelerate even rosy projections for battery-powered cars.

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Polluted Environments Kill 1.7 Million Children a Year: WHO

           

Children look for plastic bottles at the polluted Bagmati River in Kathmandu March 22, 2013. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

CLICK HERE - WHO - News Release - The cost of a polluted environment: 1.7 million child deaths a year, says WHO

reuters.com - (Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Jeremy Gaunt) - March 5, 2017

A quarter of all global deaths of children under five are due to unhealthy or polluted environments including dirty water and air, second-hand smoke and a lack or adequate hygiene, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Such unsanitary and polluted environments can lead to fatal cases of diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia, the WHO said in a report, and kill 1.7 million children a year.

"A polluted environment is a deadly one -– particularly for young children," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement. "Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water."

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United States at Risk for Yellow Fever From Brazil Outbreak

Quote by Drs. Anthony S. Fauci and Catharine I. Paules. Credit: NIAID

CLICK HERE - NEJM - Yellow Fever — Once Again on the Radar Screen in the Americas

medscape.com - by Janis C. Kelly - March 8, 2017

Yellow fever could become the 5th mosquito-borne virus to hit the United States in recent years, according to experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland.

An on-going outbreak in rural areas of Brazil has so far not involved human-to-human transmission through Aedes aegypti mosquitoes but has been spread via nonhuman forest-dwelling primates, write Infectious Disease Fellow Catharine I. Paules, MD, and NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, in an article published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

However, the outbreak is near major urban areas, where yellow fever vaccine is not routinely given and might readily lead to urban human-to-human transmission.

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Genomics Reveal Surprises About Florida Zika Outbreak

medscape.com - Damian McNamara - March 4, 2017

CLICK HERE - bioRXiv - Multiple introductions of Zika virus into the United States revealed through genomic epidemiology

CLICK HERE - PUBLICATIONS - Kristian G Andersen - The Scripps Research Institute - Genomics, Evolution, Immunology, Infectious diseases

LA JOLLA, California — The Zika virus outbreak in the United States in 2016 was caused by multiple infected travelers arriving in South Florida, not by a single "patient zero," genomic research has revealed.

Reporting here at the 10th Future of Genomic Medicine Conference, Kristian Andersen, PhD, from Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, and his team identified four different "introductions" of the Zika virus during the outbreak using genomic sequencing by testing samples from 17 people.

Extrapolating this to the total number of infected people, "the number of introductions that caused the outbreak in Miami is quite substantial," maybe on the order of 30, he explained.

Genomic sequencing of the virus from mosquitos and patients also revealed that Caribbean travelers were the primary means of introduction.

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UN Calls for Support to Recovery Plan as Haiti Loses $2.7 Billion in Hurricane Matthew

           

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti causing widespread damage in the western cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie. Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

un.org

6 March 2017 – The United Nations office dedicated to disaster risk reduction today called for urgent support to improve disaster risk management in Haiti, following a damage assessment that shows the country lost $2.7 billion, or 32 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), as a result of Hurricane Matthew six months ago.

“Hurricane Matthew revealed disturbing truths about least developed countries which lack the capacity to respond adequately to climate change and the rising intensity and frequency of weather-related disasters,” said the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser in a press release.

His call came on the eve of the 5th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, which opens in Montreal, Canada, tomorrow.

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'First Chemical Attack' in Mosul Battle Injures Twelve

           

IS has been accused by both US and Iraqi officials of using rudimentary chemical weapons - AFP

bbc.com - March 3, 2017

Twelve civilians have been injured in Mosul in what appears to be the first chemical weapon attack in the battle for the IS stronghold.

A doctor from the International Red Cross (ICRC), based in nearby Irbil, confirmed the incident to the BBC.

An 11-year-old boy has severe respiratory and skin problems and a month-old baby was also injured.

The ICRC doctor said the substance used was still unknown, but it was being treated as a chemical attack.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Red Cross says chemical weapons used near Mosul

 

 

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Birth Defects Rise Twentyfold in Mothers With Zika, C.D.C. Says

           

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the first time looked at how common severe birth defects were in children whose mothers had the Zika virus. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

CLICK HERE - CDC - MMWR - Baseline Prevalence of Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection — Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, 2013–2014

nytimes.com - by DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. - March 2, 2017

American mothers infected with the Zika virus last year were 20 times as likely to give birth to babies with birth defects as mothers who gave birth two years before the epidemic, federal health officials said on Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded last April that Zika infection caused severe birth defects, including the abnormally small heads of microcephaly, but it had not previously estimated how common such defects were.

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Evaptainers - Evaporative Cooling - Refrigeration Solutions for Developing Markets

Evaptainers are electricity-free mobile refrigeration units which run at low-cost. Utilizing the phenomenon of evaporative cooling, rather than more energy-intensive vapor compression refrigeration, they are ideal for use in off-grid rural areas with low relative humidity.

Evaporative cooling has been employed successfully for centuries in products like the Zeer Pot. Proven to be effective for agricultural use, these products have been known to triple or quadruple the shelf-life of most produce. The company has taken these inventions and upgraded them for modern and commercial use. Using state-of-the art materials and improved design, they have created more effective, more durable, easier to use, mass-producible units. The units reach the same thermal efficiency as the Zeer Pot and have extended storage times of fresh food from days to weeks in pilot program tests.

The Evaptainer has a wide range of applicability and potential markets given the current post-harvest food spoilage levels in developing markets.

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Zika May Be Spread by Up to 35 Species of Mosquitoes, Researchers Say

           

The Aedes aegypti species of mosquito, pictured here, is believed to be the most capable transmitter of Zika. But University of Georgia ecologists have created a predictive model that suggests up to 35 species of mosquitoes can spread the virus, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal, eLife. Miami-Dade was the only county in Florida to have designated active Zika transmission zones during an outbreak in 2016, according to state health officials.

CLICK HERE - STUDY - eLIFE - Data-driven identification of potential Zika virus vectors

miamiherald.com - by Daniel Chang - February 28, 2017

Zika may be spread by as many as 35 species of mosquitoes, including seven found in the United States, according to a forecasting model created by University of Georgia ecologists and published Tuesday in the journal eLife.

Most scientists, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believe Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus species of mosquito, both of which are prevalent in Florida.

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China Halts Import of North Korean Coal Until End of Year

wsj.com - February 19th 2017 - Chuin-Wei Yap

China banned all coal imports from North Korea starting Sunday, a move that steps up a prohibition Beijing enacted last year and comes as recent actions by Pyongyang test relations between the two allies.

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The Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United States

A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

Image: A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

nytimes.com - February 18th 2017 - Diane Cardwell

This was supposed to be America’s nuclear century.

The Three Mile Island meltdown was two generations ago. Since then, engineers had developed innovative designs to avoid the kinds of failures that devastated Fukushima in Japan. 

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FarmBot Genesis - Humanity’s First Open-Source CNC Farming Machine

FarmBot Genesis is humanity's first open-source CNC farming machine designed for at-home automated food production.

CLICK HERE - FarmBot Genesis

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CDC Reports Pneumonia, Influenza Mortality Rate Hits Epidemic Threshold

CLICK HERE - CDC - FLUVIEW - Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

CLICK HERE - CDC - Weekly US Map: Influenza Summary Update

CLICK HERE - CDC - Situation Update: Summary of Weekly FluView Report

CLICK HERE - CDC - Past Weekly Surveillance Reports

healio.com - February 10, 2017

The mortality rate for pneumonia and influenza in the United States was slightly above the epidemic threshold during the week ending Jan. 7, according to CDC’s FluView.

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NIH Workshop Identifies Complex Health Problems Among Zika-Affected Infants

           

Credit: NICHD/NIH

CLICK HERE - JAMA Pediatrics - Bridging Knowledge Gaps to Understand How Zika Virus Exposure and Infection Affect Child Development

nih.gov - scienmag.com - February 20, 2017

Children exposed to Zika virus in the womb may face complex health and developmental problems as they grow older, according to discussions at a National Institutes of Health workshop. A summary of the proceedings, authored by researchers from NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), is available in the latest issue of JAMA Pediatrics.

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UTMB Scientists Uncover How Zika Virus Causes Microcephaly

           

utmb.edu - February 16, 2017

The findings are key to unraveling the mysteries of why the Zika virus causes birth defects

CLICK HERE - Stem Cell Reports - Differential Responses of Human Fetal Brain Neural Stem Cells to Zika Virus Infection

GALVESTON, Texas –A multidisciplinary team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has uncovered the mechanisms that the Zika virus uses to alter brain development. These findings are detailed in Stem Cell Reports . . .

. . . Since a normal brain develops from simple cells called stem cells that are able to develop into any one of various kinds of cells, the UTMB team deduced that microcephaly is most likely linked with abnormal function of these cells . . .

. . . The researchers established a method of investigating how Zika alters the production, survival and maturation of brain stem cells using cells donated from three human fetal brains. They focused on the impact of the Asian lineage Zika virus that was involved in the first outbreak in North America in late 2015.

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