Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February 7, 2017

Business-as-usual approach to curbing CO2 emission could kill vital corals by 2100 (downtoearth)

In a further vindication of claims that ocean acidification is wiping our coral reefs from marine ecosystem, a Griffith University study on the Great Barrier Reef has revealed that CO2 emissions help coral-killing seaweeds grow more poisonous and thus, accelerate destruction of coral reefs worldwide.

The study was conducted on Heron Island by reef and chemical ecology experts from the University of Queensland and the US. According to the study, “business as usual” emissions would harm vital corals by 2050 and kill them by 2100.

The findings shed new light on the competitive advantage that seaweeds have over corals in seawater with increasing concentrations of CO2. Moreover, the scale of the problem is so big, that removing a bunch of seaweed from the reef doesn’t help much as it just regrows and regenerates. So, the solution doesn’t lie in cutting off seaweeds but in reducing carbon emissions.

Calling this study “a major step forward in understanding how seaweeds can harm corals”, Gu…

How to beat Trump on climate change? (downtoearth,)

One of the good things about the American democracy is that public can witness and participate in the senate hearings that confirm appointments of key functionaries in a new administration. Anyone can watch these hearings live or stream them online.

I know fully well that US President Donald Trump is an avowed climate change denier. Still, I am inquisitive about the people he is hiring in positions where they will call the shots on climate change. I, therefore, watched the hearing of Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State who will be the boss of the climate change negotiation team. I also saw the hearing of Scott Pruitt, the nominee to head the Environment Protection Agency (USEPA). If confirmed, he will decide the fate of Obama’s Clean Power Plan and other regulations to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases. I listened to what Rick Perry, nominee to head the Department of Energy, had to say about energy choices for Americans and climate change.

Tillerson: as slick as oil

Let me star…

Back to basics (hindu)

Transformational technologies arise from pure science. If India wants to nurture the next big invention, it must ramp up support for research

Our lives are being transformed by technology daily. We are keenly aware of new tools like smart phones and the Internet, but much more lies under the surface. Novel devices, materials and technologies have brought enormous benefits to our physical well-being in the context of medicine, housing, nutrition, security and sanitation, and to our mental well-being by transforming communication and socialisation. Though we are happy to purchase smart devices and use medical equipment, we are less curious about how those technologies came into existence. This is ironic because India played a remarkable role, even under colonial rule, in planting the seeds of basic research from which they grew. For example, a currently promising breakthrough in testing for cancer, diabetes, asthma and malaria arises from ‘resonant Raman scattering’ and has its roots i…

Tribe offers clues to hidden wonders of medicinal plant (hindu,)

Based on traditional knowledge of Cholanaickan tribe

A medicinal plant endemic to the southern parts of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka could offer scientists the key to new herbal formulations and modern drugs for the treatment of cancer and wounds and burns.

Scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) here have confirmed the multiple therapeutic properties of Neurocalyx calycinus used by the Cholanaickan tribe, one of the particularly vulnerable groups in Kerala, to treat inflammations and wounds.

The researchers have filed for a patent on a novel herbal drug formulation possessing wound-healing, burn-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immuno- enhancing, platelet-augmentation and anti-oxidant effects.

The scientists came to know of the miracle plant in 1988 during a biological survey deep inside the Nilambur forests. The team led by S. Rajasekharan, former Head, Ethnomedicine and Ethnopharmacology division, JNTBRI, came a…

Rewiring the WTO(Hindu)

Growing disenchantment with the existing model of globalisation is also a historic opportunity to frame new rules granting equal opportunities to all in the global marketplace

The visit of Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to India, from February 8, comes at a juncture when the framework of global trade rules is undergoing a shake-up. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — which had almost become the standard bearer of trade rules — has been dealt a death blow by the Trump presidency.

The TPP found itself in this position after the United States orchestrated the move to make the WTO virtually irrelevant during the 10th Ministerial Conference of the organisation, in Nairobi in 2015. The conference ended without a decision on the most important area of work of WTO members — the Doha Round negotiations. These negotiations were mandated by the Doha ministerial conference in 2001 to review extant trade rules in order to make the WTO more responsive to …

What ‘America First’ means for India (Hindu.)

India is not top of the mind for U.S. President Donald Trump. As he opens multiple battlefronts, domestically and internationally, the onus is on India to catch the attention of the new administration

“We… are issuing a new decree to be heard… in every foreign capital… From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first,” said Donald Trump, moments after taking oath as the 45th President of the United States. Since then several world capitals have heard various renditions of this decree, resulting in a more uncertain world. What does this decree mean for New Delhi?

Many policymakers and observers in Washington DC see India-U.S. relations as a case of American generosity. By extension, a section of the U.S. establishment has always argued for extracting more in return from India. Nudging the new President to continue with the non-reciprocal approach towards India, strategic expert Ashley Tellis wrote recently: “The current U.S. commitment to the rise of Indian po…

Tribe offers clues to hidden wonders of medicinal plant (downtoearth)

Based on traditional knowledge of Cholanaickan tribe

A medicinal plant endemic to the southern parts of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka could offer scientists the key to new herbal formulations and modern drugs for the treatment of cancer and wounds and burns.

Scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) here have confirmed the multiple therapeutic properties of Neurocalyx calycinus used by the Cholanaickan tribe, one of the particularly vulnerable groups in Kerala, to treat inflammations and wounds.

The researchers have filed for a patent on a novel herbal drug formulation possessing wound-healing, burn-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immuno- enhancing, platelet-augmentation and anti-oxidant effects.

The scientists came to know of the miracle plant in 1988 during a biological survey deep inside the Nilambur forests. The team led by S. Rajasekharan, former Head, Ethnomedicine and Ethnopharmacology division, JNTBRI, came a…

Perilous U-turn on Iran (Hindu)

A set of new sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States over a missile test has taken ties between the two countries, which saw incremental improvement over a couple of years, back to the pre-Obama era. Bilateral relations were particularly hostile during the presidency of George W. Bush, who had threatened military action over Iran’s nuclear programme. Barack Obama took a different line, moored in political realism. He reached out to the Iranians and finally clinched the nuclear deal last year, a far-sighted diplomatic solution to a complex international crisis. The U.S. and other world powers took years to find a common ground with Iran, which prevented the country from acquiring nuclear weapons in return for removal of international sanctions. The deal, viscerally opposed by Israel, allowed Iran to mend ties with European countries, boost its oil production and trade with other countries, thereby minimising the pain its people had suffered due to economic sanctions. The U.S. a…