Author Archive

Scientists Move Closer to Inventing Artificial Life

National Geographic: In a biological first, an international team has inserted a man-made chromosome into brewer's yeast, producing a life form that thrives and successfully passes the designer genes on to its offspring. The "synthetic" biology advance-the first synthesis of a working artificial chromosome in an organism more complex than a bacterium-opens the door wider to man-made microbes that may someday be designed to manufacture better fuels, food, and medicines. elated: "Rewiring Life: Learning About Synthetic...

EPA Puts Pebble Mine on Hold

National Geographic: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials on Friday put on hold plans for a massive open-pit copper mine in Alaska, invoking Clean Water Act rules. Requested by EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, the delay aims "to protect the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska," the agency said in a statement. Such a Clean Water Act hold on mining, invoked only 13 times previously by the agency, means the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot approve a permit for the proposed Pebble...

Threat ‘Abrupt’ Climate Impacts Warrants Early Warning System, Panel Finds

National Geographic: Climate change "tipping points" could be sudden and surprising, experts say. The threat of sudden climate change disaster-from the poles melting to farmlands failing-is real and requires an early warning system, an expert panel suggested on Tuesday. Looking at "tipping points" for global warming disasters, the National Research Council panel report on "abrupt" climate impacts finds noteworthy risks of sharp, sudden sea-level rise, water shortages, and extinctions worldwide in coming years and decades....