what's the buzz

what's the buzz

New technology uses sunlight to purify water

Scientists have come up with a new technology that uses sunlight with several high-tech components to purify water.

Anne Morrissey said that the new technology could someday be incorporated into making an easy-to-use water purifier that would remove stubborn pollutants from drinking water, New Scientist reported.

Morrissey’s team at Dublin City University worked with titanium dioxide(TiO2), that is used to whiten paints, paper, toothpaste, food and other products that can also act as a catalyst with the right energy and break down unwanted compounds in drinking water like pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

She said that TiO2 is usually only activated by ultraviolet light, which is produced by special bulbs and Graphene has great potential to be used for water treatment.Morrissey said that they are looking at using the graphene composite in a cartridge for one-step drinking water treatment, which involves just plopping the cartridge into the water pipe. She added that a lot of research is required to declare the TiO2-graphene system a success and her design seems to be easier to make and dispose of than other visible-light activated TiO2 purifiers.
Diabetes and high blood pressure to affect brainPeople who develop diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age are more likely to have brain cell loss and other damage to the brain, as well as problems with memory and thinking skills, than people who never have diabetes or high blood pressure or who develop it in old age, a new study suggests.

Middle age was defined as age 40 to 64 and old age as age 65 and older. “Potentially, if we can prevent or control diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age, we can prevent or delay the brain damage that occurs decades later and leads to memory and thinking problems and dementia,” study author and Mayo Clinic epidemiologist Rosebud Roberts MB, ChB said.For the study, the thinking and memory skills of 1,437 people with an average age of 80 were evaluated. The participants had either no thinking or memory problems or mild memory and thinking problems called mild cognitive impairment. They then had brain scans to look for markers of brain damage that can be a precursor to dementia.

Participants’ medical records were reviewed to determine whether they had been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure in middle age or later.
 For diabetes, 72 people developed it in middle age, 142 in old age and 1,192 did not have diabetes. For high blood pressure, 449 people developed it in middle age, 448 in old age and 369 did not have it.

Compared to people who did not have diabetes, people who developed diabetes in middle age had a total brain volume average of 2.9 percent smaller. In the hippocampus area of the brain, the volume was 4 percent smaller.

They also were twice as likely to have thinking and memory problems. Compared to people who did not have high blood pressure, people who developed high blood pressure in middle age were twice as likely to have areas of brain damage.

Forests key to the existence of mammals: StudyA new study has warned that the destruction of forests, that made earth habitable for mammals in the first place, will lead to the decline of all mammals, including humans.The value of forests and tree-based ecosystems extends far beyond carbon sequestration; they are the foundation of sustainable societies.

A new report, launched in Jakarta, Indonesia on 21 March - the International Day of Forests – promotes REDD+ and the Green Economy as together providing a new pathway to sustainable development that can benefit all nations.

It claims this approach can conserve and even boost the economic and social benefits forests provide to human society. Building Natural Capital – How REDD+ Can Support a Green Economy outlines how REDD+ can be integrated into a Green Economy to support pro-poor development while maintaining or increasing forest cover.

According to the report, REDD+ needs to be placed in a landscape-scale planning framework that goes beyond forests to consider all sectors of a modern economy and the needs of agriculture, energy, water resources, finance, transport, industry, trade and cities.

In this way, REDD+ would add value to other initiatives, such as agroforestry projects that are being implemented within these sectors, and be a critical element in a green economy.The report provides recommendations on how to integrate REDD+ and Green Economy approaches, such as through better coordination, stronger private sector engagement, changes in fiscal incentive frameworks, greater focus on assisting policymakers to understand the role forests play in propping up economies, and equitable benefit sharing.

While it is recognized that what lies ahead is a long process of societies adapting to new conditions, REDD+ could be integral to increasing agricultural and forestry outputs to meet future needs, while at the same time enhancing the conservation of forests and ecosystem services.

Forests and trees are key to sustainable development. Not only do they store carbon, they support biodiversity, regulate water flows and, reduce soil erosion. Nearly 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests as a source of food, medicines, timber and fuel.