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Sea Level Rise Of One Meter Within 100 Years

New research indicates that the ocean could rise in the next 100 years to a meter higher than the current sea level – which is three times higher than predictions from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC.

The groundbreaking new results from an international collaboration between researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, England and Finland are published in the scientific journal Climate Dynamics.

According to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the global climate in the coming century will be 2-4 degrees warmer than today, but the ocean is much slower to warm up than the air and the large ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are also slower to melt. The great uncertainty in the calculation of the future rise in the sea level lies in the uncertainty over how quickly the ice sheets on land will melt and flow out to sea. The model predictions of the melting of the ice sheets are the basis for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's predictions for the rise in sea level are not capable of showing the rapid changes observed in recent years. The new research has therefore taken a different approach.

Looking at the direct correlation

"Instead of making calculations based on what one believes will happen with the melting of the ice sheets we have made calculations based on what has actually happened in the past. We have looked at the direct relationship between the global temperature and the sea level 2000 years into the past", explains Aslak Grinsted, who is a geophysicist at the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

With the help of annual growth rings of trees and analysis from ice core borings researchers have been able to calculate the temperature for the global climate 2000 years back in time. For around 300 years the sea level has been closely observed in several places around the world and in addition to that there is historical knowledge of the sea level of the past in different places in the world.

By linking the two sets of information together Aslak Grinsted could see the relationship between temperature and sea level. For example, in the Middle Ages around 12th century there was a warm period where the sea level was approximately 20 cm higher than today and in the 18th century there was the 'little ice age', where the sea level was approximately 25 cm lower than it is today.

A rise in sea level in the future as in the past

Assuming that the climate in the coming century will be three degrees warmer, the new model predictions indicate that the ocean will rise between 0,9 and 1,3 meters. To rise so much so quickly means that the ice sheets will melt much faster than previously believed. But it has already been observed that the ice sheets react quicker to increases in temperature than experts thought just a few years ago. And studies from the ice age show that ice sheets can melt quickly. When the ice age ended 11.700 years ago, the ice sheets melted so quickly that sea level rose 11 millimeters per year – equivalent to a meter in 100 years. In the current situation with global warming, Aslak Grinsted believes, that the sea level will rise with the same speed – that is to say a meter in the span of the next 100 years

Source: Science Daily


Facebook Employees ‘Accessed User Passwords’

Katherine Losse, ex-speech writer for Mark Zuckerberg, is now warning the masses of open password access. She is claiming that the social network giant has a master password, allowing entry to any account on the popular platform, according to the Voice of Russia.

She explained to the media that staff needed to have access to accounts in order to manage and repair user issues, claiming that it was common practice at the time for early-stage startups to give their staff access to customers’ personal information. This may raise concerns as an unknown amount of Facebook users login with that very password on other networks too.

Still, Losse did confess that more sophisticated ways of logging in to fix accounts has been put in place and Facebook now has “very, very strict processes” enabled to keep passwords and user information safe and sound.

“Facebook is very highly regulated and places great importance on the integrity of the information people choose to add to it,” a source close to Facebook said.

Two kinds of staff members are allowed to enter a user’s account, the ones from the operations team and the security team. Even though these employees get access to a person’s private account, this is monitored and logged every day.

The Irish Data Protection Commission discovered through an audit that Facebook actually has “an appropriate framework to ensure that all access to user data is on a need to know basis”.

Still, privacy campaign Big Brother Watch claims that this incident is another reminder for internet users to always ask themselves who can dip into their virtual communications.

"Whether it’s an administrator doing it themselves, or as we’ve seen with other services people resetting the administrator’s password and accessing it themselves, with any service like this there is always a risk of your privacy being compromised. The key difference with Facebook is that it is so much faster to identify the account of the person you’re trying to snoop on,” Nick Pickles, director of privacy campaign Big Brother Watch, said.

 “Ultimately whether it’s health records or Facebook accounts, someone other than you is always going to need to have the ability to access your data, whether for security or service delivery reasons. The question people should be asking is just how much personal information you’re willing to be available in the first place,” Pickles said.

Back in 2009, a hacker from France got a hold of a Twitter staff account, giving him clearance to look at user accounts on the site. After he guessed the answer for the secret question to obtain their Yahoo password, the hacker said he got the chance to grab information about the staffer’s Twitter login data.


Atlantic Ocean may disappear soon

According to some scientists, the Atlantic Ocean is rapidly "aging" and may soon disappear from the face of the Earth. A team of researchers from Australia found a quickly forming subduction zone on the ocean floor. Usually these zones are a sign of "aging." Scientists do not rule out that their formation is to be blamed on the Mediterranean Sea that has been "dying" for a long time.

For many of us the oceans are symbols of eternity and immutability, but in fact they are not. Even the largest bodies of water on our planet do not last forever - they appear, develop, grow old, and then disappear. For example, look at the Tethys Ocean that existed between the ancient continents of Laurasia and Gondwana during the Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic era (320 to 66.5 million years ago). What is left of this mighty river basin? Only a few small seas - the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas and modest Persian Gulf.

Usually new oceans are born when continents break apart and hot magma pours into the faults, hardens and turns into the oceanic crust. This is how the Atlantic Ocean was created in the Mesozoic era when the supercontinent Pangaea split into southern Gondwana and northern Laurasia continents. Conversely, old oceans dye when continents collide, and the oceanic crust under their pressure sinks back into the mantle. The abovementioned Tethys disappeared when Africa and India approached Eurasia, not leaving any room for the water basin before separating these continents.

Obviously, even the oceans are subject to aging. Some of them are aging much faster than scientists assume. Recently, an Australian scientist Joao Duarte of Monash University and his colleagues found that the Atlantic Ocean does not have much left to live. This seems rather surprising because, according to the conventional opinion, this body of water is rather young. This is evidenced by the bottom of the subduction zones - linear stretches along which some blocks of the earth's crust dip under the others. In these areas the old crust goes into the mantle, giving place to a younger mantel. The younger mantle leaves the ground during spreading - a process of an impulsive and multiple shifts of the lithosphere of the oceanic crust and filling the freed space with magma generated in the mantle.

Interestingly, spreading zones exist in the Atlantic Ocean. This process takes place in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and is quite active. But this indicates the young age of the ocean. In the Pacific there are many subduction zones, but quite a few places where spreading occurs, therefore it is considered old enough. However, as it turned out, the Atlantic Ocean is not that young if it has subduction zones.

Dr. Duarte's research group was concerned with the fact that in 1755 and 1969 Portugal was rocked by powerful earthquakes whose epicenters were in the depths of the ocean. This suggests that something unusual was happening in the deep waters, for example, formation of subduction zones. Over the years the oceanic crust cools down and becomes denser, so at some point it can spontaneously become deformed, that is, bend and subside back into the mantle. Such "movements" of the crust often generate earthquakes with a deep epicenter.


In addition, it was known that there is a great deal of overt Hurst faults in the part of the Atlantic close to Gibraltar. They are small areas of the crust where some fragments overlap other rocks. Typically, these sites are markers of the beginning of a subduction zone formation. For eight years Duarte's team was engaged in mapping the geological activity at the Portuguese coast, and as a result, scientists have found that these over thrust faults were linked to each other with transform faults - areas where the rocks rub against each other at the same level. This creates a large fault system stretching over several hundred kilometers, which, apparently, is none other than an emerging subduction zone.

But why did this zone appear in a quiet in terms of tectonic activity area? Dr. Duarte believes that the "dying" Mediterranean Sea is to blame for its emergence. In fact, the investigated location is a mere 400 km to the west of the Gibraltar Arc - a subduction zone in the west of this body of water. In addition, the researchers found that the discovered transform faults connect the Gibraltar Arc with a new subduction zone. Most likely, the remnants of the Tethys Ocean, interacting with the Atlantic crust, caused premature aging of the second largest ocean on Earth.

"We can say with some confidence that we have an example of an infection by subduction. The Mediterranean Sea, in turn, could have "caught" subduction from an ancient ocean, and so on until the beginning of time. As you can see, this process is similar to a contagious disease.

But if this is the case, then perhaps we have witnessed a turning point in the history of the Atlantic. These areas will produce cracks that sooner or later will lead to a fault in the lithospheric plate. This may cause a shift of continents and, therefore, degradation of the Ocean," Joao Duarte commented on the study. According to his calculations, the premature death of the Atlantic can happen in 220 million years, and Europe and America will unite and the entire ocean will disappear from the face of the Earth.

Duarte's group theory was well received by many scientists, but not everyone agrees with his "apocalyptic" outlook. This "infectious theory" can explain the formation of subduction zones. However, according to a geologist Jacques Deversher of Brest University (France), it is too early to say with confidence that in this part of the world a new area will open, and more research is needed. Duarte's group was not going to stop their research, and now scientists are looking for a confirmation of the hypothesis in other parts of the Atlantic Ocean.



Octopus' Blue Blood Allows Them to Rule the Waves

Worldwide colonization by octopods is in their blood. They manage to survive temperature habitats ranging from as low as -1.8°C to more than 30°C due to their ability to keep supplying oxygen to their body tissues. A new study, to be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting on July 5, shows that a blue colored pigment, hemocyanin, in their blood, responsible for oxygen transport, crucially allows octopods to live in freezing temperatures.

Research by Michael Oellermann, Hans Pörtner and Felix Mark at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany, looked at how octopods are able to supply oxygen to tissues in freezing temperatures. The researchers compared the properties of blood pigment haemocyanin, responsible for oxygen transport, of Antarctic, Temperate and Warm-Adapted octopods.

The researchers found that the forms of haemocyanin of the Antarctic octopod Pareledone charcoti, are genetically and functionally different from the temperate and warmer climate octopods, facilitating oxygen release at sub-zero temperatures.

Michael Oellermann said: "Octopods are mainly local non-migratory species that move by crawling and have only short life stages in which they inhabit the water column. They are therefore mostly unable to migrate away from or escape "bad" environmental conditions, which exposes them to higher adaptive pressure to deal with these conditions. Our finding shows a crucial physiological adaption in cold environments that allows octopods to sustain an aerobic life."


Source: Science Daily

Brain's 'Garbage Truck' May Hold Key to Treating Alzheimer's and Other Disorders

In a perspective piece appearing today in the journal Science, researchers at University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) point to a newly discovered system by which the brain removes waste as a potentially powerful new tool to treat neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease. In fact, scientists believe that some of these conditions may arise when the system is not doing its job properly.

Essentially all neurodegenerative diseases are associated with the accumulation of cellular waste products," said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the URMC Center for Translational Neuromedicine and author of the article. "Understanding and ultimately discovering how to modulate the brain's system for removing toxic waste could point to new ways to treat these diseases."

The body defends the brain like a fortress and rings it with a complex system of gateways that control which molecules can enter and exit. While this "blood-brain barrier" was first described in the late 1800s, scientists are only now just beginning to understand the dynamics of how these mechanisms function. In fact, the complex network of waste removal, which researchers have dubbed the glymphatic system, was only first disclosed by URMC scientists last August in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The removal of waste is an essential biological function and the lymphatic system -- a circulatory network of organs and vessels -- performs this task in most of the body. However, the lymphatic system does not extend to the brain and, consequently, researchers have never fully understood what the brain does its own waste. Some scientists have even speculated that these byproducts of cellular function where somehow being "recycled" by the brain's cells.

One of the reasons why the glymphatic system had long eluded comprehension is that it cannot be detected in samples of brain tissue. The key to discovering and understanding the system was the advent of a new imaging technology called two-photon microscopy which enables scientists to peer deep within the living brain. Using this technology on mice, whose brains are remarkably similar to humans, Nedergaard and her colleagues were able to observe and document what amounts to an extensive, and heretofore unknown, plumbing system responsible for flushing waste from throughout the brain.

The brain is surrounded by a membrane called the arachnoid and bathed in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). CSF flows into the interior of the brain through the same pathways as the arteries that carry blood. This parallel system is akin to a donut shaped pipe within a pipe, with the inner ring carrying blood and the outer ring carrying CSF. The CSF is draw into brain tissue via a system of conduits that are controlled by a type support cells in the brain known as glia, in this case astrocytes. The term glymphatic was coined by combining the words glia and lymphatic.

The CSF is flushed through the brain tissue at a high speed sweeping excess proteins and other waste along with it. The fluid and waste are exchanged with a similar system that parallels veins which carries the waste out of the brain and down the spine where it is eventually transferred to the lymphatic system and from there to the liver, where it is ultimately broken down.

While the discovery of the glymphatic system solved a mystery that had long baffled the scientific community, understanding how the brain removes waste -- both effectively and what happens when this system breaks down -- has significant implications for the treatment of neurological disorders.

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation in the brain of the protein beta amyloid. In fact, over time these proteins amass with such density that they can be observed as plaques on scans of the brain. Understanding what role the glymphatic system plays in the brain's inability to break down and remove beta amyloid could point the way to new treatments. Specifically, whether certainly key 'players' in the glymphatic system, such as astrocytes, can be manipulated to ramp up the removal of waste.

"The idea that 'dirty brain' diseases like Alzheimer may result from a slowing down of the glymphatic system as we age is a completely new way to think about neurological disorders," said Nedergaard. "It also presents us with a new set of targets to potentially increase the efficiency of glymphatic clearance and, ultimately, change the course of these conditions."

Source: Science Daily