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September 12, 2014 | In a finding that could alter how scientists quantify emissions of certain pollutants, a new study in Nature concludes that the self-cleaning power of the atmosphere does not differ substantially between the northern and southern hemispheres. The finding was surprising, as model simulations generally show that the hydroxyl molecule (OH)—the dominant “detergent” of the atmosphere that removes many pollutants by oxidizing them—is more common in the Northern Hemisphere.AtmosNews Category: Article type: Organization(s): People:
THE lucky ones are admitted to a health centre. They arrive bleeding, in taxis, on foot, in wheelbarrows and sometimes in ambulances. Mostly there is little help available and patients are dying alone, lying on the ground and lucky to receive even palliative care. Médecins Sans Frontières, a medical charity that has treated more than two-thirds of the known patients, says its centres are overwhelmed.The death toll from the Ebola virus is continuing to grow alarmingly. On September 9th the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it had recorded 4,293 cases in five west African countries, of which at least 2,296 people had died (see map below). But even the WHO’s experts believe that is an underestimate as many people are suspected to be dying at home. By some estimates 12,000 people have been infected with Ebola so far.In Liberia the disease is spreading quickly. The country’s existence is now “seriously threatened” as the functions of state are disrupted, Brownie Samukai, Liberia’s minister of national defence, said this week. The health system, already weak, is breaking down. At least 160 Liberian health-care workers have contracted the disease and half of them have...
PEOPLE with back pain are known for their grouchiness, and it is not helped if they are also starved for sex. Although sex makes serious demands on the spine, no one has taken the time to study how different sexual positions can accommodate different back problems.But Stuart McGill and Natalie Sidorkewicz of the University of Waterloo in Canada rose to the challenge. They brought ten heterosexual couples with healthy spines into the lab and asked them to have sex using five randomly assigned intercourse positions. These included two variations of the “missionary position”, where the man is on top of the woman and facing her; two variations of the “doggy” position, where the man is behind the woman on all-fours, and the “spoon”, which involves both participants lying cupped together on their sides. The last of these is often recommended by family doctors as the safest for sore backs.Most back problems in younger folk are triggered by bending forward, a movement called flexion. But as people age, reaching up and back, known as extension, becomes a more common cause. The researchers wanted to see how various sexual positions differentially taxed the spine, so people would know what to avoid.They used eight infra-red motion-capture cameras to track the movements of reflective dots placed strategically on the participants’ bodies. The cameras monitored the movements for 20...