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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Science Scene

Ozone is mending, thanks to global warming

A new report in Geophysical Research Letters shows evidence that the Earth’s ozone layer is slowly mending because of global warming.

The ozone hole formed brighter than usual clouds that protected the Antarctica region from the warming induced by greenhouse gases over the past 20 years.

The data shows that the hole generated high-speed winds that caused the sea salt to become airborne and form clouds. These clouds reflected more of the sun’s rays, fending off global warming.

Source: nytimes.com

Energy grant searches for alternative diagnostic source

The U.S. Energy Department has given grants to General Electric to find an alternative way to develop the radioactive isotope used to diagnose cancer, heart disease and kidney problems.

Molybdenum-99, or Moly-99, decays at a rapid rate that bounces gamma radiation off of organs, lighting them up and making them detectable. Because of its quick decay, it does not stay in the body for long. However, this makes it difficult to keep the isotope in large amounts.

The hope is that General Electric will be able to develop Moly-99 by taking Moly-98, a naturally occurring material.

This material is used in more than 40,000 medical procedures a day in the United States.

Source: nytimes.com

Recess before eating may improve children’s health

Experts and some schools across the U.S. are now moving recess to before lunch.

Reports from Sharon Elementary School in New Jersey show that when children play before eating, less food is wasted. More milk, fruits and vegetables are consumed during these snack times.

Nine years ago, North Ranch Elementary in Arizona adopted the same idea. By the end of the year, nurse visits dropped by 40 percent.

Teachers also report fewer occurrences of behavioral problems.

Source: nytimes.com

Haiti quake location surprises scientists

The Jan. 12 magnitude 7 earthquake that occurred in Haiti surprised scientists because of its location.

Those studying seismic hazards of the Caribbean thought an earthquake, if it was to occur, would have taken place in northern Dominican Republic, not Haiti.

The fault that ruptured had been building strain in Port-au-Prince for 240 years. Other similar faults, such as the Septentrional, have not had an earthquake for 800 years.

A rupture in that fault – although no predictions on when that could occur – could result in a 7.5 magnitude earthquake which could severely damage the Dominican Republic’s city of Santiago. The surrounding Cibao Valley, along with Santiago, are home to several million people.

Source: nytimes.com


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