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Increased absorption of carbon dioxide in the Antarctic ocean detected by new study

A new study published in Nature Climate Change shows a great increase in the absorption of carbon dioxide in the Antarctic Ocean. In particular, the researchers analyzed the marine areas off the western Antarctic peninsula, an area that is experiencing very rapid climatic changes with very clear temperature increases and ice melting in tow.

Understanding how carbon dioxide absorption is changing in the Antarctic Ocean is crucial to understanding the development of current climate change, as Michael Brown, a researcher at the Center for Ocean Observing Leadership at Rutgers University, points out.

The study analyzed 25 years of oceanographic measurements in the Antarctic ocean and found that the carbon dioxide absorption of this marine area increased nearly five times during the summer from 1993 to 2017.

When the melting of sea ice reaches a certain level, there will not be a sufficient amount of ice to prevent mixing of the wind in the upper ocean and this will cause a reduced absorption of the same carbon dioxide in the Antarctic ocean with harmful consequences for the whole globe.

The results of the new study are more than worrying considering that the Antarctic ocean absorbs about half of the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, even more in recent decades following the increasingly widespread use of fossil fuels as an energy source.

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Retinitis pigmentosa: augmented reality can help

Augmented reality could be used to facilitate the lives of people with sight problems. The peculiar characteristics of this new technology, in fact, can be used to improve mobility and to ensure that people with sight problems can navigate better in their environment.

This is what was stated by a group of researchers from the University of Southern California School of Medicine after analyzing various patients with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that can cause significant vision problems. The results they obtained during the first experiments they performed with glasses adapted for augmented reality saw an improvement in the mobility of patients with this disease by 50%.

As Mark Humayun and Charlotte Ginsburg, two of the researchers who conducted the study, specify, this is a different approach than other attempts to exploit technologies such as augmented reality: the latter, in this case, is used to improve, not for replace, the natural senses. For example, glasses adapted to augmented reality can project different bright colors on the patient’s retina, colors that can correspond to obstacles of various kinds.

The same glasses can perform a complete rendering of the 3D structure of a room practically in real-time. The same rendering is translated into a semi-transparent colored visual overlay that highlights the edges and lines of potential obstacles with bright colors. The same technology, as reported in the press release, can already work on commercially available augmented reality devices.

During the experiments, patients with retinitis pigmentosa wore glasses for augmented reality, equipped with the aforementioned software, while they traveled a real path with obstacles. Analyzing the number of times the patients clashed with obstacles and the time taken to complete the pathway, the researchers noted that the patients who benefited from augmented reality enjoyed some improvement.

In particular, they had a 50% lower number of collisions against obstacles, a fairly clear improvement.

“Through the use of RA, we aim to improve the quality of life for visually impaired patients by increasing their confidence in performing basic tasks, ultimately enabling them to live a more independent life,” says Anastasios N. Angelopoulos, one of the researchers who participated in the study.

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Birds living near airports are more prone to deafness

The birds that live around the airports show more aggression and chirp as if they have hearing problems. This is the discovery made by a group of researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University and the Institute of Biology of Leiden.

The researchers analyzed the Phylloscopus collybita, also known in Italian as luì piccolo, a small passerine bird. In particular, they analyzed populations living near Manchester airport and near Amsterdam Schiphol airport. According to the researchers, they could be suffering from deafness due to the high frequencies emitted by aircraft engine noises.

The researchers also made this connection on the basis of previous studies that had shown that different species of birds reported a variation in chirping in relation to the environmental noise of the areas in which they lived, for example urban areas or along roads.

They also noted higher aggression on the part of Phylloscopus collybita males who live near airports, which makes them consume much more energy than will be available for breeding or defending predators.

According to the researchers, more than 16,000 birds, belonging to more than 100 different species, suffer from hearing loss due to aircraft noise.

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Laser scarecrows developed to scare birds and keep them away from the fields

Laser scarecrows to prevent birds from eating crops have been developed by a researcher from the University of Rhode Island. The same researcher has already tested it in various cultivated fields of the state and has ascertained the good level of yield compared to the classic scarecrows and above all compared to the propane cannons.

The laser emits green light, a color for which the birds are very sensitive, which automatically moves back and forth across the field scaring the birds even before they can reach the plants. It is made with relatively inexpensive LED lights and can also work with batteries. The latter can also be charged by solar panels.

Propane guns are effective but noisy, which, when cultivated fields are close to homes, can create problems. The laser scarecrows are instead completely silent while the beam they emit is not visible to humans in the light of the sun, as specified by Rebecca Brown, professor of plant sciences at the aforementioned university that invented the device.

This is not an absolute novelty: it is already for several years that lasers are used precisely to scare the birds but they are hardly used in agriculture as they are considered unsuitable, at least until the presentation of this new device; they are for example used in closed or partially closed environments such as stadiums or warehouses.

According to the researcher, the success of the device lies in the fact that the birds perceive the laser beam as a solid object from which it is necessary to stay away even if it has noticed that if the laser is fixed and does not move constantly, the birds tend to ignore it in the end. There are evidently biological-cerebral mechanisms that the researcher has not however analyzed given the fact that the device seems to work.

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Submerged shipyard of 8000 years ago found in England

A wooden structure dating back to the Stone Age has been analyzed by researchers from an English institute. The structure, almost intact, is 11 meters below the sea near the Isle of Wight, England, and had already been discovered in 2005.

However, several mysteries have enveloped this structure as the researchers, during the first years of analysis, failed to interpret the meaning of the platforms, walkways and various carved wooden structures found on the site, also because they were completely submerged.

The researchers of the Maritime Archaeological Trust have re-analyzed, also performing a 3D modeling, this 8000-year-old structure, the oldest stone-age wooden structure ever found in the United Kingdom, obtaining new interesting results.

8000 years ago, the area was dry land with lush vegetation. The researchers found that it is a platform composed of various wooden structures, often of different layers, resting on round wooden foundations arranged horizontally.

It is a wood processing so advanced that it was not thought to be connected to this era. The researchers believe it was a small shipyard for the construction of boats, certainly the oldest shipyard in the world ever identified.