What Tim's talking about on radio – 21 July

Tim’s blog

This week Tim Thwaites has been talking on radio about geoengineering:

1. Geoengineering can’t please everyoneAttempting to counter global warming by injecting sunlight-reflecting particles into the upper atmosphere may not be the quick fix that advocates believe it could be. Computer models constructed by American scientists show not only could it lead to long-term declines in rainfall, but the impact will vary by region. In some places it will have little effect, in others too much.—Nature Geoscience

A Nature report can be found at http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100718/full/news.2010.357.html

2. Depression makes the world look dullFor people with depression the world really does look dull—because their ability to perceive contrast is impaired, German researchers have found. They measured electrical activity along the optic nerve of depressed and normal volunteers as they viewed a chequered pattered while the contrast was decreased.—Biological Psychiatry

A New Scientist report can be found at http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727695.100-depression-makes-the-world-look-dull.html

3. Will IVF work for you?—IVF is expensive, emotional and does not always succeed. US researchers have come up with a better way of estimating a couple’s chances of having a child this way. The work should give patients advice as to how best to use their limited resources.—Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

A Science report can be found at http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/07/will-ivf-work-for-you.html

4. Reprogrammed cells rememberAdult cells reprogrammed to resemble embryonic stem cells still retain traces of the tissue from which they came, American researchers have found. This means the reprogrammed cells don’t always behave the same way as embryonic stem cells, and can’t just be used as substitutes.—Nature Biotechnology

A Science report can be found at http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/07/the-persistence-of-memory-in-rep.html

5. Enlist malaria-resistant mosquitoes to stop its spread—Here’s a cunning way to create a mosquito population free of the malaria parasite—genetically engineer mosquitoes that kill it off. US researchers have inserted a novel gene into the mosquitoes which increases the immune response and rids them of the parasite.—Public Library of Science, Pathogens

A New Scientist report can be found at http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19194-enlist-malariaresistant-mosquitoes-to-stop-its-spread.html

6. High heels come with a priceIf your partner loves you in high heels, your tendons won’t. Researchers have used MRI and ultrasound to compare the calf muscles and tendons of women who mainly wear high heels with those who don’t. They found the muscle fibres become shorter and the tendons more rigid in those who wear high heels, which is why they feel so sore once the shoes come off.—Journal of Experimental Biology

A Science report can be found at http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/07/scienceshot-high-heels-come-with.html