EXCLUSIVE Guinea rail builders blast in chimp habitat, no plan to protect apes | Reuters

A Chinese-backed consortium building infrastructure for a massive iron ore mine in Guinea started blasting a railway tunnel in a habitat for a critically endangered chimpanzee species with no plan in place to manage the impact on the animals, company and government statements and satellite imagery show.
— Read on www.reuters.com/world/africa/exclusive-guinea-rail-builders-blast-chimp-habitat-no-plan-protect-apes-2021-08-17/

Glass sponges contain properties that may advance the design of ships, planes and skyscrapers | NSF – National Science Foundation

The remarkable structural properties of Euplectella aspergillum, the Venus flower basket sponge, might seem far removed from human-engineered structures. However, insights into how the organism’s latticework of holes and ridges influences the hydrodynamics of seawater in its vicinity could lead to advanced designs for buildings, bridges, marine vehicles and aircraft, or anything that must respond safely to forces imposed by the flow of air or water.

While past research has investigated the structure of the sponge, there have been few studies of the hydrodynamic fields surrounding and penetrating the organism, and whether, beyond improving its mechanical properties, the skeletal motifs of E. aspergillum underlie the optimization of the flow physics within and beyond its body cavity.
— Read on www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp

Observation-based early-warning signals for a collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation | Nature Climate Change

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a major ocean current system transporting warm surface waters toward the northern Atlantic, has been suggested to exhibit two distinct modes of operation. A collapse from the currently attained strong to the weak mode would have severe impacts on the global climate system and further multi-stable Earth system components. Observations and recently suggested fingerprints of AMOC variability indicate a gradual weakening during the last decades, but estimates of the critical transition point remain uncertain. Here, a robust and general early-warning indicator for forthcoming critical transitions is introduced. Significant early-warning signals are found in eight independent AMOC indices, based on observational sea-surface temperature and salinity data from across the Atlantic Ocean basin. These results reveal spatially consistent empirical evidence that, in the course of the last century, the AMOC may have evolved from relatively stable conditions to a point close to a critical transition. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is currently strong, but transition to its weak mode could see significant changes in the climate system. This work presents an observation-based early-warning system for such transitions and shows that the AMOC may be approaching a transition.
— Read on www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01097-4.epdf

Nature’s Nuclear Reactors: The 2-Billion-Year-Old Natural Fission Reactors in Gabon, Western Africa – Scientific American Blog Network

Nature’s Nuclear Reactors: The 2-Billion-Year-Old Natural Fission Reactors in Gabon, Western Africa – Scientific American Blog Network
— Read on blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/natures-nuclear-reactors-the-2-billion-year-old-natural-fission-reactors-in-gabon-western-africa/