In the papers...
Bird flu studies to be published
Two papers on new strains of bird flu have been approved for publication by the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). The NSABB had previously raised concerns about the two papers (one submitted to Nature and one to Science) saying that bioterrorists could use the publications. However, after a new risk analysis the board has given updated versions of the two papers the green light. The published work investigated how easy it might be for bird flu to mutate into a highly transmissible form - capable of infecting people - in the wild. Both new viruses created by the work are not lethal and can be controlled by conventional antivirals.
The Guardian, 4 April 2012
White roofs beat 50 year car ban
Painting roofs white and using light-coloured materials for roads and pavements would not only cool cities in the summer, but would also save as much carbon as removing every car in the world for 50 years. That's the conclusion of a study into increasing the reflectivity (albedo) of cities. White roofs would reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer and an increase in urban albedo could even help to lower global temperatures.
The Independent, 13 April 2012
Germans pull plug on UK nuclear
The UK's energy future is in disarray as the German energy firms E.ON and RWE have scrapped plans to build six new nuclear power plants. The move has left the government scrambling for investors for its £15?billion plan to replace the country's ageing nuclear and coal based power plants - due to close at the end of the decade. E.ON and RWE blamed their decision on funding constraints and the phase out of nuclear power in Germany. The exit leaves the UK dependant on French owned EDF Energy as the sole firm still bidding to build nuclear reactors in the UK.
The Times, 30 March 2012