Newsletter 212


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Newsletter 212

  1. 1. SOUTH AMERICA ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND HEALTH NEWSLETTER212 t h issue, December 13, 2012 PERU: Google Street View Vehicles To Start Filming in Peru* In this issue: Last week, Google vehicles started to collect images from different districts and regions of Peru, to Peru: Google Street View implement a Street View function into its popular Vehicles To Start Filming maps, which allows to view images from a walker’s in Peru level. Science: The Connection Between Species Extinction, Organized The Street View Function allows to perform virtual Crime, and the Spread of walks and verify a restaurant address, visit Disease. neighborhoods or plan a trip by exploring a place Health: An Experimental before visiting it. Treatment for Leukemia Using HIV Cells. was there when Google vehicles Antarctica: Ice is Melting started this trip on the streets of San Isidro. It is a Faster Than Expected. van mounted with sophisticated equipment and IIP Digital Links: Innovative Cities. cameras, which capture 360° images. Health: Unexpected Toughness May Mark Out “Now, people will start seeing these vehicles in Cancer Cells in the many places of Peru, taking pictures”, pointed out Blood. Susana Pabóm, Google communication manager for Peru: 2012 Birdwatching Colombia and Peru. “Later, images will be digitalized Contest. for Street View,” she added. “We will provide the Science: Birds Use world with a window to see Lima, Arequipa, Machu Cigarette Butts to Build Picchu and other places in Peru”, said Pabóm to Their Nests. highlight that this function will allow tourists to Photo by Paul Lowry (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License . obtain information about the most representative Next events: cities of the country.” February 1, 2013 Countries in Latin America, including Brazil, Chile and Mexico, already count on Street View. In REO S&T School Contest Colombia, the picture collection process started in June. Peru is the fifth country joining this project Launching in South America. February 4, 2013 World Cancer Day PRIVACY. Regarding privacy, Google explained that through Street View, they will only show the March 22, 2013 same roads visible when you walk or drive.” Faces and plates of vehicles will be blurred to avoid to World Water Day be seen without consent. April17-19, 2013 IFT Energy “Once images are available to public access, we will provide the tools to allow, upon user’s request, Santiago, Chile July 10-12, 2013 the elimination of images showing inappropriate content“ Google precised through its official blog. Eolica Buenos Aires, Argentina Read more at: The information contained herein was gathered from news sources from across the region, and the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of the Regional Environmental HUB Office or of our constituent posts. Addressees interested in sharing any ESTH-related events of USG interest are welcome to do so. For questions or comments, please contact us at * Free translation prepared by REO staff.
  2. 2. SCIENCE: The Connection Between Species Extinction, Organized Crime, and the Spread ofDisease By Cristian SamperThe below statement was issued in observance of Wildlife Conservation Day. To learn about the Wildlife Conserva-tion Society, visit wildlife trafficking may prove to be the demise of many of our Earths species. Further, this activity -- whichis snuffing out the last populations of elephants, tigers and other animals -- finances organized crime and aug-ments the spread of zoonotic diseases. There is no lack of reasons to join efforts to stop wildlife trafficking. To-gether, we need to protect the source, break the chain and stop demand.At a recent event in Washington, D.C., U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated words spoken by the State Photo by T. Doksone (flickr user).Departments Bob Hormats, saying: "...wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more wide- Under Creative Commons License.spread, and more dangerous than ever before."The State Department also stated, "Wildlife trafficking threatens security and the rule of law, undermines conservation efforts, robs localcommunities of their economic base, and contributes to the emergence and spread of disease."Read more at: Experimental Treatment for Leukemia Using HIV Cells By Denise GradyLast spring, 6-year-old Emma Whitehead was near death from leukemia. She had relapsed twice afterchemotherapy, and doctors had run out of options.Desperate to save her, her parents sought an experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital ofPhiladelphia, one that had never before been tried in a child, or in anyone with the type of leukemiaEmma had. The experiment, in April, used a disabled form of the virus that causes AIDS to reprogramEmma’s immune system genetically to kill cancer cells.The treatment very nearly killed her. But she emerged from it cancer-free, and about seven monthslater is still in complete remission. She is the first child and one of the first humans ever in whom newtechniques have achieved a long-sought goal — giving a patient’s own immune system the lastingability to fight cancer. Photo by Bob Harwig (flickr user). UnderNine of the twelve people subject to this treatment reacted favorably.Read more at: Ice is Melting Faster Than Expected New observations published by oceanographers from the University of Gothen- burg and the U.S. may improve our ability to predict future changes in ice sheet mass. The study was recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience. A reduction of the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland will affect the water levels of the worlds oceans. It is therefore problematic that we currently have insufficient knowledge about the ocean circulation near large glaciers in West Antarctica. This means that researchers cannot predict how water levels will change in the future with any large degree of certainty.Photo by John Lester (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License. "There is a clear reduction in the ice mass in West Antarctica, especially around theglaciers leading into the Amundsen Sea," says researcher Lars Arneborg from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University ofGothenburg. One reason why West Antarctica is particularly sensitive is that the majority of the ice rests on areas that are belowsea level. Warm sea water penetrates beneath the ice, causing increased melting from underneath.Read full article at:
  3. 3. IIP Digital Links: Innovative CitiesCLIMATE CHANGE: World Bank Unveils 10-Year Environmental Strategy By Lisa FriedmanThe video team has two new videos, also available in youtube:Innovative Cities: Rock Port, Missouri is 100% powered by wind energy. Cities: Eugene, Oregon is building a bike path infrastructure for greener living. Photo by William Ward (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License. Unexpected Toughness May Mark Out Cancer Cells in the Blood By Jennifer BrownA surprising discovery about the physical properties of cancer cells could help improve a new diagnostic approach—a liquid bi-opsy—that detects, measures, and evaluates cancer cells in blood. Cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream can form metasta-ses—new tumors. Detecting these rare circulating cancer cells in a blood sample is much less invasive than a standard tumor bi-opsy, and could prove useful for monitoring cancer progression and detecting recurrence. While studying what happens to cancer cells when they are subjected to powerful fluid forces, like those encountered in the bloodstream, researchers at the University of Iowa unexpectedly discov- ered that cancer cells are actually more likely to survive this turbulent fluid environment than nor- mal epithelial cells. The researchers suggest this surprising "hardiness" could be a potential bio- marker for detecting and studying cancer cells in the blood. The findings were published Dec. 3 in the journal PLOS ONE. "For many years, its been assumed that these circulating cancer cells are quite fragile, and they es- sentially get ‘blended’ by the fluid forces in the blood," says Michael Henry, associate professor of molecular physiology and biophysics at the UI Carver College of Medicine and lead study author. "But there was no real direct evidence for how fluid forces in the blood affect cancer cells. "What we found was that normal cells were, as expected, quite sensitive to the fluid forces and most did not survive. But, surprisingly, the cancer cells seemed to be remarkably resistant."Invadopodium extension by a cancer cellA cancer cell (red) extends alonginvadopodium through a matrigel Henry suggests that resistance to fluid shear stress might be a way to distinguish benign from malig-ba s e me nt me mb ra ne ( g re e n) . nant cells in circulating tumor cell samples. "By adding this really simple physical test to the isolationSchoumacher et al. reveal how the actin,microtubule, and vimentin cytoskeletons of circulating tumor cells, this technique might let us sort out malignant cells from benign cells. Beingcooperate to drive this initial step of able to quantify the numbers of ‘dangerous’ cells might be a more accurate prognostic marker fortumor metastasis.Read the full article at: the patient than simply counting the total number of circulating tumor cells," says Henry, who also deputy director for research with Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI.Photo by The Journal of Cell Biology(flickr user). Under Creative CommonsLicense. A simple system. Using a simple syringe and precise mathematical calculations of fluid dynamics, the UI team created an experimental system to mimic the short bursts of turbulent flow that a can-cer cell might experience in the blood. Passing a suspension of cells through the syringe needle allowed the researchers to studythe effect of a series of millisecond pulses of high fluid shear stress on a variety of different cancer cell types (prostate, breast, andmelanoma) as well as normal epithelial cells from breast and prostate tissue.After 10 passages though the syringe needle at high flow rate, around half of the cancer cells were still alive. In contrast, very fewnormal epithelial cells survived the process.Closer examination of the cell survival data revealed an additional twist. The rate at which the cancer cells are destroyed by pas-sage through the syringe is not constant over all 10 passages. Instead, exposure to fluid shear stress during the earlier passagesseems to trigger adaptive responses in cancer cells that actually increase the cells resistance to fluid shear stress.The UI team went on to show that this "toughening up" process appears to involve expression of common cancer-causing genes.They also showed that blocking the signaling pathway controlled by one of these oncogenes reduced the cancer cells resistance tofluid shear stress.Reat more about this topic at:
  4. 4. P E R U : 2 01 2 B i r d w a t c h i n g C o n t e s t *The swift (apodidae), a migratory bird originally from North America, was found in Peru during theBirding Rally Challenge, a birdwatching contest held in Peru, whose final destination was Machu Pic-chu. Also, the presence of the Peruvian wigeon (Anas sibilatrix) was confirmed. This species has notbeen seen since 1850. These findings were announced by Dennis Osorio, coordinator of this contestthat gathered some of the world’s most recognized ornithologists, who were part of a total of sixteams from five countries: United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Spain, and Brazil.In six days, participants had to identify the largest number of birds, in a trip that started at the Ama- The swift was seen in Tambopata byzon Tambopata Natural Reserve, and ended at the Machu Picchu rainforest. The winner team was the British team. This northern migratory bird travels South when the LSU-Tigrosomas from the United States, who observed 493 birds. winter starts, but nobody knew until Forest Falcons from the United Kingdom won the second place with now that it reached the Peruvian territory. 490 species. Photo by genuinno (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License. Dennis Osorio commented that this is the first time in South America that a competition like this has taken place over several days, as these contests last usually 24 hours. Following Colombia, Peru is the second country in the world in diversity of birds, counting on more than 1800 species in its different ecosystems. Read more at: -para-el-per%C3%BA/470419249670370 2 0 1 3 B i r d wa t c h i n g C o n t e s t *Participants could also observe one of themost representative birds of Peru, the cock “Peru will organize a new birdwatching contestof the rock (Rupicola peruviana), manyspecies of hummingbirds (Trochilinae), and during the first semester of 2013, which will coverthe A nde a n mo t mo t ( M o m o t u s the North coast and the jungle, including San Mar-ecuatorialis), known for moving its tail as apendulum. Birds hard to find were the tin, Amazonas and Lambayeque,” announcedMasked Fruiteater (Pipreola pulchra) and Claudia Cornejo, Vice Minister of Tourism.the Black-Faced cotinga (Conioptilonmcilhennyi) The new edition of this contest looks for a 17%Photo by Ricardo Sanchez (flickr user). UnderCreative Commons License. increase in birdwatching tourism. In September, Jose Luis Silva explained that Peru expects ap-proximately 20,000 birdwatchers to arrive in their country next year, which willgenerate an income of more than 50 million dollars. HOATZIN. Weird bird observed in San Martin region, Peru. Photo by Carine06 (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License.According to PromPeru, the profile of birdwatchers ranges between 35-75 yearsold, have an annual income higher than US$60,000, stay 11-15 days and are very concerned about environmental conservation.Read more at: Sparrows use Cigarette Butts to Build Their Nests*Birds living in urban areas had to adapt themselves to their environment and start using a wide variety of materials to build theirnests. In North America, for example, sparrows even use the cellulose from the cigarette butts. However, it was unknown untilnow, why these birds used them. Recently, scientists discovered that, in addition to be useful as thermal isolators, cigarette buttsprevented the nests of being invaded by parasites and other anthropods, thanks to the smell of nicotine they retain.Read more at: