An environmental activist friend of mine recently shook her head and marveled at the extraordinary accomplishments of the last several months. “Still lots of work to be done,” she said. “But wow! This has been an epic period for environmentalists!”
From the rejection of the Keystone pipeline to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (COP21), “epic” may be an apt descriptor for someone who is an environmentalist.
However, nothing galvanizes opposing forces to action better than significant wins by their foes. And 2016 appears to promise that environmental issues – particularly climate change – will be more politicized than ever before.
Along with rising sea levels, warmer winters, and worsening heat waves, climate change could raise our odds of getting malaria or other parasite-born diseases. One reason for that is because mosquitos and other disease-carriers are able to expand into areas that used to be too cold for them.
Cattadori and colleagues observed Scottish rabbits for nearly two and a half decades and found that the warming climate over that period enabled soil parasites to live longer, putting the rabbits at an increased risk of infection. The extent to which this increased risk affects the severity of an infection, she says, depends on the strength of the host’s (in this case, the rabbit’s) immune response. Cattadori’s findings could eventually help treat and prevent infections in humans from similar parasites.
She tells us more in the video below:
Members of the news media interested in talking to Cattadori should contact Barbara Kennedy at 814-863-4682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in The Centre Daily Times as an installment of the paper’s Focus on Research column. Focus on Research highlights research projects and topics being explored across all disciplines at Penn State. Each column features the work of a different researcher.
The best thing about a day in my life on the lookout for gravitational waves is that I never know when it will begin.
Like many of my colleagues working for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the morning of Monday, September 14, 2015 caught me completely off-guard. For years, we’ve been joking that Advanced LIGO would be so sensitive we might just detect one the very first day it turns on. In retrospect, it’s remarkable how close to reality that joke turned out to be.
LIGO is listening for gravitational waves – one of the last unproven predictions of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In his view of the universe, space and time are fluid things that depend on an observer’s frame of reference. For example, time passes just a (very) little bit more slowly for those who work on the ground floor of an office building as compared to their peers on the 101st floor. Why? They’re deeper in Earth’s gravitational pull.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on The Conversation on February 18, 2015.
Anyone who knows me also knows that I have a huge sweet tooth. I always have. My friend and fellow graduate student Andrew is equally afflicted, and living in Hershey, Pennsylvania – the “Chocolate Capital of the World” – doesn’t help either of us.