98 articles from WEDNESDAY 2.10.2019

(DUCK, N.C.) — A top weather forecasting official, who oversaw the government’s prediction centers that track ocean, hurricane and even space conditions, has died in rough seas on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

William Lapenta, 58, died Monday after lifeguards pulled him from the surf off the coastal town of Duck, local officials said. The National Weather Service had issued a warning earlier Monday about the area’s high risk of rip currents, a beach phenomenon that can pull swimmers out to sea.

Lapenta was swimming alone and it’s not clear if he’d been caught by a rip current, town spokeswoman Christian Legner said Wednesday. Lifeguards pulled Lapenta to shore, but responding emergency medical workers said he was dead at the scene, Legner said. While the specific reason he ran into trouble isn’t known, Monday’s surf conditions were likely a factor, Legner said.

The weather service has recorded seven previous deaths in rip currents in North Carolina this year, among 41 nationwide.

Lapenta was director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, which issues forecasts and warnings for aviation, ocean, storm and climate conditions in U.S. territories and beyond. Lapenta led NOAA’s efforts to develop enhanced weather prediction methods by allowing outside scientists virtual access to help improve government models, National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini said in a statement.

Lapenta, a native of Nyack, New York, lived in northern Virginia with his wife, Cathy, who is also a meteorologist, according to his weather service biography.

Understanding the causes and consequences of Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions is increasingly important in a world of growing human populations and climate change. A new review, led by scholars at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, highlights the role that cutting-edge scientific methods can play in broadening the discussions about megafaunal extinction and enabling more localized insights into ecosystems and species-specific responses to climate change and human activities.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), is the macromolecule that holds all hereditary and genetic information. Continuously under assault, alterations and damage to DNA can lead to many different health issues, including cancer. DNA is highly regulated within cells, where multiple mechanisms are at play to repair and protect its integrity. Scientists are still investigating these mechanisms to fully comprehend how these DNA repair processes are managed. Moffitt Cancer Center researchers recently identified a new mechanism that controls DNA repair. Their findings were published in the journal Cell Death & Differentiation.

An international research team led by Giuseppe Marramà from the Institute of Paleontology at the University of Vienna discovered a new and well-preserved fossil stingray with an exceptional anatomy, which greatly differs from living species. The find provides new insights into the evolution of these animals and sheds light on the recovery of marine ecosystems after the mass extinction occurred 66 million years ago. The study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Enticed by the brilliant green hues of copper acetate and copper resinate, some painters in the Renaissance period incorporated these pigments into their masterpieces. However, by the 18th century, most artists had abandoned the colors because of their tendency to darken with time. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' journal Inorganic Chemistry have uncovered the chemistry behind the copper pigments' color change.

Body of 150 non-experts to explore ways, over four months, of cutting carbon emissions by 40% before 2030

A group of 150 citizens, selected as a sample of non-working people in France, including pensioners and factory workers, will this week begin advising Emmanuel Macron on how the country can cut carbon emissions to tackle the climate crisis.

The panel was chosen by selecting people, aged from 16 to over 65, from towns and villages across France. More than 25,000 automatically generated calls were made to mobile numbers and landlines to find a representative “sample of national life”.

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Trial using rats showed the drug metformin repaired nerve damage caused by the disease

Scientists have raised hopes of a new treatment for multiple sclerosis after animal studies showed a common diabetes drug can repair nerve damage caused by the disease.

The effect of the drug was so striking that doctors in Cambridge are now planning a clinical trial of MS patients next year.

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Researchers have uncovered sex-based differences in the development of the hippocampus and amygdala. These brain areas have been implicated in the biology of several mental disorders that impact males and females differently. The findings may help researchers better understand sex-based differences in the emergence of mental disorders during adolescence and early adulthood.

The neutrino event IceCube 170922A, detected at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole, appears to originate from the distant active galaxy TXS 0506+056, at a light travel distance of 3.8 billion light years. TXS 0506+056 is one of many active galaxies and it remained a mystery why and how only this particular galaxy generated neutrinos so far.