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Mutated, drug-resistant bacteria lurk in the peaceful British countryside
Sewage-treatment plants described as giant ‘mixing vessels’
after scientists discover mutated microbes in British river

Exclusive to The Independent, 19 July 2014 (by Steve Connor)

Superbugs resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics in the medical arsenal have been found for the first time in a British river – with scientists pinpointing a local sewage-treatment plant as the most likely source.

Scientists discovered the drug-resistant bacteria in sediment samples taken downstream of the sewerage plant on the River Sowe near Coventry. The microbes contained mutated genes that confer resistance to the latest generation of antibiotics.

The researchers believe the discovery shows how antibiotic resistance has become widespread in the environment, with sewage-treatment plants now acting as giant “mixing vessels” where antibiotic resistance can spread between different microbes.

A study found that a wide range of microbes living in the river had acquired a genetic mutation that is known to provide resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, a class of antibiotics used widely to treat meningitis, blood infections and other hospital-acquired infections.

Read more …

Copyright by The Independent, all rights reserved.


Via evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True blog [July 22, 2014]

  • What you’re seeing is a Doppler radar loop from the Lacrosse, Wisconsin office of the National Weather Service.  
  • What the radar saw for 90 minutes was a massive mayfly emergence on June 23.
  • Probably the giant mayfly, Hexagenia limbata.

On Saturday evening, June 23 2012, a massive mayfly emergence occurred along the Mississippi River beginning just after 9 pm. By late evening, mayflies were swarming in La Crosse, La Crescent, and points up and down the river. While the emergence of mayflies from their river bottom mud dwelling can occur at various times through the warm season, this particular event was one of the best seen on radar yet.

In the radar time lapse loop from 9 pm to just after 1030 pm, the yellows and oranges indicate a large magnitude of airborne mayflies.

Go here to see another amazing radar loop showing part of this swarm of mayflies being carried off by the wind at altitudes as high as 3000 feet!

More information [as well as images] at the La Crosse National Weather Service site …

The U.S. Geologic Survey updated Thursday [17 June 2014] its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor. 

TOP MAP  The new federal earthquake risk map raises the chance of shaking slightly for about half of the United States and lowers it for another quarter. Portions of Washington, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and Tennessee were moved into the top two hazard zones.

BOTTOM MAP  Map showing where the assessment of earthquake hazard increased and decreased between 2008 and 2014 map.
Red/brown = increased.          Blue = decreased.

SOURCE: Phys.Org

Via geovisual

Directly visualizing hydrogen bonds
IMAGE: The hydrogen-bonding interaction causes the atoms on each individual N-methylacetamide molecule to vibrate in unison. Credit: L. De Marco/UChicago

Using a newly developed, ultrafast femtosecond infrared light source, chemists at the University of Chicago have been able to directly visualize the coordinated vibrations between hydrogen-bonded molecules—the first time this sort of chemical interaction, which is found in nature everywhere at the molecular level, has been directly visualized. They describe their experimental techniques and observations in The Journal of Chemical Physics.


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