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The National Geographic Society , headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States of America, is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical conservation, and the study of world culture and history. The National Geographic Society’s logo is a yellow portrait frame – rectangular in shape – which appears on the margins surrounding the front covers of its magazines and as its television channel logo. They also have their own website which features extra content and worldwide events. Wikipedia.


Burney J.A.,University of California at San Diego | Naylor R.L.,Stanford University | Postel S.L.,Global Water Policy Project | Postel S.L.,National Geographic Society
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2013

Distributed irrigation systems are those in which the water access (via pump or human power), distribution (via furrow, watering can, sprinkler, drip lines, etc.), and use all occur at or near the same location. Distributed systems are typically privately owned and managed by individuals or groups, in contrast to centralized irrigation systems, which tend to be publicly operated and involve large water extractions and distribution over significant distances for use by scores of farmers. Here we draw on a growing body of evidence on smallholder farmers, distributed irrigation systems, and land and water resource availability across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to show how investments in distributed smallholder irrigation technologies might be used to (i) use the water sources of SSA more productively, (ii) improve nutritional outcomes and rural development throughout SSA, and (iii) narrow the income disparities that permit widespread hunger to persist despite aggregate economic advancement. © PNAS 2013. Source


News Article
Site: http://news.yahoo.com/green/

President Barack Obama on Friday quadrupled the size of a national marine monument off the coast of Hawaii, making it the largest protected area of any kind — marine or terrestrial —in the world. Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument will now span 582,578 square miles near the Northern Hawaiian Islands, the Obama administration announced on Friday. This is four times the size of the state of California. The administration was able to expand the monument, which President George W. Bush first designated in 2006, using Obama's executive authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act. The islands, described as "America's Galapagos," encompass the most intact tropical marine region under U.S. control. Many of the 7,000 marine species in the protected area — including whales, sea turtles and ancient black coral — are fighting for survival as intensive commercial fishing and human-caused climate change destroy their habitats worldwide. SEE ALSO: Climate activists blame Exxon Mobil for largest coral bleaching event on record Obama will head to the Papahānaumokuākea (pronounced "Papa-ha-now-moh-koo-ah-kay-ah") Monument on Sept. 1 to draw attention to the threats that warming ocean temperatures and rising sea levels pose to marine ecosystems, according to the White House announcement. The president will visit Midway Atoll, the site of a decisive naval battle during World War II and a remote coral reef facing significant ecological strains. The atoll's Eastern Island, a habitat for millions of seabirds, could all but disappear if sea levels rise by 6.5 feet, or 2 meters, by the end of the century, the U.S. Geological Survey found in a 2013 study. The wider Hawaiian archipelago is also suffering from one of the worst and longest-lasting coral bleaching events in its history because of persistently high ocean temperatures. The warmer water puts stress on the coral, which in turn expel the symbiotic algae that live in their tissue and give them nutrients and color. Without the algae, the coral turn white or pale and become more vulnerable to disease and death. In Lisianski Atoll, which lies within the Papahānaumokuākea monument, about one-and-a-half square miles of reef bleached and died in 2014 — the worst bleaching event scientists had seen at the atoll, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last October. Severely bleached coral are seen near Lisianski Island in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in August 2014. Obama's action on Friday won't necessarily slow the spread of coral bleaching events or shield the fragile ecosystems from warming and more acidic waters and rising sea levels. But it will protect marine species from harmful human activities by banning commercial fishing, mineral extraction and other resource-depleting industries. The new area will also serve as a "natural laboratory" where scientists can monitor and explore the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems and study how the region's biological resources adapt, the Obama administration said.  "The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to one of the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet and a sacred place for the Native Hawaiian community," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Friday in a statement.  "President Obama’s expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument will permanently protect pristine coral reefs, deep sea marine habitats and important cultural and historic resources for the benefit of current and future generations," Jewell added. Obama is the seventh U.S. president to take steps to protect the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. President Teddy Roosevelt was the first, establishing the Hawaiian Islands Bird Reservation in 1909. President George W. Bush later created the Papahānaumokuākea monument in 2006, setting aside 139,818 square miles to protect and preserve the marine wildlife and the area's historic, cultural and scientific features. The original monument's boundaries were more than 100 times the size of Yosemite National Park in California and larger than 46 of the 50 U.S. states, Bush said at the time.  The former president said he was inspired by a documentary about the Northern Hawaiian Island's biological resources show at the White House by Jean-Michel Cousteau, a marine explorer and son of the late Jacques Cousteau, according to news reports. Bush was also encouraged after talking with renowned marine biologist Sylvia Earle, an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society since 1998. Sylvia Earle speaks at "The Ocean in 2050" forum  at National Geographic Museum in Washington, May 14, 2015. Earle has fought for decades to create marine protected areas across the planet. Her foundation, the Sylvia Earle Alliance, aims to create a global network of such areas to safeguard 20 percent of the ocean by 2020. The explorer told National Geographic on Friday that Obama's announcement buoys hope that the U.S. can lead the way in developing this network. Native Hawaiian leaders and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, first proposed the expansion of Papahānaumokuākea monument in June, on the 10th anniversary of President Bush's executive order establishing the original boundaries. In a letter to Obama, Schatz called for quadrupling the monument's size while still allowing for local, sustainable fishing by island communities. Recreational fishing and the removal of fish and other resources for Native Hawaiian cultural practices are allowed within the expanded monument by permit, as is scientific research. "Papahānaumokuākea is critically important to Native Hawaiian culture—it is our ancestral place, the birthplace of all life," Sol Kahoʻohalahala, a seventh-generation Hawaiian from the island of Lanai, said in a statement from Global Ocean Legacy, a project run by Pew Charitable Trusts. "The expanded monument will serve as a conservation, climate, and cultural refuge for my granddaughter and future generations," Kahoʻohalahala added.


News Article
Site: http://phys.org/biology-news/

The acacia ants she studies, Crematogaster mimosae, use their fearsome bite to defend their host trees against large animals such as elephants and giraffes that eat the trees' leaves. Even elephants' thick skin can't protect them from the ants, which bite them inside their trunks. "They really seem to have a knack for finding your soft tissue," Rudolph said. "It's a nasty business." Ants are also aggressive toward each other, fighting to the death over their tree territories. While the consequences for losing colonies are stark—loss of territory or colony death—Rudolph and UF postdoctoral research associate Jay McEntee wanted to understand the costs to the winners. After a fight, victorious colonies have to defend their newly gained territory with a workforce heavily depleted by fighting. In a new study funded in part by a National Geographic Society/Waitt Fund Grant and published in Behavioral Ecology, Rudolph and McEntee found that victorious colonies might offset this challenge by recruiting members of the losing colonies to help. In experiments based at Mpala Research Centre in Kenya, researchers instigated ant wars by tying unrelated colonies' trees together, counting casualties in tarps placed below. By simulating the browsing of a large mammal, they discovered that victorious colonies are less able to defend their host trees after fights. After analyzing the DNA of nearly 800 ants, they discovered that fighting changes the genetic make-up of victorious colonies. Long viewed as fortresses of cooperating sisters, where relatives of the queen work for her benefit, Rudolph's work demonstrates that non-relatives can become part of the colony—and potentially defend its residents and territory. Researchers were further surprised to find that, in some cases, fatal fights with thousands of casualties do not produce a distinct winner. Instead, colonies cease fighting and fuse together, with the queen of each colony still alive. "Colonies are battling so aggressively that many individuals die, but then they are able to just stop fighting and form a lasting truce," Rudolph said. "It's pretty remarkable." How they know to stop fighting remains is a mystery, showing the need for research on recognition systems. One possibility, Rudolph says, is that fighting changes the odors ants use to distinguish nestmates from potential invaders. "If so, the updated or blended cues shared by prior foes may help end aggressive responses," Rudolph said. Sorting out these processes could contribute to our understanding of an intriguing aspect of physical conflict - that animal combatants become more similar biologically through combat. That can be true for humans, too: A 2013 study showed that the skin bacteria communities of competing roller derby teams converge during bouts, not unlike Rudolph's findings in ants. "Physical combat not only yields biological winners and losers," Rudolph said. "It can alter the identity of its combatants."


News Article
Site: http://news.yahoo.com/science/

The boy king died in 1323 B.C. when he was about 18 years old. More Egypt's new antiquities minister, Khaled El Anany, sounded caution this morning at a press conference in Luxor over the claim that Tutankhamun's tomb holds two hidden chambers. Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project, had proposed that two hidden chambers were lurking in the tomb of Tutankhamun and that the hidden rooms may hold the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, the stepmom of King Tutankhamun. Radar scans conducted last year by Japanese radar technologist Hirokatsu Watanabe supposedly supported this idea. On March 17, Egypt's ministry of antiquities, led at the time by Mamdouh ?El-Damaty, stated that Watanabe's scans "suggest the presence of two empty spaces or cavities beyond the decorated north and west walls of the burial chamber," as well as the "presence of metallic and organic substances." The radar scans also showed what could be door lintels that indicate the presence of doorways, the antiquities minster said at the time in a statement to media. [See Photos of King Tut's Burial and Radar Scans] However, radar experts not affiliated with the project disputed the results of those scans. These experts noted that the sediment layers at the Valley of the Kings, where King Tut's tomb is located, contain natural voids and rock inclusions that make it difficult for radar to distinguish between archaeological remains and natural phenomena. Over the past two weeks, the antiquities minister at the time, ?El-Damaty, along with Egypt's minister of tourism, Hisham Zazou, were replaced in a cabinet shuffle. Yesterday, a team supported by the National Geographic Society conducted new radar scans. Those scans are being processed and analyzed; however, the new antiquities minister — El Anany — sounded a note of caution at today's press conference. "We are not looking for hidden chambers but for the reality of the truth," El-Anany said. "We are very keen to follow the scientific procedures," he said, adding that more radar work would be performed in late April, followed by an international conference in May in which experts would review the results. Egypt's former antiquities minister, El-Damaty, was also at today's press conference and said that while the two cavities could exist, "we have to be sure 100 percent." Even so, the Egypt's antiquities ministry said in a statement that "the preliminary results [of yesterday's scans] reached so far do not contradict with the results of the previous radar scans." Reeves also said that the two cavities, possibly holding a tomb, could still exist. No new radar images were released to media. For the next scan, scheduled for the end of April, another team of scientists will use a different radar-scanning method on King Tut's tomb. In the previous two scans, scientists tried to peer behind the walls of the Tutankhamun burial chamber. The new scans will take place in the hills above Tutankhamun's tomb, using radar equipment that can peer 40 meters (130 feet) below the ground to see if hidden chambers exist. The international conference to review the results will be held in the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, El Anany said. There, experts will discuss whether the two chambers exist, and if so, what could be in them and what would be the best way to access them. Scientists will not use any methods that could damage the artwork in Tutankhamun's tomb, El Anany said. Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


News Article | January 13, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/earth.xml

Scientists unearthed the remains of a crocodile as big as a bus in Sahara desert. The bizarre crocodile is believed to have terrorized the sea nearly 130 million years ago. Dubbed as the largest sea crocodile discovered, animal experts and palaeontologists are excited with this new discovery. A team of paleontologists led by Federico Fanti received a grant from the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration for their project. Fate was on their side as they discovered a fossilized skull and fragments of many skeletons buried in the desert. "This is a neat new discovery from a part of the world that hasn't been well-explored for fossils," said Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh. The ancient reptile, Machimosaurus rex, could have grown to more than 30 feet long and weighed about 6,000 pounds. The skull alone is more than 5 feet long. It is now considered the largest sea crocodile discovered while the biggest freshwater crocodile, Sarcosuchus imperator, which lived around 110 million years ago, grew to 40 feet with a weight of 17,500 pounds. "It's just big. It's almost the size of a bus," Fanti said as he described what they discovered. Published in the journal Cretaceous Research, the researchers are waiting for the discovery of a more complete skeleton to accurately estimate the size of Machimosaurus rex. Though not as big as distant relatives previously discovered, it was by far the largest croc living in the ocean. "This one was a big surprise, not because we found fossils, but we found beautiful ones. The skull took two days to uncover, and the rest of the body was just lying there," Fanti added. The researchers added that the croc discovered had teeth, implying how it fed on in the ancient ocean. Based on the characteristics of the reptile, the researchers speculate that it was a predator in the ocean with a variety of prey, including large turtles. Beyond its size, what's more extraordinary about this discovery is the fact that this specific reptile survived mass extinction. Around 145 million years ago, scientists say that at the end of the Jurassic period, a mass extinction occurred. The issue has long been debated by experts. The discovery, however, sheds light on what really happened during the extinction. If it was discovered after the said era, it means that not all life on Earth died in the event. The group of crocodiles where M. rex belongs to was considered to have gone extinct at the end of the Jurassic period but the remains Fanti's group unearthed lived about 130 million years ago. "The new find adds to growing evidence that a lot of marine reptiles made it across the boundary and through the supposed extinction," Brusatte explained.

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