Greenland glaciers still disintegrating
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists monitoring Greenland's glaciers say they expect two of the largest glaciers to disintegrate within the next year.
Ohio State University Associate Professor Jason Box of the school's Byrd Polar Research Center says a massive 11-square-mile piece of the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland broke away last month.
Box and graduate students Russell Benson and David Decker say they're even more concerned about what appears to be a massive crack farther back from Petermann's margin. They said that crack, seen in satellite images, might signal an imminent and much larger breakup.
"If the Petermann glacier breaks up back to the upstream rift, the loss would be as much as 60 square miles," said Box. That would represent a loss of one-third of the massive ice field.
At the same time, the scientists say the margin of the immense Jakobshavn glacier has retreated farther inland than it has during 150 years of observation. The researchers believe the glacier hasn't retreated to where it is now in at least the last 4,000 to 6,000 years.
The scientists are using data from National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellites and from cameras that monitor global warming effects on Greenland's glaciers.
Study shows how cancer gene PTEN works
BOSTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. medical scientists say they have discovered how the tumor suppressor gene PTEN works, providing new insight into its regulation.
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard Medical School said the PTEN tumor suppressor gene controls numerous biological processes including cell proliferation, cell growth and death. But the alteration of the gene is so common among various types of human cancer, PTEN has become one of the most frequently mutated of all tumor suppressors.
"Our laboratory recently discovered that even when PTEN is produced normally by a cell, it has to be properly localized within the nucleus in order to maintain its full tumor suppressive abilities," said Dr. Pier Paolo Pandolfi, senior author of the research. "Indeed, it's been demonstrated that in a variety of cancers, PTEN has broken away from the nucleus. With these new findings, we now understand how this happens."
The study that included researchers Min Sup Song, Leonardo Salmena, Arkaitz Carracedo and Ainara Egia, along with Francesco Lo-Coco of Italy's University of Tor Vergata and Julie Teruya-Feldstein of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center appears in the online edition of the journal Nature.
Untreated wastewater used in agriculture
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- A survey released in Stockholm, Sweden, suggests many cities around the world use raw, untreated wastewater for agricultural purposes.
The 53-city International Water Management Institute survey showed 80 percent of those cities regularly use untreated or partially treated waste water for urban agriculture.
Officials said the practice is often critical to farmers' incomes and urban food security but raises health concerns.
"Irrigating with wastewater isn't a rare practice limited to a few of the poorest countries," said IWMI researcher Liqa Raschid-Sally, lead author of a report on the survey. "It's a widespread phenomenon, occurring on (49 million acres) across the developing world …"
Officials said wastewater is most commonly used to produce vegetables and cereals, especially rice, raising concerns about consuming uncooked vegetables. But, the survey notes, wastewater agriculture contributes importantly to urban food supplies and helps provide a livelihood for the urban poor.
"The negative and positive implications of wastewater agriculture have only recently received attention," said Colin Chartres, IWMI's director general. "This study offers the first comprehensive, cross-country analysis of the conditions that account for the practice and the difficult tradeoffs that arise from it."
Raschid-Sally's report is available at http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/SWW2008/PDF/CA_53_city_Final_August_2008_V5.pdf.
Hubble sees filaments from magnetic field
PARIS, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The European Space Agency says the Hubble Space Telescope has detailed giant, but delicate, filaments shaped by a strong magnetic field in galaxy NGC 1275.
ESA astronomers said the filaments "are the only visible-light manifestation of the intricate relationship between the black hole hosted at the center of the galaxy and the surrounding cluster gas." The scientists said the filaments provide important clues about how giant black holes affect their surrounding environment.
NGC 1275 is a giant active elliptical galaxy located at the center of the Perseus Cluster of galaxies. The supermassive black hole at its core blows "bubbles" of radio-wave emitting material into the surrounding cluster gas, the ESA said, noting the galaxy's "most spectacular feature is the lacy filigree of gaseous filaments reaching out beyond the galaxy into the multi-million degree X-ray emitting gas that fills the cluster."
A study detailing Hubble's observations, led by Andy Fabian from the University of Cambridge, appears in the current issue of the journal Nature
The Hubble Space Telescope is a cooperative project of the U.S. and European space agencies.