Large losses of ammonium-nitrogen from a rice ecosystem under elevated carbon dioxide

Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the global climate has undergone dramatic changes as human activities have continued to stimulate the consumption of fossil fuels, accelerate the pace of deforestation and boost the demand for synthetic ammonia, thereby contributing to the constant increase in greenhouse gas emissions and changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere. On the one hand, global climate change has caused glaciers to melt, sea levels to rise and extreme weather to occur more frequently, thus posing a severe threat to the ecosystems on which human life depends; on the other hand, climate change may profoundly alter the structure and function of ecosystems, which will in turn produce further effects on climate change.

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Researchers discover new species of gall wasp

A horrifying insect soap opera with vampires, mummies and infant-eating parasites is playing out on the stems and leaves of live oak trees every day, and evolutionary biologist Scott Egan found the latest character—a new wasp species that may be a parasite of a parasite—within walking distance of his Rice University lab.

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Enzymatic DNA synthesis sees the light

According to current estimates, the amount of data produced by humans and machines is rising at an exponential rate, with the digital universe doubling in size every two years. Very likely, the magnetic and optical data-storage systems at our disposal won’t be able to archive this fast-growing volume of digital 1s and 0s anymore at some point. Plus, they cannot safely store data for more than a century without degrading.

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Subsidized cars help low-income families economically, socially

For one low-income woman, not having a car meant long commutes on public transit with her children in tow, sometimes slogging through cold or inclement weather. But after buying a subsidized car through a Maryland-based nonprofit, she was able to move to a home located farther from bus stops, send her children to better schools and reach less expensive medical services.

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