Study suggests successful depression treatment lowers youths' risk of drug abuse

HealthA new study by Duke University in the US suggests depressed adolescents who respond to treatment within twelve weeks are at a reduced risk of drug abuse later in their lives.

The research followed about half of a pool of 439 adolescents who had received treatment for major depression and volunteered for Duke University research. At the five-year study's conclusion the participants were aged 17?23. None of them had previously misused drink or drugs.

Expedition 31 crew members arrive at International Space Station

AstronomyThe Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft, which launched on Tuesday, arrived at the International Space Station yesterday with three members of the Expedition 31 long duration mission.

The Soyuz rocket launched on May 15 at 3:01:23 UTC (9:01:23 AM local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. On board were Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin, as well as NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba.

The Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station on May 17, approximately two days after launch, at 4:36 UTC.

Disposal of fracking wastewater poses potential environmental problems

Engineering and TechnologyA recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the oil and gas industry are creating earthquakes. New information from the Midwest region of the United States points out that these man-made earthquakes are happening more frequently than expected. While more frequent earthquakes are less of a problem for regions like the Midwest, a geology professor from the University of Southern Indiana, Dr. Paul K. Doss, believes the disposal of wastewater from the hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") process used in extracting oil and gas has the possibility to pose potential problems for groundwater.

Airlines modify flight routes amid North Korea rocket launch plans

Engineering and TechnologyApproximately twenty flight routes for various airlines are to be modified to avoid the path of a rocket scheduled to be launched from North Korea later this month, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said yesterday.

Amongst the affected companies are Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and All Nippon Airways, all of which are to reroute their flight paths between April 12 and April 16, in which time the North Korean government says launch is scheduled, with the specific date being subject to weather conditions.

The North Korean government has stated the launch is to celebrate the 100th birthday of Eternal President of the Republic Kim il-Sung.

A statement from Japan Airlines clarifies four of their flight paths are to be modified in direct response to these rocket launch plans, including three from the Japanese capital Tokyo to the Filipino capital Manila, Singapore and Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, causing anticipated flight timings to rise by between five and twenty minutes. No modifications to domestic flights are planned for the airline.

All Nippon Airways has stated that five of its flight routes are to vary at this time, with flights between similar locations affected. The flights will be otherwise unaffected, according to the company's statement.

What's eating you? US study highlights bedbug incest

BiologyAt the meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, North Carolina State University (NCSU) researchers lead by Coby Schal and Ed Vargo presented preliminary research on the genetic diversity of populations of bedbugs. Their DNA analysis showed the diversity is low within a single building. The researchers discovered that the bugs can inbreed and evolve at the same time.

A part of the research included extensive DNA analysis of genetics of bed bugs in different apartments. The diversity was lower than it would be for a population of most other species. Coby Schal said, "We kept discovering the same thing. Within a given apartment, or even a given building, there was extremely low genetic diversity. In most cases there's just a single female that founded the population."

Scientists sequence small genome of a pest: spider mite

BiologyA team of 55 researchers led by University of Western Ontario biologist Miodrag Grbic has sequenced the genome of the spider mite Tetranychus urticae, a pest that costs over USD 1 billion to control annually. Their results were published in the journal Nature yesterday. The genome is the smallest arthropod genome sequenced so far.

The study was funded by the US Depeartment of Energy Joint Genome Institute programme, Genome Canada, and the European Union.

'Fascinating' and 'provocative' research examines genetic elements of bipolar, schizophrenia

BiologyLast week, Nature Genetics carried twin studies into the genetics of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This special report examines the month's research into the illnesses in detail, with Wikinews obtaining comment from experts based in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom ahead of the U.S. Mental Illness Awareness Week, which starts tomorrow.

Eleven genetic regions were identified; seven of these were for schizophrenia and five of those were hitherto undiscovered. The parallel studies, conducted separately, examined more than 50,000 people worldwide and identified two genetic loci associated with both diseases.

Study: Birds learn nest building

BiologyAccording to a recent study, birds learn the skill of building nests during their lifetimes, as opposed to instinctively knowing how to build them. The findings were made by researchers from various universities within Scotland — Edinburgh, St Andrews, and Glasgow.

The researchers examined footage of the Southern Masked Weaver recorded by scientists in Botswana, Africa. The species was picked due to its tendency to build numerous grass nests during the breeding season.

Out of space in outer space: Special report on NASA's 'space junk' plans

Out of space in outer space: Special report on NASA's 'space junk' plansA 182-page report issued September 1 by the United States National Research Council warns that the amount of debris in space is reaching "a tipping point", and could cause damage to satellites or spacecraft. The report calls for regulations to reduce the amount of debris, and suggests that scientists increase research into methods to remove some of the debris from orbit, though it makes no recommendations about how to do so.

NASA sponsored the study.

A statement released along with the report warns that, according to some computer models, the debris "has reached a tipping point, with enough currently in orbit to continually collide and create even more debris, raising the risk of spacecraft failures". According to the Satellite Industry Association, there are now about 1,000 working satellites in Earth orbit, and industry revenues last year were US$168 billion (£104.33 billion, €119.01 billion).

SETI Institute set to re-open

AstronomyThe SETI Institute, shut down since mid-April due to budget cuts, has announced that it will reopen in mid-September due to a recent influx of funds from several donors.

SETI's Allen Telescope Array
Image: Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill.

Over 2,500 donors, including actress Jodie Foster who popularized SETI ("Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence") in the movie Contact, provided $220,000 to keep the Institute's telescopes functioning.

Shell reports oil leak at North Sea platform

Engineering and TechnologyOil producer Royal Dutch Shell has confirmed that the Gannet Alpha oil platform, located 112 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland, has suffered a leak from an underwater pipeline between the wellhead and platform.

Shell issued a statement regarding the incident, saying that "We can confirm we are managing an oil leak in a flow line that serves the Gannet Alpha platform. [...] We have stemmed the leak significantly and we are taking further measures to isolate it. The subsea well has been shut in, and the flow line is being depressurised." The company has thus far refused to comment on the exact size of the leak, saying that was "not a significant spill."
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