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Sunday, September 14, 2014

How corn plants defend against pathogen attack - The Hindu

How corn plants defend against pathogen attack - The Hindu: "Researchers from the North Carolina State University have identified crucial genes and cellular processes that appear to control the so-called hyper-sensitive defence response (HR) in corn.

The findings could help researchers build better defence responses in corn and other plants.

“It is similar to a human having an auto-immune response that never stops,” said Peter Balint-Kurti, a professor from the department of plant pathology and crop science at the North Carolina State University.

When corn plants come under attack from a pathogen, they sometimes respond by killing their own cells near the site of the attack, committing “cell suicide” to thwart further damage from the attacker.

It has so far been difficult to understand how the plant regulates this defence mechanism because the response is so quick and localised."



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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Naomi Klein: the hypocrisy behind the big business climate change battle | Environment | The Guardian

Naomi Klein: the hypocrisy behind the big business climate change battle | Environment | The Guardian: "A great many of us engage in this kind of denial. We look for a split second and then we look away. Or maybe we do really look, but then we forget. We engage in this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons. We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this crisis will change everything.

And we are right. If we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, major cities will drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas; our children will spend much of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts. Yet we continue all the same.

What is wrong with us? I think the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things needed to cut emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have struggled to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck, because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe – and benefit the vast majority – are threatening to an elite minority with a stranglehold over our economy, political process and media."



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Scotching the spirit of independence- Frank McNally's brilliant piece

Scotching the spirit of independence: "There was a time, after all, when it was still acceptable to use the term “Scotch” of Northern Britons, as well as of their whisky and terriers. But such has the word’s stigmatisation over the centuries, by the English mainly, this is no longer the case.
Thanks to the likes of “Scotch bum” (the bustle of a skirt), “Scotch fiddle” (the itch), and even “Scotch mist” (a euphemism for rain), the old adjective gradually came to be considered offensive, at least when applied to humans.
A subtle rebranding process was necessary. Now, when referring to the people – and to most of their achievements outside the distilling sphere – Scottish, or better still Scots, is the preferred descriptive.
Of course the natives of Scotland were not alone in being adjectivally disparaged by their neighbours. The Dutch, for example, still account for a remarkable number of insults in English (“Dutch bargain”, “Dutch treat”, “Double Dutch”, etc) mostly dating from a series of 17th-century wars. Indeed, all of England’s neighbours have had their identities borrowed for some derogatory purpose or other (from “French leave”, to “Welshing” on debts, to that multipurpose slur, “a bit Irish”). But so far as I know, only the Scots have taken it so personally as to shun the adjective."



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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

China and India Leaders - tops in emissions, lowest in soluions

China and Indian Leaders Said to Skip UN Climate Summit - Bloomberg: "China is the world’s top greenhouse-gas emitter, and India is third, after the U.S., according to World Bank data. Together China and India account for nearly a third of total emissions, and their carbon footprint is growing while it remains flat in the U.S. and Europe.

“I was completely shocked and very disappointed to read today that Chinese President Xi and Indian Prime Minister Modi may not make it to Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Summit,” said Tony deBrum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, in the northern Pacific Ocean, in a statement. “For the small island states of the world, the science says we might be forced to pay the biggest price of all -- the loss of our countries. We expect solidarity from our developing country compatriots, not excuses.”"



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