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Stunning Drops in Solar and Wind Costs Turn Global Power Market Upside Down

           

CREDIT: U.N. and BNEF

CLICK HERE - REPORT - United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) - GLOBAL TRENDS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT 2017 (90 page .PDF report)

The world built more renewables for far less money last year, report UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

thinkprogress.org - by Joe Romm - April 6, 2017

Stunning drops in the cost of wind and solar energy have turned the global power market upside down . . .

 . . . Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In just one year, the cost of solar generation worldwide dropped on average 17 percent, the report found. The average costs for onshore wind dropped 18 percent last year, while those for offshore wind fell a whopping 28 percent.

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Receding Glacier Causes Immense Canadian River to Vanish in Four Days

       

A view of the ice canyon that now carries meltwater from the Kaskawulsh glacier, seen here on the right, away from the Slims river and toward the Kaskawulsh river. Photograph: Dan Shugar/University of Washington Tacoma

First ever observed case of ‘river piracy’ saw the Slims river disappear as intense glacier melt suddenly diverted its flow into another watercourse

theguardian.com - by Hannah Devlin - April 17, 2017

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

The abrupt and unexpected disappearance of the Slims river, which spanned up to 150 metres at its widest points, is the first observed case of “river piracy”, in which the flow of one river is suddenly diverted into another.

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Why People Have to Learn to Live with Wildfires

           

REUTERS/Noah Berger

CLICK HERE - STUDY - PNAS - Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes

grist.org - by Bobby Magill - April 17, 2017

Communities across the Western U.S. and Canada may have to adapt to living with the ever-increasing threat of catastrophic wildfires as global warming heats up and dries out forests across the West, according to a University of Colorado study published Monday.

Residents living in neighborhoods adjacent to forests — known as “wildland-urban interface” zones — will have to accept that many wildfires may have to be allowed to burn and that building new homes in fire-prone forests should be discouraged, the study says.

Firefighters and policymakers will also have to adapt in new ways as catastrophic wildfires burn more land and destroy more homes than ever before.

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There’s Another Mosquito Carrying Zika Virus

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

CLICK HERE - Journal of Medical Entomology - Evidence of Zika Virus RNA Fragments in Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) Field-Collected Eggs From Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil

Zika Found in Common Backyard Asian Tiger Mosquito

nbcnews.com - by Maggie Fox - April 14, 2017

A common backyard mosquito can be infected with the Zika virus and it may pass the virus along in its eggs, researchers reported Friday.

The findings add to worries that the Asian tiger mosquito, scientifically known as Aedes albopictus, could help spread the virus as mosquito season hits temperate regions of the world.

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, doesn't prove that tiger mosquitoes can spread Zika, which causes severe birth defects. But it adds to evidence that they might.

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New CRISPR Tool Can Detect Tiny Amounts of Viruses

The Cas13a enzyme causes collateral RNA damage that is the heart of a new diagnostic system, SHERLOCK, that can detect minute quantities of virus and much more.  Broad Institute

CLICK HERE - Nucleic acid detection with CRISPR-Cas13a/C2c2

sciencemag.org - by Jon Cohen - April 13, 2017

 . . . That’s the realm of SHERLOCK, a new diagnostic system that can detect attomolar levels of viruses in a sample and also distinguish Zika from its close relative, dengue. This exquisitely sensitive and specific tool promises to help detect diseases that other diagnostics miss, and it’s simple and cheap to use. Sexier still, it exploits a variation of CRISPR, the genome-editing method that has become the rage in biology.

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A Socio-economic Impact Assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: With a Focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname

undp.org - April 3, 2017

In early 2016, Zika was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to its association with a surge of birth defects. Zika has since spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with local transmission also reported in parts of the USA, Asia and Africa. The nature of the neurological complications Zika can cause in humans, and the emergence of a condition in infants known as ‘congenital Zika syndrome’, have posed and continue to pose a significant challenge to health specialists, international organizations and governments alike.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), produced this assessment of the socio-economic impacts of Zika on countries, families and communities, and to examine institutional responses.

CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE AND ACCESS THE REPORT

 

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County Health Director: Count on More Zika-Related Birth Defects

submitted by Albert Gomez

The Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

CLICK HERE - REPORT - CDC - Vital Signs: Update on Zika Virus–Associated Birth Defects and Evaluation of All U.S. Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Exposure — U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, 2016

mypalmbeachpost.com - by John Pacenti - April 8, 2017

Sick of hearing about Zika already? Get used to it as more birth defects related to the virus are expected in 2017 in Florida and throughout the U.S.

This summer, there will be a full-court press by health officials against Zika.

“It’s not something to be taken lightly,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, head of the Palm Beach County Health Department, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

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Zika Could End Up Costing Latin America and the Caribbean Up To $18 Billion, UN Reports Finds

                           

CLICK HERE - REPORT - A Socio-economic Impact Assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: with a focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname

un.org

6 April 2017 – In addition to the impact on public health, the tangible impact of the Zika outbreak, such as on gross domestic product (GDP), could cost the Latin American and the Caribbean region as much as $18 billion between 2015 and 2017, a new United Nations report has revealed.

The report Socio-economic impact assessment of Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean, prepared by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has a particular focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname – countries that first reported the outbreak in October-November 2015.

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Dengue May Bring Out the Worst in Zika

           

Brazilian soldiers last year led a battle against Zika in a door-to-door campaign about how to control mosquitoes that carry the disease.  EVARISTO SA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

CLICK HERE - Science - Enhancement of Zika virus pathogenesis by preexisting antiflavivirus immunity

sciencemag.org - by Jon Cohen - March 30, 2017

Close relatives have complicated relationships with each other even in the viral world. A new mouse study shows that if the animals have antibodies from dengue or West Nile virus, it sets them up for more severe disease from their close cousin, Zika virus.

If such "antibody-dependent enhancement" (ADE) also takes place in people, it could have helped fuel Zika's recent explosion in Brazil, where more than 90% of people in some communities have been infected with dengue. ADE could also complicate the development of vaccines for West Nile, dengue, and Zika. And with the onset of spring reigniting local transmission of Zika last week in the continental United States—where West Nile is widespread—ADE could give epidemiologists a new window into transmission and disease patterns.

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Why Didn't Zika Cause A Surge In Microcephaly In 2016?

           

A family member holds twins Eloisa (left) and Eloa, both 8 months old and born with microcephaly, during a Christmas gathering. The mother of the twins, Raquel, who lives in Brazil, said she contracted Zika during her pregnancy.  Mario Tama/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - NEJM - Zika Virus Infection and Associated Neurologic Disorders in Brazil

CLICK HERE - Science - Enhancement of Zika virus pathogenesis by preexisting antiflavivirus immunity

npr.org - by Michaeleen Doucleff - March 30, 2017

Back in 2015, Brazil reported a horrific a surge in birth defects. Thousands of babies were born with brain damage and abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly.

Scientists quickly concluded the Zika virus was the culprit. So when Zika returned last year during Brazil's summer months of December, January and February — when mosquitoes are most active — health officials expected another surge in microcephaly cases.

But that never happened.

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