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Fossilized dinosaur proteins and burnt toast feature similar chemical compounds

Fossilized dinosaur proteins and burnt toast feature similar chemical compounds

Science
Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Under the right conditions, a dinosaur's soft tissue can be transformed and preserved, enabling fossilization. The process features chemical transformations similar to those that characterize browned or burnt toast. Scientists have long debated whether soft tissue can be preserved within dinosaur bones. While hard tissue -- bones, eggs, teeth, scales -- can survive for more than 100 million years, most studies suggest the proteins that form blood vessels, cells and nerves are fully degraded after 4 million years. And yet, paleontologists have regularly found organic structures similar to cells and blood vessels inside 100-million-old dinosaur bones. To better understand this paradox, researchers at Yale, the American Museum of Natural History, the University of Brussels an...
How chemical weapons have helped bring Assad close to victory

How chemical weapons have helped bring Assad close to victory

World
After seven devastating years of civil war in Syria, which have left more than 350,000 people dead, President Bashar al-Assad appears close to victory against the forces trying to overthrow him. So how has Mr Assad got so close to winning this bloody, brutal war?A joint investigation by BBC Panorama and BBC Arabic shows for the first time the extent to which chemical weapons have been crucial to his war-winning strategy. Sorry, your browser cannot display this map Source: BBC Panorama and BBC Arabic research. Map built with Carto. 1. The use of chemical weapons has been widespreadThe BBC has determined there is enough evidence to be confident that at least 106 chemical attacks have taken place in Syria...
Ozone hole mystery: China insulating chemical said to be source of rise

Ozone hole mystery: China insulating chemical said to be source of rise

Science
Cut-price Chinese home insulation is being blamed for a massive rise in emissions of a gas, highly damaging to the Earth's protective ozone layer. The Environmental Investigations Agency (EIA) found widespread use of CFC-11 in China, even though the chemical was fully banned back in 2010. Scientists have been extremely puzzled by the mysterious rise in emissions. But this report suggests the key source is China's home construction industry. Just two months ago, researchers published a study showing that the expected decline in the use of CFC-11 after it was completely banned eight years ago had slowed to a crawl. There were suspicions among researchers that new supplies were being made somewhere in East Asia. Rumours were rife as...
UK wins bid for watchdog to attribute chemical attack blame

UK wins bid for watchdog to attribute chemical attack blame

World
The UK has been successful with its bid for the international chemical weapons watchdog to be able to apportion blame for attacks. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) voted on Wednesday to support a British-led motion for the body to have the power to attribute responsibility for attacks using banned weapons in Syria.Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had been at the OPCW's headquarters in The Hague to push for the proposal on Tuesday.Welcoming the decision, Mr Johnson said: "Chemical weapons are an affront to human dignity and have no place in the 21st century."The international community has quite rightly come together today to strengthen the ban on chemical weapons and prevent impunity for their use."The UK has led the diplomatic efforts to secur...
Mysterious rise in emissions of ozone-damaging chemical

Mysterious rise in emissions of ozone-damaging chemical

Science
Scientists have detected an unexpected rise in atmospheric levels of CFC-11, a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) highly damaging to the ozone layer.Banned by the Montreal Protocol in 1987, CFC-11 was seen to be declining as expected but that fall has slowed down by 50% since 2012.Researchers say their evidence shows it's likely that new, illegal emissions of CFC-11 are coming from East Asia.These could hamper the recovery of the ozone hole and worsen climate change.CFC-11 is also known as trichlorofluoromethane, and is one of a number of CFCs that were initially developed as refrigerants during the 1930s. They were also used as propellants in aerosol sprays and in solvents. However, it took many decades for scientists to discover that whe...