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Secrets of ‘1,000-year-old trees’ unlocked

Secrets of ‘1,000-year-old trees’ unlocked

Science
Scientists have discovered the secret of how the ginkgo tree can live for more than 1,000 years.A study found the tree makes protective chemicals that fend off diseases and drought. And, unlike many other plants, its genes are not programmed to trigger inexorable decline when its youth is over. The ginkgo can be found in parks and gardens across the world, but is on the brink of extinction in the wild."The secret is maintaining a really healthy defence system and being a species that does not have a pre-determined senescence (aging) programme," said Richard Dixon of the University of North Texas, Denton. "As ginkgo trees age, they show no evidence of weakening their ability to defend themselves from stresses." ...
Secrets of solar flares are unlocked

Secrets of solar flares are unlocked

Science
Scientists may finally understand the mechanism behind solar flares.Flares can occur on their own, or be accompanied by powerful eruptions of plasma (charged gas) from the Sun.If charged particles from these eruptions reach Earth, they can create havoc with infrastructure, such as satellite systems and power grids.Now, researchers in France say the interaction of distinct magnetic structures controls these outbursts from our star.Generally speaking, solar eruptions are caused by a sudden, violent rearrangement of the Sun's magnetic field.At a deeper level, the process is controlled by two types of structures that form in the magnetic field of the Sun: ropes and cages.The rope is confined within the magnetic cage. If the cage is strong, it can contain the rope's contortions, but when the ca...