SETAC MultiBrief
Oct. 31, 2013

After shutdown ends, effects continue to stymie science
National Geographic
With an estimated cost of $24 billion to the U.S. economy, the government shutdown's effects on researchers are also expected to continue well beyond the short term. Now that everyone's returned to work, here's a roundup of the immediate fallout for science research.More

Nashville shows off modern and sophisticated side
Vancouver Observer
It may have all started with a fiddle, but Nashville is more than just its country music heritage. Although music remains one of the city's focal attractions with its multitude of state-of-the-art and legendary performance venues, there's a lot to discover that you may not expect.More

'The ocean is broken'
Newcastle Herald
Exactly 10 years before, when Newcastle, U.K., yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen had sailed exactly the same course from Melbourne to Osaka, all he'd had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Brisbane and Japan was throw out a baited line. But this time, on that whole long leg of sea journey, the total catch was two. No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all.More

China to monitor link between smog and health
China's Health Ministry will set up a national network within five years to provide a way of monitoring the long-term impact of chronic air pollution on human health, state media said recently. The network will gather data on PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers, in different locations around the country, the report said, citing a ministry statement.More

Toxic algae problems increasing nationwide
A new analysis shows a growing scourge of harmful algae blooms across the country. According to Andy Buchsbaum, director of the Great Lakes office of the National Wildlife Federation, which studied the issue, 21 states — including Indiana — issued health warnings about toxic algae this summer, covering about 150 locations on lakes, rivers and reservoirs. More

Brain 'cleans' itself of toxins during sleep
Environmental News Service
Sleep clears the brain of toxins that have accumulated in the body during waking hours, American scientists have demonstrated for the first time. The results suggest a new role for sleep in health and disease. Using mice, researchers showed that the space between brain cells can increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush out damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer’s disease that build up during waking hours.More

South Africa's potent anti-fracking mix
If energy companies and the ruling African National Congress get their way, the Karoo, which stretches across the heart of South Africa, will soon be home to scientists and geologists mapping out shale gas fields touted as game-changers for Africa's biggest economy, and working out whether fracking will work here. As with other prospective sites around the world, especially in Europe, the process is meeting significant opposition, some of it thrown up by Mother Nature, some not. The result is likely to be a lengthy delay before any exploration starts.More

Climate change aids toxic slime's advance in China
AudioBrief Sewage and fertilizer runoff into China's Lake Taihu have fed a nasty bloom: an annual explosion of frothy cyanobacteria, which release neurotoxins into the lake. Hans Paerl, a marine and environmental scientist who studies Lake Taihu, says the warmer temperatures brought by climate change only contribute to the slime's advance.More

Flexible solar cells could release toxic metals after disposal
Chemical & Engineering News
From backpacks that recharge cellphones to window glazing that generates solar power, there is a growing market for flexible thin-film photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. However, a new study shows that certain thin-film solar cells currently on the market could leach hazardous amounts of cadmium after disposal.More

Composition of toxic ancient ocean gives clues for the future
Nature World News
By analyzing seafloor mud samples, a research team from University of California, Riverside has quantified the toxic conditions of the oceans about 94 million years ago, correcting data yielded by previous research and providing a clearer picture of the chemical composition of the oceans. Along with the first major proliferation of animal life on Earth about 600 million years ago, the levels of oxygen in the ocean and atmosphere rose dramatically. More