SCARCITY OF ELEMENTS IN PRODUCTS LIKE SMARTPHONES NEEDS ADDRESSING, SAY SCIENTISTS
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 10-Aug-2014 Citations ACS’ 248th National Meeting & Exposition Source Newsroom: American Chemical Society (ACS) American Chemical Society (ACS)
Newswise — SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 10, 2014 — Many of today’s technological innovations from the iPhone to electric motors for hybrid cars require the use of materials — elements — that are scarce or difficult to obtain. As demand for these devices grows, the problem of dwindling critical element supplies must be addressed. That is the conclusion of a white paper written by eminent scientists. The product of the 5th Chemical Sciences and Society Summit (CS3), the white paper recommends focusing research on finding alternative materials and new approaches to technology development in order to prevent these elements from disappearing.
The white paper, “The Efficient Use of Elements,” is a topic of discussion at this year’s the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. The meeting features nearly 12,000 reports on new advances in science and other topics. It is being held here through Thursday.
Technology advances made in the past few decades are resulting in unprecedented levels of comfort and convenience, improved medical diagnostics and treatment, more efficient transportation and rapid access to quantities of information that, a generation ago, were unimaginable. Much of this new technology, however, is heavily dependent on the excavation and use of scarce elements. For example, smartphones contain a mix of these rare materials such as indium, platinum and copper. And the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals uses elements such as palladium and rhodium.
The scarcity of these elements makes it difficult to manufacture innovative devices responsibly. One of the agreements reached in the white paper is the need for the development of materials that can be used to substitute for these rare elements. Research on alternatives, the white paper states, must be a priority area. If a solution is not found, technology advances may be limited, creating social, political and economic challenges across the world.
The white paper discusses several approaches to resolving problems of material scarcity, and suggests that a multi-faceted, global strategy will be necessary to avoid serious disruptions. A key part of any strategy will be recovery and recycling, because elements are a strictly limited resource. It is also essential that these critical resources be used with consideration of the entire use cycle, from mining and manufacturing to recovery and reuse.
The annual Chemical Sciences and Society Summit (CS3) brings together some of the most accomplished chemists and chemical engineers from around the globe and challenges them to propose meaningful approaches to solving society’s most pressing needs in the areas of health, food, energy and the environment. The CS3 initiative is a collaboration between the American Chemical Society, the Chemical Society of Japan, the Chinese Chemical Society, the German Chemical Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. The symposia are supported by the German Research Foundation, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the National Science Foundation of China, the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the U.S. National Science Foundation.
“The Efficient Use of Elements” is the product of the fifth CS3 meeting, held in Narita, Japan in September 2013. Over 30 chemists representing the five participating countries worked together to identify and clarify problems associated with the rapid increase in demand for scarce elements and proposed rational, meaningful approaches to resolving this challenge we all face.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
ALL IVORY MARKETS MUST CLOSE
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 7-Aug-2014 Citations Conservation Biology
Source Newsroom: Wildlife Conservation Society Willey on Line
Peer-reviewed paper says any legal trade in ivory will contribute to elephant’s demise. Corruption, organized crime, and lack of enforcement make legal trade an impossibility if elephants are to survive, says Wildlife Conservation Society. Paper appears in August 7 edition of the online version of Conservation Biology. For abstract see below.
Newswise — NEW YORK (August 7, 2014) – The message is simple: to save elephants, all ivory markets must close and all ivory stockpiles must be destroyed, according to a new peer-reviewed paper by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The paper says that corruption, organized crime, and a lack of enforcement make any legal trade of ivory a major factor contributing to the demise of Africa’s elephants.
Appearing in the August 7th online edition of the journal Conservation Biology, the paper says that if we are to conserve significant wild populations of elephants across all regions of Africa, all domestic and international ivory markets need to be closed. In addition, government stockpiles of ivory, currently scattered around the world, need to be destroyed since they are known to be significant sources of ivory leaking into the illegal trade. According to the paper’s author, corruption undermines all aspects of controls as long as a legal market remains.
“If we are to conserve remaining wild populations of elephants, we must close all markets because, under current levels of corruption, they cannot be controlled in a way that does not provide opportunities for illegal ivory being laundered into legal markets,” said the paper’s author, Elizabeth Bennett, WCS Vice President for Species Conservation.
The paper looked at the corruption index of 177 assessed countries, noting that half of the 12 countries in Africa that contain elephants are in the bottom 40 percent. Six of the eight countries identified by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as most implicated in ivory trafficking globally are in the bottom half of the most corrupt countries in the world.
The paper comes at a time of growing opposition to ivory bans by some groups claiming that carefully regulated ivory sales would help protect elephants and contribute to conservation through sales of ivory stockpiles and other legal sources.
Bennett refutes this saying that saying that financial incentives to break the law and reap profits far outweigh those of abiding by it, as poachers and traffickers can rapidly pay their way out of trouble. Once illegal ivory has entered into the legal trade, it is difficult or impossible for enforcement officers to know what is legal and what is not.
Bennett says that with good enforcement on the ground, the tide of poaching can be slowed. For example, forest elephants in Central Africa occur in densities seven times higher in sites with ecoguards than without them. However, the costs of such site-based protection in terms of funds and human lives will continue to increase and be unsustainable as long as ivory profits continue to escalate giving ever-increasing incentives to kill elephants illegally and traffic in their ivory.
Says Bennett: “In the long term, the only sustainable solution is for the demand for ivory – the ultimate driver of the system – to be reduced. Until that happens, if elephants are to survive, we need to close existing legal markets.”
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission.
Legal Ivory Trade in a Corrupt World and its Impact on African Elephant Populations By Elizabeth L. Bennett
Illegal hunting of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) for ivory is causing rapid declines in their populations.
Since 2007, illegal ivory trade has more than doubled. African elephants are facing the most serious conservation crisis since 1989, when international trade was banned.
One solution proposed is establishment of a controlled legal trade in ivory. High prices for ivory mean that the incentives to obtain large quantities are high, but the quantity of tusks available for trade are biologically constrained.
Within that context, effective management of a legal ivory trade would require robust systems to be in place to ensure that ivory from illegally killed elephants cannot be laundered into a legal market. At present, that is not feasible due to corruption among government officials charged with implementing wildlife-related legislation.
With organized criminal enterprises involved along the whole commodity chain, corruption enables the laundering of illegal ivory into legal or potentially legal markets. Poachers and traffickers can rapidly pay their way out of trouble, so the financial incentives to break the law heavily outweigh those of abiding by it.
Maintaining reliable permitting systems and leak-proof chains of custody in this context is challenging, and effective management breaks down. Once illegal ivory has entered the legal trade, it is difficult or impossible for enforcement officers to know what is legal and illegal.
Addressing corruption throughout a trade network that permeates countries across the globe will take decades, if it can ever be achieved.
That will be too late for wild African elephants at current rates of loss. If we are to conserve remaining wild populations, we must close all markets because, under current levels of corruption, they cannot be controlled in a way that does not provide opportunities for illegal ivory being laundered into legal markets.
ASPIRIN, TAKE TWO
From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton18-Aug-2014 Source: University of California, San Diego Health Sciences Citations PNA
Newswise — Hugely popular non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs like aspirin, naproxen (marketed as Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) all work by inhibiting or killing an enzyme called cyclooxygenase – a key catalyst in production of hormone-like lipid compounds called prostaglandins that are linked to a variety of ailments, from headaches and arthritis to menstrual cramps and wound sepsis.
In a new paper, published this week in the online early edition of PNAS, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine conclude that aspirin has a second effect: Not only does it kill cyclooxygenase, thus preventing production of the prostaglandins that cause inflammation and pain, it also prompts the enzyme to generate another compound that hastens the end of inflammation, returning the affected cells to homeostatic health.
“Aspirin causes the cyclooxygenase to make a small amount of a related product called 15-HETE,” said senior author Edward A. Dennis, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology, Chemistry and Biochemistry.
“During infection and inflammation, the 15-HETE can be converted by a second enzyme into lipoxin, which is known to help reverse inflammation and cause its resolution – a good thing.”
Specifically, Dennis and colleagues looked at the function of a type of white blood cells called macrophages, a major player in the body’s immune response to injury and infection. They found that macrophages contain the biochemical tools to not just initiate inflammation, a natural part of the immune response, but also to promote recovery from inflammation by releasing 15-HETE and converting it into lipoxin as the inflammation progresses.
Dennis said the findings may open new possibilities for anti-inflammatory therapies by developing new drugs based on analogues of lipoxin and other related molecules that promote resolution of inflammation.
“If we can find ways to promote more resolution of inflammation, we can promote health,” he said.
Co-authors include Paul C. Norris, David Gosselin, Donna Reichart and Christopher K. Glass, all at UC San Diego.
Back tomorrow if we finally get on the page rather than the Archives. We are published there NOT ON THE DAILY PAGE but need to check the Archives to see where we are as the usual page is still on August 14. Back soon WordPress permitting. Jeanne