Fake Volcano Can Solve Climate Problems, Scientists Say (Source: FOX News)

There will be an unexpected sight high in the skies over the British county of Norfolk next month: a huge balloon attached to the ground by a giant hosepipe.

It isn't obvious, but it is the first small step in an experiment which aims to re-create the cooling effect of erupting volcanoes on the earth's atmosphere.

Scientists and engineers from the universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford are behind the three-year, 1.6 million pound ($2.5 million) project called Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE).

The scheme will assess the feasibility of so-called solar radiation management (SRM) by mimicking volcanoes when they erupt. Eruptions can both warm and cool the Earth's climateFix, depending on how sunlight interacts with volcanic material.

SRM works on the assumption that some eruptions expel particles into the upper atmosphere, bouncing some of the sun's energy back into space and thereby cooling the earth.

"In 1991, a large eruption at Mount Pinatubo injected around 18 million tons of SO2 (sulphur oxide) to a 30-km altitude," project leader Matt Watson told reporters.

"That had the effect of cooling the global climate by around half a degree over two years."

Next month's experiment, to be held at a disused airfield in Sculthorpe in north Norfolk, will pump water through a 1-km hosepipe into an air balloon to test the engineering design and the effects of wind.

If there are no hiccups, the team aims to do more 1-km tests next year. It will also work on calculating and designing a potential full-scale balloon project, which would pump sulphates and aerosol particles instead of water.

That would require a 20-km pipe strong enough to pump sulphates to a balloon the size of Wembley football stadium -- at twice the height of a commercial aircraft flight.

However, the size of the balloon and strength of the pipe required are serious engineering challenges.

"Even manufacturing a hose 1 km in length is a challenge, but we are talking about a hose stronger than any built before," said Chris Walton, SPICE project trials advisor.

Some countries are exploring geo-engineering solutions as a way to control climate change by cutting the amount of sunlight hitting the earth or by capturing greenhouse gases.

Potential schemes include using artificial trees to soak up carbon dioxide, using mirrors in space to cut the amount of sunlight reaching the earth or capturing CO2 from power stations and burying it under ground.

Supporters say such solutions could be a relatively fast way to control the climate if there was an abrupt change, such as the sudden loss of Arctic ice.

Detractors say the impact of mimicking or manipulating nature on a large scale is not yet fully known and such projects might deflect resources and attention from proven technologies.

Most of these solutions are still far from being established at large scale.

"With strong government support and in an emergency situation...the fastest we could deploy this system is two decades," Watson told Reuters, adding that a minimum 10 to 20 balloons globally would be needed to reduce atmospheric temperature by 2 degrees.

Body Odor? Gene Disorder May Be The Culprit (Source: Reuters)

For some people with troublesome, unexplained body odor, an uncommon genetic disorder once known as "fish-odor syndrome" may be to blame, according to a study.

The condition, known clinically as trimethylaminuria, is caused by emitting excessive amounts of the compound trimethylamine (TMA). TMA is produced when people digest foods rich in a substance called choline -- including saltwater fish, eggs, liver and certain legumes, such as soy and kidney beans.

"Individuals with the metabolic disorder trimethylaminuria may sporadically produce malodors despite good hygiene," wrote study leader Paul Wise, at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, in the American Journal of Medicine.

"The psychosocial impact of trimethylaminuria may be considerable. However, trimethylaminuria is difficult to diagnose without specialized tests."

Trimethylaminuria is caused by defects in a gene known as FMO3, which hinder the body's ability to metabolize TMA and turn it into odor-free compounds.

TMA itself has a strong fishy smell, but only about 10 to 15 percent of people with trimethylaminuria have that specific malodor, which may make it tougher to get a diagnosis.

For someone to have the disorder, he or she must inherit a defective copy of the FMO3 gene from both parents, who themselves would be unaffected "carriers." Of course, if either of the parents had the disorder, they would also pass it on.

Studies in the UK have estimated that up to 1 percent of white people carry a flawed copy of FMO3, with some ethnic groups -- including people from Ecuador and New Guinea -- having a higher rate.

For the current study, Wise and his colleagues looked at how often trimethylaminuria was diagnosed in patients who came to Monell seeking help for unexplained, persistent body odor.

They found that about one-third of the 353 patients tested positive for trimethylaminuria. Testing involves measuring the level of TMA in the urine after a person drinks a beverage with added choline.

Of the 118 patients who tested positive, just 3.5 percent had complained of a "fishy" odor. Far more often, they reported general body odor, bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth.

Many of the patients in the study had seen several doctors and dentists before being referred to Monell for testing. Some contacted the center on their own -- which Wise said was the major limitation of the study.

So it's unlikely that they are actually representative of all the people with unexplained body odor problems, he added, meaning researchers cannot conclude that one-third of all such individuals have trimethylaminuria.

George Preti, a Monell researcher who also worked on the study, said that in their experience, the second-most common culprit in unexplained body odor is chronic halitosis, or bad breath.

"It can be mistakenly perceived as body odor, because the odor is projected around your body when you speak or exhale."

Only a few labs in the United States perform testing for the disorder, but one way to gauge on your own whether you have it or not would be to make diet changes, such as avoiding choline-rich foods, Wise said.

If cutting out those foods improves your problem, that's a strong clue as to the underlying cause, he added.


Top 10 Epidemic Movies (Source: Time)


You might find yourself wanting to hole up at home away from others after watching Steven Soderbergh's Contagion. Here's a look at ten other pandemic-focused films to watch during your self-imposed quarantine.

Read more.

 
Best Fall Getaways (Source: Yahoo! Travel)

Fall is typically the time when kids go back to school and we get back to work. And because most of us have that mindset, autumn is also a spectacular shoulder season with discounts that few people utilize. Now is actually the time to visit a few popular summer destinations, since their prices, crowds and temperatures have dropped. This season also distinguishes those cities with particularly beautiful fall foliage and fun festivals. Here, we've pulled together a list of ideal travel spots for fall.

This Day in History: Marilyn Monroe's Famous Skirt Scene Filmed (Source: History.com)

The famous picture of Marilyn Monroe, laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast from a subway vent, is shot on this day in 1954 during the filming of The Seven Year Itch. The scene infuriated her husband, Joe DiMaggio, who felt it was exhibitionist, and the couple divorced shortly afterward.

Monroe, born Norma Jean Mortensen and also known as Norma Jean Baker, had a tragic childhood. Her mother, a negative cutter at several film studios, was mentally unstable and institutionalized when Norma Jean was five. Afterward, the little girl lived in a series of foster homes, where she suffered from neglect and abuse, and later lived in an orphanage. At age 16, she quit high school and married a 21-year-old aircraft plant worker named Joe Dougherty.

In 1944, her husband was sent overseas with the military, and Monroe worked as a paint sprayer in a defense plant. A photographer spotted her there, and she soon became a popular pin-up girl. She began working as a model and divorced her husband two years later. In 1946, 20th Century Fox signed her for $125 a week but dropped her after one film, from which her scenes were cut. Columbia signed her but also dropped her after one film. Unemployed, she posed nude for a calendar for $50; the calendar sold a million copies and made $750,000.

Monroe played a series of small film roles until 1950, when Fox signed her again. This time, they touted her as a star and began giving her feature roles in the early 1950s. In 1953, she starred with Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, playing fortune hunter Lorelei Lee. Her tremendous sex appeal and little-girl mannerisms made her enormously popular.

After her divorce from baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, Monroe searched for more serious roles and announced she would found her own studio. She began studying acting with the famous Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York. She gave an impressive comic performance in Bus Stop in 1955. The following year, she married intellectual playwright Arthur Miller. She appeared in the hit Some Like It Hot in 1959.

Monroe made her last picture in 1961, The Misfits, which Miller wrote especially for her. She divorced him a week before the film opened. She attempted one more film, Something's Got to Give, but was fired for her frequent illnesses and absences from the set, which many believed to be related to drug addiction. In August 1962, she died from an overdose of sleeping pills. Her death was ruled a possible suicide. Since her death, her popularity and mystique have endured, with numerous biographies published after her death. Her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio continued to send flowers to her grave every day for the rest of his life.