Short items

Accelerate green energy

Chris Huhne, the UK government’s energy and climate change secretary, has promised that the amount of energy the UK gets from renewable sources will increase more quickly than in any other European Union state over the next decade. Based on current policies, the forecast for UK investment in renewables is ?73 billion - the fourth largest amount in the world - between 2010 and 2020. 
The Guardian, 4 January 2011 

Village strikes oil  

The village of Forestside in West Sussex, UK, could be sitting on an oilfield worth ?300 million according to oil company Northern Petroleum. The firm estimates as much as five million barrels of crude oil could be recovered with minimal impact on the local community. The company plans to start extracting oil after more tests on the well are completed. The black gold will then be moved by lorry or underground pipe.  
Daily Mail, 7 January 2011 

Dark side of medicinal chemistry  

David Nichols, a medicinal chemist at Purdue University, West Lafayette, US, who develops new drugs for serious illnesses, was shocked when he found out his published findings were being used to make recreational drugs. ’Legal highs’ sold on the black market, by ’underground’ chemists have been implicated in the deaths of young people, raising major safety concerns.  
The Independent, 6 January 2011  

Biological key to brain diseases  

Living human brain tissue removed during surgery has been used to map a critical structure through which nerve cells communicate with one another. The research, published in Nature Neuroscience  (DOI: 10.1038/nn.2719), shows that malfunctions in the structure, known as the post-synaptic density, are among the main causes of more than 130 brain diseases. The research could help develop treatments. 
The Times, 20 December 2010