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  • Michael Watkins, JPL director, said: "What the Ingenuity team has done is given us the third dimension; they've freed us from the surface now forever in planetary exploration, so that we can now make a combination of driving on the surface and sampling the surface, doing reconnaissance, and even scientific experimentation on inaccessible places for a rover. This is exactly the way we build the future."
  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - the United Nations' civil aviation agency - has also presented Nasa and the US Federal Aviation Administration with an official ICAO designator: IGY. "India Golf Yankee, with the call sign 'Ingenuity', and those details will be officially included in the next edition of ICAO's designators for aircraft, operating agencies, aeronautical authorities and services," explained Håvard Grip, the Mars helicopter's chief pilot at JPL.
  • "We've gone from 'theory says you can' to really now having done it. It's a major first for the human race," she told BBC News.Ingenuity has two cameras onboard. A black-and-white camera that points down to the ground, which is used for navigation, and a high-resolution colour camera that looks out to the horizon.
  • Ingenuity was therefore made extremely light and given the power (a peak power of 350 watts) to turn those blades extremely fast - at over 2,500 revolutions per minute for this particular flight.
  • Getting airborne on the Red Planet is not easy. The atmosphere is very thin, just 1% of the density here at Earth. This gives the blades on a rotorcraft very little to bite into to gain lift.There's help from the lower gravity at Mars, but still - it takes a lot of work to get up off the ground.
  • "We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet," said a delighted MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California."We've been talking for so long about our 'Wright Brothers moment' on Mars, and here it is."
  • The rotorcraft was carried to Mars in the belly of Nasa's Perseverance Rover, which touched down in Jezero Crater on the Red Planet in February.Ingenuity Mars helicopter set for historic flightNasa shows dramatic video of Mars rover's landingWill Nasa's next rover discover life on Mars?
  • The American space agency has successfully flown a small helicopter on Mars. The drone, called Ingenuity, was airborne for less than a minute, but Nasa is celebrating what represents the first powered, controlled flight by an aircraft on another world.
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  • Tradewater says its global gas recoveries have already prevented the equivalent of 4-5 million tonnes of CO2 from reaching the atmosphere, but the work continues.Ms Gutiérrez says: "We are only scratching the surface. There is so much more out there."
  • Maria Gutiérrez, Tradewater's director of international programmes, says: "These gases are all over the place - in refrigeration equipment that's in use or not, but also in huge stockpiles of unused material that were purchased and never used, or confiscated when imported illegally into a country many years ago."
  • Some of them were also potent greenhouse gases: one, called R12 - a CFC - had a global warming potential almost 10,000 times that of CO2. A single 30lb canister of this gas contained the equivalent of 131 tonnes of CO2 in terms of it global warming potential.This is the equivalent of the average UK car driving just over a million kilometres.HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) were brought in as replacements, and helped save the ozone layer. But some of the early HFCs were, like the ozone-harming gases banned under the Montreal Protocol, potent greenhouse gases.
  • These teams are jokingly referred to as "ghostbusters", because of the way their cinematic counterparts gathered up troublesome phantoms and stored them together in large "containment units". They doggedly track, trap and destroy rogue gases before they can escape and cause climate havoc.
  • Ángel is part of a chain of people working to stop these gases causing damage to the planet. Teams from Tradewater, a company funded through climate offsetting, are working around the world negotiating with governments, private companies and individuals to find ways to find, secure and destroy the gases safely.
  • "I feel fulfilled," he says. "I've had this plant for 16 years working with plastic and glass and other waste but I've been working on refrigerants for the last three years. "I feel it's like a dream, helping the environment. Avoiding these gases from reaching the atmosphere. It's an ecstasy being able to help the planet through this work. It's very important for me."
  • Around the world, there are teams of people who are working to track down and destroy hidden sources of greenhouse gases - stopping them from harming the planet. Some of the gases, which are used in refrigeration, have many times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
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  • End users do not know that they should dispose of their obsolete EEE separately or how or where to dispose of their e-waste. Additionally, informal e-waste recyclers often lack the knowledge about the hazards of unsound practices;
  • f discarded electronics in East and Southeast Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015,
  • spontaneous combustion sometimes occurs at open dumping sites when components such as batteries trigger fires due to short circuits.
  • "Open burning and acid bath recycling in the informal sector have serious negative impacts on processers'
  • new UN research shows.
  • the average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analyzed—Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam—was 63% in the five years
  • The average e-waste generation per capita in the region was approximately 10 kg in 2015, with the highest generation found in Hong Kong (21.7 kg), followed by Singapore (19.95 kg) and Taiwan, Province of China (19.13 kg).
  • According to the report, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have a head-start in the region in establishing e-waste collection and recycling systems
  • There were large differences between nations on the per capita scales, with Cambodia (1.10 kg), Vietnam (1.34 kg) and the Philippines (1.35 kg) the lowest e-waste generators per capita in 2015.
  • Consumers, dismantlers and recyclers are often guilty of illegal dumping, particularly of "open dumping", where non- functional parts and residues from dismantling and treatment operations are released into the environmen
  • These processes are not only hazardous for the recyclers, their communities and the environment, but they are also inefficient, as they are unable to extract the full value of the processed products.
  • Asia as a whole accounts for the majority of EEE sales and generates the highest volume of e-waste, estimated at 16 million tonnes in 2014. However, on a per-capita basis, this amounts to only to 3.7 kg per inhabitant, as compared to Europe and the Americas, which generate nearly four times as much per capita—15.6 kg per inhabitant.
  • Hong Kong and Singapore, meanwhile, do not have specific e-waste legislation. Instead, the governments collaborate with producers to manage e-waste through a public-private partnership
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 ecology 12986
  • Kate Blagojevic, head of climate at Greenpeace UK, praised the progress on taking fossil fuels out of the energy mix, but added that it was "no time for the UK government to rest on its laurels"."Carbon emissions from our homes, farms and roads remain stubbornly high, and only a major government intervention can unblock the impasse," she said."As the Glasgow climate summit looms closer, ministers really need to up their game on tackling UK carbon emissions right across the board."
  • Fintan Slye, director at National Grid ESO, said: "This latest record is another example of how the grid continues to transform at an astonishing rate as we move away from fossil fuel generation and harness the growth of renewable power sources."It's an exciting time, and the progress we're seeing with these records underlines the significant strides we're taking towards our ambition of being able to operate the system carbon free by 2025."
  • That will need much more energy storage than is currently available.The government aims to have almost all electricity produced from low carbon sources by 2030 - and despite this week's impressive results, there's still a very long way to go.
  • When Britain went into lockdown, electricity demand plummeted and the National Grid responded by taking power plants off the network and the four remaining coal-fired plants were among the first to be shut down.
  • The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) said levels of carbon pollution for each unit of electricity consumed dropped to just 39 grams of carbon dioxide - the lowest ever recorded for the grid - at 13:00 BST on Monday.It said wind power made up 39% of the energy mix, with solar at 21% and nuclear accounting for 16%.
  • Great Britain's electricity system was the greenest it had ever been at lunchtime on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, its operator has said.Sunny and windy weather, coupled with low demand for power, led to a surge in renewable sources of energy, National Grid Electricity System Operator said.
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  • Corporations should not be allowed to make sustainable statements without data that proves production practices are sustainable. Consumers deserve transparency from corporations, and corporations should be required to show consumers their sustainable practices, without the protection of ag-gag laws. The moral requirement of corporations, who continue to pollute the environment, is firmly rooted in the necessity of sustainable practices for humanity’s long-term future. Consumers cannot and should not be the ones to take on the majority of the task. Corporations need to put their money into whether their advertising is and create actual sustainable growing practices. 
  • There are efforts to create new declarative statements, like the Clean Label Project that aim to protect consumers from greenwashing. For instance, one of the labels is called the “Purity Award,” which “evaluates products for substances that would never be found on a product label.” Other labels through this project ensure the consumer knows that the product is not harmful. However, this perpetuates the problem because third-party organizations are giving consumers the information they expect from corporations. 
  •  There are other pending cases against Smithfield about its misrepresentations on labels. The corporation is fighting another legal challenge about whether its production practices lead to an increase in consumers’ risk for food-borne illnesses. In May 2020, the Organic Consumer Association (OCA) filed a complaint against Smithfield in D.C. Superior Court. The OCA’s complaint alleged that Smithfield plants were more likely to produce products that have salmonella than other similarly sized facilities. The complaint continues to allege that Smithfield is violating D.C. Consumer Protection Procedure Act by stating its products are the “safest” for consumers. In December 2020, the court denied Smithfield’s motion to dismiss the claim. This at least allows the court to inspect whether consumers have been misled, but without a federal statute, consumers on a national level may still have misleading advertisements. 
  • The FTC rarely files suits about corporate greenwashing, which “is the process of conveying false impressions or providing misleading information about how corporation products are more environmentally sound”. As more and more consumers desire sustainable products, corporations have larger incentives to market toward those consumer desires. 
  • The fundamental aspect of the law to protect consumers from misrepresentations in advertising on food focuses on profit, not the safety of the consumer. This leaves consumers with little to no legal action against companies for deceptive practices unless the consumer is injured by a defect in the product or if the product causes the consumer harm. 
  • Federal agencies rely on several statutes for legal authority to regulate specific issues. Administrative law requires that statutes give agencies the authority to regulate certain issues under certain legal authority, and without that legal direction, the agency cannot regulate the issue.
  • These lagoons are full of bacteria and diseases spread by feces. For decades, Smithfield has wined that the technology to create better waste management is too expensive, while the local communities, who are mostly not white people, suffer from chronic diseases linked to the facilities. These communities are often left without legal recourse as Smithfield relies on protection from local ag-gag laws and exceptions in federal statutes. 
  • One of those companies is Smithfield, one of the largest pork producers and biggest water polluters in the U.S. To change consumer perception, Smithfield claims to be “stewards of the environment.” The corporation makes affirmative statements that they have the “goals of reducing natural resource damage and ensuring 100% compliance, 100% of the time” in various forms of advertisements. Smithfield goes on to say that they are working on those goals by “finding innovative solutions to optimize [their] supply chain, reduce waste and improve [their] energy and water efficiency.” 
  • Instead of the government, on any level, promulgating bans on products or production practices that are known to significantly impact climate change, the burden is placed on the consumer. There is consumer demand to find products that encourage sustainability, but the ability for consumers to find sustainable products is limited. Consumers are required to gather large amounts of information about products and how the product was produced to understand whether a product is sustainable. Often, that information is either impossible to find or includes complex verbiage that requires expensive research. Consumers are left with limited information.
  • In the U.S., consumers are becoming pressured into purchasing sustainable products. Generally, bans on products affect the consumer and consumer habits, like plastic bag bans, which require consumers to use reusable bags and give stores the reduced expense of purchasing plastic bags. Even though the underlying goal of those bans is to decrease plastic pollution, which is necessary, corporations are not forced to change. 
  • Climate change is no longer something that will happen in the future – it’s happening now. Generations throughout the world are urging governments to protect not only their citizens but the citizens of the world. As Bill Gates recently said, we need “unprecedented (global) cooperation” immediately to deal with climate change. In theory, governments would ensure environmentally safe and sustainable practices in their own territory, and there would be global cooperation in this effort.
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  • articularly for skin diseases."When we started this project, my skin was itching all over. But every time I visited the springs, I made sure I bathed in the water," she said."It's so hot when you sit there, you feel like you're burning. Then you go to the river, which is just next to the hot pool, and the water is so cold you feel like you're freezing. "By the time you leave, your body is feeling light, and since then I no longer feel itchy."
  • Ms Masika, whose job it is to liaise with the local people, says the community already had answers for some of the problems."For example, they know what type of vegetation should be planted at what level on the mountain. They know which ones are strong enough to be planted along the river to stop the floods."They know they are supposed to plant along the riverbank because it is food to the water god. And when the water god is fine, he doesn't cause floods. "Climate change is understood in the culture, and they have some suggestions that can help us mitigate this situation."
  • The Bakonzo community is made up of around one million people living on both sides of the border between Uganda and DR Congo, and their heritage could be lost as a result of climate change.
  • "The consequences of climate change are particularly acute at the tropics," says Richard Taylor, a geographer at University College London, who has led research on the Rwenzori Mountains."One or two degrees of warming at the Equator has a much bigger impact on climate and water budgets than one or two degrees of warming in London, Paris or New York."
  • During last year's floods, the water submerged hot springs and washed away the vegetation around a waterfall that was used as a place for rituals. Since then, spiritual leaders have been unable to perform those ceremonies.Other spiritual sites are getting eroded or filled up with silt and the destruction of the vegetation has weakened the banks in many areas.All this is threatening centuries-old rituals."Most likely, many of these customs will gradually became rare or they won't happen any more, because everything is shifting," Mr Musasizi says.
  • While science may provide an explanation for these events, the local Bakonzo culture has another way of framing them - according to their beliefs, they happen because the gods are angry."The Bakonzo have a very strong attachment to the snow and the water," says Simon Musasizi, a programme manager at the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU). "They believe that their god, Kithasamba, lives in the snow, and that the snow is actually the frozen sperm of their god."
  • Since then, the communities living at the foot of the Rwenzori have suffered some of the most destructive floods the area has ever seen, coupled with a pattern of less frequent but heavier rainfall.
  • The most visible is the rapid loss of the ice field, which shrunk from 6.5 sq km in 1906 to less than one sq km in 2003, and could completely disappear before the end of this decade, research shows.
  • "Now I and other people find it difficult to sustain ourselves with what we plant at home, because everything gets destroyed by floods or drought. It's either too much drought or too much rain."It's making me uncomfortable, thinking of how the next generation is going to survive this horrible situation," says Ms Masika, who now works on a project to mitigate the impact of the shifting environment.
  • Ronah Masika remembers when she could still see the snowy caps of the Rwenzori mountains, a Unesco World Heritage site on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.The view was stunning every time she travelled from her home in Kasese town to the Ugandan capital, Kampala - and it was not even that long ago.But now she cannot even catch a glimpse of the ice because the glacier is receding.
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  • Here, as in nature, tried-and-true behaviors such as social distancing are our best tools until vaccines or treatments can be developed. But just like other animals, we have to be strategic about it.
  • For instance, we can now communicate disease threats globally in an instant. This ability allows us to institute social distancing before disease appears in our local community—a tactic that has saved many lives. We have advanced digital communication platforms, from e-mail to group video chats, that allow us to keep our physical distance while maintaining some social connections.
  • Like other animals, humans have a long evolutionary history with infectious diseases. Many of our own forms of behavioral immunity, such as feelings of disgust in dirty or crowded environments, are likely the results of this history.
  • The social ties of some group-living animals may be so critical that avoidance will never be favored, even when group mates are obviously sick.
  • the researchers said that maintaining strong and unconditional alliances with certain relatives can have numerous long-term benefits in nonhuman primates, just as in humans.
  • But some male guppies strongly avoided the side of the tank near the other fish, and these distancing guppies were later shown to be highly susceptible to worm infections. It makes sense that evolution would favor a strong expression of distancing behavior in those most at risk.
  • This prevents them from inadvertently putting the reproductively valuable colony members (the queen and “nurses” that care for the brood) at risk. The nurses also took action, moving the brood farther inside the nest and away from the foragers once the fungus was detected in the colony.
  • The delay between exposure and sickness allowed Stroeymeyt and her colleagues to see whether ants changed their social behaviors in the 24 hours after they first detected fungal spores in their colony but before fungus-exposed ants showed signs of sickness.
  • Lobsters are far from the only animals that have found the benefits of social distancing sometimes outweigh the costs. Some other creatures, in fact, have developed ways to boost the payoff by practicing social distancing strategically, in ways that protect the most valuable or vulnerable in their group.
  • When lobsters detect an afflicted animal, they are willing to take considerable risks to stay disease-free.
  • Most of these lonely lobsters, the researchers found, were infected with the contagious virus. These lobsters did not choose to den alone, the scientists suspected: they were being shunned.
  • Social distancing from other members of your species, even temporarily, means missing out on the numerous benefits that favored social living in the first place. For this reason, researchers have learned that complete shunning is just one approach animals take. Some social species stay together when members are infected but change certain grooming interactions, for example, whereas others, such as ants, limit encounters between individuals that play particular roles in the colony, all to lower the risk of infection.
  • This kind of behavior is common because it helps social animals survive. Although living in groups makes it easier for animals to capture prey, stay warm and avoid predators, it also leads to outbreaks of contagious diseases.
  • Yet despite how unnatural it may feel to us, social distancing is very much a part of the natural world.
  • The lobster’s response to disease—seen in both field and laboratory experiments—is one we have become all too familiar with this year: social distancing.
  • Chemicals in its urine smell different. These substances are produced when a lobster is infected with a contagious virus called Panulirus argus virus 1, and the healthy returning lobster seems alarmed.
  • Despite how unnatural social distancing may feel to people, it is very much a part of the natural world, practiced by mammals, fishes, insects and birds.
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  • "Could we image areas not visible from space or that a rover couldn't reach? Could a helicopter scout ahead for rovers and help plot the most efficient course for the best science? Could we support future human missions with aerial capabilities?" she pondered. "Those are questions for another day, but tech demos give us the leeway to be creative and test new things."
  • If everything goes well, subsequent flights will get more complex. "Currently, the way that we're planning is for the first three flights to demonstrate basic capability - to hover and then to traverse, going to a longer distance down the flight zone and back again," Havard Grip, Ingenuity's chief pilot, told BBC News."If everything goes really well, we might try to stretch our capabilities. But we haven't planned that in detail."
  • "We are going to do our very best to capture Ingenuity in flight," said Nasa engineer Farah Alibay."We're going to be taking images, we're hoping to take video."This will be challenging, she cautioned. Both rover and helicopter function autonomously and carry separate clocks. The timing devices will need to be in sync for the photography to catch the action.
  • At the moment, the chopper is still attached to Perseverance, to its belly. A protective covering was released at the weekend and in the coming days the craft will be lowered to the ground.Engineers have identified a 10m by 10m area in Jezero that they're calling the "airfield".
  • Called Ingenuity, the 1.8kg, twin-rotor aircraft will attempt a series of short hops in Mars' rarefied air.If successful, it would represent something of a "Wright Brothers moment", says Nasa.
  • The US space agency says it expects now to fly the first helicopter on Mars in early April.The little chopper was carried to the Red Planet by the Perseverance rover, which made its dramatic landing in Jezero Crater just over a month ago.
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  • The commission - recruited by the Scottish government from industry, trades unions and academia - says worker education and skills training will be vital.It says the great move towards low carbon must be done in co-operation with the unions.
  • Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, told BBC News: “Every new licence makes it more difficult to achieve the reductions we need and risks creating an even bigger ‘cliff edge’ for oil and gas workers.“As climate science continues to be updated, it’s entirely possible that there’s going to have to be an even quicker tail-off in oil and gas production than is currently predicted.“If we want the transition to be a fair one, then instead of wasting any more time opening up new fossil fuel reserves, efforts would be better used to more rapidly harness existing skills and direct them toward the zero-carbon industries we all need.”
  • He was supported by Deirdre Mitchie, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, who told BBC News: “Ongoing exploration and production is compatible with net zero emissions – we’re pleased that the government has recognised this."
  • The UK Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said he would follow a different path: “Today, we are sending a clear message around the world that the UK will be a nation of clean energy.“We will not leave oil and gas workers behind in the irreversible shift away from fossil fuels. We will power the green industrial revolution, turning its focus to the next-generation clean technologies the UK needs to support a green economy.”
  • Mel Evans from Greenpeace said: “This is a colossal failure. The UK will make a fool of itself in the run-up to hosting the COP26 global climate talks if our energy minister signs off on new oil and gas licences that serve to rip up the Paris Agreement (the world deal to hold global temperature rise to 1.5C).“We know the government has already approved too much oil and gas extraction to meet our climate obligations under Paris, and the oil industry itself says that we’ve passed peak oil demand.”
  • This will include up to £10bn for hydrogen production and £3bn for a technology called carbon capture, usage and storage - where carbon emissions are either turned into other products such as plastics or buried.The government says the deal should cut pollution by up to 60 million tonnes by 2030, while also supporting up to 40,000 jobs across the supply chain.
  • The sector will face targets to reduce emissions by 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2027. It is also committed to cut emissions by 50% by 2030.
  • But ministers insist that their strategy will work. So-called "checkpoints" will be introduced that take into account domestic demand for oil and gas, projected production levels, the increase in clean technologies such as offshore wind, and the sector’s progress in cutting emissions.
  • More oil and gas wells are to be drilled in the North Sea, the UK government has announced.The decision has angered environmental campaigners, who say the government should refuse new licences.
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  • Satellite measurement puts it at around 1,290 sq km (500 sq miles). Greater London is roughly 1,500 sq km; the Welsh county of Monmouthshire is about 1,300 sq km. That's big by any measure, although not as large as the monster A68 berg which calved in July 2017 from the Larsen C Ice Shelf on the western side of the Weddell Sea. That was originally some 5,800 sq km but has since shattered into many small pieces.
  • A74 broke away from the Brunt Ice Shelf, which is the floating protrusion of glaciers that have flowed off the land into the Weddell Sea. On a map, the Weddell Sea is that sector of Antarctica directly to the south of the Atlantic Ocean. The Brunt is on the eastern side of the sea. Like all ice shelves, it will periodically calve icebergs. A big berg last calved from this particular area in 1971.
  • The Weddell Sea's eastern side is interesting because it has not witnessed the warming effects that have been observed in its western sector, next to the Antarctic Peninsula.This situation may not last, however, with computer models suggesting there could be regular incursions of warm ocean water from the north by the century's end.
  • Dr Huw Griffiths from the British Antarctic Survey was thrilled to see the pictures sent back from the Polarstern."What they have found isn't shocking but it is amazing to get these images so soon after a calving event and it is definitely the largest area that will have been surveyed in this way," he commented. "Finding this kind of community this far under the ice shelf is not surprising but it is a good indication that there is a rich supply of food reaching at least 30km under the ice shelf. "This food is produced by plankton in the sunlit sea surface nearby, then dragged under the ice shelf by the currents of the Weddell Sea. These same currents will eventually move the iceberg westward around the Weddell Sea and then northwards to its doom," he told BBC News.
  • "In the images, numerous sessile animals can be seen attached to various small stones scattered liberally across the soft seafloor. "The majority of these are filter-feeding organisms, presumably subsisting on fine material transported under the ice over these last decades. "Some mobile fauna, such as holothurians, ophiuroids, various molluscs, as well as at least five species of fish and two species of octopus were also observed."
  • Over five hours, the system collected almost 1,000 high-resolution images and long sequences of video."Despite the years of continuous ice coverage, a developed and diverse seafloor community was observed," said OFOBS team-members Dr Autun Purser and Dr Frank Wenzhoefer.
  • But Polarstern, run by the Alfred Wegener Institute, got lucky. It was already in the eastern Weddell Sea on a pre-planned expedition when city-sized A74 split from the Brunt.And when the weather calmed last weekend, the ship slipped in behind the berg to take a look at an area of seafloor that is now free of ice cover for the first time in five decades.
  • Research groups frequently try to probe waters below freshly calved ice shelves, to better understand how these unique ecosystems operate. But success is not easily won.
  • German scientists have inspected an area of seafloor newly exposed by the calving of mega-iceberg A74 and found it to be teeming with animals.
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  • Going forward, the team is planning to investigate muscle development and functional studies to further understand early animal evolution. “Our work is a way to put these animals on the tree of life, in some respects,” Droser said. “And show they’re genetically linked to modern animals, and to us.”
  • These animals likely had the genetic parts responsible for heads and the sensory organs usually found there. However, the complexity of interaction between these genes that would give rise to such features hadn’t yet been achieved.  “The fact that we can say these genes were operating in something that’s been extinct for half a billion years is fascinating to me,” Evans said. 
  • For their analysis, the researchers considered four animals representative of the more than 40 recognized species that have been identified from the Ediacaran era. These creatures ranged in size from a few millimeters to nearly a meter in length.
  • Kimberella were teardrop-shaped creatures with one broad, rounded end and one narrow end that likely scraped the sea floor for food with a proboscis. Further, they could move around using a “muscular foot” like snails today. The study included flat, oval-shaped Dickinsonia with a series of raised bands on their surface, and Tribrachidium, who spent their lives immobilized at the bottom of the sea.
  • “None of them had heads or skeletons. Many of them probably looked like three-dimensional bathmats on the sea floor, round discs that stuck up,” said Mary Droser, a geology professor at UCR. “These animals are so weird and so different, it’s difficult to assign them to modern categories of living organisms just by looking at them, and it’s not like we can extract their DNA — we can’t.”
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  • The takeaway of the review is that "mitigating the impacts of noise from human activities on marine life is key to achieving a healthier ocean." The KAUST-led study identifies a number of actions that may come at a cost but are relatively easy to implement to improve the ocean soundscape and, in so doing, enable the recovery of marine life and the goal of sustainable use of the ocean
  • Using sounds gathered from around the globe, multimedia artist and study coauthor Jana Winderen created a six-minute audio track that demonstrates both the peaceful calm, and the devastatingly jarring, acoustic aspects of life for marine animals. The research is truly eye opening, or rather ear opening, both in its groundbreaking scale as well as in its immediacy.
  • "The deep, dark ocean is conceived as a distant, remote ecosystem, even by marine scientists," Duarte said. "However, as I was listening, years ago, to a hydrophone recording acquired off the U.S. West Coast, I was surprised to hear the clear sound of rain falling on the surface as the dominant sound in the deep-sea ocean environment. I then realized how acoustically connected the ocean surface, where most human noise is generated, is to the deep sea; just 1,000 m, less than 1 second apart!"
  • "This unprecedented effort, involving a major tour de force, has shown the overwhelming evidence for the prevalence of impacts from human-induced noise on marine animals, to the point that the urgency of taking action can no longer be ignored," KAUST Ph.D. student Michelle Havlik said. The research involved scientists from Saudi Arabia, Denmark, the U.S. and the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Norway and Canada.
  • "We all know that no one really wants to live right next to a freeway because of the constant noise," commented Halpern. "For animals in the ocean, it's like having a mega-freeway in your backyard."
  • Sound travels far, and quickly, underwater. And marine animals are sensitive to sound, which they use as a prominent sensorial signal guiding all aspects of their behavior and ecology. "This makes the ocean soundscape one of the most important, and perhaps under-appreciated, aspects of the marine environment," the study states. The authors' hope is that the evidence presented in the paper will "prompt management actions ... to reduce noise levels in the ocean, thereby allowing marine animals to re-establish their use of ocean sound."
  • "The landscape of sound -- or soundscape -- is such a powerful indicator of the health of an environment," noted Ben Halpern, a coauthor on the study and director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UC Santa Barbara. "Like we have done in our cities on land, we have replaced the sounds of nature throughout the ocean with those of humans."
  • A global team of researchers set out to understand how human-made noise affects wildlife, from invertebrates to whales, in the oceans, and found overwhelming evidence that marine fauna, and their ecosystems, are negatively impacted by noise. This noise disrupts their behavior, physiology, reproduction and, in extreme cases, causes mortality. The researchers call for human-induced noise to be considered a prevalent stressor at the global scale and for policy to be developed to mitigate its effects
  • But the soundtrack of the healthy ocean no longer reflects the acoustic environment of today's ocean, plagued with human-created noise.
  • A global team of researchers set out to understand how human-made noise affects wildlife, from invertebrates to whales, in the oceans, and found overwhelming evidence that marine fauna, and their ecosystems, are negatively impacted by noise. This noise disrupts their behavior, physiology, reproduction and, in extreme cases, causes mortality. The researchers call for human-induced noise to be considered a prevalent stressor at the global scale and for policy to be developed to mitigate its effects.
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  • Niels Kanstrup, a Danish hunter and biologist says the ban has actually been beneficial for hunting. "I'm a conservationist," he told BBC News. "I'm a hunter, too. "I think it's a fair and sustainable way to use natural resources, but we can't have it connected with spreading poisonous heavy metals in nature."
  • Christopher Graffius from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation told BBC News: "We have already reduced the amount of lead being released into the environment. "And when it comes to human health, there are risk management procedures [in place]; a ban would be a knee-jerk response - it's not proportionate." But Lord Krebs said that even the threat to human health from consuming wild game shot legally with lead was a concern. "People who eat wild game regularly, particularly young children, are at risk of some adverse effects," he told BBC News. "It could affect their mental development."
  • Ruth Cromie from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust told BBC News: "A lot of people are ignoring [the regulations].""And even where the law is being obeyed, it's possible for water birds to be exposed to legally deposited lead, so the issue is that the law isn't protecting birds from lead poisoning." But shooting organisations in the UK see a campaign against lead shot as a campaign against hunting.
  • But the WWT recently carried out tests on just over 100 ducks purchased as "locally shot" from suppliers in England and found that more than three quarters were killed using lead.
  • Lord Krebs, emeritus professor of zoology at the University of Oxford, and former chair of the UK Food Standards Agency, told BBC News that there was "an overwhelming body of evidence" that lead used in hunting was "a risk both to humans and to wildlife"."On that basis," he told BBC News. "The advice would be that lead shot should be phased out."
  • The report is a collection of research presented by experts who gathered at the Oxford Symposium on Lead ammunition last year. It includes findings from studies carried out by university academics and by conservation groups including the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) and the RSPB.
  • About 100,000 wetland birds are killed every year from poisoning by discarded lead ammunition, say scientists. This is one of the conclusions of a report published on Thursday by the University of Oxford.
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  • The communities, who have yet to be consulted about the proposals, would lose control of their forests, and further timber harvesting, however sustainable, would be banned.
  • A proposal currently being discussed by the U.S. Senate offers the Guatemalan government $60 million to beef up security in the Mirador Basin, a part of the reserve known for its Mayan archaeological remains.
  • Narco-ranches contain miles of clandestine roads leading to the border, and around a hundred small airstrips that are out of sight of the authorities and out of the hands of rival gangs.
  • less deforestation and fewer fires, while storing more carbon than other forests, including those under government protection.
  • ndependent studies have shown that key species such as jaguars and their prey are still abundant in the forest concessions . “This clearly shows our compliance with the ecological requirements of forest certification,” Cuellar said.
  • “The forest is an economic asset to the people,” ACOFOP’s deputy director Juan Giron told me in an earlier interview. “If the person benefits from natural resources, he or she sees them as an asset.
  • t the heart of the community concessions is a strong collective organization, the Association of Forest Communities of Peten (ACOFOP),
  • The communities also benefit from long-term advice from Rainforest Alliance, an American NGO, in finding markets for forest products. These include valuable timbers such as mahogany and Spanish cedar, which despite its name is a New World tree, and several non-timber products from trees believed to have been cultivated since the time of the Mayan civilization here.
  • One of the rules set by the government when establishing the concessions was that communities must use the forests sustainably.
  • Carmelita is a century-old community, originally established as a settlement for extractors of forest products.
  • The communities have done a far better job of protecting the forest than they and the government have.
  • And grassroots organizations representing traditional forest users demanded the right to establish community forests, where they could continue harvesting timber and other forest products.
  • Together, they comprise one of the world’s largest and most successful community forest experiments.
  • Illegal cattle ranches — most of them linked to major drug cartels — have been wrecking the national parks containing the protected forests in the west of the reserve, causing some of the fastest rates of deforestation in the world.
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  • The discovery shows that life can exist in environments where science suggests it should not: “There are still things that we have to learn,” Griffiths said. “There are still animals out there that can break the rules that we have written for them.”
  • It seems the animals attached to the boulder drifted there as microscopic larvae, and then grew into their adult forms: “life is everywhere and the environment selects the species that eventually thrive.”A future stage will be to determine if the animals are similar to those in the open ocean, or if they had evolved to live where they are now, Priscu said in an email. “[If] the organisms evolved to live beneath ice shelves, they may provide us with a molecular clock that can be used to gauge past climate driven changes in Antarctic ice.”
  • “All the ingredients for life exist beneath ice shelves,” said John Priscu, a professor of polar ecology at Montana State University, who has studied life under polar ice for almost 40 years but who was not involved in the latest study.
  • In order to survive, the organisms would have to feed on floating material from other animals or plants, because it is impossible for plants to photosynthesize in the sunless seawater. While the boulder is located about 150 miles from the ocean, the direction of the currents beneath the ice shelf suggests the nearest plant life is up to 1,000 miles away, Griffiths said.
  • Small mobile animals such as shrimp and crustaceans called sea fleas have been seen before beneath ice shelves, but no one expected to see stationary animals like these. “The only things you would expect to find … are things that can wander around and find food,” he said. “Whereas if you’re stuck to a rock and you’re waiting for food to come to you, then the one bit that comes past this year could go past you.”
  • Antarctica is ringed with more than half a million square miles of ice shelves – the Filchner-Ronne is one of the largest, covering more than 160,000 square miles – but boreholes have revealed an area of seafloor beneath them only the size of a tennis court. “It’s a huge area, but we have a tiny widow into it,” Griffiths said.
  • “It was a bit of a disappointment to them – they’d spent weeks getting there and it didn’t work,” said marine biologist Huw Griffiths of the British Antarctic Survey, who is the lead author of the published study. “But for [biologists], it is amazing because no one has ever seen these [organisms] before.”
  • They had expected the seafloor to be mud, but were dismayed when they hit a boulder, which meant they couldn’t get the intended sediment samples. But to their surprise, the camera showed colonies of “stationary” animals attached to the rock – probably sponges and related sea creatures.
  • “Life finds a way,” the actor Jeff Goldblum playing scientist Ian Malcolm declared in the 1993 movie “Jurassic Park.” Animal life was not what scientists were expecting to find in the pitch-black seawater beneath almost half a mile of floating Antarctic ice, but it seems to have found a way with the discovery of sea creatures living in the extreme environment.
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  • The researchers note that one explanation could be that some individuals engage in more effective self-presentation. "Perhaps people that have greater well-being behave in ways that are more in line with their personality -- being more authentic or true to themselves," says Assistant Professor Lauren Human. In a previous study, the researchers also found evidence of this in platonic settings. Alternatively, it may be that people who are perceived more accurately come to experience greater well-being -- not necessarily that greater well-being leads to being perceived more accurately. Both are plausible, according to Human.
  • On average, people did see their dates' personalities accurately, but some dates were easier to read than others. "Some people are open books whose distinctive personalities can be accurately perceived after a brief interaction, whereas others are harder to read," says co-author Lauren Gazzard Kerr, a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at McGill University under the supervision of Professor Lauren Human. "Strikingly, people who report higher well-being, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life tend to make the task easier," she says.
  • To find answers, they invited 372 participants to partake in speed-dating events in Montreal in 2017 and 2018. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing their personality and well-being. A close friend or family member also completed a questionnaire on the participant's personality. Participants then had a series of brief, three-minute first dates; after each interaction, they rated their date's personality.
  • Summary: The high stakes of first dates require would-be partners to make and interpret first impressions. But, can we rely on these first impressions to accurately assess someone's personality? According to researchers, the answer is yes, although it may be more difficult than in more casual settings.
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  • “As the public accounts committee recognises, the government faced significant challenges in having to rapidly procure PPE at pace in a competitive international market. Thanks to the combined effort of government, NHS, armed forces, civil servants and industry we have delivered over 8.1bn items of PPE at record speed.”
  • A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have been working tirelessly to procure, produce and deliver PPE to over 58,000 settings, protecting our health and social care staff on the frontline of this pandemic.
  • The committee said the situation was particularly acute in the social care sector, which did not receive “anywhere near enough” to meet its needs.The committee criticisms over the lack of transparency around the procurement process echoed similar made by the NAO. In particular, the MPs pointed to concerns over the so-called “high priority lane”, where orders were placed with companies on the basis of recommendations from MPs or other prominent figures rather than those with expertise in the field.
  • “Many workers at the frontline in health and social care were put in the appalling situation of having to care for people with Covid-19 or suspected Covid-19
  • Overall, the committee said frontline staff in both health and social care experienced shortages of PPE, with some forced to reuse single-use items as stocks ran “perilously low”.
  • The committee said the episode had left the government “open to accusations of poor value for money, conflicts of interest and preferential treatment of some suppliers”, while a lack of transparency “undermines public trust in government procurement and the use of taxpayers’ money”.The committee found also that, while the government had a plan and a stockpile of PPE in place, that proved insufficient to deal with the pandemic.
  • “Frontline workers were left without adequate supplies, risking their own and their families’ lives to provide treatment and care,” said the committee’s chair, Meg Hillier. “We’re at a dangerous new phase of the pandemic, in our third national lockdown with no defined end in sight. The government needs to acknowledge the errors and be better prepared.”
  • Care homes were left exposed and vulnerable by a lack of personal protective equipment early in the pandemic, while the government’s handling of the procurement left ministers open to accusations of conflicts of interest, MPs have found.
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  • The generation of models currently being assessed for the next IPCC report, due next year, have improved dramatically over several decades. They now explicitly represent numerous forest types, and many include dynamic nitrogen cycles and improved tree mortality statistics.
  • as 36.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year — about four times as much as they do now — whereas others forecast a release of as much as 22 billion tons. That huge range of 59 billion tons far exceeds today’s annual global emissions from all sources,
  • Even these experiments won’t answer all questions, though. The forests studied so far are relatively monotonous — the Sydney forest is dominated by just one species, eucalyptus —whereas in some tropical forests, more than 200 tree species can mingle in a single hectare. These forests are also warm and sun-bathed year-round, pumping up growth rates.
  • The study outside of Sydney was one of the first carbon-fertilization experiments done in a mature forest anywhere.
  • Dozens of soil warming experiments in temperate and boreal forests had found increasing carbon losses, but about a third of all forest soil carbon is in the already-warm tropics.
  • Such experiments are expensive, time-consuming, and logistically fraught — especially in the tropics, where intense humidity and rainfall can damage equipment, as can animals.
  • The other Science paper, published in June, adds an explicit warning for governments and other entities hoping to fight climate change through programs to plant trees or restore forests.
  • While fires, droughts and other factors are playing a role, forests also seem to be switching from a period dominated by carbon fertilization to one dominated by a phenomenon known as vapor pressure deficit
  • Meanwhile, more careful analysis of satellite data by Boston University earth scientist Ranga Myneni and colleagues revealed that much of the greening seen in previous studies was due not to accelerated forest growth, but rather to an extensive, decades-long tree-planting initiative in China, coupled with rapid intensification of farming in China and India as growers gained access to capital and adopted fertilizer and irrigation on a wide scale.
  • While climate scientists roundly reject that view, many have enthusiastically promoted forests’ ability to soak up carbon. Last summer, the lead author of a much-celebrated paper called tree planting “the best climate solution available today,” though the authors later clarified that it can’t substitute for emissions reductions.
  • No serious scientist has argued that such “natural climate solutions” absolve countries from cutting fossil fuel emissions, but some have hoped they could at least provide crucial breathing room to head off the worst impacts of climate change.
  • I worry that our academic obsession with the declining sink will be misinterpreted by the public”
  • Higher CO2 concentrations do not necessarily accelerate forest growth, warming soils seem to emit substantially more CO2 than previously believed, and climate-driven scourges threaten to kill trees faster than they can grow, turning forests globally into sources, not sinks, of carbon.
  • A new generation of field experiments and computer models are tackling some of the biggest open questions around the future of forests.
  • Forests today absorb more than a quarter of humans’ CO2 emissions, and more than a trillion tons of carbon reside in trees and forest soil — more than twice the carbon emitted by humans since the Industrial Revolution began.
  • Ever since global climate change was recognized as a major threat, scientists have struggled to determine how much carbon ecosystems, and forests in particular, can soak up from the atmosphere as both carbon dioxide levels and temperatures rise.
  • Despite gorging on plant food in the form of CO2, the trees hadn’t managed to grow any larger, the researchers reported in April in Nature.
  • In 2012, carbon dioxide gas started flowing from the tubes, raising levels inside the rings to nearly 40 percent above the global average CO2 concentration of around 405 parts per million.
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  • You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%.
  • Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too - and even your work colleagues. And as well as having the power to deny gun licences,
  • They are the first nation to impose gun laws in the whole world and I think it laid down a bedrock saying that guns really don't play a part in civilian society."
  • Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world. In 2014 there were just six gun deaths, compared to 33,599 in the US. What is the secret?
  • The result is a very low level of gun ownership - 0.6 guns per 100 people in 2007, according to the Small Arms Survey, compared to 6.2 in England and Wales and 88.8 in the US.
  • The moment you have guns in society, you will have gun violence
  • Japanese police officers rarely use guns and put much greater emphasis on martial arts
  • If you have too many police pulling out guns at the first instance of crime, you lead to a miniature arms race between police and criminals
  • policemen never carry weapons off-duty, leaving them at the station when they finish their shift.
  • One bullet shell was unaccounted for - one shell had fallen behind one of the targets - and nobody was allowed to leave the facilities until they found the shell
  • There is no clamour in Japan for gun regulations to be relaxed, says Berteaux. "A lot of it stems from this post-war sentiment of pacifism that the war was horrible and we can never have that again,
  • peace is always going to exist and when you have a culture like that you don't really feel the need to arm yourself or have an object that disrupts that peace."
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  • "Knowing what this region is doing at this early age will tell us a bit more about how the human brain can develop the ability to read and what may go wrong," Saygin said. "It is important to track how this region of the brain becomes increasingly specialized."
  • The goal is to learn how the brain becomes a reading brain, she said. Learning more about individual variability may help researchers understand differences in reading behavior and could be useful in the study of dyslexia and other developmental disorders.
  • "Our findings suggest that there likely needs to be further refinement in the VWFA as babies mature," Saygin said. "Experience with spoken and written language will likely strengthen connections with specific aspects of the language circuit and further differentiate this region's function from its neighbors as a person gains literacy."
  • "The VWFA is specialized to see words even before we're exposed to them," Saygin said. advertisement googletag.cmd.push(function() { deployads.push(function() { deployads.gpt.display("adslot-mobile-bottom-rectangle") }); }); "It's interesting to think about how and why our brains develop functional modules that are sensitive to specific things like faces, objects, and words," said Li, who is lead author of the study. "Our study really emphasized the role of already having brain connections at birth to help develop functional specialization, even for an experience-dependent category like reading."
  • The VWFA is next to another part of visual cortex that processes faces, and it was reasonable to believe that there wasn't any difference in these parts of the brain in newborns, Saygin said.
  • "We found that isn't true. Even at birth, the VWFA is more connected functionally to the language network of the brain than it is to other areas," Saygin said. "It is an incredibly exciting finding."
  • "That makes it fertile ground to develop a sensitivity to visual words -- even before any exposure to language," said Zeynep Saygin, senior author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.
  • Analyzing brain scans of newborns, researchers found that this part of the brain -- called the "visual word form area" (VWFA) -- is connected to the language network of the brain.
  • Humans are born with a part of the brain that is prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters, setting the stage at birth for people to learn how to read, a new study suggests. Analyzing brain scans of newborns, researchers found that this part of the brain -- called the 'visual word form area' (VWFA) -- is connected to the language network of the brain.
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  • "Combining post-Covid economic investment to accelerate the change to a zero-carbon world gives us real hope that we can limit global heating to the all-important 1.5C temperature increase. "Warming above that will lead to increasingly severe impacts on the planet and its people and could kick start feedbacks in the climate system that could lead to runaway climate change."
  • But to keep to the 2C goal, the level of ambition in the Paris agreement needs to be tripled. To keep under 1.5C, that ambition needs to increase five-fold."The life raft that we have is a green recovery," said Dr Kat Kramer from Christian Aid.
  • "The year 2020 is on course to be one of the warmest on record, while wildfires, storms and droughts continue to wreak havoc," said Inger Andersen."However, Unep's Emissions Gap report shows that a green pandemic recovery can take a huge slice out of greenhouse gas emissions and help slow climate change. I urge governments to back a green recovery in the next stage of Covid-19 fiscal interventions and raise significantly their climate ambitions in 2021."
  • "It will be practically and politically impossible to close the emissions gap if governments don't cut the carbon footprint of the wealthy and end the inequalities which leave millions of people without access to power or unable to heat their homes."
  • "The UNEP report shows that the over-consumption of a wealthy minority is fuelling the climate crisis, yet it is poor communities and young people who are paying the price," said Tim Gore, head of climate policy at Oxfam, and a contributing author to the report.
  • Switching to renewable electricity by households could curb carbon by around 1.5 tonnes per capita, while embracing a vegetarian diet would save around half a tonne of carbon on average.
  • But for the richest 1%, it would mean a dramatic reduction."The wealthy bear the greatest responsibility in this area," Unep executive director Inger Anderson wrote in a foreword to the report. "The combined emissions of the richest 1% of the global population account for more than twice the combined emissions of the poorest 50%.""This elite will need to reduce their footprint by a factor of 30 to stay in line with the Paris Agreement targets," she wrote.
  • The global top 10% of income earners use around 45% of all the energy consumed for land transport and around 75% of all the energy for aviation, compared with just 10% and 5% respectively for the poorest 50% of households, the report says.
  • The study, compiled by the UN Environment Programme (Unep), underlines the chasm between the level of emissions consistent with keeping temperatures down and what's happening in the real world.
  • The world's wealthiest 1% account for more than twice the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%, according to the UN.
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  • In September 2016, almost 50 years of constant breeding and conservation, the giant panda was removed from the endangered species list
  • once upon a time, the humble alligator was on the verge of extinction, thanks to the popularity of its skin as material for shoes, jackets, and bags.
  • South Africa’s white rhino went from discovery to near-extinction in just 75 years.
  • But in 1885, 20 remaining white rhinos were discovered in a remote location in Kwazulu-Natal. They were protected and bred for more than a hundred years, and there are now a robust 20,000 white rhinos in the wild.
  • In the 1970s, however, when it was discovered that there were only about 140 left, the grizzly was placed on the Endangered Species List in 1975
  • Now, there are around 1200 wandering around Yellowstone and the Rocky Mountain West—and about 50,000 in the world
  • The Siberian tiger—the biggest cat in the world, native to Russia, China and Korea—was heavily hunted until the mid-1940s, when Russia finally banned killing tigers
  • The island fox, which is endemic to California's Channel Islands, suffered a 90 percent population decrease in the 1990s, when pesticide use wiped out bald eagles on the islands
  • the monkeys' numbers dwindled to around 200 after 93 percent of the rainforest was cut and cleared.
  • the wood stork’s population has dropped by 90 percent since the 1930s, landing it on the endangered species list in.
  • There is only one true kind of wild horse left on the entire planet—and that’s Przewalski’s horse.
  • Today there are about 50 animals. With such small numbers, they're still considered endangered.
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 large animals 5046
  • "We need a little baby to learn from Najin and Fatu how to behave as a northern white rhino. So that brings us under quite a lot of time pressure, and we hope that we can start with the first transplantation attempts at the end of this year," Hildebrandt said. 
  • White rhinos typically live to between 30 and 40 years old, Live Science previously reported. Najin is already 31 and, while she is in good health now, Hildebrandt does not know how long she will last. Her daughter Fatu is in her early 20s. 
  • Conservationists want to implant these embryos into southern white rhino surrogates, which will hopefully give birth to northern white rhino offspring in approximately 16 months. Once the babies are born, the surrogate mother will be kept at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy with the two remaining northern white rhinos so the calf can grow up with them. This placement needs to be done while Najin and Fatu are still alive. 
  • Decades of poaching for its horn have left the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) on the brink of extinction, according to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). The two females left, Najin and her daughter Fatu, live at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya.
  • "It's not scientific exercise, it is really a conservation approach with very ambitious, very new technologies," Dr. Thomas Hildebrandt, head of the BioRescue project and a professor at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany, told Live Science. 
  • Two northern white rhino embryos have been created in a lab, bringing fresh hope that the animal could be saved from extinction.The two new viable embryos add to the existing stash of three, bringing the total number of viable embryos to five, BioRescue, an international consortium working to save the northern white rhino, announced in a statement on Jan. 14. 
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  • Because there are only two known specimens of B. nana, it's hard to draw any hard conclusions about this sexual dynamic. And scientists still don't know how endangered these wee creatures are. But because the rainforests of Madagascar face a significant threat from encroaching human activities — like deforestation and agriculture — these teensy lizards are likely in danger, too, the researchers wrote. Without significant conservation efforts, the world's smallest reptiles could easily slip through our grasp.
  • "[This] revealed an interesting pattern: The smallest species often have the proportionally largest genital sizes," study co-author Mark Scherz, a herpetologist at the University of Potsdam in Germany, wrote in a blog post.
  • Surprisingly, this is not an unusual trait among the world's tiniest lizards, the researchers wrote. Genital length among related chameleons ranges anywhere from 6.3% to 32.9% of the male's total body length, with an average of 13.1% over 52 species, the team found. (Other animals have much greater genital-to-body-size ratios, including ducks, whose genital length can equal their body length, and barnacles, whose genitals can be eight times longer than their bodies, the researchers noted).
  • "Given that the general body plan of reptiles is rather similar to that of mammals and humans, it is fascinating to see how miniaturized these organisms and their organs can get," lead study author Frank Glaw, a herpetologist at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich, told Live Science in an email.
  • Meet Brookesia nana, an extremely tiny species of chameleon from the rainforests of northern Madagascar. Researchers recently described one male and one female of the species in a study published Jan. 28 in the journal Scientific Reports, and they were stunned by the male's particularly wee dimensions. Measuring just half an inch (13.5 millimeters) from snout to cloaca (that's the multipurpose hole reptiles use for both excretion and reproduction), the fully grown male is the smallest adult reptile ever described
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  • “I welcome the announcement by the government. It’s well overdue that we’re investing and putting funding back into drug and alcohol services but we have to be realistic about the bigger picture that we’re going to have to face in a year or two or five years from now.“The current approach isn’t working. Criminalising doesn’t work. We have to offer a harm prevention approach. Access to drug testing, access to safe injecting facilities. There’s a really strong evidence base globally, the solutions are already there.”
  • “What we need is an end of the criminalisation of people who use drugs – reducing stigma, resulting in more people accessing treatment if they need it – and support for the safe supply of prescribed drugs to replace illicit use, as well a scaling up of a range of harm reduction initiatives, like overdose prevention centres.”
  • Niamh Eastwood, director of the charity Release, a national centre of expertise on drug policy, said: “While of course funding for treatment is welcomed, this is a drop in the ocean compared to the cuts that the sector has suffered after ten years of austerity … It is more than disappointing that the rhetoric from No 10 and the Home Office continues along the failed ‘tough on drugs’ criminal justice approach, when we know, from the evidence, that drug policy reform needs to be implemented to achieve the best outcomes.
  • Ministers have pledged to provide naloxone, which reverses breathing difficulties brought about by opioid use, to “every heroin user in the country that needs it”.
  • The government has announced a package of funding to tackle drug misuse including £80m for treatment services, although experts have said the investment is “a drop in the ocean” compared with cuts suffered by the sector in the last 10 years.
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  • "Ultimately, the impacts of climate change will be felt via the extremes, and not averaged changes." "Unfortunately, we can expect more years to look like 2020 - and worse - as global temperatures creep higher."While 2021 is likely to bring a similar story of losses from extreme events, there is some sense of optimism that political leaders may be on the brink of taking steps that might help the world avoid the worst excesses of rising temperatures. "It is vital that 2021 ushers in a new era of activity to turn this climate change tide," said report author, Dr Kat Kramer, from Christian Aid."With President-elect Biden in the White House, social movements across the world calling for urgent action, post-Covid green recovery investment and a crucial UN climate summit hosted by the UK, there is a major opportunity for countries to put us on a path to a safe future."
  • "Just like 2019 before it, 2020 has been full of disastrous extremes," said Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, from the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Australia."We have seen all this with a 1C of global average temperature rise, highlighting the sensitive relationship between average conditions and extremes."
  • Researchers say that the influence of climate change on extreme events is strong and likely to continue growing.
  • Europe also saw significant impacts when Storm Ciara swept through Ireland, the UK and several other countries in February. It resulted in 14 lives being lost and damages of $2.7bn.
  • "We saw record temperatures in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, straddling between 30C-33C," said Dr Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune."These high temperatures had the characteristics of marine heat waves that might have led to the rapid intensification of the pre-monsoon cyclones Amphan and Nisarga," he said in a comment on the Christian Aid study. "Amphan was one of the strongest cyclones ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal during the pre-monsoon season."
  • China suffered even greater financial damage from flooding, running to around $32bn between June and October this year. The loss of life from these events was much smaller than in India.
  • While the world has been struggling to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people have also had to cope with the impacts of extreme weather events. Christian Aid's list of ten storms, floods and fires all cost at least $1.5bn - with nine of the 10 costing at least $5bn.
  • Against a backdrop of climate change, its study lists 10 events that saw thousands of lives lost and major insurance costs.
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  • “It’s just going to take a lot of planning, and of course, trial and error,” Martinez said. “It is a little bit draining sometimes to try and make everything — the community — a better place and healthy and be committed to the organization and to our patients first and foremost, so we just try and tell people, ‘Wear your mask, wash your hands.’”
  • But with the CDC recommendation to watch people for 15 minutes after they receive a vaccine for adverse responses to it, Martinez said, a drive-through approach would be risky. Staff would have to try to keep an eye on patients through windshields, then rush into the gravel parking lot with a crash cart and epinephrine if someone had an allergic reaction. They’d considered erecting an insulated tent, but given the prioritization of elderly, potentially frail or vulnerable patients who wouldn’t do well in the winter weather, the private medical information elicited by the questions preceding a vaccine, and the need to have emergency equipment on hand, they decided to book people for 20-minute appointments inside the clinic. Now, they’re on standby for the second doses, getting “slammed with calls” from people wanting to get in line, and helping people who rushed to pop-up clinics in one town sort out how to get their second dose on time.
  • Atwater’s conversations with locals suggest that pattern may carry over to the new vaccines. “There’s a lot of people who are just saying, ‘Oh, I’m not getting that,’” she said. “We hear a lot of, ‘That? No, no, not until there’s more testing done on it.’”
  • Kim Atwater, who owns two pharmacies in rural New Mexico towns, decided that for now, it doesn’t make sense to order doses of the vaccines. “We don’t have refrigeration facilities to keep it,” she said. “We’re just a very, very small community.”
  • Rural communities often run short on resources, whether it’s cold storage facilities or a population of retired nurses and doctors to tap to help administer vaccines, he added. The geography can also compound the disparities in access that affect racial minorities.
  • The Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Iowa found 750 counties nationwide with no partnership pharmacies, and another 334 with just one such pharmacy. The majority of states have at least one county without a partnership pharmacy, and large swaths of Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas, and smaller chunks of Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, reported no partnered pharmacies. “We need to be alert to the fact that it’s not as simple as thinking you’ve got a contract with 19 franchises and that’s going to cover the nation because Walgreens and CVS are everywhere — well, no they’re not,” said Keith Mueller, director of the Rural Policy Research Institute. “It doesn’t mean you can’t figure out a way. It just means you have to get to the next level of planning.”
  • The bigger challenge Tichy sees is that once a vaccine vial is opened, staff have just six hours to use all five or 10 doses it contains. “It’s a precious resource,” he said, “You don’t want to just give it to two people and have to throw out the rest of the contents. You want to get five people vaccinated.”
  • Purchasing super-cold storage equipment is costly and demands a higher-voltage outlet, said Eric Tichy, vice chair of supply chain management for the Mayo Clinic. Stock of that equipment — particularly of the size that would be appropriate for smaller pharmacies and clinics — is also simply sold out. That may leave many of them leaning on Pfizer’s container and dry ice refills. With 237 vaccines in development on the World Health Organization’s list of candidates, the future will likely include vaccines that tolerate warmer temperatures. Johnson & Johnson is expected to release information later this month on a candidate that needs only refrigerator storage and a single dose. “A lot of people are focused on that one,” Tichy said. “Especially for worldwide distribution, that’s a big deal.”
  • The messenger RNA technology used to develop the two vaccines that have received approval in the U.S. so far — one developed by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German drugmaker BioNTech and one by the biotechnology startup Moderna — requires that they both be kept cold. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine needs to be kept at a temperature between –112 and –76 degrees Fahrenheit, while Moderna’s lasts longest if kept between -13 F and 5 F.
  • “Think about a person who needs to drive one hour for a shot, then do the same 20 days later for a second shot,” said Diego Cuadros, a professor of health geography and disease modeling at the University of Cincinnati. “If it’s a person who maybe doesn’t think this is too important, or has some misperception or misinformation about vaccines, this is going to be extremely challenging.”
  • “Just trying to keep up and stay alert of what new things are coming down the line is pretty critical,” said Jessica Martinez, a Mora Valley nurse. Rural clinics face unique challenges in getting highly perishable vaccines to residents who often live many miles away. “We’re kind of out here on our own,” she said.
  • Shortly after the package arrived, clinic staff received an email explaining that this “ancillary convenience kit” was a test of the system designed to transport SARS-CoV-2 vaccines from the state’s warehouse to Mora and other rural communities across the state. While this package contained supplies for administering the vaccine — syringes, needles, alcohol swabs, and more — the real challenge would occur the following week. That’s when 100 doses were scheduled to be delivered, and the clinic’s staff would have 30 days at most to administer the doses before they spoiled.
  • One afternoon this past December, a package arrived at Mora Valley Community Health Services in northern New Mexico. The rural clinic, which serves a county of 4,521 people, is nestled beside a pasture with a flock of chickens and a few goats. A mile up the road sits the town of Mora — a regional hub just big enough for a trio of restaurants, two gas stations, and a single-building satellite office for a nearby community college.
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  • "How they respond to the climate crisis, how they respond to the Covid crisis, is really going to chart an entirely new pathway. And so in many ways, it is this moment of choice," said Cassie Flynn from UNDP."And what we wanted to do with the people's climate vote is to bring people's voices to that decision making, to bring people's voices to the climate debate."
  • "When it comes to demographics, something that we saw very clearly was that there is a high correlation between a level of education and belief in the climate emergency. The more educated you are, the more likely you are to believe that there is a climate emergency," said Cassie Flynn."And this is really, really powerful, because it doesn't matter where you're from, it doesn't matter your age, education really, really is important."
  • The least-favoured options for tackling climate change in this survey were a plant-based diet, with only 30% of respondents believing it to be the best.
  • Top four policies to tackle climate change:Conserve forests and land (54%) Use solar, wind and renewable power (53%)Climate friendly farming techniques(52%)Investing more money in green businesses and jobs (50%).
  • For people over the age of 60, this dropped to 58%. "People are scared, they are seeing the the wildfires in Australia and California, they're seeing the category five storms and in the Caribbean, they are seeing flooding in in Southeast Asia," said Cassie Flynn, strategic adviser to the UNDP."And they're looking around them and they're saying, this is a real problem. We have to do something about this."
  • Across all countries, 64% of participants saw climate change as an emergency, requiring urgent responses from countries. The margin of error was +/- 2%.
  • The poll, called the "People's Climate Vote", has been organised by the United Nations Development Programme in conjunction with Oxford University.The organisers distributed poll questions through adverts in mobile gaming apps across 50 countries, between October and December last year.
  • Despite the pandemic, almost two thirds of people around the world now view climate change as a global emergency.That's the key finding from the largest opinion poll yet conducted on tackling global warming.
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  • Mr. Paladino described the outcry over the video as “insane,” noting that everyone at the party was aware of the risk and, as far as he knew, nobody who attended had contracted the virus.“That we have to feel like we have something to be ashamed of because we chose to celebrate the holiday in a perfectly ordinary way is crazy,” he said.
  • “As long as we are abiding by all the laws and all the safety precautions,” Ms. Oppedisano recently told The New York Times, “I don’t understand why we can’t just conduct our business.”
  • The restaurant’s website said that the banquet room can hold up to 160 people. The video shows a smaller crowd, though it is not clear if the party met the state’s capacity limit at the time.Bill Crowley, a spokesman for the State Liquor Authority, confirmed on Tuesday that the authority was investigating Il Bacco. Mr. Crowley said that the state has suspended 279 liquor licenses for violations of coronavirus-related regulations.
  • Thomas Paladino, Ms. Paladino’s son and her campaign strategy director, said that the restaurant and the club took precautions, like providing hand sanitizer and taking temperatures at the door.“We’re not the mask police,” Mr. Paladino said on Tuesday. “We’re all grown adults, and if somebody chooses to put a mask on, they can put a mask on.”
  • “There will be significant fines for this incident, and we’re looking at both the group that held the event and the establishment that hosted it,” said Mitch Schwartz, a spokesman for the mayor. “There will continue to be consequences for putting New Yorkers at risk.”
  • “In early December we held a small gathering observing all the Covid guidelines in place at the time,” said a statement on the club’s Facebook page on Tuesday. “Every attendee was told to wear a mask and everyone either had one when entering or was given one.”
  • “Covid conga lines are not smart, that’s my official position,” Mr. Cuomo said at a press briefing on Tuesday. “Why you would do an unmasked conga line in the middle of a Covid pandemic, whatever your political persuasion, defies a logical explanation.”
  • More than a dozen people shimmied through a glitzy banquet room in Queens earlier this month, forming a conga line during a holiday party thrown by a local Republican club. Coronavirus cases were spiking around the country, and it was days before Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo closed indoor dining in the city.
  • Footage of revelers dancing without masks at a Republican club’s holiday event has led to an investigation of the venue, a popular Italian restaurant.
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  • the Red Sea, marking the first time that whale sharks had been tracked by satellite from Djibouti to the Red Sea. We suspect that the poor water conditions in the Gulf of Tadjoura led these two young sharks to go in search of better feeding opportunities.
  • One shark remained in the area where he was tagged and would stay there after we had left the country.
  • We were ultimately able to deploy only four of our six satellite tags, saving the others for next season.
  • we would tag an amazing three whale sharks before returning for breakfast.
  • Two weeks of heavy rain had inundated the city, and runoff from the volcanic hills heavily silted the water in the Gulf. Our local partners noted that whale sharks had not been seen for some time, likely because the water conditions had altered the plankton web.
  • Our main research goal this year was to place satellite tags that would allow us to track whale shark movements and behaviour for up to six months.
  • When the team is not ‘whale-sharking’, there is time to relax on board, dive or snorkel the pristine reefs, enjoy the delicious meals turned out from the tiny ship kitchen, and get to know the diverse group of shark lovers that join the expedition.
  • Depending on the studies planned, the primary researchers may obtain tissue samples for genetics (my own specialty) or place satellite tags for remote tracking of the sharks.
  • At anchor in the Gulf of Tadjoura for a week at a time, each day is divided by three outings to find and document whale sharks.
  • Our team has been investigating the secrets of these sharks for 15 years. I began studying the whale sharks of Djibouti in 2012, initially with the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles, and since 2017 have managed the project as part of an international team of researchers
  • This country hosts the youngest whale sharks of any known site, with an average size of just four metres, with some individuals as small as two metres
  • We know these juvenile whale sharks visit certain feeding aggregations on a recurring basis, and some sharks visit multiple different sites within a year. Less is known about what the sharks do when they are away from coastal feeding areas. Some move just offshore into deep water, some undertake regional migrations, while others may migrate across or between oceans.
  • We are here for the whale sharks, the largest living shark, which can reach 20m in length. Whale sharks are slow growing; they do not reach maturity until they are eight to nine metres and perhaps 25 years of age.
  • Sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays and a multitude of reef fish make their home in these waters
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  • "The study showed positive and negative affect worked together, not as opposites," Saling said. "Respondents who simply stayed busy during lockdown reported an increase in both positive and negative emotions. "This heightened emotionality will tend to shift you away from activity in general and towards meaningful activity."
  • "Extreme emotions are not necessarily a good thing," she said. advertisement googletag.cmd.push(function() { deployads.push(function() { deployads.gpt.display("adslot-mobile-bottom-rectangle") }); }); "Emotions are a mechanism to make you change your behaviour. "But when you're doing what you love, it makes sense that you feel more balanced -- simply keeping busy isn't satisfying."
  • Although participants reported feeling more positive emotions while doing novelty 'meaningless' activities like binge watching TV, they also felt more negative emotions -- they felt unhappy just as much as they felt happy. But when substituting activities enjoyed before lockdown -- like dining with friends -- for a virtual alternative, their positive and negative emotions were more subdued.
  • Co-lead researcher Dr Lauren Saling from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia said while novelty lockdown activities -- like baking or painting -- have their place, trying to continue what you enjoyed before lockdown can be more rewarding. "Busyness might be distracting but it won't necessarily be fulfilling," she said. "Rather, think about what activities you miss most and try and find a way of doing them."
  • New research shows people who pursue meaningful activities -- things they enjoy doing -- during lockdown feel more satisfied than those who simply keep themselves busy.
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  • “We have said we need to see strong clinical evidence,” said Nadra Ahmed, executive chairman of the National Care Association, which represents independent care operators. “We need to have absolute confidence if someone is coming out of hospital having been Covid-positive that they are no longer infectious.”
  • The policy had been to send Covid patients to designated “hot” care homes where infection spread could be limited and to prevent a repeat of last spring’s epidemic in care homes, which was partly fuelled by hospital discharges. But a target to set up 500 such homes has been missed, leaving only 2,533 beds available.An NHS document sent to some care providers says: “We are now advising that for some within this group, it will be appropriate for them to move directly to a care home from hospital … because we now know they do not pose an infection risk to other residents in a care home.”
  • But the plan has generated controversy, with patient groups voicing unease about its impact. Lucy Watson, chair of the Patients Association, said: “This is a dire situation, in which the NHS often has no good options available. Discharging patients early from hospital is likely to be one of few options open to the NHS to manage the scale of the current need.“However, early discharge can often cause problems that result in harm to the patient and the need to re-admit them. Care by volunteers in hotels is not an adequate substitute for proper hospital care. But at a time when hospitals are overwhelmed by critically ill patients and striving to prevent loss of life on a large scale, clearly they will be making desperate choices.”
  • An LHG spokesperson added: “The patient group the NHS is seeking to accommodate at this stage are recovered or recovering from Covid and who are medically fit for discharge, and thus do not require specialist medical supervision or specialist care, but can’t yet return home. This frees up NHS bedspace and capacity and is relatively easy for hotels to accommodate.”
  • LHG said its hotels could provide beds for at least 5,000 patients facing early discharge, including 1,500 in London. LHG’s chief executive, Meher Nawab, said: “We will be looking to roll this solution out across our hotels to provide hospitals with a lifeline at this critical time.”
  • NHS England, as well as bosses of hospitals under the most extreme pressure, are having detailed discussions about implementing the “home and hotel” option for what a senior NHS source said would involve “thousands” of patients. It is part of their efforts to create “extra emergency contingency capacity” once other options, such as doubling or tripling critical care capacity and using the emergency Nightingale field hospitals, have been exhausted, sources said.
  • Record levels of sickness absence in the health service and its central role in the government’s mass vaccination drive led NHS sources to warn that few staff will have time to deliver significant care at private homes or hotels once patients are discharged.But they said patients will not be asked to leave hospital early if they are still medically at risk, so they should need mainly light-touch care. “This is for patients who don’t need to be in a hospital bed but still need to be in a protected environment,” said one official.
  • A spokesperson said: “To create capacity in the hospital to care for the high number of patients requiring admission, we have partnered with a local hotel to temporarily accommodate mainly homeless patients who are ready to safely leave hospital and will benefit from further support from community partners.”
  • Under the “home and hotel” plan, patients discharged early into a hotel will receive help from voluntary organisations such as St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, armed forces medical personnel and any available NHS staff.
  • Hospital chiefs in England intend to start discharging patients early on a scale never seen before, as an emergency measure to create “extra emergency contingency capacity” and stop parts of the NHS collapsing, senior sources said.
  • Thousands of hospital patients are to be discharged early to hotels or their own homes to free up beds for Covid-19 sufferers needing life-or-death care, the Guardian has learned.
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  • "The older, slower sports are starting to be pushed out, baseball in particular," he said. "Maybe that's the stigma that greyhound racing has as well? It's old. It's done. It's seen its time."
  • "Dog racing, as a whole, hasn't adapted much to new entertainment options," Abarbanel said. "Even compared to horse racing, which has had similar struggles to attract new customers, dog tracks have not managed major change."
  • Even without the work of animal activists like GREY2K, the Humane Society and the late singer Doris Day, dog racing has been losing at the bottom line with gamblers for years.In Florida, dog tracks fetched $135.9 million in wagers in fiscal year 2019-20, a 29-percent drop from the $191.5 million bet in the previous 12 months. It was the eighth consecutive year of greyhound wagering on the decline. Florida dog tracks took in $265 million in bets in 2011-12, almost double the action they took in during the most recently completed term.With Florida soon to be gone from the dog-race world, West Virginia is poised to become the nation's leading greyhound jurisdiction. The Mountaineer State accepted $124.8 million in wagers at its two dog tracks in 2019.In Iowa, the state's lone dog track took in $2.3 million in live and simulcast greyhound action through the end of November this year. That's on pace for a third consecutive year of decline.In Arkansas, there was $14.2 million in live wagers on dog racing in 2019, the lowest handle in 10 years of data provided by that state's Department of Finance and Administration. That 2019 figure also marked the third consecutive year of decline.
  • Animal rights activists have long opposed greyhound racing, saying the dogs live in cramped quarters and suffer from difficult work conditions."Anything with an animal component to it is going to have a difficult time surviving in this society that we are becoming," said Rooney, theorizing that dog racing, horse racing and the rodeo could someday go the way of the circus. "We are being more sensitive to, whether real or imagined, the feelings of animals and how they're treated."
  • mps._execAd("boxinline",0,2,false);“It’s horrible. It’s very sad," Gartland said of the sport's decline. "I’ve had people in this industry I’ve watched cry over these past couple of months."In the late 1980s, there were more than 60 dog tracks in operation in the U.S., with action in Connecticut, Colorado, Arizona, Wisconsin, Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont and New Mexico, according to the association."It’s no secret, dog racing has been on the decline for several years now," said Palm Beach Kennel Club president Patrick Rooney Jr., whose family has owned the track since 1969. "Dog racing was not long for this world."
  • mps._execAd("boxinline",0,1,false);"I hate to say it, I hate to even think about it," Gartland said. "It may be five years down the road, it may be 10 years down the road, but it's definitely a possibility."
  • "Florida was the mecca (of dog racing), the base, the largest state with the most tracks," Humane Society Florida Director Kate MacFall told NBC News recently, celebrating her state's role in the sport's decline. "Now this industry has withered."
  • A little more than 25 months ago, state voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 13, outlawing greyhound races, starting in 2021, and issuing what could amount to a national death sentence for the century-old U.S. sport.
  • The dog racing "mecca" of Florida ran its final greyhound contests Thursday night as the gambling mainstay strides closer to its potential demise across America.
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  • This means that when Nasa receives the message from Perseverance that it has engaged the top of the atmosphere, the mission will already have been dead or alive on planet's surface for several minutes. The robot will be recording its descent on camera and with microphones. The media files will be sent back to Earth after landing - assuming Perseverance survives.
  • When Perseverance senses contact, it must immediately sever the cables or it will be dragged behind the crane as the cradle flies away to dispose of itself at a safe distance.The sequence looks much the same as was used to put Nasa's last rover, Curiosity, on the surface of Mars 12 years ago. However, the navigation tools have been improved to put Perseverance down in an even more precisely defined landing zone.
  • As the capsule plunges deeper into the Martian air, it gets super-hot at more than 1,000C - but at the same time, the drag slows the fall dramatically.By the time the supersonic parachute deploys from the backshell of the capsule, the velocity has already been reduced to 1,200km/h.
  • With a distance on the day of 209 million km (130 million miles) between Earth and Mars, every moment and every movement you see in the animation has to be commanded by onboard computers. It starts more than 100km above Mars where the Perseverance rover will encounter the first wisps of atmosphere.
  • The sequence of manoeuvres needed to land on Mars is often referred to as the "seven minutes of terror" - and with good reason.
  • The US space agency (Nasa) has released an animation showing how its one-tonne Perseverance rover will land on Mars on 18 February.
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  • Additionally, Professor Talley called on the health and medical sector to play its part. "Australia's health sector should commit itself nationally to zero net carbon emissions by 2040 in line with the National Health Service in the UK, preferably with the states and territories responsible for implementing evidence-based interventions," he said. "Reducing unnecessary medical tests and procedures will serve to reduce carbon emissions, health care costs and harmful outcomes. Research funded by the NHMRC and the Medical Research Futures Fund should guide better ways to efficiently reduce the carbon footprint of Australia's health care services."
  • "Australia has an obligation under the Paris Agreement to submit enhanced nationally determined contributions by the end of 2020," he wrote. "We recommend that the Australian Government agree to a target of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, which is what is likely required to limit global warming below 1.5°C."
  • "Australia's leading medical and nursing bodies have recognized climate change as a health emergency," wrote Professor Talley. "Governments of states and territories have committed to zero net carbon emissions by 2050, with climate change adaptation plans incorporating the health sector and investment in renewable energy."
  • "Key to this success was the valuing by governments of science and data to guide decision making. "The pandemic forced politicians from across the Australian political divide to prioritize the evidence and expertise of the medical, scientific and public health communities over the voices of conservative commentators, business leaders and politicians," wrote Professor Talley.
  • Laureate Professor Nicolas Talley AC, a world-renowned neurogastroenterologist and Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Journal of Australia said in an editorial, published today, that Australia's response to COVID-19 had been "strong and effective."
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  • "While the CO2 drop is unprecedented, decreases of human activities cannot be the answer," says Co-Author Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "Instead we need structural and transformational changes in our energy production and consumption systems. Individual behavior is certainly important, but what we really need to focus on is reducing the carbon intensity of our global economy."
  • The researchers also found strong rebound effects. With the exception of a continuing decrease of emissions stemming from the transportation sector, by July 2020, as soon as lockdown measures were lifted, most economies resumed their usual levels of emitting CO2. But even if they remained at their historically low levels, this would have a rather minuscule effect on the long-term CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.
  • "Largely because of working from home restrictions, transport CO2 emissions decreased by 40 % worldwide. In contrast, the power and industry sectors contributed less to the decline, with -22 % and -17 %, respectively, as did the aviation and shipping sectors. Surprisingly, even the residential sector saw a small emissions drop of 3 %: largely because of an abnormally warm winter in the northern hemisphere, heating energy consumption decreased with most people staying at home all day during lockdown periods."
  • "What makes our study unique is the analysis of meticulously collected near-real-time data," explains lead author Zhu Liu from the Department of Earth System Science at Tsinghua University in Beijing. "By looking at the daily figures compiled by the Carbon Monitor research initiative we were able to get a much faster and more accurate overview, including timelines that show how emissions decreases have corresponded to lockdown measures in each country. In April, at the height of the first wave of Corona infections, when most major countries shut down their public life and parts of their economy, emissions even declined by 16.9 %. Overall, the various outbreaks resulted in emission drops that we normally see only on a short-term basis on holidays such as Christmas or the Chinese Spring Festival."
  • An international team of researchers has found that in the first six months of this year, 8.8 percent less carbon dioxide was emitted than in the same period in 2019 -- a total decrease of 1551 million tonnes. The groundbreaking study not only offers a much more precise look at COVID-19's impact on global energy consumption than previous analyses. It also suggests what fundamental steps could be taken to stabilize the global climate in the aftermath of the pandemic.
  • While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten millions of lives around the world, the first half of 2020 saw an unprecedented decline in carbon dioxide emissions -- larger than during the financial crisis of 2008, the oil crisis of the 1979, or even World War II.
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  • These successes “provide living proof that the world can set, and meet, ambitious biodiversity targets,” Jane Smart, global director of its biodiversity conservation group, said in a statement.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature also found some glimmers of hope. The European bison, the largest land mammal in Europe, is showing signs of recovery, with its population in the wild growing from 1,800 in 2003 to more than 6,200 in 2019. The species was reintroduced to the wild in the 1950s and has been the focus of long-term conservation campaigns in the decades since. There are now 47 free-ranging European bison herds, according to the organization, with the largest numbers found in Poland, Belarus and Russia.
  • “Failure to do so will inevitably result in a wave of extinctions happening on our watch,” he said in the statement. “We must seize the moment to stop that from happening.”
  • In the group’s update, a total of 316 species of sharks, rays, skates and chimaeras are now classified as “threatened,” or at risk of extinction in the wild. All of the world’s freshwater dolphin species are also now threatened with extinction, according to the assessment.
  • mps._execAd("boxinline");“These findings are sadly predictable,” Andy Cornish, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s shark and ray conservation program, said in a statement. “Twenty years have passed since the international community recognized the threat of overfishing through the International Plan of Action for Sharks. Yet, obviously, not nearly enough has been done to halt the overfishing that is pushing these animals to the brink of extinction.”
  • Thirty-one animal and fish species have been declared extinct and more than 300 species of sharks and rays are now threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which published a report Thursday.
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  • Dr Andrea Rodriguez Martinez, the lead author of the study from Imperial's School of Public Health, added: "Our findings should motivate policies that increase the availability and reduce the cost of nutritious foods, as this will help children grow taller without gaining excessive weight for their height. These initiatives include food vouchers towards nutritious foods for low-income families, and free healthy school meal programmes which are particularly under threat during the pandemic. These actions would enable children to grow taller without gaining excessive weight, with lifelong benefits for their health and wellbeing."
  • Professor Majid Ezzati, senior author of the study from Imperial's School of Public Health said: "Children in some countries grow healthily to five years, but fall behind in school years. This shows that there is an imbalance between investment in improving nutrition in pre-schoolers, and in school-aged children and adolescents. This issue is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic when schools are closed throughout the world, and many poor families are unable to provide adequate nutrition for their children."
  • The team say the most important reason for this is the lack of adequate and healthy nutrition and living environment in the school years, as both height and weight gains are closely linked to the quality of a child's diet.
  • The research team explain the analysis also revealed that, in many nations, children at age five had a height and weight in the healthy range defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, after this age, children in some countries have experienced too small an increase in height, and gained too much weight, compared to the potential for healthy growth.
  • The study also assessed children's Body Mass Index (BMI) -- a measure of height to weight ratio, which gives an indication of whether a person has a healthy weight for their height. The analysis found that 19-year-olds with the largest BMI were found in the Pacific islands, Middle East, USA and New Zealand. The BMI of 19-year-olds was lowest in south Asian countries such as India and Bangladesh. The difference between the lightest and the heaviest BMIs in the study was around 9 units of BMI (equivalent to around 25 kg of weight).
  • The largest improvements in average height of children over the 35-year period were seen in emerging economies such as China, South Korea and some parts of southeast Asia. For example, 19-year old boys in China in 2019 were 8 cm taller than in 1985, with their global rank changing from 150th tallest in 1985 to 65th in 2019. In contrast the height of children, especially boys, in many Sub-Saharan African nations has stagnated or reduced over these decades.
  • There was a 20 cm difference between 19-year-olds in the tallest and shortest nations -- this represented an eight-year growth gap for girls, and a six-year growth gap for boys. For instance, the study revealed that the average 19-year-old girl in Bangladesh and Guatemala (the nations with the world's shortest girls) is the same height as an average 11-year-old girl in the Netherlands, the nation with the tallest boys and girls.
  • The study, which used data from 65 million children aged five to 19 years old in 193 countries, revealed that school-aged children's height and weight, which are indicators of their health and quality of their diet, vary enormously around the world.
  • A new global analysis has assessed the height and weight of school-aged children and adolescents across the world. The study revealed that school-aged children's height and weight, which are indicators of their health and quality of their diet, vary enormously.
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  • Expect Bentley to also speak up on behalf of the charity’s service users when needed, which she sees as an “absolutely crucial” part of her role. The Samaritans work closely with policy and decision makers in government, drawing on the charity’s “rich insight” into the issues and the difficulties that people are facing. But where Bentley thinks something is at odds with advancing good mental health, she says “then it’s equally our responsibility to respectfully point that out”.
  • Bentley is co-vice chair at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and believes the charity sector has had to “swiftly embrace digital in a way that maybe we weren’t doing so well before”. She lauds Samaritans’ “agility” on this front. “We need to keep our foot on that pedal of progress so that we can make sure services continue to be very relevant for people.”
  • Volunteers answered more than a quarter of a million emails, up 37% on the year before and the self-help app has been downloaded 30,000 times. Volunteers tell her that this may partly be due to people lacking private space during lockdown. But Bentley believes that it also shows that the way people access services is evolving, notably younger people who “want to engage in a different way”.
  • Nevertheless, the charity provided support to 1.2 million people, in the six months from 23 March to 23 September. “We’ve received a similar number of calls to the same period last year, but we are seeing more people accessing our services online,” says Bentley.
  • Since March, Bentley says staff have been “entirely focused” on dealing with the pandemic. A self-help app was launched in response to the pandemic, along with a support line for NHS workers in England and Wales and a support service for health, care, emergency and key workers across Great Britain.
  • A lot of the contacts are from people feeling lonely, anxious, or distressed, rather than suicidal, who need to express themselves freely and be heard. “What we hope is that that will help somebody not getting to a point where they are considering taking their own life. Our ultimate aim is to reduce and stop suicide, but it’s not about waiting for somebody to be at that crisis point before support is offered.”
  • “One of the things that is a worry is that of those people who do take their lives, many of them were not in touch with any mental health services. And we know that people are waiting too long to access services. So, mental health concerns are significant.”
  • “One of the things that is a concern is that what we do know, based on history, is that in times of recession the rate of suicides tends to rise. So we need to be mindful of where we’re at in the country … particularly as a result of coronavirus and the financial impact,” she points outs.
  • Perhaps surprisingly, early figures for England from real-time surveillance published last month by the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health found “no evidence of the large national rise in suicide, post lockdown, that many feared”. But it warned that the early figures could change over time and that it is “too soon to examine the full long-term impact of economic adversity on mental health and suicide”.
  • A survey with the charity’s listening volunteers offers a window into the impact of Covid on the national psyche: one in five calls over the past six months were from people who were specifically concerned about Covid, though volunteers surveyed suggest that the pandemic has affected every caller to some extent, with worries about isolation, mental ill-health, family and unemployment the most common concerns.
  • “Just because somebody considers taking their own life, it is not inevitable that they will take their own life. That’s why it’s important that there are services like Samaritans where people can phone; not just because they’re feeling suicidal, but if they’re feeling troubled, distressed or concerned, they will find somebody who will listen, in a very real and meaningful way without judgment.”
  • Being listened to without judgment is a “an extraordinarily powerful thing”, says Julie Bentley, the new chief executive of Samaritans, the suicide prevention charity.
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  • Kaunang believes that, while the charity has not experienced a drop in demand, the reasons for the increase in food aid has changed as the pandemic rolls on. “It’s not about people shielding any more and being isolated, it’s about hardship,” she said. “It’s the gap between universal credit, the hole in the ground, and all different kinds of people losing their jobs.”
  • Michelle Welch, 59, the project manager of Compassion Foodbank in Mosside, Manchester, has noticed an increase in families turning to her services as a result of the five-week wait for universal credit payments. “It’s hard to see people like this. Last Friday we had a mother come in who’d been told about our food bank. She [had] never used one before and felt quite embarrassed.Advertisement“It’s hard to ask for that help but she’s glad that she came and got some help. You do get people coming in crying. Quite heartbreaking at times,” she added.
  • Abiola turned to a debt management company to help her but soon had bailiffs on her doorstep. “I didn’t talk to anyone about my debts. At one point we had to downsize to a one-bedroom home so that I could minimise my expenses that way.” Finally she found help with the charity Christians Against Poverty. “I’ve managed to get my debts under control now. I thought my financial problems were something shameful, and I felt so isolated.”
  • Wilson, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression, said he has found it a “very strange time” getting back on his feet during the pandemic. “All these people are losing their jobs and benefits; it makes this lockdown a living hell,” he explains. “Staying inside is tough on the brain cells.”
  • He is one of a growing number of people to have experienced extreme poverty in recent years, according to research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The charity found that even before the pandemic, destitution – defined as an inability to afford two or more of shelter, food, heating, lighting, weather-appropriate clothing, or basic toiletries over the past month – had rapidly grown in scale and intensity.
  • Initially unable to get a council flat due to debt, he found a privately rented flat but was receiving threatening letters and calls about his debts. “I was getting debt collectors knocking on my door everyday. I made a payment plan with the help of Christians Against Poverty and spent two years paying it back.
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  • "The coal business is going up in smoke," because it costs more to run most of today's coal plants than it does to build new renewable plants from scratch, he will tell the BBC."We must forge a safer, more sustainable and equitable path", the UN chief will conclude.
  • As well as pressing for action on the climate crisis, he will urge nations to tackle the extinction crisis that is destroying biodiversity and to step up efforts to reduce pollution. We face, he will say, a "moment of truth".
  • The impact is already being felt around the world."Apocalyptic fires and floods, cyclones and hurricanes are the new normal," he will warn."Biodiversity is collapsing. Deserts are spreading. Oceans are choking with plastic waste."
  • "The science is clear," Mr Guterres will tell the BBC, "unless the world cuts fossil fuel production by 6% every year between now and 2030, things will get worse. Much worse."
  • Here's what Mr Guterres will demand the nations of the world do:Put a price on carbonPhase out fossil fuel finance and end fossil fuel subsidiesShift the tax burden from income to carbon, and from tax payers to pollutersIntegrate the goal of carbon neutrality (a similar concept to net zero) into all economic and fiscal policies and decisionsHelp those around the world who are already facing the dire impacts of climate change
  • The objective, says the UN secretary general, will be to cut global emissions by 45% by 2030 compared with 2010 levels.
  • Mr Guterres will say that every country, city, financial institution and company "should adopt plans for a transition to net zero emissions by 2050". In his view, they will also need to take decisive action now to put themselves on the path towards achieving this vision.
  • In a speech entitled State of the Planet, he will announce that its "central objective" next year will be to build a global coalition around the need to reduce emissions to net zero.
  • "Nature always strikes back, and is doing so with gathering force and fury," he will tell a BBC special event on the environment.
  • "Our planet is broken," the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, will warn on Wednesday.Humanity is waging what he will describe as a "suicidal" war on the natural world.
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  • "It's a good sign," Calderan said. "This was an area that was particularly hard hit by whaling, and it is really encouraging that we're starting to see whales there again."
  • The increase in blue whales around South Georgia comes after BAS research indicating the population of humpback whales in the region has also increased — like blue whales, humpbacks were all but driven to extinction by industrial whaling
  • I think we may well be seeing evidence of site fidelity to certain feeding areas, which would be an explanation for why [blue whale] numbers started recovering in the wider Antarctic, but has taken longer to recover at South Georgia," Calderan said.
  • The near-extinction of blue whales around South Georgia in the early 20th century may have resulted in the loss of their "cultural memory" of the abundance there of Antarctic krill — tiny swimming crustaceans found in huge swarms in the Southern Ocean and the only food of blue whales.Knowledge of whale feeding grounds may be passed on from mother whales to their calves. "There was a cultural memory, maybe, of animals that used to come to South Georgia that was lost because they were wiped out," Calderan said. "They couldn't pass on the knowledge of the feeding grounds because there weren't any of them left."
  • According to Calderan's study, more than 42,000 blue whales were killed around South Georgia between 1904 and 1971, most of them before the mid-1930s. "In the early 1900s, South Georgia waters thronged with blue whales; within a little over 30 years, they were all but gone," the researchers wrote."It was just a matter of luck that they weren't wiped out altogether," Calderan said. "By the end of whaling, it was estimated that blue whale populations were 0.15% of their pre-whaling levels. They couldn't have hung on much longer."
  • The island is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) from the coast of Antarctica, but it is situated within the Antarctic convergence — the hydrological boundary between the cold waters around Antarctica and the warmer waters farther north.It's now only inhabited by people for a few months every summer, but South Georgia had a prominent role in the history of Antarctic exploration.
  • The scientists, she said, were amazed to find numerous blue whales in a region where they were once eradicated — — 38 sightings on the surface over a few weeks, comprising a total of 58 individual whales, along with many acoustic detections by "sonobuoys" equipped to monitor underwater whale songs.
  • Calderan, a research fellow at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), is the lead author of a study into the resurgence of blue whales near South Georgia published Thursday (Nov. 19) in the journal Endangered Species Research.
  • "We've had indications in previous years that there might be more blue whales starting to come back to South Georgia," marine mammal ecologist Susannah Calderan told Live Science. "But we were very favorably surprised by quite how many we did see this year."
  • The critically-endangered blue whale — the largest animal known to have ever existed — has returned to the waters near the remote island of South Georgia near Antarctica, almost 100 years after the mega-mammal was nearly made extinct by industrial whaling.
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  • As for human sleep? Raizen said the most important thing is for people to listen to their bodies and get as much sleep as they feel they need — which is about eight hours for most folks but might be as few as five and as many as 11.
  • Along those lines, it's important to remember that some differences in observed sleep might not be what they seem. Just because a house cat sleeps for 18 hours a day doesn't mean it needs all that sleep to function, Raizen said. Some sleep is probably a matter of convenience — done when it's not safe for an animal to be out and about, when food availability is low or simply because there's nothing else to do.
  • One idea is that sleep in mammals has to do with body size and diet, according to a 2005 study in the journal Nature. Across many studies of mammalian sleep, scientists have observed that less sleep is correlated with larger body sizes, and this correlation is stronger and more extreme among herbivores than it is among carnivores.
  • "This difference in sleep amounts has been used for arguments against a core function of sleep," Raizen said. How could sleep be so important if an animal like an elephant is perfectly functional with only two hours while a typical human needs quadruple that?
  • "A brown bat that sleeps 20 hours a day you'd think would be a genius," Raizen said, speaking to the idea that sleep is meant to serve learning and memory. Likewise, a 2017 study published in the journal PLOS One found that elephants sleep for an average of only two hours a night, but it's known elephants are intelligent animals with very good memories.
  • Raizen said scientists have identified relationships between sleep and animal function — certain kinds of sleep can increase a critter's ability to fight off illness or consolidate memories. Yet these associations don't necessarily describe the ultimate purpose of sleep and can be misleading.
  • Though constantly studied, sleep is one of the great mysteries modern science hasn't completely cracked. "We really don't know what sleep is for," Dr. David Raizen, associate professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, told Live Science.
  • These slumberous scenes may make folks wonder why these other mammals seem to be getting so much more sleep than humans. Do they actually need more sleep? Are they just sleeping because they can? Should humans be sleeping more, too?
  • A dog snoring away the afternoon on the living room floor. Walruses snoozing belly-up on a beach. Lions sprawled out on the Serengeti. A hippo dozing on a mudbank. 
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  • He hopes that humanity won't have to see those effects for itself anytime soon. Some astronomers think they've picked up signs that Betelgeuse, a red giant star in the constellation Orion, might be on the verge of collapsing and going supernova. And it's only 642.5 light-years from Earth, much closer than Vela. "We can hope that's not what's about to happen because Betelgeuse is really close," he said.
  • But Brakenridge believes that the question is worth a lot more research. "What keeps me going is when I look at the terrestrial record and I say, 'My God, the predicted and modeled effects do appear to be there.'"
  • He found that of the eight closest supernovas studied, all seemed to be associated with unexplained spikes in the radiocarbon record on Earth. He considers four of these to be especially promising candidates. Take the case of a former star in the Vela constellation. This celestial body, which once sat about 815 lightyears from Earth, went supernova roughly 13,000 years ago. Not long after that, radiocarbon levels jumped up by nearly 3% on Earth -- a staggering increase.
  • To test the hypothesis, Brakenridge turned to the past. He assembled a list of supernovas that occurred relatively close to Earth over the last 40,000 years. Scientists can study these events by observing the nebulas they left behind. He then compared the estimated ages of those galactic fireworks to the tree ring record on the ground.
  • To test the hypothesis, Brakenridge turned to the past. He assembled a list of supernovas that occurred relatively close to Earth over the last 40,000 years. Scientists can study these events by observing the nebulas they left behind. He then compared the estimated ages of th
  • Brakenridge and a handful of other researchers have had their eye on events much farther from home. "We're seeing terrestrial events that are begging for an explanation," Brakenridge said. "There are really only two possibilities: A solar flare or a supernova. I think the supernova hypothesis has been dismissed too quickly."
  • "There's generally a steady amount year after year," Brakenridge said. "Trees pick up carbon dioxide and some of that carbon will be radiocarbon."
  • The results are far from conclusive, but they offer tantalizing hints that, when it comes to the stability of life on Earth, what happens in space doesn't always stay in space. advertisement googletag.cmd.push(function() { deployads.push(function() { deployads.gpt.display("adslot-mobile-middle-rectangle") }); }); "These are extreme events, and their potential effects seem to match tree ring records," Brakenridge said.
  • To study those possible impacts, Brakenridge searched through the planet's tree ring records for the fingerprints of these distant, cosmic explosions. His findings suggest that relatively close supernovas could theoretically have triggered at least four disruptions to Earth's climate over the last 40,000 years.
  • "We see supernovas in other galaxies all the time," said Brakenridge, a senior research associate at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at CU Boulder. "Through a telescope, a galaxy is a little misty spot. Then, all of a sudden, a star appears and may be as bright as the rest of the galaxy."
  • Massive explosions of energy happening thousands of light-years from Earth may have left traces in our planet's biology and geology, according to new research by University of Colorado Boulder geoscientist Robert Brakenridge.
  • Massive explosions of energy happening thousands of light-years from Earth may have left traces in our planet's biology and geology, according to new research.
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  • Mumbai produces the fifth most waste of any megacity, and last year Bloomberg reported it was “being buried under a mountain of its own trash”. The city of over 18 million people produces 11,000 metric tonnes of trash per day
  • In 2011, Mexico City closed its largest dump, causing trash to pile up at illegal dumping sites and be left out on the street,
  • Among global megacities, Mexico City generates the most trash after the New York region
  • The third biggest waste producer among megacities is Tokyo
  • the regions have similar population sizes of just over 20 million and 21 million people respectively, but GDP per capita is three times higher in the US.
  • how can Tokyo be rated the third most wasteful city? This is the tricky thing about measuring wastefulness
  • Japan is very densely populated, and so it lacks the space that the US and China have to throw their garbage in landfills. Instead, they have adopted hyper-aggressive recycling programmes to cut down on waste. Tokyo, which strives to be a zero-waste city, is no exception.
  • as income rises, people just cycle through more consumption patterns in general
  • Mumbai produces 11,000 tonnes of trash per day, Cairo feeds garbage to pigs and China’s waste is growing twice as fast as its population
  • Chinese cities don’t recycle, meaning that their waste output could be cut in half, as it has been in neighbouring Taiwan.
  • . Jakarta, for example, is one of the world’s fastest growing cities and many of its residents are in the habit of dumping their household items in the nearest waterway
  • The US is the world’s biggest producer of trash in absolute terms, generating 624,700 metric tonnes per day, which is 2.58kg/capita. That’s considerably more than many other rich countries
  • US’s 25 largest cities are Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, Tampa and Indianapolis, in that order.
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 agriculture and forestry 4388
  • Although we should caution against jumping to conclusions until a clear link between the new coronavirus and illegally traded species is firmly established, the unregulated nature of illegal trade in wildlife and the absence of any veterinary controls makes it a threat to human health.
  • The first is maintaining political momentum to support international cooperation and strengthen political will to address illegal wildlife trade at the national level.
  • Key legal challenges include weak regulatory frameworks, especially light penalties that do not deter perpetrators, and weak monitoring and enforcement frameworks.
  • Examples include smuggling of wildlife, export of hazardous waste in manner that does not respect environmental standards, illegal logging, or illegal fishing. Whether an act or an omission will result in criminal penalties is a decision made by each country.
  • They pose a threat to sustainable development and challenge the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), such as SDG 14, life below water, SDG 15, life on land, and SDG 16, peace, justice and strong institutions.
  • As well, significant revenue is derived from wildlife crime and results in economic losses for legitimate businesses while depriving governments of tax revenue.
  • I strongly believe that wildlife crimes deserve as much attention as other crimes.
  • The World Wildlife Crime Report found that along with threatening endangered species, wildlife crimes and exploitation of nature can promote climate change as well as negatively impact public health because of zoonotic disease transmissions.
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  • benefited from having fewer vehicles on the road,”
  • From the perspective of wildlife and road mortality, the timing of the pandemic couldn’t have been better.
  • The pandemic forced him to reduce his research effort, but it also raised new questions about whether the stay-at-home orders would have an effect on the mortality of reptiles and amphibians.
  • Hallisey had been using a computer model to predict where and when large roadkill events may occur, based on environmental conditions — for example, most amphibians migrate at night when it rains — and the location of roads near wetlands. He then visited those areas at the appropriate times to see how many survived the crossing and how many were killed.
  • We have a lot of wildlife in Rhode Island and high road density and high traffic volume, so it’s probably a major contributor to population declines for certain species,”
  • Scott Goodwin, the animal control officer in North Smithfield who disposes of an abundance of road-killed animals every year,
  • believes there was a decrease in the number of deer struck by vehicles during the peak months when most Rhode Islanders were staying home.
  • “This is the biggest conservation action that we’ve taken, possibly ever,
  • The study noted that about 1 million wild creatures typically die on U.S. roads every day, so it’s likely that tens of millions escaped a crushing death.
  • 45 percent fewer wild animals were killed by vehicles in Maine compared to the previous mont
  • That is the conclusion of a study by scientists at the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis.
  • As automobile travel declined following stay-at-home orders during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, so too did the vehicle-related mortality of the nation’s wildlife.
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  • KA is a textbook example of the kind of supplier that should have been explicitly excluded from the supply chains of any global brand committed to a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation policy,”
  • He said he suspected KA was behind the lawsuits, noting that locals couldn’t afford the cost of litigation.
  • the 1,000 hectares of burned land has been left abandoned and unmonitored. This has allowed outsiders to encroach into the area and claim the land as their own, according to Nurul.
  • Nurul said the company twice blocked a team sent by the environment ministry to assess the value of the company’s assets.
  • In July 2019, KA challenged the court’s auction order by filing a lawsuit at a different district court, which now has jurisdiction over the company’s area.
  • She said Cargill is working together with Permata Hijau to collect traceability data and hold a training workshop on traceability for Permata Hijau’s suppliers.
  • Among these is an immediate review of the protocol for traceability documentation, and better handling of suspended or noncompliant suppliers.
  • An online petition has been launched to demand Nestlé and Mars intervene to protect the Leuser Ecosystem from conflict palm oil.
  • RAN called on Nestlé and Mars to publish a permanent no-buy policy for KA and immediately suspend sourcing from Permata Hijau and other suppliers such as Cargill if they fail to suspend sourcing from Permata Hijau.
  • Nestlé and Mars are two global brands that have been repeatedly exposed for sourcing conflict palm oil grown at the expense of the peatlands in the Leuser Ecosystem,” RAN said.
  • Ninety-two palm oil mills operate within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Leuser Ecosystem, according to an analysis by Chain Reaction Research.
  • He said that in response to the investigation, Permata Hijau had ceased all commercial relationship with KA effective June 10.
  • “Permata Hijau’s policy and supplier code of practice [since 2017] claim that it requires its suppliers to comply with No Deforestation, No Peatland and No Exploitation practices,”
  • largely blackballed by palm oil buyers with commitments to not deforest, clear peatlands, or exploit communities and workers
  • 2015, a local court ruled KA liable for the fires; the Supreme Court upheld the ruling and ordered the company to pay a then-unprecedented 366 billion rupiah (about $26.5 million at the time) in fines and damages.
  • That was the finding from an investigation by the U.S.-based campaign group Rainforest Action Network (RAN) into the activities of Indonesian oil palm grower PT Kallista Alam (KA).
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  • This summer has already brought extreme heat waves, oil spills caused by thawing permafrost, and raging forest fires — what next before we finally act on climate?”
  • With fires becoming a yearly occurrence in Siberia, Grigory Kuksin, wildfire unit head at Greenpeace Russia, said that it’s paramount to take action to combat climate change.
  • Most likely, it [2020] will enter the top five or even top three most burned years since the beginning of the century,” he said.
  • The loss of biodiversity is another concern. “Excessively frequent fires lead to a simplification of the structure of forest landscapes, the loss of fire refugia, and a radical transformation of the historical dynamics of taiga ecosystems,” Yaroshenko said.
  • “Growing areas of forest fires are transforming entire regions of boreal forests from net sinks of carbon dioxide to net sources of carbon dioxide,”
  • The fires are also releasing large volumes of carbon dioxide into the air, which is believed to contribute to the thawing of permafrost and the melting of Arctic ice.
  • According to a recent update on the website of Russia’s Federal Forest Agency, personnel were fighting 129 active fires across the region as of July 21.
  • 5% of the burning forests in Siberia, Yaroshenko said.
  • While Russian authorities are working to extinguish some of the fires, they’re only focused on about 5% of the burning area, according to Yaroshenko: “95% of the registered area of forest fires are fires that no one extinguishes at all — fires in the so-called ‘control zones,’
  • Photos from the ground or from drones provide a better understanding of what is visible in space images, but they cannot cover even one [large] fire, but only its edge or part of it,”
  • Since 2000, Krasnoyarsk has experienced a 9.8% decrease in its tree cover, according to data compiled by Global Forest Watch.
  • Since the start of 2020, it’s estimated that fires have burnt through 20 million hectares (49 million acres) of the Russian landscape, which is an area bigger than Greece, and about 10.9 million hectares (27 million acres) of forest, according to Greenpeace International.
  • This year, the fire season started early in Russia after an unusually hot winter and spring, which led to extreme temperatures in remote Siberian towns.
  • This week, Greenpeace International released a series of dramatic photos revealing megafires burning in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, Russia.
  • It’s estimated that fires have burnt more than 20.9 million hectares of land in Russia, and 10.9 million hectares of forest, since the start of 2020.
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  • These groups are asking for funding to be made flexible for scientists who have had to shut down their labs because of COVID-19, and are advocating for continued investment in the sciences in the post-pandemic future.
  • Now, it expects to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget — mainly because most registrants didn’t cancel after learning that the conference would be moved online (registration fees remain the same, but the period for early-bird rates was extended for several weeks).
  • But unlike the CNS, some societies depend on the profits from their meetings to finance other activities
  • The CNS is now making plans for its 2021 meeting, which is scheduled to take place in San Francisco next March. “I think everyone is eager to be able to attend physical meetings again, but we imagine a new future for our society and its annual conference,”
  • Still, many scholarly societies have managed to rapidly shift activities such as conferences online — a move that has some benefits and might yield lasting change.
  • The pandemic has meant that more than 25 of these in-person meetings have had to be cancelled, postponed or moved online — and similar changes may be necessary for the rest of the gatherings planned for 2020 and early 2021.
  • Larger societies with more diverse sources of income are better positioned to weather the costs of cancelled conferences
  • Another small organization in the United States, the 2,500-member Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), and two other similar-sized societies, ended up owing tens of thousands of dollars for cancelling their joint annual conference
  • Organizations are trying to weather the cost of cancelling meetings while grappling with the long-term effects that the pandemic could have on their activities and on the research community.
  • The society runs its meeting on a break-even basis — so this would have put the society’s operating budget in jeopardy for the next one or two years, says Anne Grauer, president of the AAPA, a volunteer-run society with about 2,200 members.
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  • One of the most significant spaces where people can lower their environmental impact is their diets — and trying plant-based seafood is a great place to start.
  • With so many other foods out there, people who have the privilege to choose their food do not need to eat fish.
  • Fish can feel pain just like land animals, such as dogs, cats, cows, pigs, and chickens. Once caught, fish are typically left in trawling nets or tossed onto ice where they will slowly freeze or suffocate to death.
  • A 2018 landmark study out of the University of Oxford found that a vegan diet is the single most significant lifestyle choice individuals can make to benefit the environment
  • A 2013 poll conducted on behalf of NPR surveyed 3,000 Americans about seafood purchasing habits.
  • what gives humans the right to take fish from the oceans at all? If humans drastically reduced the rate at which they commercially take fish from the oceans
  • the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, Naturland, and Best Aquaculture Practices. Each group has different standards for fisheries to qualify to use its label on packaging,
  • However, it’s important to remember than like any other industry, the fishing industry exists primarily for economic reasons — most major fisheries are probably more concerned with making a profit than they are with protecting the oceans.
  • “Consider social and economic outcomes for fishing communities, prevent overfishing, rebuild depleted stocks, minimize bycatch and interactions with protected species, and identify and conserve essential fish habitat.
  • When seafood packaging claims its contents are certified sustainable, it means that the fish were declared as sustainably caught by either an organization, private company, or government agency.
  • It’s estimated that as much as 40 percent of global marine life catch is bycatch, according to Oceana. It’s also estimated that trawlers can catch up to 20 pounds of bycatch for each pound of fish.
  • Animals caught as bycatch typically wind up dead, either due to getting tangled in fishing nets,
  • in unfathomable amounts of plastic entering the oceans, and it almost always results in bycatch.
  • Most fish are caught from the ocean using trawling methods, which use large nets to collect sea animals
  • or is sustainable seafood just a form of greenwashing, aka a marketing term to make customers feel better about eating aquatic animals?
  • But the long list of problems in the fishing industry are enough to make any environmentalist wonder: What does sustainable seafood actually mean?
  • and even leading some scientists to predict that we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 — meaning now is a critical time to look at the human consumption of sea animals. 
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  • Animals that can do basic arithmetic show us that some really are capable of understanding the terms they use and the connections between them.
  • Numerical abilities have been identified in many different species, most prominently chimpanzees.
  • Alex was able to do more than simply mimic human sounds. Providing the right word when asked, “How many?” required him to understand the connections between the numerical amount an
  • In order to test Alex’s arithmetic capabilities, Pepperberg would show him a set of objects on a tray, and would ask, “How many?” for each of the objects.
  • Alex was able to reliably provide the answer for amounts up to six.
  • One example of non-human animals demonstrating a wide range of arithmetical capabilities is the work that Irene Pepperberg did with African grey parrots
  • So if a parrot is able to tell us the color of different objects, that does not necessarily show that the parrot understands the meanings of those words
  • Understanding “rabbit” involves understanding “animal,” as well as the connection between these two things.
  • understanding the meaning of a word requires understanding both the meaning of many other words and the connections that exist between those words.
  • denying that talking parrots and signing gorillas are demonstrating anything more than clever mimicry
  • Many types of birds, most famously parrots,
  • and gorillas and chimpanzees have been taught to communicate using sign language.
  • Some philosophers have gone so far as to argue that creatures that lack a language are not capable of being rational, making inferences, grasping concepts, or even having beliefs or thoughts.
  • So, what is it that makes us so different from other animals?
  • have pointed to our linguistic abilities.
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  • “Two out of five of Shanghai’s landfills are already filled today. The other three would definitely be full by now if it wasn’t for them.
  • An informal recycler pushes his tricycle in Shanghai, China.
  • A 2015 report found that China was responsible for one-third of all plastic waste polluting the world’s oceans.
  • The World Bank has estimated that China’s solid waste production will more than double to 500 million tons annually by 2025.
  • Shanghai Daily reported in 2015 that the city’s residents were generating some 22,000 tons of garbage per day, at least 40 percent of which was being incinerated. Experts say the waste problem in China is getting worse every year.
  • Chinese authorities have begun to make domestic waste  management a priority. Last year, China told the World Trade Organization that it would no longer be accepting 24 categories of imported waste from other nations, sending shockwaves across Europe and North America,
  • “For years, there have been no government recycling trucks or recycling bins in the city. There are no trash sorting sites either ― so everything gets dumped into one truck and incinerated or brought to a landfill,” said Huang, who rode in garbage collection trucks managed by the city government as part of her research
  • What’s known about the informal recycling sector in Shanghai is that individual collectors like Mr. Wang bring their items either to a recycling market, where they’ll be further sorted, or to an industrial recycling plant, where the recycling of the materials actually takes place. What is not transparent is who runs these recycling plants and whether these facilities and their owners are following legal practices that are sound for human health and the environment.
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  • How do you throw away a cup of coffee in San Francisco?
  • San Francisco turns food waste into nutrient-rich and profitable compost.
  • You take the lid off and put it in the recycle bin. The soiled cup goes in the compost bin.
  • By comparison, only three of Arizona’s 10 largest cities offer any sort of curbside compost collection, and those programs prohibit residential food waste in the bins.
  • Eight years ago, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Mandatory Recycling & Composting Ordinance. Among other things, it requires everyone, from residents to tourists, to separate their trash into one of three bins: recycling, landfill and compost.
  • The law requiring food waste to be composted is part of San Francisco’s aggressive goal to hit zero waste by 2020. In other words, in less than three years, the city wants all of its waste to be recycled or composted, rather than sent to landfills.
  • The Ferry Building’s Big Belly trash cans are color-coded (black for landfill, blue for recycle and green for organics) and labeled in English, Chinese and Spanish. Large posters on the front show what can be thrown in each bin.
  • Making compost on an industrial scale is a Rube Goldberg machine of shredding, moisture monitoring and aeration. In San Francisco, it’s done at facilities outside the city limits. Before the process starts, the organic materials go through a series of screenings to weed out contaminants.
  • Recology sells compost by the cubic yard and keeps the profits. Prices start at about $9 a yard, according to Reed.
  • San Francisco residents pay less per month for their recycle and compost bins than they do for their landfill bins. It’s a financial incentive to encourage participation, Rodriguez said.
  • Of that, about 650 tons per day is compost and 625 tons is recyclables, he said, making San Francisco one of the only cities in America where curbside composting has surpassed recycling.
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  • As the Atlantic continues to heat up, the trend is widely expected to be towards more powerful and wetter storms, so that Matthew might seem like pretty small beer when looked back on from the mid-century.
  • it will see a rise in the frequency of the most powerful, and therefore more destructive, variety
  • This view was supported recently by Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane scientist at MIT, who pointed to Matthew as a likely sign of things to come.
  • huge volume of rain dumped by tropical cyclones, leading to severe flooding, may also be linked to earthquakes
  • convincing evidence for a link between typhoons barrelling across Taiwan and the timing of small earthquakes beneath the island. T
  • During the summer monsoon season, prodigious quantities of rain soak into the lowlands of the Indo-Gangetic plain, immediately to the south of the mountain range, which then slowly drains away over the next few months. This annual rainwater loading and unloading of the crust is mirrored by the level of earthquake activity,
  • rainfall also influences the pattern of earthquake activity in the Himalayas, where the 2015 Nepal earthquake took close to 9,000 lives,
  • In high mountain ranges across the world from the Caucasus in the north to New Zealand’s southern Alps, longer and more intense heatwaves are melting the ice and thawing the permafrost that keeps mountain faces intact, leading to a rise in major landslides.
  • one of the key places to watch will be Greenland,
  • a staggering loss of 272bn tonnes of ice a year over the last decade
  • future ice loss may trigger earthquakes of intermediate to large magnitude
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  • One of the most striking of the 40 indicators assessed by the researchers was a huge increase in the number of people over 65 exposed to extreme heat.
  • The impacts of climate change are not limited to poorer nations, said Dr Toby Hillman, at the Royal College of Physicians, but also affect developed nations like the UK. He said air pollution kills about 40,000 in the UK each year
  • Heatwaves are affecting many more vulnerable people and global warming is boosting the transmission of deadly diseases such as dengue fever, the world’s most rapidly spreading disease
  • The findings, published in the Lancet journal, come from researchers at 26 institutions around the world,
  • This rose by 125 million between 2000 and 2016 and worries doctors because older people are especially vulnerable to heat.
  • Dengue is also known as “breakbone fever” due to the pain it causes and infections have doubled in each decade since 1990, now reaching up to 100m infections a year now.
  • 70,000 deaths that resulted from the 2003 heatwave in Europe looked small compared to the long-term trends: “We were alarmed when we saw this.”
  • hotter and more humid weather was increasingly creating conditions in which it is impossible to work outside. In 2016, this caused work equivalent to almost a million people to be lost, half in India alone.
  • Patients queue for treatment following an outbreak of dengue fever in Bhopal, India this month. Photograph: Sanjeev Gupta/EPA
  • Nearly 700,000 persons have been internally displaced in Somalia as a result of the drought and food crisis, reports say. Photograph: Peter Caton/Mercy Corps
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