Animals, Feature Post

Antivenom: how it’s made and why it’s so precious

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Every year some 100,000 people die all over the world after being bitten by a venomous snake. Depending on the toxicity of the venom and how much venom is injected inside the body, a snakebite will cause  tingling, muscle weakness, nausea swallowing difficulties, excess saliva and potentially fatal breathing problems. To avoid getting killed, a snakebite victim must immediately go…

Environment, News, World Problems

Global Wildlife Populations Down by 50% in just 40 Years

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Global wildlife populations have decreased by more than half, concludes a new report released by the WWF. The extent of this major destruction came as a shock and showed just how far we are from reaching a sustainable future and living in harmony with the Earth’s biodiversity. Losing Biodiversity The report shows that the worst loss happened in freshwater species…

Animals, News, Oceanography

Obama proclaims world’s largest Marine Park

MAGGIE SMITH, NG STAFF. SOURCES: U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE; USGS; MARINE CONSERVATION INSTITUTE

President Obama has signed a proclamation which will make the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument the largest marine reserve in the world. Up until now, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was a group of unorganized, mostly unincorporated United States Pacific Island territories managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. They host many important species, including corals, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds,…

Environment, News

For the First Time in Moderen History, the Aral Sea’s Eastern Basin has Gone Dry

The Aral sea, as it was in 1989 (left), and how it is now (2014). Image credits: NASA.

The Aral Sea is was one of the largest lakes in the world, with an area of 68,000 km2 (26,300 sq mi). Lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, its water level has constantly decreased since  the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. By 2007, it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes…

Animals, Inventions, News

Mantis Shrimp Can See Cancer. Researchers have Invented a Camera that Does the Same

A mantis shrimp's compound eyes are 'superbly tuned' to detect polarised light. Image: Roy Caldwell

The Mantis Shrimp has some of the most amazing eyes in the animal kingdom. Researchers have shown that among others, it is able to detect a variety of cancers and visualize brain activity. Now, scientists from Queensland University have studied how the mantis shrimp’s eyes are superbly tuned to detect polarized light, and literally see cancers. Professor Justin Marshall, from the Queensland Brain…

Animals, News

Newly Discovered Dart Frog in Amazon is smaller than a Coin

The newfound, orange-colored frog looks nothing like its relatives. Photograph by Abel Batista

Scientists have discovered a toxic, brightly colored and extremely small dart frog in the hilly areas near the Caribbean coast. Measuring just 12.7 millimeters in length, the newly described Andinobates geminisae is quite mysterious. The first strange thing about it is that it looks very different from its closest genetic relatives; namely, it’s bright orange. Andrew Crawford, a professor of evolutionary genetics and…

Environmental Issues, News, Renewable Energy

Natural gas does little to curb emissions and mitigate climate change

Coal fired power plant in Germany. US policymakers are considering substituting coal for natural gas by 2030 to tackle the warming of the planet. A new study concludes this won't be the case. Photo: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

Given the shale boom, the United States has now become the world’s leading natural gas producer. Because it only releases 50% as much emissions for the same equivalent amount of energy produced by oil or coal, many have herald it as a cleaner source of fossil energy, whose widespread introduction might help mitigate global warming. A new study found that…

Animals, Feature Post

Hero Rats detect landmines and TB for a living

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Though its last war ended in 1975 once with the retreat of the last American forces, Vietnam is still riddled with land mines that take their toll even decades later. More than one-third of the land in six central Vietnamese provinces remains contaminated with land mines and unexploded bombs from the Vietnam War, and in the past 39 years since the…

Animals, News

Weird cloud picked up on radar was actually Monarch Butterflies

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Radars picked up a “strange cloud” with a bizarre shape above the US Midwest. Upon a closer look, it was revealed that the cloud was actually monarch butterflies traveling from Canada to Mexico – an iconic migration which has been less and less visible in recent years, but may make a resurgence in 2014. Monarch butterflies are the most iconic butterfly…

Animals, Great Pics

Dissecting the colossal squid – this is only the second specimen ever found

Dr Kat Bolstad, who led the dissection, showing the colossal squid's tentacles.

Smaller, yet heavier then their legendary brethren, the giant squid, the colossal squid is an elusive animal that lives deep in the Antarctic waters. Scientists have known of their existence since the 1920s, judging from scraps  found inside whales and sucker imprints on whale skin. It wasn’t until 2007 that the first complete specimen was found, and the same ship that…