The amazing bombardier beetle sprays boiling chemicals from its butt

bombardier beetle

Animals have evolved all sorts of gimmicks for either attack or defence. Some are really over the top, but that doesn’t make it less effective. Take the bombardier beetle, for instance, which sprays a deadly mix of boiling chemicals from its butt. This is one insect you don’t want to mess with.

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How scientists are using climate records made by 15th century Japanese monks

Omiwatari on Lake Suwa in Japan. (Ozawajun/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-3.0)

If you’re old enough, you might remember how some flowers around where you live blossom earlier or that summers and winters are unusually harsh. In short, freak weather is more common to the point it’s becoming the new norm. Human memory is fallible, which is why we keep records of things like temperature, humidity, concentration of gases in the atmosphere and so on. These record don’t go back that long though — maybe only a century. Some, however, go way back and scientists are using these to keep track of climate change over the centuries.

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Fracking caused widespread contamination in North Dakota, new study finds

Nancy Lauer and Jennifer Harkness sample water and soil. (Photo: Avner Vengosh)

Wastewater spills from hydraulic fracking in North Dakota caused widespread water and soil contamination, a new Duke University study finds. Hydraulic fracking involves injecting highly pressurized fluids into subsurface rocks, creating a system of fissures through which the hydrocarbons can escape. There are many environmental issues associated with this technique, one of them being that the entire thing is difficult to control.

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How much renewable energy does the world use

renewable energy

According to the Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) from REN21, roughly a fifth of the world’s electrical power production now comes from renewable sources. When will we see a full transition, though?

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French rivers dyed green to raise awareness about water pollution

The dye dones't harm the fish, according to environmentalists, via AgentsEnvir / Facebook

The visual effect was extremely strong, and everything was completely safe, activists say.

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Say what you want about it, but solar energy is becoming dirt cheap

solar-panel-1175819_960_720

Solar is becoming cheaper – fast.

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Thirty three lions rescued from South American circuses and brought to African sanctuary

Animals don't belong in a circus.

Lions previously held by circuses across South America were rescued and will be flown back to Africa, where they will spend the rest of their days in a safe sanctuary. It almost seems like a fairy-tale ending – after spending most or all of their life trapped in circuses in appalling conditions, these lions will finally get the chance to

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Climate change is depleting oxygen from the oceans

Credit: The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe

Scientists have also quantified the effects of climate change as they relate to oxygen depletion. Their analysis suggests that by 2030 oxygen dissolved due to climate change will overpower the natural variability in the ocean, putting further stress on marine life.

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Venezuela orders 2-day work week in desperate attempt to stave off power crisis

Venezuela is undergoing a severe economic crisis, as well as constant power outages.

Venezuela’s public workers will only work on Mondays and Tuesdays as the country falls deeper into crisis.

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Ikea resumes selling solar panels in the UK

Image via Ikea.

Ikea made it much easier for British people to green their homes – for a while. Then, after the government reduced subsidies for renewable energy, the company quietly stopped selling the panels, and now they’ve resumed them again. Why Ikea selling solar panels matters When Ikea starts selling something, it’s safe to say it’s become mainstream. Initially, the company said that the

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