Eco tips, Environment

This sealed bottle garden hasn’t been opened since 1972 – still doing just fine

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It’s 1960, a nice Sunday, Easter day. David Latimer decides to do something special to mark this day, and he starts a bottle garden in his ten gallon carboy. He poured in some compost, a quarter pint of water and then, carefully added some spiderwort seedling (Tradescantia) using a piece of water. He then placed the bottle garden by a sun-filled…

Biology, Environmental Issues, Green Living, News

Rising atmospheric CO2 lowers nutrient content in crops

Farmers will have to more carefully manage nitrogen fertilization as the world climate warms up to prevent crop loss.

Trying to understand the overall effect of climate change on our food supply can be difficult. Increases in temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) can be beneficial for some crops in some places, but overall changing climate patterns lead to frequent droughts and floods that put a severe strain on yields. It’s not all about production, however. Researchers at  University of…

Animals, News

Scientist finds the worst places to get stung by a bee – by experimenting on himself. In order, it’s the nostril, lip, and penis

Pain-map

Talk about dedication to science! Michael Smith, a graduate student at Cornell University mapped which parts of the body are most painful when it comes to bee stings – by testing it on himself! Smith’s work focuses around the behaviour and evolution of honeybees. It all started when a honeybee flew up his shorts and stung him in the testicles….

Environment, Environmental Issues, News

Fences threaten local fauna, instead of protecting it

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In some parts of the world you can find fences that stretch for hundreds of miles, delimiting protected areas or those populated with humans. The basic reasoning is that these fences are put in place to protect the local wildlife by preventing the spread of diseases, poachers and by helping helping managed endangered populations. The reverse may actually be true,…

Animals, Biology

Cricket virus acts like an aphrodisiac, but effectively castrates its hosts

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The characteristic “chirp” a cricket makes is created when the insects rub their legs, in an attempt to draw the attention of any nearby female. If he is successful and finds an interested counterpart, the couple quickly gets down to business. Interestingly enough, it’s the female that mounts the male, but that’s less important here; what is important is the…

Animals, Genetics, News

Lions’ origin revealed by genetic analysis

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The origin and evolutionary history of modern lions has been revealed through genetic analysis. This recent study suggests that the lions’ most recent common ancestor lived around 124,000 years ago. A fallen king Modern lions evolved in two different groups – one of them currently lives in Eastern and Southern Africa, the other includes lions in Central and West Africa,…

News, Space, World Problems

NASA cuts ties with Russia; ISS cooperation still to continue

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A few weeks ago, following Russia’s invasion of Crimea that caused worldwide turmoil, I wrote a piece about the potentially dangerous consequences to manned space flight. In the article, I argue that seeing how the US space program, like many other in the rest of the world for that matter, is heavily reliant on Russian space tech, NASA is placed…

Animals, News

Documents reveal that SeaWorld gives its orcas antidepressants and psychoactive drugs

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As if SeaWorld didn’t have enough press with the shocking Blackfish documentary, a document released by Buzzfeed reveals that the marine park gives its whales psychoactive drugs and anti-depressants. According to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice affidavit, SeaWorld’s whale trainers give the animals benzodiazepine, which has a valium-like effect on the mammals. The document originated from a legal dispute…

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

About 29% of San Francisco’s pollution comes from China

In March 2008, a typical "yellow dust" plume from the Gobi Desert blew eastward over the Beijing region. Photo: NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response team

While some governments may be more environmentally conscious and apply strict environmental policies, other are not. It’s important, however, that the whole world reaches some form of common ground. After all, we’re all breathing the same air – more or less. Just so you get a finer picture, just take note of the fact that 29% of the pollution in…

Eco tips, News

Middle school student shows the US government could save $400 million by switching fonts

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How important are details, when it comes to saving money? Any accountant will tell you: really important. A middle school student in Pittsburg thought the same thing – he discovered that the government could save $400 million dollars just by change the typeface it uses. Inspired by a school project on saving ink, he calculated that his school could reduce…