Animals, News

South Africa: 1,000 rhinos poached – 50 % more than last year

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The new year started with a glim of hope for environmentalists and animal rights activists all over the world, after China sent a strong message when it destroyed six tonnes of seized ivory. While the action may be righteous, the balance is still unfavorably tilted against endangered species. A new report published by the South African department of environmental affairs…

Animals, News, Studies

Breed not the dominant factor in canine aggressiveness

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It’s always depressing when we hear stories of dogs attacking people, more so when injuries lead to death. As always after such an unfortunate, yet statistically isolated, event there’s always a massive group of people bantering and calling for “something to be done.” In some countries, public pressure can rule death sentences for thousands of dogs. There’s also a general…

Chemistry, Renewable Energy, Technology

Organic flow battery may help usher renewable energy

A prototype of the flow battery developed at Harvard. (c) Eliza Grinnell, SEAS Communications

One of the biggest arguments against renewable energy deployment on the truly massive scale is their unreliability. Justly so, wind doesn’t always blow at desired velocities and the sun fluctuates in sunshine throughout the day. With this in mind, if you don’t have a back-up storage medium, intermittent renewables will always be an alternative – second place to fossil power…

Environment, Green Living

How To Save Energy In January

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It’s coming to the end of the year and when it comes to energy bills 2013 hasn’t exactly been easy. Big energy firms have put their prices up and some people have struggled to cope with this. That’s why when it comes to January you should be savvy about saving energy. Start of the New Year by getting into good…

Animals, Mind & Brain

Zebrafish locomotion helps explain how complex human limb control evolved

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What evolutionary traits helped humans become the dominant species on Earth? Our dexterous limbs and complex nervous system certainly played a major role, allowing human to manipulated the world and handle tools. Physicians are very interested in studying motor neural circuits to make better therapies when things go wrong, and to attain a comprehensive understanding one needs to get to…

Environment, News, Physics

Smart ‘curtains’ open and close just by responding to light only

Schematic for two different types of PC/SWNT photoactuators made by tuning the built-in strain of the bilayers. (c) Nature Communications

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley toyed around with novel materials and found a way to make them move and twist in response to light. A first application would be smart curtains that simply open or close according to how much light is in the room – no remote, no batteries, no electricity. It uses only the energy it absorbs…

Psychology, Studies, World Problems

Living a happy or meaningful life – what’s the difference?

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While happiness and meaningfulness often overlap, the two are distinct states of being. A Stanford project looked into the lives of various people inline between the two and found some key differences based on how people choose spend their time and what experiences they cultivate. The findings may surprise some of you, while others will choose to dismiss them. After all,…

Environment, Green Living, Renewable Energy

Hamburg wants to become a car-free city in 20 years

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One of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Hamburg has embarked on an ambitious plan that aims to promote cycling and walking as the main means of transportation throughout the huge hub.  The local administration claims that within 15-20 years the city would have completed its green network that virtually connects any part of the city. Even animal inhabitants will…

Health & Medicine, News, Pollution

Smog in Beijing reduces life expectancy by 15 years

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The effects of urban pollution in China are started to get out of hand, and by now, it’s pretty safe to say that they are dealing with a major pollution crisis – the smog in Beijing particularly is so severe you can easily see it from outer space. Now, a new study has concluded that the smog alone is so…

Environment, News

People show up at the hospital with burns after trying boiling-to-freezing water trick

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This week a big part of North America was paralyzed after powerful winds and freezing gusts swept the continent in the aftermath of the polar vortex. Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. Apparently, throughout the Midwest people have tried to recreate a neat trick where your boil water and then quickly throw into the sub-freezing air, as…