Animals, Biology, News

New painkillers could be made out of the venom of a killer snail

Cone snail snatching a goldfish. Photo: Bionews

Cone snails have one of the most dangerous venom in the animal kingdom. This complex venomous soup is made up of thousands of chemicals used both to hunt prey and ward off predators. The venom is enough to kill a human in a matter of minutes. Now, these lethal chemicals could be used to create a new class of painkiller for chronic pain and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, according to University of Queensland researchers. The same team also used a genetic and proteomic to find out how the cone snails developed its venom. Apparently, the animals initially used their chemical weaponry as a defense mechanism and later on adapted it into an attack.

Animals, Great Pics

The stunning biodiversity of New England’s catterpilars

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We don’t often think about caterpillars. Caterpillars are generally regarded as voracious eaters and many of them are considered agricultural pests, but beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and for Samuel Jaffe, they are definitely beautiful.     The furry, fluorescent, grubby little creatures we often find inching along our trees and sidewalks fascinate Jeffe, who takes pictures of them to help

News, Oceanography, World Problems

Warming oceans could destroy corals in the Pacific and Atlantic, researchers warn

Two images of the Great Barrier Reef showing that the warmest water (top picture) coincides with the coral reefs (lower picture), setting up conditions that can cause coral bleaching. Image via Wikipedia.

Coral populations are crucial to the health of oceanic environments, but corals are also extremely vulnerable to changing conditions. Researchers warn that warming waters and ocean acidification lead to coral bleaching which can cause massive damage across both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

News, Renewable Energy

You can now calculate your Renewable Energy potential with this mobile App

renewable energy app

A simple smartphone app combines the most reliable data and maps on global renewable energy potential, so you can get a better idea what’s the right kind of equipment you need or if the investment is warranted in the first place. And it’s all for free, too.

Environment, News, Offbeat

Adidas unveils new sneakers made from recycled ocean trash

Image via Adidas.

Adidas new shoes are trash – literally. The German company has announced the creation of a new type of shoes made from recycled garbage pulled out of the ocean; the sustainable prototype has the upper part made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed from illegal deep-sea gillnets and other ocean waste, while the bottom part is made from sustainable cushioning material. The

Environment, News, Renewable Energy

Germany to shut down several coal plants to lower CO2 emissions

Germany wants to move to a green-energy economy, relying massively on wind and solar energy. Image via Clean Technica.

Germany is taking some serious strides in its attempt to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent until 2020: the European country announced that it will shut down several coal-fired plants and move towards more sustainable energy sources. “Coal-fired plants with a capacity of 2.7 gigawatts will be shut down,” said the government sources, who declined to say how many plants will

Environment, News

Koch-Backed Group Calls for no More National Parks

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Remember the Koch brothers? They’re industrialists and businesspeople who own the second largest privately owned company in the United States (with 2013 revenues of $115 billion); their main business is in manufacturing, refining, and distribution of petroleum.

Green Living, News

Lego is investing millions to ditch petroleum-based plastic

Lego toys

The Danish-based Lego is one of the big companies in the world that’s actually making large scale efforts to lower its carbon footprint and run more sustainable business. They don’t seem to be doing it out of a fake corporate responsibility ethos either. Lego is actually innovating. I mean, when a company says it wants to ditch the raw material its business is based on for something that’s more expensive and which might not even exist yet, you know they actually mean it.

Animals, News

U.S. Wildlife Service: We Won’t Protect Wild Horses

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected a proposal to list North American wild horses as threatened or endangered, arguing that a horse is a horse, wild or tame, and proponents have failed to show how the behaviour of wild horses differs from that of domestic ones.   The number of North American wild stallions has been in steady decline for

Climate, News, World Problems

Dangers of global warming to marine life and ecosystems reiterated in new report

ocean global warming

A team led by scientists at University of British Columbia highlights the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans and marine life. Two scenarios were analyzed. One followed the changes that would arise if the world banded together to significantly curb greenhouse gas emissions; the other summarized impacts 100 years from now if we’d go on with business as usual. The report outlines the consequences under each scenario and found immediate action is required if we’re to avert at a catastrophic outcome, particularly regarding the planet’s oceans.