Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

2014 was the 18th year straight warmer than the average in US, probably warmest yet worldwide

hottest year ever 2014

Right now the US is struggling with bone numbing chill, so it might be hard to digest this latest news: 2014 was the 18th straight year to have surpassed average 20th-century US temperatures, according to a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Meanwhile, a preliminary report issued by the Japanese meteorological agency claims 2014 was the warmest year yet worldwide. Final and definite figures concerning this are soon expected to be released by NASA as well.

Animals, Biology, News

Monkeys can also recognize themselves in mirrors, but only with training

This shot shows a scene during the Chinese experiment designed to train monkeys to recognize themselves in the mirror and become aware. Credit: Neng Gong and colleagues/Current Biology 2015

Only humans and great apes can recognize themselves when looking in a mirror, but new findings suggest that it’s possible for rhesus monkeys to realize they’re looking at themselves if trained properly. The findings bear important implications for humans as well, since they suggest patients with impairment of self-recognition can have their condition remedied with training.

Green Living, News, Technology

Bill Gates drinks water collected from poop to demo waste treating system

Bill Gates drinking water

More than 2.5 billion people around the world lack access to clean water, making them vulnerable to diseases. To help address this delicate world problem, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded Janicki Bioenergy to build the Omniprocessor – a self-contained system that processes nasty sludge and turns it into electricity, pathogen free ash and pure water. And to demonstrate how safe

Environmental Issues, News, Physics

Oceans soak less carbon due to global warming

ocean carbon cycle

Since the mid-XIXth century average global temperatures have risen by ~0.8 degrees Centigrade, yet this figure would have been much higher were it not for the world’s oceans ability to soak up most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases. The IPCC estimates that some 90% of the heat trapped by CO2 and methane since the 1970s has been absorbed

Animals, Did you know?

How caterpillars gruesomely turn into butterflies

Metamorphosis

In short, for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly it digests itself using enzymes triggered by hormones, before sleeping cells similar to stem cells grow into the body parts of the future butterfly. So you thought puberty was mean? Wait till you read on.

Green Living, News, Renewable Energy

Nuclear power wrongfully stigmatized. It’s essential to scrapping fossil fuel, top biologists say

Image: Brian Kong

An open letter authored by more than 65 biologists calls for conservation groups and efforts to take a step back and rethink their agenda concerning nuclear power, heavily criticized in the past few years following the Fukushima incident. With all its risks and shortcomings, the authors argue, nuclear power is still the most cost-effective “green” solution to toppling fossil fuel and

Climate, Environmental Issues, News

Finland is warming twice as fast than the rest of the planet

The Lampivaara amethyst mine in Finland. Here, the average winter temperature is around minus 4 C and can drop to minus 30 C. Image: Pajaratorio Flickr

Finnish researchers analyzed meteorological data gathered over the past 166 years and found the country’s average monthly temperatures have increased by more than 2 degrees Celsius. Over the same period, the rest of the planet has warmed by only 0.8 degrees C on average. Overall, Finland and other sub-Arctic countries are warming at double the rate of the world’s global

Environment, Environmental Issues, News

Children are cleaning up an oil spill in Bangladesh – with their bare hands

All the locals, men, women and children alike are cleaning the spill with their bare hands.

On 9 December 2014 an oil spill occurred at the Sela river of Sundarbans, Bangladesh, a UNESCO World Heritage site. An oil tanker named Southern Star VII, carrying 350,000 litres of oil was sunk in the river after it had been hit by a cargo vessel. Neither the state owned oil company (Padma Oil Company) nor the government itself has shown any

Animals, News, World Problems

Shrimps become less tastier as a result of climate change

Northern shrimp hauled aboard a shrimp boat. Credit: Wikimedia

The effects of climate change on food stock quality is well documented, yet a new study suggests that climate change might not only affect survival rates of marine life, but also how it tastes too. The findings came after an international team of researchers sought to see how high water acidity affects the sensory quality of shrimp.

Animals, Videos

Drone Captures Huge Pod of Humpbacks Feeding in Alaska

Humpback whales using the bubble net techniques. Image via Neutrons for Breakfast.

A drone captured amazing footage of a large pod of Humpback Whales feeding in the pristine waters of Alaska. The aerial drone footage, captured by AkxPro, shows a seagull’s POV of the scene. Here, we see a coordinated hunting technique known as ‘bubble net feeding’. The humpback has the most diverse feeding repertoire of all baleen whales. Its most inventive technique is known as