Animals, Biology, News

Tapeworms Can Cooperate or Fight to Control Host

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If two tape worms infect the same host, they can either cooperate to thrive, or battle it out for complete control. A new study has found that the parasites actively sabotage each other in a competition to seize control of the host.   Tape worms are nasty creatures. They live in the digestive tracts of vertebrates as adults, and often in

Environmental Issues, News

Termites can hold back deserts by creating oases of plant life

Image via Wiki Commons.

We tend to think of termites as pests, but the tiny insects actually play a crucial environmental role, at least in some areas. New research suggests that termite mounds are crucial to stopping the spread of deserts and preserving the vegetation and climate. The results indicate that termite mounds can not only to stop desertification, but also encourage vegetation to expand

Animals, News

Fungal Disease Kills 5 million North American bats in only Seven Years

Bat suffereing from white nose syndrome.

In just 7 years, a disease called white-nose syndrome has killed more than 5 million North American bats, almost wiping out entire colonies. The disease has been reported in caves and mines of 25 states throughout the Northeastern U.S. and no treatment or practical way of halting the disease has been proposed. The disease is caused by a fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which colonizes

Environment, News

Only 8 Big Cities in China Meet Air Quality Requirements

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A whopping 66 out of the country’s 74 major cities don’t meet the basic air quality requirements, China’s Ministry of Environment said in a report they released. Beijing, the country’s capital, is actually the 8th most polluted city of the country. China has a long standing history with pollution, and despite some laudable measures being taken recently, the situation won’t

Feature Post, Great Pics, Pollution

16 Pictures that Put China’s Pollution into Perspective

Image via Texas A&M.

We often hear about China being polluted, about the hard to breahe are, the smog, the soot, the carbage flowing on the rivers, but these pictures show just how bad the situation really is. Keep in mind though that an image is just a moment captured in time and they don’t tell the whole story.        

Animals, News, Psychology

Chicks count numbers like humans: from left to right

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An exciting research found baby chicks also use the mental number lines employed by humans to count numbers, representing them upwards from left to right. The research and those to follow on other animals might help unravel how this basic mental construct, so essential to human intellect, evolved. Think twice before insulting someone by calling him a birdbrain – it doesn’t do the birds justice.

World Problems

David Attenborough – We are a plague on the Earth

Sir David Attenborough. Photo: PA

Sir David Frederick Attenborough is an English broadcaster and naturalist, with a voice recognized by millions. In an interview from 2013, he used his well known voice to speak against the damage that people are causing to the planet. He said that we need to drastically limit our population growth, as we are currently acting like a plague upon the planet.

Animals, Biology, News

Garden spiders use electrostatic charged silk to catch unsuspecting prey

Uloborus plumipes is a species of Old World cribellate spider in the family Uloboridae. Common names include the feather-legged lace weaver and the garden centre spider, the latter name being due to its frequent occurrence of this spider in garden centres on the world. Image: Snip View

Most spiders weave sticky, wet webs to trap their prey, but the feather-legged lace weaver spider, Uloborus plumipes, employs a totally “high-tech” strategy. It spins an extremely thin nano-sized web, which becomes charge with electrostatic energy. Just like dust latches on to your sweater, insects are attracted and stuck to the the web. Biologists believe they’ve figured out how the spider does all of this in a newly reported paper which might help the industry design and develop ultra-strong nano filaments in the future.

Climate, Environment, News

“only god can change the climate” – US chief of Environment & Public Works Committee

Republican and US senator James Inhofe: ‘Man can’t change climate’. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

When the US Senate finally agreed that global warming is real, I thought we’re finally going to get some progress. The leaders of the US were finally starting to acknowledge the environmental damage we’re causing and maybe even start taking measures against it… it was too good to be true. While the senate agreed that climate change is happening (because hey, that’s

Environment, News, World Problems

“Global Calculator” shows we can all live better while reducing CO2 emissions

calculator

The living standard of everybody in the world can be increased while also reducing CO2 emissions and limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius – that’s the conclusion of The Global Calculator, a new free, interactive tool developed by UK scientists in collaboration with organisations from India, US, China,and Europe. Calculating the future The Global Calculator can be used by businesses and researchers