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The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Photo: News Muse via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesson of Hurricane Katrina: the worst is yet to come

Kerry Emanuel

25th August 2015

Climate change shows its true face in extreme events, writes Kerry Emanuel: the storm surge with a 12 inch head start thanks to rising sea levels, propelled by a wind that's 20 mph faster, dropping an extra inch of rain beyond the 'normal' storm. Hurricane Katrina and Typhoon Haiyan are sending us a clear message: the world must get ready for bigger and badder, fast. more...
Do wild boar eat in the woods? Photo:  bzd1 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Warmer winters boost Europe's wild boar

Paul Brown

23rd August 2015

Increasingly mild winters have caused an abundance of acorns and beech nuts in Europe's woodlands, writes Paul Brown, triggering a wild boar population explosion - just one of the effects of warming climate on wildlife populations. more...
Roundup by Monsanto, photographed in February 2015 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia. Via Flickr (CC BY).

Roundup may cause potentially fatal 'adrenal insufficiency'

GMWatch & The Ecologist

21st August 2015

A new study finds that the Roundup herbicide disrupts the hormonal system of rats at low levels at which it's meant to produce no adverse effects. By the same mechanism It may be causing the potentially fatal condition of 'adrenal insufficiency' in humans. more...
Badger at dusk, British Wildlife Centre. Photo: Helen Haden via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

English Nature - no more badger cull licences!

Iain McGill & Veterinary colleagues

21st August 2015

English Nature's decision to licence England's badger cull has no scientific basis, write Iain McGill and 26 other distinguished vets in this Open Letter to EN's Chief Scientist. Science Advisory Committee and Board. The body must urgently re-examine the entire issue before issuing any more licences to kill badgers. more...
Children whose development was impaired by their mother's use of thalidomide in a swimming pool. Photo: via Luciana Christiante / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Dr Frances Kelsey: thalidomide and the precautionary principle

Helena Paul & Philip Bereano

25th August 2015

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Dr Frances Kelsey, write Helena Paul & Philip Bereano. In 1960, she defied her bosses at the FDA to prevent the licensing of thalidomide in the USA, saving thousands from being born with serious deformities. Her tough approach to minimising the risk from new drugs contains lessons we ignore at our peril. more...
The NK cement plant near Manpo, From across the Yalu River, Ji'an. Cement making is a major source of emissions in China due to the breakneck pace of construction. Photo: Caitriana Nicholson via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

China's emissions 14% lower than IPCC thought

Eliza Berlage

20th August 2015

The IPCC has over-estimated China's emissions since 2000 by 14%, almost 3 gigatonnes of carbon since 2000, while its energy consumption has been 10% higher than realised, writes Eliza Berlage. The country is far more carbon-efficient than we ever knew. more...
Do not disturb: sleeping badgers in their sett at the British Wildlife Centre. Photo: John Morris via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Do not disturb! Persecuting badgers may perpetuate TB hotspots

Oliver Tickell

17th August 2015

A scientific paper published today says badger persecution may be one of the reasons for the persistence of bovine TB hotspots, writes Oliver Tickell. A further finding is that the main risk factors for bTB are all to do with cattle - not badgers at all. more...
Umef Stock in the middle of Blüemlisalp glaciers, near Kandersteg, 11th August 2007. Photo: TonnyB via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

World's glaciers melting at 'unprecedented' rate

Alex Kirby

7th August 2015

Glaciers around the world are melting on a scale without precedent in recorded history, writes Alex Kirby. Measurements of over 5,000 glaciers show that they have been retreating so fast so far this century that even if climate is stablised, the ice losses will continue for years to come. more...
After the bomb: retrieving the dead of Nagasaki, August 1945. Painting by US Army, posted on Flickr by James Vaughan (CC BY-NC-SA).

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a third nuclear atrocity: the corruption of science

Chris Busby

Following the atomic bombs exploded over Japan in 1945 a second crime against humanity took place, writes Chris Busby: the deliberate falsification of science to hide the dangers of ionising radiation, perpetrated to quell public opposition to a new age of nuclear bombs and energy. The fraud continues to this day, but finally the truth is winning out. more...
The new normal? We simply don't know. Fires along the Rio Xingu, Brazil, 17th September 2011. Photo: NASA's Earth Observatory via Flickr (CC BY).

The scariest part of climate change is what we don't know

Bill Laurance

4th August 2015

The 'knowns' of climate change are already plenty scary enough, writes Bill Laurance. But far more worrying are the unknowns. And in a system as complex and convoluted as the global climate system there are lots of them, creating scope for many nasty surprises to emerge. more...
Ordinary white rice, and Golden rice. Photo: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) via Wikimedia (CC BY).

Golden rice GMO paper retracted after judge rules for journal

Retraction Watch

31st July 2015

A key paper that's been widely cited to justify the use of GM 'Golden rice' to boost vitamin A nutrition has been withdrawn due to ethical breaches, with no proof of consent by parents of the children taking part in trials. But that's not the only objection. more...
Daily life in Conakry, Guinea on 3rd December 2014. Photo: Dominic Chavez / World Bank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Neoliberal Ebola: palm oil, logging, land grabs, ecological havoc and disease

Rob Wallace

27th July 2015

The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa had everything to do with logging, deforestation and the disruption of traditional agro-forestry by large scale industrial agriculture, writes Rob Wallace. The only long term solution to this terrible disease may lie in forest conservation, the restoration of agroecological farming systems, and the exclusion of agribusiness investment. more...

science : 1/25 of 352
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It's getting hot, and we're racing towards for even hotter. Photo: SMADE|MEDIA Galleria via Flickr (CC BY).

Global warming's record-breaking trend continues

Alex Kirby

29th July 2015

A detailed update of key climate indicators by hundreds of scientists reveals that 2014 saw rises in temperatures, sea levels and greenhouse gases to record levels, writes Alex Kirby. more...
One of the lucky ones: bumblebee on dandelion at Altenhagen, Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Photo: Jakob Stitz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bee cause: Germany tightens, UK relaxes neonic regulation

Oliver Tickell

23rd July 2015

An Emergency Ordinance comes into force in Germany today that extends the EU's ban on 'neonic' pesticides to protect bees. But the UK's farming minister Liz Truss has relaxed the ban to allow farmers to use neonics on 30,000 hectares of oilseed rape. more...
Bison are roaming free in Germany - so why not Scotland? Photo: Felix Kaestle.

Rewilding isn't about nostalgia - exciting new worlds are possible

Paul Jepson

22nd July 2015

Rewilding is now firmly on the agenda, writes Paul Jepson, and that brings a huge opportunity to re-invigorate conservation. But we must look to creating new functional ecosystems for the future, rather than trying to recreate a lost and perhaps imagined past. more...
The Gerlache strait, Andvord Bay, Antarctica. Photo: Rita Willaert via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The world is already committed to a six meter sea level rise

Pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

24th July 2015

The climate change discourse rarely looks beyond 2100, writes Pete Dolack. Maybe that's because even at current levels of CO2, we are committed to thousands of years of warming and polar ice melt that will raise sea levels by at least six meters. However the implacable imperatives of capitalism mean there's little prospect of change for a long time to come. more...
Workers at Cuadrilla's fracking site near Preston, Lancashire, September 2011. Photo: JustinWoolford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Lancashire's fracking victory was even greater than we knew

Damien Short

21st July 2015

The anti-fracking movement scored a great victory when Lancashire councillors refused planning permission for two fracking wells, writes Damien Short. But dig deeper and the triumph was all the greater, as it overcame not just Cuadrilla, but a morass of pro-fracking bias and legal and scientific misrepresentation from those meant to be providing impartial advice. more...
Scientists working inside positive pressure personnel suit at biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory of the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Frederick, Maryland. Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases / Public Domain.

GMO and glyphosate wars rage

Oliver Tickell

16th July 2015

Three in one: EFSA set to re-licence glyphosate based on secret industry studies; Monsanto moves against IARC verdict that glyphosate is a 'probable carcinogen'; and new science shows that FDA principle of GMO 'substantial equivalence' is bunk. more...
Watch it rat! What's in that feed? Photo: Rick Eh? via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Lab rats used in safety studies eat feeds laced with pesticides, herbicides and GMOs

Pat Thomas

9th July 2015

A new scientific study has found that laboratory rats used in health and toxicity studies are routinely given feeds contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and GMOs, writes Pat Thomas, potentially invalidating the results of crucial safety tests on GMOs, agrochemicals, medical drugs and other substances, on which health and environmental regulators base critical decisions. more...
The Vandana Shiva Reader (Culture Of The Land), front over (cut).

Green Revolution: wonderful science, catastrophic consequences

Colin Tudge

12th July 2015

In her new book The Vandana Shiva Reader, the celebrated campaigner and scientist deplores the way in which the Green Revolution forced India's poorest farmers off their land, writes Colin Tudge. Now she fears even worse outcomes in Africa where a GMO-fuelled farming revolution is under way. more...
If it's such a good idea to burn real rhino horn, how is making synthetic horn going to help? Rhino horn ready for incineration, 21st September 2014 at Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. Photo: IFAW via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Can 'genetically-identical' synthetic horn save the rhino?

Diogo Veríssimo

6th July 2015

Soon a artificial rhino horn may be on the market that's identical to the real thing down to its DNA, writes Diogo Veríssimo. A boon for rhinoceros conservation? Or an act of biopiracy that will enrich biotech corporations while perpetuating demand for rhino horn and confounding efforts to end its trade? more...
Elephants examine the tusk of a poached sibling. Photo: Karl Ammann, author provided.

Where does ivory come from? Now we know, with forensic DNA analysis

Samuel Wasser

25th June 2015

Forensic analysis of DNA in ivory seized by police and customs officials reveals where it comes from, writes Samuel Wasser, giving valuable information to law enforcers. But this powerful tool is only as effective as the national authorities, and Tanzania, a major ivory hotspot, has been very slow to respond to warnings. more...
'Nullius in verba' (Don't take anyone's word for it) - motto and coat of arms of the Royal Society, used in its bookplate. Photo: kladcat via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

The Royal Society's assault on the science of GM foods must cease

Steven M. Druker

25th June 2015

The Royal Society wants us to take its word that GM crops are safe and healthy, writes Steven Druker. But it refuses to retract its errors, apologise to those whose reputations it has impugned, or enter into constructive debate on the issue. To restore its scientific integrity, it must abide by its own motto. more...
What BBC / Panorama didn't want you to know: This year's GM Bt brinjal plants either died out prematurely or fruited insignificantly compared to the locally available varieties, bringing finacial ruin to their cultivators. Photo: New Age (Bangladesh).

Investigation or advocacy? The BBC reveals its pro-GMO bias

Lawrence Woodward & Pat Thomas

10th June 2015

The Panorama programme on GM foods and crops last Monday was a masterpiece of spin, bluster, misrepresentation and outright deceit, write Lawrence Woodward & Pat Thomas, with the BBC's top investigatory strand hijacked to force feed the UK population with the purest of pro-GMO propaganda. more...
Dwarfed by a human hand. Photo: Marcio Pie (CC BY-NC-SA).

Seven new species of tiny frog found in Brazil's cloud forest

Miranda Dyson, The Open University

9th June 2015

The Atlantic rainforest of Brazil is a biodiversity treasure, writes Miranda Dyson - as exemplified by the discovery of seven minute and beautiful frogs. But with the forest already reduced to under a tenth of its original extent, and going fast, they and countless other species may not survive much longer. more...

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