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An Amazonian Grey woolly spider monkey feeding in the treetops. As a important seed disperser, it is essential to the forest ecology - and its capacity to store carbon. Photo: UEA.

Hunting in the Amazon threatens rainforest carbon

The Ecologist

27th January 2016

The over-hunting of wildlife in the Amazon has an unexpected knock-on effect: the reduced seed dispersal reduces the forest's capacity to store carbon in its biomass, increasing emissions from apparently 'intact' rainforest areas. more...
Cell phone user in downtown Deland, Florida. Photo: austinhumphreys via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Radiating corruption? The frightening science and politics of cell phone safety

Gary Null

8th February 2016

A growing body of scientific evidence show that cell phone users suffer a range of negative health impacts from infertility and brain tumors to hyperactivity and memory loss, writes Gary Null. Yet the Center for Disease Control has taken a weak and ambiguous stance on the issue, reflecting industry interests at the expense of citizens. We deserve - and must demand - better. more...
Here lie the bones of academic freedom and scientific objectivity. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Photo: Katrina Koger via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Why is Cornell University hosting a GMO propaganda campaign?

Stacy Malkan

22nd January 2016

Cornell, one of the world's leading academic institutions, has abandoned scientific objectivity, writes Stacy Malkan - and instead made itself a global hub for the promotion of GM crops and food. Working with selected journalists and industry-supported academics, Cornell's so-called 'Alliance for Science' is an aggressive propaganda tool for corporate biotech and agribusiness. more...
Last time the world was this warm, 130,000 years ago, scenes like this were playing out in the Thames Valley. Elephants bullying hippos in Chobe National Park, Botswana. Photo: Andrew Napier via Flickr (CC BY).

The last time Earth was this hot, Britain was a land of hippos and elephants

Emma Stone & Alex Farnsworth

22nd January 2016

Last time the Earth was this warm, 130,000 years ago, England's Thames Valley was home to hippos and elephants, write Emma Stone & Alex Farnsworth. But the closest climate analogue is actually the Miocene Climate Optimum, 11 million years ago, when CO2 levels were similar to today's. As for the ice age that's due, scientists believe it will be postponed for at least 100,000 years. more...
You want transgenes with that? Avocado Alfalfa Delight. Photo: Victoria Ristenbatt and Scott Redding via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Feral 'Roundup Ready' GM alfalfa goes wild in US West

Bill Freese / Center for Food Safety

19th January 2016

A USDA study shows that a GM alfalfa has gone wild in alfalfa-growing parts of the West. This may explain GMO contamination incidents that have cost US growers and exporters millions of dollars - and it exposes the failure of USDA's 'coexistence' policy for GMOs and traditional crops. more...
Two individuals of a fearsome species that's inflicting mass extinction on our planet, and (right) a couple of harmless Victorian dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park, South London. Photo: London looks via Flickr (CC BY).

Enough 'Anthropocene' nonsense!

James Scourse, Bangor University

20th January 2016

The just as policemen keep on getting younger, epochs keep on getting shorter, writes James Scourse. The Cretaceous endured for 80 million years, but our latest invention, the 'Anthropocene', will be lucky to last out the century. And humanity's vain preoccupation with the idea may, ironically, only bring forward its termination. more...
RoundUp by Monsanto. Photo: Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube via Flickr (CC BY).

EU regulator attacks IARC scientists on weedkiller safety

Arthur Neslen / Guardian Environment

13th January 2015

A fierce dispute is raging over whether glyphosate, the world's biggest weedkiller, causes cancer, writes Arthur Neslen. The row has pitched EFSA, the EU's food regulator, against 96 of the world's top medical scientists - and comes shortly before the EU is to decide on renewing glyphosate's licence. more...
'I shall show you Life in a handful of jewels'. A cut gemstone of Blue Apatite. Photo: Captain Tenneal via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

What Life is

Christopher Busby

29th January 2016

The origin of life has long been the deepest of mysteries, writes Chris Busby. But in fact, the spontaneous arising of life from molecules in Darwin's 'warm little pond' is the inevitable result of their selective energisation by quantized infra-red radiation. Now, some four billion years after life first developed, precisely the same processes continue to drive the operation of all living systems at a cellular level. more...
Flooded, embanked tributary of the River Eden in Cumbria. Image from a small unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo: Neil Entwistle @salfordhydro .

Changes to our rivers and floodplains have exacerbated flooding

Neil Entwistle & George Heritage

12th January 2016

Changes to natural drainage processes in headwaters, rivers, floodplains and river channels has increased the UK's vulnerability to heavy rainfall, write Neil Entwistle & George Heritage. And to put things right, we must first gather the detailed evidence of what took place in recent floods. The Environment Agency must publish all its data, maps and images - now! more...
Australian farmer Geoffrey Carracher, who is against GM farming, with some canola seed that has been cross contaminated with GM seed from a nearby farm. Photo: Craig Sillitoe via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

GM 2.0? 'Gene-editing' produces GMOs that must be regulated as GMOs

Janet Cotter & Ricarda Steinbrecher

13th January 2016

The EU is considering the exclusion of gene-edited plants and animals from GM regulations, write Janet Cotter & Ricarda Steinbrecher. However gene-edited organisms clearly fall within the definition of GMOs in both European and international law. They also present real risks to the environment and human health - and must be regulated like any other GMOs. more...
Mining Bee (Andrena dunningi) on Hawthorn. Photo:  Dan Mullen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

New research exposes hidden cocktail of bee-killing pesticides in hedgerows and wildflowers

Oliver Tickell

5th January 2015

Dangerous volumes of neonicotinoid insecticides and other pesticides are expressed in common wild flowers like buttercups and hawthorn blossom in countryside under arable cultivation, a new study has discovered. The discovery invalidates the UK government's 'pollinator strategy' based on creating 'safe havens' in arable areas - because the havens are in fact loaded with pesticides. more...
This poster for the 'GMO-a-gogo' animation is clearly emotive - but mainly it's the GM opponents who have the science on their side, and GM advocates who resort to emotive claims and invective. Image: infomaticfilms.com.

Claiming to represent 'science', the global GMO industry is built on fear, fraud and corruption

Colin Todhunter

30th December 2015

The more the GM industry claims to enjoy the support of 'science', the more it resorts to emotive attack and insult against its opponents, while doing its best to suppress the many scientific truths that are not to its liking, writes Colin Todhunter. In truth it is driven by profit, politics and ideology, and is based on fraud and the capture and corruption of governments and regulators. more...

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Female Agapostemon sp. sweat bee, Oregon, USA. Photo: Thomas Shahan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Farm expansion driving US native bee declines

Beyond Pesticides

28th December 2015

Wild bee decline is closely associated with the advance of intensive farming and habitat loss, a new study shows. It follows an earlier paper that linked 'delayed action' decline of wild bees to exposure to pesticides including fungicides - previously considered 'bee-safe'. more...
1962 poster for 'Day of the Triffids'. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Philippines GMO ban is the Precautionary Principle in action

Rupert Read & David Burnham

16th December 2015

The Precautionary Principle must mean, above all, avoiding the risk of ruinous outcomes for people or the wider environment, write Rupert Read & David Burnham. When the Philippines Supreme Court applied that test to GMOs, they found they had to ban them - not as a moral choice but pragmatically, to avoid potentially devastating consequences. more...
Qooroq Fjord in South Greenland, August 2015. Photo: joxeankoret via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Greenland glaciers melt rate hits 9,500 year record

Tim Radford

9th December 2015

As Arctic Peoples at COP21 in Paris appeal for unity to halt global warming, writes Tim Radford, scientists report that Greenland's glaciers are now melting at a speed not seen since the last Ice Age almost 10,000 years ago. more...
Image: Mario Piperni via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Climate 'academics for hire' conceal fossil fuel funding

Lawrence Carter & Maeve McClenaghan / Greenpeace Energydesk

9th December 2015

Investigative reporters working for Greenpeace UK's Energydesk have uncovered a nexus of senior academics willing to accept large sums of money from fossil fuel companies to write reports and newspaper articles published under their own names and university affiliations, without declaring the funding. Lawrence Carter & Maeve McClenaghan spill the beans ... more...
Lord Monckton attracting attention at the Copenhagen climate conference, 2009. Photo: Mat McDermott via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

COP21: Lord Monckton exposes Obama's 'secret plot' for 'totalitarian world government'

Brendan Montague & Kyla Mandel

4th December 2015

Climate change denier Lord Monckton was making waves at COP21 in Paris yesterday, write Brendan Montague & Kyla Mandel, with his claims of a 'synergy of interests' between 'malevolent scientists' and power-mad politicians intent on setting up a fascist / communist world government under the guise of a climate treaty. more...
Coccolith. Photo: ZEISS Microscopy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

COP21 warned on global warming's evil twin - acidifying oceans

Tony Juniper

3rd December 2015

Increased atmospheric CO2 is doing much more than warming the Earth, writes Tony Juniper - it's also acidifying oceans, something that is already having major impacts on ocean ecology in the Southern Ocean and the North Atlantic. Likely effects: more CO2 in the atmosphere, more jellyfish. more...
If glyphosate was no longer being chucked around into food and environment, would there be fewer cases of cancer? Walkers gear up and take on Day 1 for breast cancer awareness, August 2013. Photo: Susan G. Komen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

EFSA and EU member states vs. WHO on glyphosate as carcinogen: can science win?

Corporate Europe Observatory

2nd December 2015

The health of Europe's citizens is on trial as the EU's food safety regulator challenges the World Health Organisation over glyphosate and cancer, writes Corporate Europe Observatory. On the WHO side, published, peer reviewed science, real world epidemiology and open processes. While the EFSA conclusion is based on secret industry studies and opaque procedures. Will science or realpolitik win the day? more...
Forsmark Horizontal silo, Sweden's final repository for radioactive operational waste, located at the Forsmark nuclear power plant in Sweden. Photo: Fred Dawson LRPS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear radiation, Kierkegaard, and the philosophy of denial

Chris Busby

8th January 2016

As the evidence of the extreme harm to health inflicted by nuclear radiation mounts, the denialists are resorting to ever greater extremes, writes Chris Busby. On the one hand, advancing the absurd claim that ionising radition is not merely harmless, but health-enhancing. On the other, closing down the experiment that would have provided the strongest evidence yet. more...
Doing your toxicology in a computer has three big advantages (for the chemical industry): it's quick, cheap, and can be manipulated to systematically understate the real health hazards. Photo: Alejandro Juárez via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Triumph of digital toxicology: why the US won't regulate deadly chemicals

Valerie Brown and Elizabeth Grossman

27th November 2015

A six-month investigation finds that the revolving door between government and the chemical industry has led the EPA to rely on easily manipulated toxicology research carried out entirely on computers - and this 'in silico' science often trumps both biology and epidemiology when it comes to regulatory action, or lack of it. The result? Toxic substances remain in everyday products. more...
With lithium-air batteries, this Tesla EV could travel from Boston to Washington DC, or from London to Edinburgh, on a single charge. Photo: Niall Kennedy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Li-air battery could make oil obsolete in ten years

The Ecologist

23rd November 2015

Sooner than it takes to build a nuclear power station, lithium-air batteries could be helping wind and solar to make coal, oil and nuclear obsolete, say Cambridge scientists. Five times lighter and five times cheaper than current lithium batteries, Li-air would open the way to our 100% renewable future. more...
Pizol Glacier and summit in the Swiss Alps, July 2013. Photo: HD Zimmermann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Global warming reduces snows that water 2 billion people

Tim Radford

24th November 2015

New research warns that rising temperatures will reduce the mountain snow in 97 major river basins worldwide, writes Tim Radford - cutting summer water supply to 2 billion people in lowland areas who depend on the meltwaters. more...
The EFSA, open for business ... provided you're a global pesticide corporation. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

EFSA decides: no cancer risk from glyphosate

The Ecologist

13th November 2015

Europe's top food safety regulator has ruled that the world's top selling herbicide, glyphosate, does not cause cancer - in defiance of the WHO and overwhelming scientific evidence. The decision opens the way for a 10-year EU re-approval next year, before its Chemicals Agency has released its own findings. more...
No shortage of biodiversity here - Rapture Reef sits within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The monument encompasses more than 140,000 square miles of ocean and coral reef habitat. Photo: NOAA's National Ocean Service via Flick

Can we halt biodiversity loss in 15 years? Yes we can!

Richard Pearson, UCL

12th November 2015

Is the aspiration to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2030 - enshrined in the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals - a fairy tale? It's ambitious, writes Richard Pearson, but there are plenty of signs that the world is acting effectively to conserve its endangered habitats and species. With extraordinary effort, we can do it. more...

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