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Marcellus Shale rig and gas well operation on Ridge Road in Jackson Township, Butler County, PA operated by Rex Energy. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr.

Skin, respiratory symptoms increase near gas wells

The Ecologist

25th September 2014

A health study in Pennsylvania, USA, shows that people living near fracking and other natural gas wells are more likely to suffer from skin conditions and upper respiratory symptoms. It calls for further study of the associations, including the role of specific air and water exposures. more...
The 'flying rivers' of the Amazon are at risk from deforestation, fires and climate change. Without them, forest and farmland could turn to desert. Photo: Eli Duke via Flickr.

Drought bites as the Amazon's 'flying rivers' fail

Jan Rocha

20th September 2014

The Amazon forest both depends on, and sustains, vast 'flying rivers' that carry humid air and clouds deep into the continental interior, writes Jan Rocha. But scientists fear the flying rivers are failing due to deforestation, fire and climate change. more...
Never mind the questions, never mind the answers, never mind the evidence. The badgers will be culled. Photo: b/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA.

Badger cull fail - government throws science on the scrapheap

Rosie Woodroffe

9th September 2014

England's 2014 trial badger cull starts today - with no independent oversight, and no gathering of essential scientific data. The government's 'science-led' policy consists of asking scientists for help, writes Rosie Woodroffe - then completely ignore everything they said, and order them off the premises. more...
After the Fujushima catastrophe, this rice was grown nearby by IAEA to test methods of soil decontamination. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima radiation damages rice genome

Gregory McGann

18th September 2014

Research on the biological effects of radiation near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site finds a powerful response in rice seedlings, writes Gregory McCann. The discovery will do nothing to boost consumer confidence in resumed rice exports from the Fukushima region. more...
The rice harvest in Bicol Region, Philippines. Photo: α is for äpΩL † via Flickr.

Philippines: farmers call to stop 'Golden Rice' trials

Oliver Tickell

8th September 2014

Farmers in the Bicol region of the Philippines have gathered to renew their fight against field trials of Golden Rice and halt moves towards its commercialization. But with last year's 'advanced' Golden Rice trials showing low yields, the prospect of a GR release is fast receding. more...
Chile's Lascar volano in eruption. Some geoengineering techniques would imitate the cooling effect of volcanic dust to reduce global warming. Photo: Neil via Flickr.

Geoengineering - the 'declaration' that never was may cause real harm

Andrew Lockley

28th August 2014

It was a great story, writes Andrew Lockley - scientists signing up to a 'Berlin Declaration' imposing an effective 'test ban' on outdoor geoengineering experiments. Except there was no declaration, and scientists never agreed to it. The world's media got it completely wrong, yet the mud will stick - and may cause severe harm in the fight against climate change. more...
Yes I'm a full blown tree hugger now! Photo: John Mosbaugh via Flickr.

Hug a tree, save your life

Pat Thomas

9th August 2014

Trees in cities make us feel happier and more relaxed, writes Pat Thomas, but that's only the beginning of the benefits they confer. They also reduce air pollution, levels of asthma and other respiratory problems, and lower healthcare costs by $7 billion in the US alone. more...
Fishing for plastic in the open ocean on the Rozalia in the 2013 Gaia to Gyre expedition. Photo: Ceri Lewis via Flickr.

Microplastic ocean pollution - will you join our research voyage?

Kate Rawles

5th August 2014

Plastic pollution in the oceans is impacting every level of marine life, writes Kate Rawles, from micro-plankton to whales. And here is your chance to do something about it - join a research expedition to the Azores next month to study the problem and develop solutions! more...
Rosetta approaching its destination after a 6 billion km journey. Image: ESA.

Rosetta shows - we can keep space plutonium-free!

Karl Grossman

5th August 2014

Deep space missions have previously run on nuclear power, writes Karl Grossman - and have twice showered Earth with radioactive debris. But the ESA's Rosetta probe, about to reach its destination, is 100% solar-powered - showing that space can be nuclear-free. more...
Aerial view of the Jonah gas field in western Wyoming's upper Green River valley. Photo: Bruce Gordon / EcoFlight via John Amos / Flickr.

Fracking - US companies and regulators must disclose environmental data

Kimberly Terrell, Morgan Tingley & Sara Souther

4th August 2014

Among the risks of fracking are fragmentation of wildlife habitats, groundwater depletion, surface water pollution. The risks are compounded by a failure among companies and regulators to record or disclose essential information - from the chemicals used, to the time and place of toxic spills. more...
Even in the 19th century, lead from Broken Hill smelters was polluting Antarctica. NSW Records Office, CC BY.

Lead pollution beat Amundsen and Scott to the South Pole - and it's still pouring down today

Joe McConnell

2nd August 2014

Ice core analysis shows that lead pollution in Antarctica took off in the 1880s as mining at Broken Hill, Australia, took off. Lead residues have fallen from their late 20th century peak, writes Joe McConnell - but they are still four times higher than in pre-industrial times. more...
After the pesticides we spray, who will be left flying? Photo: John Severns via The Conversation.

Pesticide safety research shouldn't be left to the pesticide companies

Christopher N Connolly

30th July 2014

Pesticide companies are responsible for assessing the safety of their products, writes Christopher N Connolly - and this situation cannot continue. The research should be carried out independently, subjected to peer review, and published. more...

Science : 1/25 of 284
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A mother badger with three cubs to feed looks for food in garden in rural Dorset. Photo: Lesley Docksey.

Carry on Culling - the fiasco continues

Lesley Docksey

28th July 2014

'We need to look at the best scientific evidence' on badgers and bovine TB, says Environment Secretary Liz Truss. But as Lesley Docksey writes, the 'best scientific evidence' appears to mean only that which supports the cull - and there's precious little of it! more...
Some springs on Ikaria, Greece, carry high levels of natural radioactivity - but that does not mean the radiation is good for you! Photo: Eleni Ikanou via Flickr.

An abuse of science - concealing fracking's radioactive footprint

Paul Mobbs

8th July 2014

A new scientific paper presents the radiation produced by fracking as 'natural' and harmless. But it's based on sketchy data, hyperbolic statistics and questionable assumptions, writes Paul Mobbs. Is it an attempt to stifle an essential public debate? more...
Model's prediction vs recorded data of (a) reactor (infected) cattle, shaded region shows 95% credibility from 5,000 simulations, and (b) distribution density of infected cattle. Image: Brooks-Pollock, Roberts, Keeling / Nature.

Culling badgers is no way to stop the spread of bovine TB

Matt Keeling

3rd July 2014

Published in Nature today, a new cattle herd model shows how bTB infects cattle and how to halt its spread, writes Matt Keeling. Most effective is the slaughter of entire herds with even a single TB infection detected. Culling badgers has very little impact. more...
Neonicotinoid insecticides are killing more than just bees - entire farmland ecosystems are being poisoned. Photo: honeybees (Apis mellifera) on wild fennel, Albany, California, by Jack Wolf via Flickr.

Neonicotinoids are poisoning entire farmland ecosystems

Damian Carrington / The Guardian

2nd July 2014

The widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides is causing a neurotoxic overload afflicting entire farm ecosystems from earthworms to bees, other pollinators and birds, writes Damian Carrington. A collapse in food production may inevitably follow. more...
Looking good ... the Challenger space shuttle take-off on 28th January 1986. But 73 seconds later, it was all over.

Fracking safe? In national parks? What is Lord Smith smoking?

Dr David Lowry

28th June 2014

Lord Smith's views on fracking betray an total ignorance of a large body of published, peer reviewed science that contradicts his conclusions, writes David Lowry - not to mention those of his political masters. Is 'groupthink' leading the UK astray? more...
A corn field in North Dakota - almost certainly growing GMP maize. Photo: Matt Dente via Flickr.

Biosafety and the 'Seralini affair' - scientific and regulatory reform are essential

Gilles-Eric Séralini, Robin Mesnage, Nicolas Defarge & Joël Spiroux de...

25th June 2014

The forced retraction of a study that identified serious harm to rats fed on GMO maize and Monsanto's 'Roundup' reveals a deep and systemic corruption of science and regulation, writes Gilles-Eric Séralini. Urgent and far reaching reforms must now take place. more...
Examples of female mammary tumors observed. Mammary tumors are evidenced (A, D, H, representative adenocarcinoma, from the same rat in a GMO group) and in Roundup and GMO + Roundup groups, two representative rats (B, C, E, F, I, J fibroadenomas) are compa

Seralini republished: Roundup-ready GMO maize causes serious health damage

Oliver Tickell

25th June 2014

A scientific study that identified serious health impacts on rats fed on 'Roundup ready' GMO maize has been republished following its controversial retraction under strong commercial pressure. Now regulators must respond and review GMO and agro-chemical licenses, and licensing procedures. more...
Anne Power surrounded by police at an anti-fracking protest at Barton Moss, December 2013. Photo: Steven Speed / SalfordStar.com.

Fracking - you are not important

Paul Mobbs

24th June 2014

Why does the fracking lobby refuse to engage in open, public debate? Because, writes Paul Mobbs, it has already got its way, with the uncritical support of all the 'mainstream' media and political parties. You and I simply do not matter. So what are we going to do about that? more...
The Navarre Plains are one of the areas under debate, and are an important site of glacial geology. Photo: Kevin Kiernan.

Tasmania's World Heritage debate must look beyond the trees

Kevin Kiernan

23rd June 2014

With Australia's still trying to 'de-list' 74,000 hectares of forest from the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area, Kevin Kierman reminds us that it's not just about the trees. No less important are the area's unique geology, and ancient Aboriginal cultural sites. more...
Gorilla, Philadelphia Zoo. Photo: Richard Ricciardi via Flickr.

The amazing emotional intelligence of our primate cousins

Danielle Radin

24th June 2014

Gorillas cooperating to dismantle poachers's snares, altruistic, food sharing chimpanzees, grieving lemurs performing death rituals ... Danielle Radin finds an extraordinary emotional depth and capacity for empathy in our fellow primates. more...
Switchgrass - 65 tons of it - baled and delivered to a poultry farm. In future, it will be sent in far larger volumes to bioethanol plants. Photo: University of Delaware Carvel REC via Flickr.

GMO bug makes bioethanol direct from grass

Tim Radford

15th June 2014

A new GM bacterium can produce bioethanol from coarse switchgrass, rather than using food crops like maize, writes Tim Radford. It does this by 'digesting' the tough cellulose that yeasts are unable to break down. more...
Thanks to higher methane emissions and lower production than declared, gas from fracking is as bad for climate as coal. Photo: Fracking the Bakken Formation in North Dakota. Credit: Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons.

Fracking 'as bad for climate as coal' - UK's dodgy dossier exposed

Paul Mobbs

30th May 2014

A wholesale corruption of science underlies the UK Government's insistence that gas from fracking offers a 'low carbon', low cost route to energy abundance, writes Paul Mobbs. On the contrary: it's expensive, over-hyped - and just as bad for climate change as coal. more...
Marching against Monsanto in Washington DC. Photo: Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr.

Why we are Marching against Monsanto

Dr Mae Wan Ho

28th May 2014

A huge turnout was recorded for the 2014 March Against Monsanto, with protests in over 400 cities in 52 countries and 47 US states. Dr Mae Wan Ho says this worldwide movement will keep on growing, until Monsanto and its toxic products are defeated. more...

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