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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...
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...

science : 25/50 of 298
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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...
White Rot Mushroom, Trametes versicolor. Photo: Luke Detwiler via Flickr.

Fungi clean contaminated soils

The Ecologist

22nd May 2014

A new system for cleaning soils contaminated with industrial toxins harnesses the power of White rot - a common fungus that decays fallen wood in forests. Research in Finland shows it can also destroy dioxins and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons. more...
Traces of submerged lands are visible today, if you know where to look. Richerman, CC BY-SA.

Melting glaciers have drowned lands before, and will again

Vince Gaffney

12th May 2014

The North Sea's 'Dogger Bank' was once dry land, inhabited by people and herds of Pleistocene megafauna, writes Vince Gaffney. The long-lost world of Doggerland shows how melting glaciers drowned land at the end of the last ice age. And surely not for the last time ... more...
Roundup Ultra destroys down to the roots. That's not to mention what glyphosate, the main active ingredient of Roundup, does to our health. Photo: David Reverchon via Flickr.com

Glyphosate is a disaster for human health

Dr Mae Wan Ho

30th April 2014

Extensive, long running evidence for the cancer-causing effects of glyphosate, and other toxic impacts, have been ignored by regulators. Indeed as the evidence has built up, permitted levels in food have been hugely increased, writes Dr Mae Wan Ho. more...
Angels of nuclear death. Image: Abode of Chaos via Flickr.com.

Chernobyl - how many died?

Jim Green - Nuclear Monitor

26th April 2014

It was 28 years ago today that Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine ruptured and ignited, sending a massive plume of radiation across Europe. Jim Green assesses the scientific evidence for how many people died as a result of the catastrophe. more...
Had his chips? Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock.com.

Renewed hunting imperils Canada's Grizzlies

Kyle Artelle

10th April 2014

The Grizzly bear hunting season is under way in British Columbia, Canada. The government claims that the decision to open the hunt and the kill quotas are 'science-based' but as Kyle Artelle writes, science doesn't get a look in - and the Grizzlies' are in serious danger. more...
Too sexy for my shirt? Tian Tian yawning at Edinburgh Zoo. Photo: gavin proc via flickr.com.

Panda Sutra - the ups and downs of getting grumpy bears to have sex

Forbes Howie

11th April 2014

Just why do giant pandas find it so difficult to mate? It's because they're in captivity, and so little of their wild habitat survives. But in Edinburgh zoo, writes Forbes Howie,
scientists are hard at work to get Tian Tian pregnant ...
more...
Locally produced biochar. Photo: Carbon Gold.

Biochar doubles plant growth

Oliver Tickell

7th April 2014

New research shows that biochar in soil strongly stimulates plant growth, more than doubling yields. However the extra growth may come at the cost of reduced plant defences against pests. more...

What's the beef?

Tom Levitt

1 April 2014

Lab-grown meat could solve the environmental and ethical problems of industrial agriculture. But will anyone want to eat it? more...
Sour garlic and fennel pickles. Photo: Gary Leybman /  FB Wild Fermentation group.

My microbes, therefore I am: fermentation, health, and human identity

Joanna Wright

10th April 2014

Fermentation is far more than a way to prepare diverse, delicious and wholesome food, writes Joanna Wright. It is a means for us to connect with the ancient past, with the world around us, and with our own selves. Are you ready to try it? more...
Marching against Monsanto, Denver, CO, 13th October 2013. Photo: Confrontational Media via Flickr.com.

GMOs - Throwing precaution to the wind

Pat Thomas

15th March 2014

As the UK Prime Minister welcomes the recommendations of his science advisors to 'go it alone' in Europe and embrace GMO crops, Pat Thomas wonders - whatever happened to the Precautionary Principle? more...
Packaged food in a supermarket in Kamakura, Japan. Photo: Todd Mecklem via Flickr.com.

The chemical dangers in food packaging

Jo Adetunji

1st March 2014

The long-term effects of synthetic chemicals used in packaging, food storage and processing food could be damaging our health, scientists have warned. Jo Adetunji reports. more...

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