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Building at Chernobyl, Ukraine, 15th November 2012. Photo: Stijn D'haese via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

It's not just cancer! Radiation, genomic instability and heritable genetic damage

Chris Busby

17th March 2016

Cancer is just one of of the outcomes of the genetic damage inflicted by nuclear radiation, writes Chris Busby, and perhaps one of the least important. Of far greater long term significance is the broad-scale mutation of the human genome, and those of other species, and the resulting genomic instability that causes cascades of heritable mutations through the generations. more...
The principle that we have a right to know what we are eating is admirably straightforward. That's why the biotech and agrochemical industries have to spin so hard to convince us that ignorance is bliss. Photo: Daniel Lobo via Flickr (CC BY).

Bill Gates: can we have an honest conversation about GMOs?

Stacy Malkan / US Right to Know

8th March 2016

Some of the world's most powerful figures tout the benefits of GMOs, writes Stacy Malkan, but what's the real story? Facts on the ground expose the PR spin, half truths and outright propaganda that has come to dominate a public conversation that is not so much about engineering genes, but engineering truth for the benefit of multinational corporations. more...
Insecticide spraying in Brazil, 2014. Photo: Malova Gobernador via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Zika, microcephaly, and pesticides: half-truths, hysteria, and vested interests

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

26th February 2016

Those who dare suggest that pesticides might be implicated in Brazil's microcephaly outbreak are being furiously attacked as irrational, nonsense-spouting 'conspiracy theorists', writes Claire Robinson. But the attackers have an uncanny ability to get their own facts in a twist. And among them are writers linked to industries with huge economic interests in the matter. more...
London's air pollution is so bad, it can be seen on occasion. Photo: David Holt via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Five ways to slash London's lethal air pollution

John Weeks

24th February 2016

Today's threats of legal action by ClientEarth against the UK Government highlight the problem of London's poisonous air, which is killing some 10,000 people a year, writes John Weeks. Fortunately there are simple, low cost, effective measures that could be taken to bring about big improvements to the city's air quality, fast. more...
Serious pollution in Stoke Newington, North London, England, 3rd April 2014. Photo: David Holt via Flickr (CC BY).

40,000 air pollution deaths a year, say doctors

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

23rd January 2016

A new report from leading physicians published today reveals the excess mortality caused by UK air pollution, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The Government has already been found in breach of the EU's Air Quality Directive, but its policies remain weak. Will it finally step up to prevent early deaths from this silent killer? more...
At least Canterbury's badgers will be safe, for now. Photo: Ian Blacker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Shoot first, ask no questions later: more badger culling, less science

Lesley Docksey

23rd February 2016

With 29 applications for new badger culls, writes Lesley Docksey, the government still has no idea how many badgers there are in the cull areas, or how many of them have TB. Nor does it want to find out. The badger culling project is getting less scientific by the day - or should that be by the square kilometre? more...
Demonstration outside EFSA's Brussels HQ organised by Corporate Europe Observatory on 5th April 2002 marking ten years of corporate capture. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Key evidence in EU's risk assessment of glyphosate must not remain 'trade secret'

Corporate Europe Observatory

22nd February 2016

The chemical industry and the European Food Safety Authority are refusing to disclose key scientific evidence about glyphosate's risks, citing 'trade secrets' protection, writes Corporate Europe Observatory. They must be compelled to publish the 'mysterious three' scientific studies EFSA used to assess glyphosate as 'unlikely' to cause cancer to humans - contradicting the IARC's view. more...
Cruising the open seas on the Sea Dragon. Photo: Katrina McQuail.

In search of the unseen: an investigation into plastics in our oceans

Ana Stanič

21st February 2-16

One of the biggest threats facing marine life is the 'microplastic' particles found in ocean ecosystems from bottom to top of food chains. Just back from a voyage of environmental exploration in the tropical Atlantic sampling the waters to build up a global picture of this ubiquitous pollutant, Ana Stanič writes of the joys and trials of life on the waves, and the need to keep our oceans clean. more...
Contemporary illustration of Alexander von Humboldt - used in the cover of 'The Invention of Nature'.

The Invention of Nature: adventures of Alexander Humboldt, lost hero of science

Matt Mellen

3rd March 2016

Andrea Wulf's book about the remarkable 19th century explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt is welcome, opportune and a pleasure to read, writes Matt Mellen, packed as it is with high adventure and amazing discoveries. We have much to learn from him today in tackling the world's environmental crises; reading this book is an excellent - and enjoyable - way to begin. more...
'BP - World's bniggest corporate criminal'. Time for the Science Museum to stop taking their filthy money. Photo: BP or not BP.

Science Museum must get out of bed with anti-science Big Fossil funders

Drew Pearce

2nd February 2016

Why is BP sponsoring the Science Museum's 'Late' event? It's all part of creating 'scientific consent' for fossil fuels, writes Drew Pearce, in the face of scientific certainty about climate change and the need for drastic cuts in carbon emissions. That's why we gatecrashed their latest show last week. more...
Aedes Aegypti mosquito feeding on human blood. Photo: James Gathany via jentavery on Flickr (CC BY).

Pandora's box: how GM mosquitos could have caused Brazil's microcephaly disaster

Oliver Tickell

1st February 2016

In Brazil's microcephaly epidemic, one vital question remains unanswered: how did the Zika virus suddenly learn how to disrupt the development of human embryos? The answer may lie in a sequence of 'jumping DNA' used to engineer the virus's mosquito vector - and released into the wild four years ago in the precise area of Brazil where the microcephaly crisis is most acute. more...
Hot is good - up to a point! On the beach at Magnan, Nice in France's Cote d'Azur. Photo: Juska Wendland via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Europe's summers hottest for 2,000 years - and you ain't seen nothing yet!

Alex Kirby

29th January 2016

The last 30 years of European summers have been the hottest in thousands of years, writes Alex Kirby, and we had better start getting used to it - most of all in the Mediterranean and the Arctic, where a 1.5C global temperature rise could be amplified to 3.4C and 6C respectively. more...

science : 25/50 of 437
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Glyphosate, the 'probable carcinogen' in your shed. But wil the EU re-licence it based on EFSA's deeply flawed, pro-industry scientific assessment? Photo: Kit Reynolds via Flickr (CC BY).

EU must not re-approve glyphosate based on flawed EFSA study

Michèle Rivasi & 65 other MEPs

1st February 2016

The European Commission must not re-approve the 'probably carcinogenic' weedkiller glyphosate so long as its assessment is based on secret industry studies, actual products are not investigated, and in the absence of scientific criteria for endocrine disruption, write 66 MEPs in this Open Letter to Commissioner Andriukaitis, in charge of health and food safety. more...
Children playing on a 'plastic beach' at the mouth of Versova Creek near Mumbai - an area formerly home to large tracts of mangroves and Great Egrets. Photo: Ravi Khemka via Flickr (CC BY).

Humans will be remembered for leaving a 'plastic planet'

Oliver Tickell

28th January 2016

Long after we go extinct the human presence on Earth will be marked by a geological stratum rich in plastic garbage, according to a new study. Long-lived plastics are already widespread over the ocean floor, and there's a lot more on its way. Forget the 'Anthropocene' - the human era should rightly be called the Plasticene. more...
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...

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