Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 29 May 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Burma: The river of death

For the people living alongside the Payapon river - a branch of the mighty Irrawaddy - the slow-moving waters have always been a sustainer of life. The river has provided irrigation for their crops, as well as clean, sweet water for washing and bathing, and the fish from which so many of them make their livelihoods.


UK: Rare bee found 50 years after last sighting

A rare species of bee, last found in England 50 years ago, has surfaced in Thur-rock.

The tiny dufourea minuta has been seen in West Tilbury.

This has baffled scientists who have been left wondering if the bee has returned because of climate change, or whether it has been undiscovered all this time.


Virus linked to Ontario carp deaths

A fish virus new to Ontario has been identified as one cause of the carp die-off that littered area lakes with 12,000 to 24,000 fish last summer.

John Cooper, of the Lake Erie fisheries management unit for the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), said extensive testing by the University of Guelph and the federal fish health labs confirmed finding a new fish virus to Ontario - the koi herpesvirus.


UK: Where did the dust come from?

Mystery surrounds sheets of grey dust which settled on cars and homes across Coventry and Warwickshire and beyond at the weekend.

The Environment Agency has sent samples of the unexplained substance to the lab after ruling out the Cemex plant in Rugby as a potential cause.

More than 80 people from as far a field as Solihull, Lichfield, and Nottingham called the agency to complain about the grimy film.

Cloud Lightning

Britain Has 'Underestimated' Flood Threats

For the last 50 years we have been concreting over our countryside, neglecting our drainage systems and busily building on flood plains.

In other words; living as if flooding is a problem that happens elsewhere.

©Sky News


Federal Polar Bear Research Critically Flawed, Forecasting Expert Asserts

Research done by the U.S. Department of the Interior to determine if global warming threatens the polar bear population is so flawed that it cannot be used to justify listing the polar bear as an endangered species, according to a study being published later this year in Interfaces, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

polar bear on ice float
©iStockphoto/Jan Will
Research done by the U.S. Department of the Interior to determine if global warming threatens the polar bear population is so flawed that it cannot be used to justify listing the polar bear as an endangered species, according to a new study.

On April 30, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ordered the Interior Department to decide by May 15 whether polar bears should be listed under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act.

Professor J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School says, "To list a species that is currently in good health as an endangered species requires valid forecasts that its population would decline to levels that threaten its viability. In fact, the polar bear populations have been increasing rapidly in recent decades due to hunting restrictions. Assuming these restrictions remain, the most appropriate forecast is to assume that the upward trend would continue for a few years, then level off.


Platypus at the peak of weird science

Scientists have cracked the genetic code of the platypus and the results are as weird as the animal itself.

Not only does the little mammal look like it was cobbled together from bits of birds, mammals and reptiles, but so does its genome -- its genetic blueprint.

Jenny Graves, a geneticist with the Australian National University and director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Kangaroo Genomics, said: "We expected the platypus genome to be a weird amalgam of features and indeed it is. For instance, it has egg yolk proteins (large molecules) like a bird, though not as many as a bird, but all the milk proteins of a cow."

©Rod Scott

Better Earth

Koalas Under Threat From Climate Change

New research shows increased temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are a threat to the Australian national icon, the koala.

Professor Ian Hume, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and his students from the University of Sydney have been researching the effects of CO2 increases and temperature rises on eucalypts.

©iStockphoto/Sawayasu Tsuji
Koalas are fussy about the species of eucalypts that they eat as different species contain different ratios of nutrients to anti-nutrients.

Professor Hume's group have shown in the laboratory that increases in CO2 affect the level of nutrients and 'anti-nutrients' (things that are either toxic or interfere with the digestion of nutrients) in eucalypt leaves. Anti-nutrients in eucalypts are built from carbon and an increase in carbon dioxide levels will favour the production of anti-nutrients over nutrients.

Black Cat

Cat Urine Makes Mice Macho

Tom and Jerry may never get along, but cats could help mice get lucky in love.

Cat odor is known scare mice away, but it also seems to act like an aphrodisiac for the rodents, a new study shows.

The smell makes male mice more macho, helping lure in females, researchers said.


When Bears Steal Human Food, Mom's Not To Blame

Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) found that the black bears that become habituated to human food and garbage may not be learning these behaviors exclusively from their mothers, as widely assumed. Bears that steal human food sources are just as likely to form these habits on their own or pick them up from unrelated, "bad influence" bears.

black bears
©Jon Beckmann/Wildlife Conservation Society
According to a study by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society, black bears that become habituated on human food and garbage do not necessarily learn these behaviors from their mother as previously assumed.

The study, which examines the role of genetic relatedness in black bear behavior that leads to conflict with humans, appears in the latest edition of the Journal of Mammalogy.

"Understanding how bears acquire behavior is important in conservation biology and devising strategies to minimize potential human-wildlife conflicts," says Dr. Jon Beckmann, a co-author of the study. "According to our findings, bears that feed on human food and garbage are not always learning these habits from their mothers."