Pesticides have a dramatic impact on the health of ecosystems, posing real risks to pollinating insects, such as bees. But did you know that your favourite bouquet may be posing a risk to your own well-being? Continue reading A Bouquet of Pesticides – The Dark Side of Flowers
When Mice Serenade the Forest…
Until now, you might have been forgiven for thinking that singing mice were merely the product of Disney’s prolific imagination. Not anymore! Although it wasn’t classically trained by a modern P.T. Barnum, the singing mouse is a reality. Continue reading The Strange Operetta of the Singing Mouse
What If You Could Cure Malaria?
The fields of Senegal are at the centre of a controversial battle against deadly malaria. With mosquitoes increasingly resistant to insecticides, and the parasite’s developing resistance to conventional remedies, the humanitarian emergency becomes ever more pressing worldwide. A plant genus could be the answer: Artemisia. But that goes against the wishes of the WHO…
Pushing the Boundaries
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster left behind a highly toxic landscape. Thirty-two years hence, the area around the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat largely reverted to forest. Despite the contamination, wildlife gradually took over. Hints of recovery emerged as animal species began to thrive, free from the disruptive influence of human activity. And for the first time, researchers recorded evidence of a young wolf boldly venturing away from the danger zone.
If so, are you a man?? Mmmh… yes… The Male Idiot Theory: it’s not new but I thought I’d mention it in passing… Ladies, enjoy… Continue reading The Male Idiot Theory – Sex Differences in Risky Behaviour
Viewing tiny objects, like cells, under a microscope is a real game of hide-and-seek with the light. It follows that the specimen must be carefully prepared, or ‘mounted’ on a slide. Here we get a little closer to the eukaryotic cell. The building block of life itself… Continue reading Life Under The Microscope
The Scottish coast is renowned for the wealth of its rocky features. And if you can’t abide Geology, you can while away the hours with the local marine biology. It’s dead quiet and if you’re lucky on a clear day, you might even see Arran magically emerge from the mist across the waters of the Clyde estuary.
Mercury is rising. And in many more ways than one. As global temperatures go up, the Arctic ice is melting. Sea level rises. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. But below the permafrost, another threat is lurking.
At the heart of central London, opposite St Pancras’ International station, stands the new Francis Crick Institute – a working building with distinctive ultra-modern architecture. Important science is being done here. Life-changing science. Continue reading The Francis Crick Institute – Open For Boundless Scientific Discovery
On the whole, Earth scientists agree that melting of land ice greatly contributes to sea-level rise. And one thing’s for sure. Future global warming will exacerbate the risks posed to human civilisation. But… What if you could forecast major floods? You can. Continue reading Future Floods and Melting Ice Sheets – Predicting with GRACE
10 rivers on Earth may be responsible for around 90% of oceanic plastic pollution in the World. Continue reading Ten Rivers on Earth – The Great Plastic Tide
Another Brick in the Whorl of Forensic Science
Fingerprint spectrometry analysis – a technology which can detect the brand of hair gel or condom used by a suspect – could soon be admissible as evidence in UK courts. Continue reading Fingerprint Forensics Delve Deeper Into Spectrometry Analysis
Scientists found early evidence that Ayahuasca, a ceremonial psychedelic brew used by Amazon tribes for centuries, could help treat eating disorders. Continue reading Can Ayahuasca Feed Your Spirit?
Part of the European Union’s report on the non-hazardous nature of glyphosate-based herbicides is actually a “carbon copy” of a report published by American giant Monsanto according to the European press. Continue reading Glyphosate Safety: European Evaluation Report “Carbon-Copy” of Monsanto’s
If the urban myth was true, you’d never be farther than two metres from the nearest rat in London. But as far as neighbours go, wild rats keep to themselves. And why shouldn’t they? We, humans, are their commensal enemy. Continue reading Don’t Rat on the Neighbours… – An Urban Tale
Within every object on Earth lies concealed a positive or a negative electric charge. From the very structure of the atom to the essential functioning of our brains, the natural power of electricity is all around us, and it is one of the most potent symbols of our Modern World. Making the story of electricity, the story of life itself… Continue reading The Spark of Being – A Not-So-Brief History of Life and Electricity
There are 1.3 billion cubic kilometres of water on Earth. Nevertheless, ready access to clean drinking water remains a major issue for millions of people. A much sought-after innovation was developed by a UK-based team of researchers who created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater. The new technology could aid millions around the World.
The role that plants play in absorbing carbon dioxide is one of the great unknowns of climatology. Now, an industrial-scale experiment in a Staffordshire forest has been designed to help fill gaps in our knowledge about climate change. Continue reading BIFoR FACE In Situ Experiment – Modelling the Response of a Temperate Woodland to Increased Levels of Carbon Dioxide
Synthetic cannabinoids were designed for recreational use. Many used them legally in an attempt to recreate the effects of organic cannabis, or to achieve similar psychoactive effects, until they were banned in May 2016. But they promised more than they delivered. Spice is one of them. Continue reading Spice of Life? The Health Cost of Synthetic Cannabinoids and the Adverse Effects of Full Agonists
Sarin is a deadly compound. Colourless, odourless, and fatal even at low concentrations. A new drug designed to fight against the deadly effects of organophosphorous nerve agents, like sarin, is in sight. Continue reading Compound Interest: An Antidote to Sarin
Agronomic engineers have managed to improve upon one the most important biological process on the planet – photosynthesis. The increased yield in crop could be as much as 15%. Continue reading Feeding of the Nine Billion – The Future of Photosynthesis and Increased Crop Productivity
It’s cold down there. Icy cold. It’s dark. Pitch black, in fact. And the crushing pressures make the deepest parts of the oceans into some of the most hostile places on our planet. The lowest of the low. The deepest of the deep. Only three human explorers ever made it down there. As a brand new wave of deep-sea exploration begins, we look at the mysterious world where marine scientists will be diving into… Continue reading Sailing the Lower Midnight… – The Uncharted Frontier of Modern Deep-Sea Exploration
Welcome to Jurassic Skye! While dinosaurs might be long dead and no threat to puny humans, the rich fossil record of the Scottish island of Skye – the “Misty Isle” – has provided palaeontologists with important clues to the lives of prehistoric predators and their preys. Continue reading Fantastic Beasts of the “Misty Isle” – Welcome to Jurassic Skye!
A revolution in the treatment and understanding of clinical depression may be looming. And specialists are already talking about one of the strongest discoveries in psychiatry for the past two decades. For the 350 million people who suffer from the illness worldwide, this could potentially mean light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Continue reading Looking on the Bright Side of Clinical Depression
Be honest. We all have one. What’s your poison? Booze, tobacco, prescription drugs… or something a little more exotic? Cannabis is a controversial plant, regarded by many as a godsend. If Carlsberg made a ‘erb… Continue reading Panacea Nostrum – The Forensic Toxicology of Cannabis