Published on May 25, 2016 Since 1931, when the first “drunkometer” was tested by police in the U.S., law enforcement agencies around the world have been using portable breath analyzers to catch drunken drivers. In a variation on a theme, doctors are finding they can use simple breathalyzers to detect a variety of diseases — everything from malaria to cancer. VOA's George Putic reports.
Published on May 25, 2016 Nearly half of the world's population of the saiga - a species of antelope older than the mammoth - were wiped out by a freak pathogen last year, in an event scientists are blaming on rapid temperature fluctuations caused by climate change. Over 200,000 of the saiga, a small antelope native to central Asia, died over the course of two weeks in Kazakhstan's Betpak-Dala region in May, pushing the critically endangered species to the brink of extinction.
SOME people describe Darwinian evolution as “only a theory”. Try explaining that to the friends and relatives of the 700,000 people killed each year by drug-resistant infections. Resistance to antimicrobial medicines, such as antibiotics and antimalarials, is caused by the survival of the fittest. Unfortunately, fit microbes mean unfit human beings. Drug-resistance is not only one of the clearest examples of evolution in action, it is also the one with the biggest immediate human cost. And it is getting worse. Stretching today’s trends out to 2050, the 700,000 deaths could reach 10m.
Published on May 25, 2016 It's a behavior rarely observed in the wild: two black mambas entangled in a battle. The plaited, or twisted, snakes were captured on camera by Kirstie Bowers while on safari in South Africa's Pilanesberg National Park. The battle eventually moves from the dirt road into the bushes, out of sight of the camera.
Animal rights activists, most of whom live in wealthy urban comfort, far from the realities of nature and its conservation, are destroying the ecosystems of Africa. For evidence, look no further than the absurd notion that the African elephant is endangered.
Andrew van Zyl's insight:
Ivo Vegter...contrarian as always-but very useful, methinks, for fostering debate about the environment!
Published on May 16, 2016 Mongolia approves a vast reserve for an endangered big cat, Zimbabwe makes a controversial decision about its wildlife, a chemical jellyfish scam uncovered in China & how studying bats could lead to better drones. Get these stories and more in your weekly dose of wildlife news.
Published on May 17, 2016 About 8 percent of our DNA is made up of viruses known as Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVs). Over millions of years, these viruses have embedded themselves in our genome and now play an integral role in the functioning of our immune system. In this short video, The Atlantic’s science writer Ed Yong explains how the very things that once made us sick now keeps us healthy.
Published on May 16, 2016 Biologists are beginning to understand how the trillions of microbes in and on our bodies shape our health. But differences between any two people’s microbial populations are enormous. Most people share around 99 percent of their DNA with the person next to them, but they have a significantly smaller percentage of their microbes in common.
Published on May 26, 2016 Ah, spring. Grass growing, flowers blooming, trees budding. For those with allergies, though, this explosion of new life probably inspires more dread than joy. So what’s behind this annual onslaught of mucus? Eleanor Nelsen explains what happens when your immune system goes rogue.
Published on May 26, 2016 Ninety-eight percent of Laysan albatross nests are on low-lying atolls within the Hawaiian Islands that are increasingly vulnerable to sea-level rise and storm surges. To prevent harm to the albatross population, Pacific Rim Conservation has partnered with groups including the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the American Bird Conservancy to move eggs from the Pacific Missile Range to higher ground at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge.
Published on May 24, 2016 A heated debate surrounds the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture. The technology has been warmly embraced by many countries but resistance remains entrenched, especially in Europe.
Published on May 20, 2016 What does it mean to be an endangered species? Are endangered species destined for extinction? We're exploring some of these ideas in celebration of Endangered Species Day, May 20th!
Published on May 19, 2016 Many of the advances of modern medicine have relied on antibiotics and their ability to treat previously incurable illnesses like pneumonia and tuberculosis. But now those advances are under threat. An increasing number of bacteria - termed superbugs - are developing resistance to the drugs. In short: the drugs don’t work. It’s a global issue and one no country can ignore. To do so would imperil the heath and death of the entire world.
Published on May 17, 2016 It’s a legendary piece of playground lore: If you swallow a piece of gum, it stays stuck in your stomach forever. So was your elementary-school buddy right? This week, Reactions looks at the mechanics and chemistry of digestion in order to settle the myth.
Published on May 17, 2016 As we walk through our daily environments, we’re surrounded by exotic creatures that are too small to see with the naked eye. We usually imagine these microscopic organisms, or microbes, as asocial cells that float around by themselves. But, in reality, microbes gather by the millions to form vast communities.
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