Biology resources for South African teachers
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Biology resources for South African teachers
Rhinos, DNA, biomimicry and more-bringing the richness of the Net to your class, courtesy of St Alban's College library
Curated by Andrew van Zyl
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Why Does Deep Sea Life Look So Strange? I DNews

Published on May 19, 2016
Scientists have found that the darkest and deepest parts of our oceans are teeming with life. But how exactly do they survive down there?

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Breathalyzers Could Detect Many Diseases I VOA

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.

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Did climate change kill over 200,000 Kazakh antelopes? I Al Jazeera

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.

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When the drugs don’t work I The Economist

When the drugs don’t work I The Economist | Biology resources for South African teachers | Scoop.it

21 May 2016

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.

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Watch World’s Deadliest Snakes Battle Over a Female I National Geographic

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.

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How ‘endangered species’ destroy the environment | Daily Maverick

How ‘endangered species’ destroy the environment | Daily Maverick | Biology resources for South African teachers | Scoop.it
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!

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Secrets Of The Snowy Owl I Skunk Bear for NPR

Published on May 23, 2016
We followed a young owl named Baltimore's precise route from a beach in Maryland to an island in Canada.

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Meet National Geographic’s 2016 Emerging Explorers

Published on May 23, 2016
National Geographic Society proudly announces its 2016 class of Emerging Explorers: innovators and change makers with a commitment to understanding and protecting our planet.

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Orchids: The Masters Of Lying, Cheating & Stealing I Minute Earth

Published on May 16, 2016

Andrew van Zyl's insight:

This was fascinating-I had no idea orchids were such great strategists!

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Satellites Are Helping To Feed Tired And Hungry Birds I NASA

Published on May 13, 2016
This spring, migrating shorebirds came across roughly 7000 acres of temporary wetland habitat to feed on during their stopover in California’s Central Valley.

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Bats for better drones, waves of dead sea creatures & a fake jellyfish bust I EarthTouch

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.

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The Irony of Viruses I The Atlantic

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.

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Should You Map Your Microbiome? I The Atlantic

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.

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Why do some people have seasonal allergies? - Eleanor Nelsen I TED-Ed

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.

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Saving Albatross Chicks From Tsunamis and Rising Seas I National Geographic

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.

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Genetic modification I AFP

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.

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Nile Crocodiles – in Florida | HowStuffWorks NOW

Published on May 25, 2016
Scientists have confirmed the presence of at least a few Nile crocodiles in South Florida. What does this mean for Florida’s invasive species problem?

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What is the U.S. doing about extinction? I Brainscoop

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!

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What Was Tyrannosaurus Rex Like? - #Attenborough90 - BBC

Published on May 25, 2016
Sir David visits the Museum of Colorado to talk to Robert T. Bakker, who explains some of what he has learnt about the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Andrew van Zyl's insight:

This is an old clip (for Attenborough's 90th birthday) but is still pretty intriguing.

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Who’s protecting our rhino? I Africa Geographic

Who’s protecting our rhino? I Africa Geographic | Biology resources for South African teachers | Scoop.it

20 May 2016

A behind-the-scenes look at the anti-poaching heroes and their dedication to saving rhinos in Kruger.

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Why Is My Body Temperature 37 Degrees? I SciShow

Published on May 7, 2016
Your body is really good at keeping its temperature at around 37° C, but have you ever wondered why?

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Why Do Humans Have Less DNA Than This Flower? I Dnews

Published on May 11, 2016
More DNA means more complexity, right? Scientists say not necessarily! Why is that the case?

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The Rise of the Superbug I Al Jazeera

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.

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Does Gum Really Stay in Your Stomach for 7 Years? I Reactions

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.

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The microbial jungles all over the place (and you) - Scott Chimileski and Roberto Kolter I TED-Ed

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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