A wood in Staffordshire!

An interesting experiment is taking place in a Staffordshire forest. An area of the woodland has been cordoned off and the trees within the site are being subjected to high levels of carbon dioxide. The project has been set up to measure how trees will deal with the higher levels of CO2 in that are expected in the future.


Don’t Kill Spiders!

Biologists have estimated that all the spiders in the world eat between them 400 million to 800 million tonnes of insects every year. These include mosquitoes, flies and insects which eat plants.

Trump and Global Warming

One hundred researchers, including many of the most prominent climate scientists in Britain, have written to Theresa May to warn her of the potential threats posed by Donald Trump, who has made it clear he does not accept that human activities contribute to global warming.

The letter warns that Trump’s administration may severely weaken climate change research. If the world class climate science now performed in the US is wound down under Trump, the UK must be ready to respond decisively, the letter states. One response would be to rapidly expand British climate science by offering jobs to disaffected US researchers.

More climate change effects

Something is happening to the floating sea ice of the Arctic; scientists are finding that Arctic sea ice is getting younger and thinner, which is set to continue in March, when US research reveals the winter maximum, and September, when it reveals the summer minimum, making it more vulnerable to a catastrophic and unprecedented break-up.

Nasa researchers have found that the thicker multi-year ice, which has survived several summer melt seasons, is being rapidly replaced by thinner one-year ice formed over a single winter. This change makes the polar region increasingly vulnerable to storms that could smash their way through the final remnants of thinner, one-year sea ice, making a completely ice-free summer in the Arctic increasingly likely.

Breathalyser detects 17 diseases

A new breathalyser can detect the presence and amount of the 100 or so chemicals present in our exhaled breath. Many diseases, such as kidney cancer and Parkinson’s, can be detected and  the presence of one disease does not prevent the detection of others.



Lab grown turkeys by 2030?

Silly me! This post should have read:

By 2030 you could be eating your Christmas dinner comprising of a turkey grown in the laboratory. The process works by taking a small piece of turkey breast and isolating special stem cells which form muscle fibre. Those cells are then placed in a soup of sugar and amino acids which tricks them into thinking they are still inside the turkey and need to continue dividing. You can read more on the Telegraph website at  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/11/27/christmas-turkey-will-grown-lab-2030-say-scientists/

Genetically modified mosquitoes to combat Zika?

Genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys as early as this spring, an official said, after voters in Monroe County, Florida, approved the experiment. This could be the first time a genetically modified animal is released into the wild in the United States.

The male mosquitoes modified by Oxitec are designed to control Aedes aegypti mosquito populations by mating with wild females, and passing a gene to their offspring that stops them from reaching maturity. Only male mosquitoes are to be released (one out of every 1,000 could be female). Male mosquitoes do not bite.

The mosquitoes are meant to undermine the same mosquitoes that spread Zika.

Is it worth drinking ‘diet’ fizzy drinks?

Oh dear! Are you drinking low calorie fizzy drinks in the belief that it will help you lose weight? Unfortunately, it has been shown that the sweetener, aspartame, which is used in these drinks does not have this effect. Aspartame blocks a gut enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) that can prevent obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Extraordinarily hot Arctic

The Arctic is experiencing extraordinarily hot sea surface and air temperatures, which are stopping ice forming and could lead to record lows of sea ice at the north pole next year.

Danish and US researchers monitoring satellites and Arctic weather stations are surprised and alarmed by air temperatures peaking at what they say is an unheard-of 20C higher than normal for the time of year. In addition, sea temperatures averaging nearly 4C higher than usual in October and November.

Let’s hope the new president elect is taking serious notice.