Blog Archives

Landscape, literature, life

Over the past few years, the genre of ‘nature writing’ has seen a new sense of urgency, fostered by a growing awareness of a natural world under pressure. Dr Robert Macfarlane, from the University of Cambridge, Faculty of English, believes that writers have played, and continue to play, a central role in conservation by engaging […] … learn more→

NASA finds thickest parts of Arctic Ice cap melting faster

A new NASA study revealed that the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing at a faster rate than the younger and thinner ice at the edges of the Arctic Ocean’s floating ice cap. The thicker ice, known as multi-year ice, survives through the cyclical summer melt season, when young ice that has formed […] … learn more→

Excess fat may be \”Protective\” in seniors over 85

Obesity is considered the leading preventable cause of death worldwide — until you reach old age, that is. Though obesity increases the risk of an early death, shaving an average of six to seven years off a person\’s lifespan, Tel Aviv University researchers have found that this trend may reverse itself after the age of […] … learn more→

Society: Step to to save the planet

Scientific knowledge alone isn’t enough to save the planet – we must also act on that knowledge and radically change our behaviour, according to the authors of an international study. The study, carried out by researchers from The Australian National University and colleagues in Germany, the UK and the USA, suggests that the greatest barrier […] … learn more→

Giant pre-historic NZ penguin reconstructed at Otago

The bones of a giant penguin fossilised in a Waimate cliff have been reconstructed at the University of Otago’s Geology Department, giving researchers new insights into the prehistoric creature. The giant penguins – which scientists have dubbed Kairuku – are featured in the cover article published today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Kairuku stood […] … learn more→

Wheat varieties are being developed to resist global threat

Innovative techniques in wheat breeding are necessary to meet the needs of the world\’s growing population and overcome environmental challenges, said Ravi Singh at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Singh, Cornell plant breeding and genetics adjunct professor and distinguished wheat breeder at the International Center for Maize […] … learn more→

Polarization vital for party-building

Far from destabilizing democratic institutions, polarization can play a vital role for opposition political parties. That’s the eye-opening conclusion American University School of Public Affairs professor Adrienne LeBas draws in her new book, From Protest to Parties: Party-Building and Democratization in Africa (2011: OUP). LeBas’s work studying opposition parties in the hybrid democracies of Zimbabwe, […] … learn more→

Cocaine and the teen brain: Yale research offers insights into addiction

When first exposed to cocaine, the adolescent brain launches a strong defensive reaction designed to minimize the drug’s effects, Yale and other scientists have found. Now two new studies by a Yale team identify key genes that regulate this response and show that interfering with this reaction dramatically increases a mouse’s sensitivity to cocaine. The […] … learn more→

Crocodiles rock the treadmill for research

Crocodiles have been put through their paces on a treadmill as part of a James Cook University research project to help determine which muscles they use to breathe. Led by the Townsville-based Dr Suzy Munns, the research was conducted on five young estuarine crocodiles to test the role of the diaphragmaticus muscle, also known as […] … learn more→