Flip-flop-clad boat brings plastic recycling message to East African coast

first_imgEcology, Environment, Environmental Policy, Fish, Marine, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Crisis, Marine Ecosystems, Microplastics, Oceans, Plastic, Pollution, Recycling, Sea Turtles, Sustainability, Waste, Water Pollution, Wildlife Conservation Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored In January, the Flipflopi, a boat built of recycled plastic, set sail on a 500-kilometer (310-mile) voyage along the East African coast.The purpose? To raise awareness about ocean pollution and call for the repurposing of, and a possible ban on, single-use plastics.Globally, research on and attention to marine plastic pollution is mounting, showing that microplastics travel up the food chain, and that marine life and people alike are being exposed to microplastics through their food. WATAMU, Kenya — One Saturday mid-morning in late January, close to 100 people descended on the narrow streets of Watamu village along Kenya’s north coast to clean up the streets.Local beach cleaners in their white and blue T-shirts, children in school uniforms and ordinary villagers defied the sweltering heat. They picked up plastic bottles, bags and wrappers; glass bottles; old clothes and other litter from doorsteps, alleys, hedges, tree branches, gaping manholes and abandoned houses. By the time they approached the Watamu beach more than three hours later, they had collected tons of plastics.Despite being sweaty and tired, the children still had energy to play. They sorted the different types of plastics and used them to create images of marine life on the sandy beach. The plastics were later taken away to a local organization for recycling into construction bricks and works of art.Watamu school children help clean their village. Image by Anthony Langat for Mongabay.Just off the beach bobbed the Flipflopi, a colorful 10-meter-long (33-foot-long) boat built exclusively out of recycled plastics. Its multicolored hull, clad in patches made from discarded flip-flops, set it apart from the other boats nearby. Its builders cum crew sat aboard offering short rides and explaining its materials, building process, strength and stability at sea to groups of curious visitors, who were ferried from shore by a smaller boat.The Flipflopi had set sail from the town of Lamu a day before, embarking on a 14-day, 500-kilometer (310-mile) expedition along the East African coast to Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The purpose of the voyage was to show the possibilities of recycling single-use plastics and to educate people on the effects of marine plastic pollution.The plastic problem in Watamu, a popular tourist destination, reflects the situation not only in Africa but also globally. In a 2017 paper in Science Advances researchers estimate that as of 2015 the world was producing 400 million metric tons of plastics annually and discarding 300 million metric tons. A 2017 study in Environmental Science & Technology estimated that 88 to 95 percent of plastic pollution in the oceans comes from just 10 rivers, eight in Asia and two in Africa.Garbage, mainly plastics, collected during the Watamu village cleanup. Image by Anthony Langat for Mongabay.Plastics choke Kenyan marine lifeThe Tana is Kenya’s longest river, flowing about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the central part of the country to the Indian Ocean, enough distance to collect tons of plastics. It empties into the sea about 45 kilometers (28 miles) northeast of Watamu.In a study published last year, Charles Kosore, a researcher at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute in Mombasa, documented the presence of microplastics in Kenyan waters and their ingestion by zooplankton, tiny microscopic animals. It found that “microplastics have the potential to enter pelagic food webs and cause pollution in the study area.”Globally, research on and attention to marine plastic pollution is mounting, showing that microplastics travel up the food chain, and that marine life and people alike are being exposed to microplastics through their food. A doctoral student at the University of Bern in Switzerland calculated that plastic pollution causes $13 billion in financial damages to marine ecosystems per year, according to World Finance magazine.Hassan Shaffir, a fisherman and boat builder from Lamu, aboard the FlipFlopi in Watamu, Kenya. Image by Anthony Langat for Mongabay.Kenyan fishers are certainly aware of the cost. Hassan Shaffir, a fisherman from Lamu, said plastics in the ocean have made him poorer in recent years. While fishing at sea, Shaffir said, he and his colleagues regularly encounter long rows of plastics dumped in by the rivers. These break their fishing nets, requiring repairs that cost money and take valuable time away from fishing.“There are a lot of plastics in the sea and for those of us who fish using nets, we find it harder to catch fish,” he said. “If the plastic bottle attaches to the net it makes a sound, frightening the fish and instead of catching fish we catch plastic.”Shaffir added that the fish eat plastic, mistaking it for food. Mohamed Ali, a Watamu fisherman, observed the same. “The most affected are the sea turtles,” he said. “We find that they are mostly choked by the plastics, which they find at sea.”Jane Gitau, a senior warden with Kenya Wildlife Service in charge of Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve, acknowledged the problem. “We have seen deaths of endangered species, particularly the sea turtle,” which sometimes mistakes plastics for jellyfish, its main food, she said. “We have collected many carcasses of sea turtles due to this problem.”A Watamu resident during the village cleanup. Image by Anthony Langat for Mongabay.A boat made of flip-flopsThe Flipflopi’s builders aim to show that recycling can help clean the seas. But, they say, a ban on single-use plastics is what’s needed to put an end to ocean plastic pollution.“We all know that we have reached a tipping point,” Dipesh Pabari, one of the project’s initiators, told Mongabay. “There has to be change. You’ve got the waste that exists and there is too much of it. And we can put it to a second life but ultimately we have to find a way to end it.”The Flipflopi is the brainchild of Ben Morison, an Anglo-Ethiopian who spent his early years in Kenya. Seeing a small dhow made of flip-flops in Zanzibar inspired him to build his own boat out of plastics. Together with Pabari, his Kenyan childhood friend, he set out to achieve the dream in 2015.It wasn’t easy building the boat. “A lot of research and development went into the design of the materials, some of which were made in Malindi [a town near Watamu] and others in Nairobi,” said Pabari.The Flipflopi under sail from Watamu to Kilifi, Kenya. Image by Anthony Langat for Mongabay.They sent samples of the materials, molded bricks or planks made from compressed bottles and other plastics, to Northumbria University in England for tests several times until they arrived at a desired combination of strength and weight. It took three years to complete the boat because they were doing everything for the first time.Ali Skanda, Flipflopi’s chief boat builder and captain, was ecstatic about having completed the boat and being able to sail it. “It is my hope that with this boat we are going to inspire more people to stop littering and start recycling plastics so that we can have a cleaner ocean for everyone,” he said.The United Nations Environment Programme sponsored the Flipflopi’s Lamu-to-Zanzibar expedition through its Clean Seas Campaign. Between stops on the voyage, passengers collected samples of sea water to be analyzed later for microplastics, macrofibers and microfibers.“We have got various kinds of scientific equipment and a lot of it is for citizen science, the results of which we will make available to the world,” said Simon Scott-Harden, a lecturer in product design at Northumbria University who oversaw the sampling. “We are very interested to find out about the microfibers that we find in the ocean … This comes from clothing and it is a big problem that we need to address,” he said.Art works made of flipflops at the Watamu Marine Association office. In the background, recycled bottles are visible as a component of the office walls. Image by Anthony Langat for Mongabay.While most African countries recycle plastics, they don’t do it on a scale big enough to curb pollution. In 2015, South Africa, one of the biggest economies in Africa, recycled approximately 293,000 metric tons through more than 200 recycling companies.Kenya has far fewer companies recycling plastics. There are organizations like EcoPost, which makes recycled-plastic lumber; Ocean Sole, which turns old flip-flops into art and functional products; and Alternative Energy Systems, which converts waste plastic into fuels like synthetic oil. In 2018, a non-profit called PETCO Kenya launched to promote recycling of plastic bottles; it has the modest goal of recycling 14,000 tons by 2025.Steve Trott, director of Ecoworld, the Watamu Marine Association’s plastic recycling project, holds a discarded bottle at the organization’s collection yard. Image by Anthony Langat for Mongabay.EcoWorld, a Watamu-based project whose members and employees helped out with the cleanup, collects plastics from the beach and major tourist hotels and recycles them into construction bricks and art materials. The project is planning to expand its operations to more towns along the Kenyan coast. “We would like to collect more plastics because the companies that we sell to for further recycling have the capacity to recycle as much as we can offer,” said Steve Trott, EcoWorld’s director.For her part, park warden Gitau called for an increase in the recycling of plastics in the region. “The more we recycle means less plastics getting into the ocean and we will have a clean sea and healthy fish,” she said.Trash clutters the shore of Mombasa, Kenya. The Flipflopi made a stopover in Mombasa and other coastal towns on its voyage from Lamu, Kenya, to Zanzibar, Tanzania. Image by Anthony Langat for Mongabay.Anthony Langat is a Kenyan freelance journalist who writes about climate change, the environment, development and human rights. He contributes to Mongabay, Al Jazeera, Devex, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Equal Times among other publications. CitationsGeyner, R., Jambeck, J.R., Lavender Law, K. (2017). Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made Science Advances Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700782.Schmidt, C., Krauth, T., Wagner, S. (2017). Export of Plastic Debris by Rivers into the Sea. Environmental Science & Technology 51(21), 12246-12253.Kosore, C., Ojwang, L., Maghanga, J., Kamau, J., Kimeli, A., Omukoto, J., Ngisiag’e, N., Mwaluma, J., Ong’ada, H., Magori, C., Ndirui, E. (2018). Occurrence and ingestion of microplastics by zooplankton in Kenya’s marine environment: first documented evidence. African Journal of Marine Science 40:3, 225-234, DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2018.1492969FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Article published by Rebecca Kesslerlast_img read more

A Study Finds Only One Country in the World Would Survive a Zombie Apocalypse . . . and It’s North Korea?

first_imgOur country may have a ratio of 17 guns for every one person, but if the zombies ever rise up, it’s not going to do a damn bit of good. North Korea has 47.4 members of the military for every 1,000 people.  Here in the U.S., it’s 4.2 soldiers for every 1,000 people. Some mathematicians in Brazil just ran a simulation to figure out if any countries in the world would be able to survive a zombie apocalypse.  And they found there’s only ONE country that would . . . North Korea. In the study, they found that the only countries that could survive are ones that have at least 47 soldiers for every 1,000 people.center_img The problem is that in the average human versus zombie battle, the zombie’s gonna win.  Only trained military personnel would really stand a chance. So North Korea would survive a zombie apocalypse.  The rest of the world would not.last_img read more

Milk jug–sized detector captures neutrinos in a whole new way

first_img Milk jug–sized detector captures neutrinos in a whole new way COHERENT Collaboration; photographer Juan Collar Members of the COHERENT team work with the world’s smallest neutrino detector, the only one that can be lifted without heavy machinery. By Adrian ChoAug. 3, 2017 , 2:40 PM Physicists have spotted elusive subatomic particles called neutrinos pinging off atomic nuclei in a way predicted more than 40 years ago, but never before observed. Even more remarkably, they spotted the scattering effect not with a giant detector weighing thousands of tons, but with a device the size of a milk jug. The advance could open the way to portable neutrino detectors that could monitor nuclear facilities and, for example, sniff out neutrinos created in the production of plutonium.“It’s a real thrill that something that I predicted 43 years ago has been realized experimentally,” says Daniel Freedman, a theoretical physicist emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who in 1974 laid out the theory of the effect, called coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering. The observation doesn’t change physicists’ understanding of the nucleus or neutrinos, says Natalie Roe, an experimentalist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, who was not involved in the study. Still, she says, “it’s a tour de force to dig this tiny signal out.”Neutrinos come in three types—electron, muon, and tau—and interact with atomic nuclei in a few ways. For example, a muon neutrino can strike a neutron in a nucleus, transforming it into a proton while itself turning into a muon—a heavier cousin of the electron—in so-called “quasi-elastic scattering.” Or a neutrino can simply bounce off a nucleus while retaining its type in plain “elastic scattering.” All such interactions are exceedingly rare, but they provide the only means to observe neutrinos. To detect just a few of the trillions of electron neutrinos that pass from the sun through every square meter of Earth’s surface every second, physicists deploy detectors weighing kilotons, upping the number of nuclei in them—and the chances that the neutrinos will strike one. As a rule, the probability of a neutrino interaction increases with the number of protons and neutrons a nucleus.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)However, Freedman realized there should be an exception to the rule. Like any quantum particle, a neutrino acts like a wave with a wavelength that grows shorter as the energy of the particle increases. If the neutrino’s energy is high, the neutrino will interact with a single proton or neutron. But if a low-energy neutrino has a wavelength that’s as long as the nucleus is wide, it will interact with all the protons and neutrons in concert. Thanks to that “coherence,” the probability that the neutrino will bounce off the nucleus increases, roughly speaking, with the number of protons and neutrons squared, leading to a big increase in the number of interactions.That means there should be a lot more elastic scattering at low energies, and for decades physicist have tried to spot it in experiments at nuclear reactors. But there’s a catch. The only signal is the recoil of the nucleus, and the low-energy neutrino gives it only a feeble, hard-to-detect kick. “It’s like hitting a bowling ball with a ping pong ball,” says Kate Scholberg, a physicist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “You can hit the bowling ball pretty easily, but it isn’t going to roll very fast.”Nevertheless, Scholberg and the 80 other members of the COHERENT collaboration have now detected coherent neutrino scattering, as they report today in Science. To do so, they employed a sensitive detector consisting of crystals of cesium iodide doped with sodium and weighing just 14.6 kilograms. When something sends a nucleus recoiling in a crystal, even just a bit, the crystal produces a small, but detectable flash of light. To generate the neutrinos, COHERENT physicists relied on the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.The SNS generates the world’s most intense beams of neutrons for material science research, but it also radiates copious neutrinos as a byproduct. The neutrinos have a slightly higher energy than those from a nuclear reactor, making the SNS just the right source for the experiment, Scholberg says. The neutrinos’ energy is still low enough to produce coherent scattering, but high enough to produce detectable signals in the crystals, she says. Using more than 461 days’ worth of data, the researchers observed 134 neutrino scattering events, in good agreement with the predictions for coherent scattering.The COHERENT team has beaten others to the punch. That includes a group led by Leo Stodolsky, a physicist and director emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, Germany, which is developing cryogenic detectors that can spot nuclear recoils with far lower energies. They hope to detect coherent scattering at a nuclear reactor. “My colleagues and I have been going over this paper, hoping to find something wrong with it,” Stodolsky quips. “But we haven’t been able to find anything.”The new observation won’t rewrite the textbooks on nuclear or particle physics. Indeed, it would have been far more revolutionary if physicists had somehow proved that coherent scattering didn’t exist, Freedman says, as that would have meant that the bedrock rules of quantum mechanics were somehow wrong.The real significance of coherent scattering may lie in the potential applications of small portable neutrino detectors, Stodolsky says. Such detectors might be used to monitor nuclear reactors for safety and security. For example, from the details of the neutrino flux, observers might be able to tell whether a reactor is being used to generate plutonium, he says.But slimmed-down detectors won’t work in all big neutrino experiments, however. For example, 2 weeks ago physicists started excavation for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), a 70,000-ton detector in South Dakota that will study neutrinos shot from a particle accelerator 1300 kilometers away in Illinois. The DUNE will study how the three types of neutrinos morph into one another as the particles zip along—a phenomenon called neutrino mixing that could ultimately help explain how the universe generated so much matter and so little antimatter. There is no hope of replacing the DUNE with a smaller detector based on coherent scattering, because the interaction doesn’t reveal what type of neutrino bounced off a nucleus—essential information for studying neutrino mixing.last_img read more

The science stories likely to make headlines in 2019

first_img RYAN BOLTON/SHUTTERSTOCK By Science News StaffJan. 3, 2019 , 8:00 AM With control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats will likely examine environmental policies. CLIMATE SCIENCEAll eyes on polar iceIf you want to understand Earth’s warming future, look to the poles. This year, scientists in two international projects will heed that call. In September, researchers will position a German icebreaker, the RV Polarstern, to freeze in Arctic sea ice for a year’s stay. The ship will serve as the central hub for the €120 million Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, hosting researchers from 17 countries. They’ll study how polar clouds, ocean dynamics, and first-year ice formation contribute to the Arctic’s shift to ice-free summers. Then, near year’s end, researchers from the United States and United Kingdom will fan out across the remote Thwaites Glacier, the part of the Antarctic ice sheet most at risk of collapsing into the ocean and driving up sea levels, in the first full season of a $50 million, 5-year effort. They’ll probe the ice’s structure and the water and land beneath it, using everything from seismometers to instrument-carrying seals. Both missions will benefit from revitalized satellite coverage, as two satellites launched last year, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 and the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on, which measure ice height and mass, respectively, begin to beam science data back home.SCIENCE POLICYA science whisperer for TrumpFor 2 years, President Donald Trump has been making decisions involving science and innovation without input from a White House science adviser. Meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, whom Trump nominated in late July 2018 to fill that void, was awaiting final Senate approval at press time. The question is what his arrival will mean for the administration’s handling of an array of technical challenges, from regulation of human embryo engineering and self-driving cars to combatting cyberterrorism and fostering a more tech-savvy workforce. Some science-soaked issues may already have been settled, such as leaving the Paris climate accord and forsaking the Iran nuclear deal. But many others remain unresolved, including how to deal with Chinese espionage at U.S. universities without stifling global scientific cooperation.#METOONew rights for alleged harassersThis year, the U.S. Department of Education may finalize controversial proposed rules that would reduce universities’ liability for policing sexual harassment and sexual assault and give more rights to the accused. The regulations, proposed in November 2018, would change how institutions investigate such allegations under the landmark 1972 law known as Title IX. They wouldn’t be responsible for investigating most off-campus incidents of harassment or assault, and the standard of evidence for confirming allegations of on-campus misconduct could rise. The definition of sexual harassment would be narrowed from “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” to “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access” to education. And defendants’ lawyers will be able to cross-examine accusers. The department is accepting comments on the proposals until 28 January.PARTICLE PHYSICSSeeking new physics in the muonBy studying the magnetism of a particle called the muon, physicists hope to find results this year that could point to new particles or forces, something they have craved for decades. Scientists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, are examining whether the muon—a heavier and shorter-lived cousin of the electron—is more magnetic than theory predicts. The Muon g-2 experiment found a hint of such an excess when it ran at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, from 1997 to 2001. Physicists moved the experiment’s 15-meter-wide electromagnet to Fermilab in 2013, upgraded the apparatus, and started to record data in January 2018. A first result could be one of the biggest stories in particle physics this year, with the world’s biggest atom smasher, Europe’s Large Hadron Collider, idled for 2 years of upgrades.BIOPHYSICSA fine-grained look inside cellsIn cell biology, higher resolution means more gets revealed. Now, scientists are ready to use new combinations of tools and techniques to provide close-up looks at components inside cells in unprecedented detail, and in 3D. Already, researchers can analyze DNA, proteins, RNA, and epigenetic marks in single cells. This year, multidisciplinary teams plan to combine those methods with advances in cryoelectron tomography, labeling techniques to trace molecules, and other types of microscopy to see subcellular structures and processes. For example, a multifaceted technique for imaging and staining DNA could shed new light on how chromosomes fold. And the blended methods could yield clearer pictures at the molecular level of how cells divide and change shape, and how gene activity affects structure and function.CLIMATE SCIENCESolar dimming gets a testA geoengineering technique to curb global warming by temporarily dimming the sun’s rays could get its first, modest field experiment this year. In solar geoengineering, vast amounts of reflective aerosol particles would be sprayed into the high atmosphere, mimicking the cooling effects of volcanic eruptions. The Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, led by climate scientists at Harvard University, will test the idea in a small, controlled way. If its plans are approved by an advisory board, the team will loft a balloon into the stratosphere, where it will release 100 grams of reflective particles—probably calcium carbonate, the chalky ingredient in antacid tablets. Flying back through the plume, the balloon will observe its cooling effect. Solar-radiation management, as it’s known, is controversial. It does not reduce the built-up carbon dioxide that drives climate change and ocean acidification, and there’s no accepted international governance.SCIENCE POLICYDivided we stand?You’ll need a Ouija board to predict how U.S. science will fare this year under a divided government, with Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives while Republicans retain the Senate with President Donald Trump in the White House. There are the known flashpoints—Democrats challenging the Trump administration on its environment and energy policies, for example. Spending cuts will be on the table as lawmakers face tight budget caps mandated by a 2011 law. Then there are the what-ifs, including whether the Supreme Court will throw out a citizenship question on the 2020 census and lawmakers can suspend partisan bickering long enough to pass an infrastructure package that would boost U.S. innovation. A few science-savvy new members of Congress hope to lend a hand. Scientists in Europe and the United States face an uncertain political landscape in the new year, which could affect funding and collaborations. The threat is most acute in the United Kingdom, which plans to exit the European Union in March but has not settled on the terms of its departure. Some big research findings could share the headlines, however, including the first clear images of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy, from astronomers in an international collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope. Science’s news staff forecasts other areas of research and policy likely to make news this year. BIOTECHNOLOGYNew GM mosquitoes take offThe first release of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in Africa is set to happen in Burkina Faso this year, an initial step in a planned “gene drive” strategy against malaria. It will be the first release of GM mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, which transmits the parasite responsible for the disease. The gene drive approach, under development at the nonprofit consortium Target Malaria, would spread mutations through the wild population that knock out key fertility genes or reduce the proportion of female insects, which transmit disease. But the first GM Anopheles mosquitoes released won’t bear such mutations and aren’t intended to cut down the population. Researchers will let out fewer than 10,000 genetically sterilized males to observe how they survive and disperse in the wild and to help introduce the concept of GM mosquitoes to regulators and community members.CONSERVATIONNations size up biodiversityThree years in the making, a $2.4 million assessment of Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems will be published in May. By evaluating trends over 50 years in indicators such as species extinctions and extent of marine protected areas, it will chart progress toward international goals on biodiversity conservation—and, in many places, how far short the world is falling. Experts from 50 nations have participated in a review of scientific literature and government data conducted under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The report, the first since a similar effort in 2005, will forecast the future of species on the planet under business-as-usual and other scenarios. The new assessment is intended to inform the next generation of biodiversity targets, due in 2020. CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS/NEWSCOM The science stories likely to make headlines in 2019 A global assessment will examine endangered species, which include the ploughshare tortoise in Madagascar. Curated and edited by Jeffrey Brainard. SPACE SCIENCEThe next planetary missionIn July, NASA will chart its next major step in planetary science when it selects the next billion-dollar mission under its New Frontiers program. The agency will choose between two finalists. Dragonfly would send a semiautonomous quad-copter to fly across the surface of Titan, the saturnian moon sculpted by rivers of liquid methane. The copter would search for clues of chemical reactions that could lead to life. The Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return mission would return gases and ice from the nucleus of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Such samples, likely unaltered for billions of years, could provide a window into the role comets played in delivering water and organic compounds to Earth in its early history.RESEARCH ETHICSA push to return museum holdingsResearchers are beginning new efforts to return bones and cultural artifacts collected for study and as museum specimens to the peoples from whom they were obtained, often without consent. Expect renewed debate on this issue, as after centuries of exploitative collecting, some researchers use new methods to collaborate with those communities, and also expand efforts to return objects of art. A study from Australia published last month showed ancient DNA can be used to reliably link the remains of Aboriginal ancestors to living descendants. Some warn, however, that widespread adoption of similar methods could be used to coerce communities into genetic testing. In France, a government-commissioned report recommended in November 2018 that over the next 5 years, French museums work with colleagues in Africa to repatriate tens of thousands of cultural artifacts looted during colonial rule if their countries of origin ask for them.LIVESTOCK AGRICULTUREDisease crisis looms for swinePig farmers—and perhaps some bacon lovers—will anxiously scan the headlines this year for news of African swine fever (ASF). Harmless to humans, the viral disease is highly infectious and lethal among pigs, causing serious economic damage through culls and trade bans. ASF made major jumps in Europe last year, turning up for the first time in pigs and wild boar in Bulgaria and in boar in Belgium and Hungary. The virus can jump from boar, which are difficult to manage, to swine. Germany, Denmark, and other major pork producers are on high alert. Most worrisome was the first detection of the virus in China, a long-dreaded development in the country with the world’s largest pig population. China has recorded more than 80 outbreaks since August 2018, including in boar. Authorities have clamped down on the transport of pigs, culled more than 630,000, and last month reportedly banned pig farming where wild boar are present. Despite these efforts, the virus could still explode in China and elsewhere in Asia.BIOETHICSChina eyes bioethics overhaulChina is likely to tighten its rules for genetic engineering of humans, including the creation of heritable traits, in the wake of an uproar over such work in 2018. A Chinese scientist named He Jiankui announced in November 2018 that he modified a gene in embryos that led to twin baby girls. The modification is meant to protect them and their descendants from HIV infection, a feat widely condemned in China and worldwide as unethical, unjustified, and possibly harmful to the babies. Most countries ban or outlaw such experiments. In China, however, what i s apparently the most relevant regulation was enacted in 2003 and never updated to cover advances in gene editing. Since the announcement, numerous Chinese researchers, ethicists, and officials have called for an overhaul of the country’s bioethics laws and regulations, although no agency or institution has been named to lead the effort. 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US warship sails close to Beijings S China Sea island

first_imgHandout of construction is shown on Fiery Cross Reef, in the Spratly Islands, the disputed South China Sea. ReutersAn American warship on Sunday sailed close to a disputed island in the South China Sea occupied by Beijing, as part of an operation to demonstrate freedom of navigation in the waters, a US official said.The destroyer USS Stethem passed less than 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) from tiny Triton Island in the Paracel Islands archipelago, which is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam, the official told AFP.The operation, which is likely to provoke Beijing, is the second of its kind carried out by the United States since President Donald Trump took office.The first was on May 25, when the USS Dewey, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed less than 12 nautical miles from Mischief Reef — part of the disputed Spratly Islands south of the Paracel Islands.China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, despite partial counter-claims from Taiwan and several southeast Asian nations including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.The United Nations says countries can establish the reach of their territorial waters up to a limit of 12 nautical miles.China has rapidly built reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.Freedom of navigation operations are designed to challenge the sovereignty of countries with claims to disputed territory. Washington has challenged annexations of South China Sea islets while advocating for a diplomatic settlement.China has recently built up its facilities on Triton Island, including a new helicopter landing site, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.A large Chinese flag is displayed on the island, visible from aerial and satellite photos.According to the Pentagon, the United States in fiscal year 2016 conducted freedom of navigation operations “challenging excessive maritime claims of 22 different coastal states, including claims of allies and partners.”US-Chinese relations were already strained last week when Trump authorized a new arms sale to Taiwan, which China considers a rebel province, and when the US slapped sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash.last_img read more

Hasina seeks vote to make Dhaka beautiful

first_imgPrime minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a rally on Gulshan Youth Club ground on Friday. Photo: BSSPrime minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the city dwellers to vote for Awami League candidates in the 30 December general election to keep the party in power for building a modern capital.“We have multifaceted plans to build Dhaka as a scenic city livable for every citizen and ensure all civic amenities, development of commuting system and its beauty,” she said.“If elected we will construct elevated ring-road around Dhaka and the survey is going on for underground metro rail to make the city free from traffic congestion,” she added.Sheikh Hasina was addressing her first electioneering meeting in the city organized by Dhaka North unit of Awami League on Gulshan Youth Club ground in support of Awami League candidates in eight parliamentary constituencies of the 11th Jatiya Sangsad under Dhaka North City Corporation.Sheikh Hasina said her government resolved the acute crisis of water and electricity in the capital and the country as well after being elected in the 2008.All roads in the Dhaka City were also in dilapidated condition when her party took office in 2009, Sheikh Hasina said adding that the city was also reeling on the problems of mugging, terrorism and militancy.The prime minister said the Awami League government after taking office got over the problems one after another. Now the city is free from loadshedding and water crisis, she said.“The foremost goal of our government is to change the lots of the people of Bangladesh, not making fortunes for ours,” Sheikh Hasina said.Once Dhaka Medical College and Hospital was the only hospital for the citizens, she said. The Awami League government has established hospitals in every nook and corners of the Dhaka City to facilitate for the citizens modern healthcare services, she said.Sheikh Hasina said her government has already taken project to build multi-storied buildings for low and middle incoming group people and slum dwellers aimed at ending their miserable life. They would be able to live in those flats on daily, weekly or monthly rent basis, she continued.The prime minister said her government has established eleven new schools and colleges in Dhaka city. Many schools were nationalized improving their infrastructures, she added.Pointing to the construction of many flyovers in the city the prime minister said works on metro rail and elevated expressway have been launched. Elevated ring road would also be constructed around Dhaka city, she added.Dhaka city has been divided into two parts and all unions of Gulshan, Banani and part of Dhaka North were brought under Dhaka North City Corporation to allow the citizens enjoying all civic facilities, she said.With Dhaka North City Unit AL president AKM Rahmat Ullah in the chair, the meeting was addressed, among others, by Awami League presidium member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, mayor of Dhaka South Sayeed Khokan, Awami League backed mayor candidate of DNCC Atiqul Islam, central party leader Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Jubo League Chairman Omar Faruk and central leaders of the party Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Bahauddin Nasim and Abdur Rahman.Sheikh Hasina introduced the candidates of eight constituencies under DNCC. They are- AKM Rahmat Ullah (Dhaka 11), Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal (Dhaka 12), Sadek Khan (Dhaka 13), Aslamul Haq (Dhaka 14), Kamal Ahmed Majumder (Dhaka 15), Elias Mollah (Dhaka 16) and Akbar Hossain Pathan (Dhaka 17) and Sahara Khatun (Dhaka 18).Sheikh Hasina said Dhaka city should be made more attractive as many foreign and local people travel the capital city in many purposes, particularly for employment.In this regard, the prime minister pointed out the development of Hatirjheel in the heart of Dhaka and digging of a 100-feet wide canal along 300-feet road from Kuril.Power distribution system and power substations in the capital would be constructed underground to protect the power supply from storm, cyclone or any natural disaster, she said.Sheikh Hasina said people achieved independence and right to speak in mother tongue by giving vote to ‘boat’ (election symbol of Awami League). The country and live of every people is moving towards prosperity as they have given vote to Awami League in 2008 and 2014, she said.Every citizen is enjoying benefits of the socioeconomic development of the country made by the government and they are pursuing a better life than ever before, she said.“Earlier, a day labour used to buy ¾ kg of rice with his daily income. Now they can buy 8/10 kg rice as their purchase capacity has been improved,” she said, adding that Bangladesh is no more a nation of beggars. The country is now self-reliant in many areas including food production.Sheikh Hasina said the pace of development should be continued and militancy, terrorism and drug should be dealt strictly.She recalled militant attack at Holy Artisan Hotel in Gulshan which claimed lives of many foreign nationals. After the incident, she said, the Awami League government with an iron hand has uprooted militancy from the country.The prime minister said her government has taken plan to set up 100 special economic zones in the country where more than 10.25 million people would get their jobs side by side with boosting the country’s economy.“Awami League didn’t open Hawa Bhaban to indulge in corruption, and Awami League didn’t eat up the orphans’ money,” she said and described BNP as the ‘symbol of corruption’ and Awami League as the ‘icon of development’.Khaleda Zia is now in jail on charges of misappropriation of orphans’ money. However, Awami League didn’t lodge the case against her, rather those whom she favoured most sued her on that charges, the prime minister said.last_img read more

US judge halts Trumps asylum ban

first_imgMembers of a migrant caravan from Central America and their supporters sit on the top of the US-Mexico border wall at Border Field State Park before making an asylum request, in San Diego, California, US on 29 April 2018. Photo: ReutersA US judge on Monday temporarily blocked an order by President Donald Trump that barred asylum for immigrants who enter the country illegally from Mexico, the latest courtroom defeat for Trump on immigration policy.US District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order against the asylum rules. Tigar’s order takes effect immediately, applies nationwide, and lasts until at least Dec. 19 when the judge scheduled a hearing to consider a more long-lasting injunction.Representatives for the US Department of Justice could not immediately be reached for comment.Trump cited an overwhelmed immigration system for his recent proclamation that officials will only process asylum claims for migrants who present themselves at an official entry point. Civil rights groups sued, arguing that Trump’s 9 November order violated administrative and immigration law.In his ruling, Tigar said Congress clearly mandated that immigrants can apply for asylum regardless of how they entered the country. The judge called the latest rules an “extreme departure” from prior practice.“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote.Tigar was nominated to the court by the former US president Barack Obama.Previous Trump immigration policies, including measures targeting sanctuary cities, have also been blocked by the courts.The asylum ruling came as thousands of Central Americans, including a large number of children, are traveling in caravans toward the US border to escape violence and poverty at home. Some have already arrived at Tijuana, a Mexican city on the border with California.“It is too much”Rights groups have said immigrants are being forced to wait days or weeks at the border before they can present themselves for asylum, and the administration has been sued for deliberately slowing processing times at official ports.At a hearing earlier on Monday, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt said the order clearly conflicted with the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows any person present in the United States to seek asylum, regardless of how they entered the country.Gelernt said the ACLU had recently learned Mexican authorities have begun barring unaccompanied minors from applying at US ports of entry.Mexico’s migration institute said in a statement to Reuters that there was “no basis” for the ACLU’s claims, noting that there had been no such reports from the United Nations or human rights groups that are monitoring the situation at the border.Uriel Gonzalez, the head of a YMCA shelter for young migrants in Tijuana, said he had not heard of any new measures directed at unaccompanied minors. He noted there were already long lines to get a turn with US authorities.“This can take a while because the number of migrants has overwhelmed capacity. It is too much,” he said.The judge on Monday wrote that Trump’s refugee rule would force people with legitimate asylum claims “to choose between violence at the border, violence at home, or giving up a pathway to refugee status.”Caravan participants began to arrive last week in Tijuana on the Mexican side of the US border, which has put a strain on shelters where many will wait to seek asylum. Their presence has also strained Tijuana’s reputation as a welcoming city, with some residents screaming at the migrants, “Get out!”Trump sent more than 5,000 soldiers to the 2,000-mile (3,100 km) frontier with Mexico to harden the border, although critics dismissed the move as a political stunt ahead of congressional elections on 6 November.last_img read more

Google Internet Stats Introduced

first_img Google launches search tool ‘Google Squared’ Citation: Google Internet Stats Introduced (2009, September 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-09-google-internet-stats.html Google Internet Stats Introduced Explore further Google Internet Stats gathers its information from a range of International third party sources to present twitter-like entries covering the areas of Consumer Trends, Macro-Economic Trends, Media Consumption and Landscape, and Technology. Each area is broken down into sub-categories. You can locate data by drilling down through the links, or by using the search engine.Using Google Internet Stats you can find all kinds of snippets of statistics such as: 57% of young people watched a YouTube music video in the last year; 1.6 billion people, or 24% of global population, are now online; over a quarter of Internet users surveyed in six countries in 2008 said most of the time they watch TV at the same time as being on the Internet; and iTunes has sold over six billion songs.Google gathers the information from an impressive list of sources, including research companies like Nielsen and Comscore, and publications such as The Economist and the Wall Street Journal, but at present the depth of the data is not impressive, and little of it is dated later than June 2009.While many of the sources it uses have a global presence, the statistics center is hosted on Google’s UK domain, and there is a definite slant towards the UK and Europe, but the database does include global data as well. The site is new and the statistics database is growing rapidly. You can even submit your own statistics provided you can supply links to support them. The Internet Stat Center quietly appeared at the following: link, and it is not yet clear whether Google intends to release similar statistics centers on other regional domains. At its present state of development it is little more than a curiosity, but it may grow to become interesting and useful.© 2009 PhysOrg.com (PhysOrg.com) — Google has quietly introduced a Google Internet Stats website, which presents snippets of statistics and insights for a number of focus areas, and allows you to search within the statistics for specific areas of interest. If you’re looking for quick facts, this website could eventually become the favorite place to check out first. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more