Carly Cassella
Carly Cassella
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Depressing Study Shows a Big Issue With Using Cloud Seeding to Solve Global Warming

Depressing Study Shows a Big Issue With Using Cloud Seeding to Solve Global Warming

The clouds that hang low and thick in our sky, reflecting sunlight back out into space, are melting into thin air as the world warms.The loss will not only trigger greater climate changes than we expected, but new research suggests it could also undermine the potential of future geoengineering solutions.  The idea of seeding clouds with an injection of light-reflecting particles to reflect sunlight back into space – thereby 'cooling' the planet – is a controversial one, yet to be proven useful or even feasible in the real world.Some scientists worry about the of meddling in our planet's...

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Carly Cassella
Nov 21
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Actual COVID-19 Cases Could Be 6 Times Greater Than Official Figures

Actual COVID-19 Cases Could Be 6 Times Greater Than Official Figures

The true number of infections is probably much higher than what's being reported in many high-income nations around the world.A newly modelled estimate from the United States, Australia, Canada, South Korea and 11 countries in Europe suggests official figures could be struggling to capture the full scale of the outbreak.  The new model from scientists in Australia employs a 'backcasting' method, which projects the number of new daily fatalities in reverse, from the time of death to the time of infection. This allows scientists to avoid using epidemiological and serological data, which comes...

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Carly Cassella
Nov 20
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A 'Green Prescription' May Make Nature a Chore Instead of a Joy

A 'Green Prescription' May Make Nature a Chore Instead of a Joy

Spending regular time in nature . As more compelling evidence rolls in, doctors are time outside among greenery or near water to give our mental health a boost. While those recommendations may help some people,  suggests there's a fine line between encouragement and pressure, and a formal prescription might sour the experience.Using data from 18,838 participants in 18 countries  in 2017, researchers found outdoor time was linked to a number of emotional benefits, but only when the choice felt like a person's own.The findings are consistent with self-determination theory (SDT), which is the...

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Carly Cassella
Nov 9
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Washing Synthetic Clothes Spreads Microplastics Even Further Than We Thought

Washing Synthetic Clothes Spreads Microplastics Even Further Than We Thought

Human-made plastic isn't just flooding the world's oceans, it's also piling up on the land and in the soil.For years now, the synthetic microfibres woven into our clothing have been leaching into the environment. Even when we don't throw away our clothes or when we buy them secondhand, wastewater from our washing machines can break up these tiny pollutants. New estimates reveal nearly as many synthetic microfibres are now amassing on land as those leaking into waterways. Since the mass production of synthetic microfibres - like polyester and nylon - began in the 1950s, scientists predict at...

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Carly Cassella
Sep 21
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What We Don't Know About Parasites in Our Changing World Could Be Deadly

What We Don't Know About Parasites in Our Changing World Could Be Deadly

In the salt water marshes of southern California, a splashing killifish is easy prey for a hungry shorebird. Like a jerking marionette, the helpless creature shimmies and flashes on the surface of the water. And all the while, hiding deep in its brain, an invisible other quietly pulls the strings. The puppeteer in question is the super-abundant parasitic flatworm known as . Throughout its life, this one parasite will infect no less than three animals, and a bird's intestine is the final destination it wants to reach.To get there, the parasite's larva must penetrate a killifish, crawl to its...

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Carly Cassella
Sep 12
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Prehistoric Graves Reveal The Wealth Gap Existed Even in The Stone Age

Prehistoric Graves Reveal The Wealth Gap Existed Even in The Stone Age

Even in early prehistoric Europe, there was a clear wealth gap between the rich and the poor, and this inequality in life followed people long after their deaths. New archaeological research in Poland reveals the richest humans from Neolithic times were also the ones buried with the most exotic artefacts.  This might sound obvious, but it was not the connection archaeologists were initially after. The study of these 6,600-year-old grave sites, located in the town of Oslonki, was supposed to reveal what Neolithic farmers used to grow and eat all those years ago.It just so happened that the...

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Carly Cassella
Aug 18
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Arctic Sea Ice Could Be Gone by 2035, According to Earth's Climate History

Arctic Sea Ice Could Be Gone by 2035, According to Earth's Climate History

The Arctic's rapidly melting sea ice even our most dire predictions for the future, and that's not out of line with the past.A new and improved model, based on the last warm period in Earth's history, now suggests shallow pools of rain and melt water could bring about the end of summer sea ice considerably sooner than we thought. If what's happening to the Arctic right now is anything like the last interglacial period, scientists say there's a chance it could be virtually free of sea ice in only 15 years."The prospect of loss of sea ice by 2035 should really be focussing all our minds on...

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Carly Cassella
Aug 16
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Genomic Study Reveals New Zealand's Tuatara Is Like No Other Animal on The Planet

Genomic Study Reveals New Zealand's Tuatara Is Like No Other Animal on The Planet

In the evolutionary tree of life, the lizard-like tuatara from New Zealand is on a branch all to itself.In the time of the , this extraordinary animal had lots of relatives all around the world, and yet now, there's nothing else like it on Earth. According to new sequencing of the tuatara's entire genome - one of the largest on record and  - it appears this strange creature is neither lizard, bird, nor mammal. Rather, it's some strange amalgamation of all three.According to the authors of the new study, the animal's genomic architecture is unlike anything previously reported."The tuatara...

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Carly Cassella
Aug 11
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Researchers Discover Unexpected Magma Systems Lurking Beneath 'Boring' Volcanoes

Researchers Discover Unexpected Magma Systems Lurking Beneath 'Boring' Volcanoes

Not all volcanoes are suddenly explosive. Some spew steady rivers of gloppy, slow-moving lava for millennia on end, like those in the Hawaiian or Galápagos islands.These are what volcanologist Michael Stock from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland calls the 'boring' volcanoes – yet underneath their monotonous exterior, lurks a bombshell that Stock and his colleagues have just discovered.  Analysing microscopic crystals in the basalt and ejected material of two volcanoes in the Galápagos, the researchers found hidden systems of magma that are not so simple or predictable after all.Even though...

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Carly Cassella
Aug 4
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1,000-Year-Old Onion And Garlic Remedy Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Biofilms in The Lab

1,000-Year-Old Onion And Garlic Remedy Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Biofilms in The Lab

As deadly bacteria grow ever more resistant to modern antibiotics, some researchers have turned to . And it looks like a medieval salve dating back 1,000 years might succeed where many modern antibiotics are starting to fail. The "ancientbiotic", as the researchers are calling it, was found in one of the earliest known medical textbooks from medieval England, known as Bald's Leechbook. While many of the remedies included in this tome have not exactly aged well - - others, like 'Bald's eyesalve', have stood up better to modern scrutiny. Building on previous research, scientists have shown...

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Carly Cassella
Jul 31
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By Pollinating Just a Handful of Crops, Wild Bees Contribute Over $1.5 Billion Per Year

By Pollinating Just a Handful of Crops, Wild Bees Contribute Over $1.5 Billion Per Year

It's not just honeybees that pollinate our crops and put food on our plates. In North America alone there are , and new research has calculated these wild insects provide over US$1.5 billion each year from pollinating just a handful of crops. Analysing the production of 131 commercial farms in the United States and Canada, scientists have shown that even in areas with intense agriculture where honeybees are abundant, wild bees play a comparable role in producing our food.That's not surprising when you consider , but in the past,  than wild ones."We found that wild bee abundance on crop...

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Carly Cassella
Jul 31
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Analysis of 200 Years of Human Activity in Antarctica Reveals an Unsettling Picture

Analysis of 200 Years of Human Activity in Antarctica Reveals an Unsettling Picture

Antarctica is known for its remote and pristine wilderness, as one of the last intact expanses of land on our planet. But after just two centuries of exploration, new research has found there are very few parts of this icy continent that have never been touched by humans. While 99.6 percent of Antarctica can still be considered undeveloped wilderness, that area has become fragmented and does not include most of the continent's biodiversity, which tends to clump right where we put our research stations and take tourists."In a region often thought of as remote, we showed that in fact human...

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Carly Cassella
Jul 23
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The Locust Plague in East Africa Is Sending Us a Message, And It's Not Good News

The Locust Plague in East Africa Is Sending Us a Message, And It's Not Good News

The isn't the only thing plaguing East Africa. Amid a global , people in this region of the world are also contending with another "" threat to their lives and livelihoods: locusts. After one of the wettest years on record, these voracious insects have been gathering forces , as weather conditions allowed them to breed generation upon generation.Swarming in the trillions, they are destroying precious pastures and crops in what is considered the worst regional locust plague in decades, from Kenya through Ethiopia and Yemen, reaching as far as parts of northern India.While many are...

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Carly Cassella
Jul 7
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Catchy Sparrow Song Goes 'Viral' Across Canada in Continent-Wide Phenomenon

Catchy Sparrow Song Goes 'Viral' Across Canada in Continent-Wide Phenomenon

White-throated sparrows in British Columbia are whistling a new tune and it's going viral across Canada.What started as a minor change to a common song has now morphed into a continent-wide phenomenon before our very ears.  "As far as we know, it's unprecedented," biologist Ken Otter from the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada. "We don't know of any other study that has ever seen this sort of spread through cultural evolution of a song type."When Otter first moved to western Canada in the late 1990s, he heard the white-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) singing an...

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Carly Cassella
Jul 4
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Don't Get Too Excited About a 'Green Revolution' Thanks to The Pandemic. Here's Why

Don't Get Too Excited About a 'Green Revolution' Thanks to The Pandemic. Here's Why

Measures to contain the global have , and some think this unprecedented event might actually help us to tackle . But new research has put a more realistic spin on this rosy outlook by looking at the development of clean energy alternatives. For now, people around the world might be , but new research focused on the United States suggests that won't come close to outweighing the fatality of this . In all likelihood, the environmental benefits of the global health crisis will be short lived.If the threat of the current pandemic can be mediated relatively quickly, the US economy will no doubt...

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Carly Cassella
Jun 25
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First-of-Its-Kind Study Hints at How Psilocybin Works in The Brain to Dissolve Ego

First-of-Its-Kind Study Hints at How Psilocybin Works in The Brain to Dissolve Ego

The psychedelic experience can be rough on a person's ego. Those who experiment with magic mushrooms and LSD a dissolution of the self, otherwise known as ego-death, ego-loss, or ego-disintegration. For some, the experience is life-changing; for others, it's downright terrifying. Yet despite anecdote after anecdote of good trips and bad trips, no one really knows what these drugs actually do to our perception of self.The human brain's cortex is are thought to lie, and growing evidence has shown the neurotransmitter, glutamate, is elevated in this region when someone is tripping. But up...

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Carly Cassella
Jun 3
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Thousands of Species Are Fleeing to Earth's Poles en Masse, And a Pattern's Emerging

Thousands of Species Are Fleeing to Earth's Poles en Masse, And a Pattern's Emerging

We know that global warming is forcing many animals around the world to , but now, an exhaustive analysis has shown marine species are booking it for the poles six times faster than those on land. Drawing together 258 peer-reviewed studies, researchers compared over 30,000 habitat shifts in more than 12,000 species of bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals.The resulting database, named BioShifts, is the first comprehensive analysis of its kind, and while the database is limited by our own, human research biases, the data we have certainly suggests marine species are following global thermal...

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Carly Cassella
Jun 1
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Experts Warn Climate Change Is Already Killing Way More People Than We Record

Experts Warn Climate Change Is Already Killing Way More People Than We Record

People around the world are , and yet all too often, official death records do not reflect the impact of these large-scale environmental catastrophes. According to a team of Australian health experts, heat is the most dominant risk posed by climate change in the country. If the world's emissions remain the same, by 2080 Australian cities could see at least from increasing temperatures alone."Climate change is a killer, but we don't acknowledge it on death certificates," physician Arnagretta Hunter from the Australian National University.That's a potentially serious oversight. In a...

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Carly Cassella
May 25
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Arctic Wolf Spiders May Be Starting to Eat Themselves in Disturbing Dietary Shift

Arctic Wolf Spiders May Be Starting to Eat Themselves in Disturbing Dietary Shift

Arctic wolves are fearsome predators in the icy north, but in terms of sheer biomass, the lesser known wolf spider () is .As the Arctic warms and summers become longer, these ferocious hunters are growing bigger and reproducing more, although that doesn't necessarily mean there will be more of these spiders in the future.   A new study suggests that as the world gets hotter, wolf spiders in Alaska might be beginning to eat each other, which could end up having a limiting effect on the size of their populations.In fact, a summer's worth of analysis on these 8-legged critters at two different...

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Carly Cassella
May 14
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Salmon Respond to Earth's Magnetic Field, And We Might Finally Know How

Salmon Respond to Earth's Magnetic Field, And We Might Finally Know How

The ability to detect our planet's magnetic field and use it as a map while migrating, homing or hunting could well be one of the most remarkable feats of evolution, and it's also one of the most mysterious. While this powerful sense is well established in many animal species, including birds, bats, rodents and fish, we still don't actually know how these creatures pull it off.New insights into Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) have now reinforced the hypothesis that the juvenile fish of this species use microscopic magnetoreceptors embedded in their tissue to navigate via Earth's...

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Carly Cassella
May 11
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Controversial Monkey Discovery Suggests Origins of Human Language Existed 25 Million Years Ago

Controversial Monkey Discovery Suggests Origins of Human Language Existed 25 Million Years Ago

A structure critical to our brain's core language pathway, found only in humans and apes, has now also been identified in monkeys, according to a controversial new study - suggesting the origins of language may have appeared 20 to 25 million years earlier than previously thought. Compared to other animals, the human brain is uniquely adapted to language. Our ability to produce speech, listen, and communicate with one another is unparalleled, and to understand why, we need to know how we got here.Unfortunately, brain tissue doesn't survive over evolutionary timescales, so it's hard to know...

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Carly Cassella
Apr 26
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While We've Been in Lockdown, Solar Cell Technology Has Smashed Three Big Records

While We've Been in Lockdown, Solar Cell Technology Has Smashed Three Big Records

Today, the world is grappling with more than just the climate crisis, and yet even now, in the face of a global pandemic, scientists are marching on with renewable solutions.Just this month, no less than three records have been broken in solar panel efficiency. The first and the second were achieved by scientists in the United States at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Their unique "six-junction" solar cell has unprecedented energy conversion, turning intensified light into electricity at 47.1 percent efficiency - the most efficient in the world under concentrated light...

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Carly Cassella
Apr 20
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This Wallaby Species Can Be Pregnant Its Entire Adult Life With No Break, Study Finds

This Wallaby Species Can Be Pregnant Its Entire Adult Life With No Break, Study Finds

For the swamp wallaby, mothering is a full-time business. While every other mammal on Earth gets a break between pregnancies, this particular species of Australian marsupial (Wallabia bicolor) is the only one to continuously have a bun in the oven. Sometimes, they even have two. Before an expectant wallaby gives birth, her body is already preparing for another joey. Just a few days before the due date, these remarkable creatures will copulate again, a new study reveals. The new embryo is conceived in another, separate uterus, while still carrying a full-term foetus in the first."Conceiving...

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Carly Cassella
Mar 4
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Scientists Have Created Bionic Jellyfish And Successfully Controlled Their Movements

Scientists Have Created Bionic Jellyfish And Successfully Controlled Their Movements

Scientists have 'puppeteered' the movements of a jellyfish and made it even faster than the real thing.Taking artificial control with a microelectronic implant, researchers have increased the natural swimming speed of a live moon jellyfish () by nearly threefold. What's more, they achieved this with only a little bit of external power and twice the amount of metabolic effort from the animal."Thus," the authors , "this biohybrid robot uses 10 to 1,000 times less external power per mass than other aquatic robots reported in literature."Jellyfish are known to be incredibly efficient swimmers,...

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Carly Cassella
Feb 24
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The 'Ghost' of an Unknown Extinct Human Has Been Found in DNA of Modern West Africans

The 'Ghost' of an Unknown Extinct Human Has Been Found in DNA of Modern West Africans

The gene pool of modern West Africans contains the 'ghost' of a mysterious hominin, unlike any we've detected so far. Similar to how humans and Neanderthals once mated, new research suggests this ancient long-lost species may have once mingled with our ancestors on the African continent. Using whole-genome data from present-day West Africans, scientists have found a small portion of genetic material that appears to come from this mysterious lineage, which is thought to have split off from the human family tree even before Neanderthals.Today, it's thought () that anatomically modern humans...

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Carly Cassella
Feb 13
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