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SciDevNet

The Science and Development Network aims to provide reliable and authoritative information about science and technology for the developing world. Their goal is to help both individuals and organizations in developing countries make informed decisions about how science and technology can improve economic and social development.


Website: http://www.scidev.net/


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New wave of extinctions predicted for vital food species
May 31, 2017 07:14 AM - Emiliano Rodriguez Mega, SciDevNet

Poaching, illegal fishing and deforestation are threatening more than quarter of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, according to a report by the WWF  (World Wide Fund for Nature) — and the consequences are not just environmental.

The report states that 18 out of the 50 threatened sites are in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama and Peru. It also says the number could be higher because the illegal extraction of species in the region — a business with annual profits of almost US$ 2 billion — is not as well studied as it is in Africa or Asia.

Modern pollutants can reach deep fossil aquifers
May 19, 2017 10:49 AM - , SciDevNet

Contemporary pollutants can reach deep wells that tap fossil aquifers, says a study by an international team of researchers.

Trump's wall puts wildlife at risk
February 9, 2017 07:10 AM - Lucina Melesio, SciDevNet

Building the wall that Donald Trump has ordered on January 25th, as one of his first actions as US president, will put on risk more than 50 animal species that share the ecosystem along the border between the United States and Mexico, scientists from various countries have warned.
 
Since 2006, 1,100 kilometers of barriers covering more than 30 per cent of the border between the countries have been built. The newest executive order commands the “immediate construction of a physical wall”, stating that ‘wall’ means “a physical barrier, continuous and impassable”.

Millions exposed to mercury in urban Pakistan
December 16, 2016 07:24 AM - Saleem Shaikh, SciDevNet

More than 40 per cent of Pakistanis living in urban areas are exposed to mercury contamination through dust particles and bioaccumulation, says a new study.  

The study, published last month (November) in Science of the Total Environment, amassed hair samples from 22 sites in five zones in Pakistan — Swat Valley & Gilgit-Baltistan regions, Kashmir Valley, Lower Himalaya Mountains and Indus Plains.

Tropics told to ban coral-killing sunscreen
September 8, 2016 06:57 AM - Inga Vesper, SciDevNet

Tropical island nations should team up to ban coral-killing sunscreen products, following the example of Hawaii, a conference has heard. Chemical compounds in sunscreen lotions cause irreparable damage to reefs, which are crucial to the livelihoods of 500 million people in the tropics, scientist and policymakers said at the IUCN World Conservation Congress on 3 September. Hawaii is leading a legistlative effort to ban the use of sunscreen that contains oxybenzone or similar harmful agents at its beaches.

Abu Dhabi project uses sand to store solar power
August 5, 2016 11:00 AM - Ali Audi, SciDevNet

Researchers in Abu Dhabi are testing a pilot device that can store solar energy in sand to improve the efficiency of power plants and provide energy at night.

The technology, developed at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, uses gravity to drain sand from a higher basin into a lower one, heating up the sand grains with solar power during the transition. In the lower basin, the energy can be stored and withdrawn at low cost to provide extra energy if needed, for example during peak hours and at night-time.

"Two pilot models of the system have been tested in an effort to prove its efficiency and applicability on a large scale in big projects,” says Nicolas Calvet, an assistant professor at the Masdar institute’s department of mechanical engineering.  

 

Mobile app for rain forecasts raises farmers' yields
July 14, 2016 07:12 AM - Baraka Rateng, SciDevNet

A mobile phone-based innovation that can predict rain is helping farmers in six Sub-Saharan Africa countries sow, fertilise and harvest crops at the optimum time.

The innovation is being used in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal to improve crop yields and optimise food production through information and communication technology (ICT) weather forecasting model that produces Global Positioning System (GPS)-specific forecasts.

Australia slashes funding on climate science
March 18, 2016 11:08 AM - Fatima Arkin, SciDevNet., SciDevNet

Scientists around the world have slammed Australia’s decision to slash its climate research programme — raising concerns about knock-on effects on developing countries.

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is shifting its research focus to efforts to adapt to and mitigate the effects of global warming rather than understanding climate change through fundamental research, CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall announced last month.

“The loss of much of this capability with the impending cuts is a real blow for climate research throughout the region.”

 

Sponge cuts oil spill clean-up cost
March 15, 2016 07:22 AM - Emiliano Rodriguez Mega, SciDevNet

A simple but super-absorbent artificial sponge could lower the cost of cleaning up crude oil spills in developing countries.

A team of researchers, based at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, found that simple sponges made from polyurethane foam soaked up oil spills better than more expensive sponges treated with nanoparticles.

Bicycle ownership going downhill
February 17, 2016 06:54 AM - Tania Rabesandratana, SciDevNet

Bicycle ownership around the world is declining amid rising wealth levels and increased use of motorised vehicles in developing countries, a study has found.

Four out of ten households on the planet own a bike, according to a paper based on surveys from 150 countries between 1989 and 2012. But the growing popularity and affordability of motorised transport, such as cars and scooters, “have disfavoured bicycle use”, the researchers say.

China in particular experienced a collapse in bike ownership rates since 1992, when 97 per cent of households had bikes. However, this dropped to 63 per cent by 2009, the study shows, with ownership rates in most other countries either flat or decreasing.

In Togo, bike ownership has remained stable at around 34 per cent of households between 1998 and 2010, but in Paraguay ownership rates dropped from 57 per cent of households in 1996 to 39 per cent in 2002, the paper states.

These trends could be expected as the number of motor vehicles per person has increased over the past decade at a rate “never seen before in human history”, in particular in China, India and parts of Africa, says Marc Shotten, a transport specialist at the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility in the United States.

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