How Geckos can walk on the ceiling
August 25, 2014 11:26 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Ever wonder how lizards like Geckos can walk up walls and even across the ceiling? Is it sticky feet, anti-gravity, or what? Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a model that explains how geckos, as well as spiders and some insects, can run up and down walls, cling to ceilings, and seemingly defy gravity with such effortless grace. This ability, outlined today in the Journal of Applied Physics, is a remarkable mechanism in the toes of geckos that uses tiny, branched hairs called "seta" that can instantly turn their stickiness on and off, and even "unstick" their feet without using any energy.
Electricity from silk cocoons?
August 25, 2014 08:59 AM - Richa Malhotra, SciDevNet
Researchers in India say they have developed a prototype of an energy-harvesting device from the cocoons of a domesticated species of silk moth. They hope to put the technology to practical use while also tackling waste materials from the silk processing industry.
Do we really need to kill wild animals that attack or threaten humans?
August 24, 2014 07:15 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2
In Italy, a man foraging for mushrooms was attacked when he happened upon a mother bear and her cubs. Part of a reintroduction and conservation program in Italy's northern Dolomites, the bear, named Daniza, was ordered to be captured and possibly killed. This has sparked social media outrage, prompting those on twitter to hashtag #iostocondanzia (I'm with Danzia). The outrage stems from a revelation that when mauling victim Daniele Maturi happened upon the bear, he did not immediately leave, but rather hid behind a tree to watch him. It is said the bear only charged when it spotted him watching from behind a tree (like a predator would do, thus provoking the bear).
Grizzly Bears in the North Cascades
August 22, 2014 09:10 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
The National Park Service this week took an important step toward recovering grizzly bears in the North Cascades in Washington state. The agency says it is beginning a three-year process to analyze options for boosting grizzly bear populations in the area, including the possibility of translocating bears and developing a viable population. "We're happy to see the Park Service begin the long-overdue conversation about bringing grizzly bears back to the North Cascades," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Grizzlies have lost more than 95 percent of their historic habitat in the lower 48 states so we welcome any step that brings them closer to returning to some of their ancestral homes."
Turning Jellyfish into Sustainable Medical Products
August 20, 2014 01:20 PM - NoCamels Team, NoCamels
In a United Nations report released in May, scientists worldwide were called upon to join the war on jellyfish. According to the report, jellyfish have overwhelmed the marine ecosystem as a result of the overfishing of more competitive species, consuming fish eggs and larvae of weaker specimens and creating what the report called a "vicious cycle." So how can this cycle be stopped?
Arctic insects and spiders can survive colder temperatures than thought
August 20, 2014 08:10 AM - Alex Peel, Planet Earth online
Arctic bugs can survive in frozen ground as cold as -27°C, scientists have revealed. It is the first time higher-order invertebrates such as spiders, flies and beetles have been found coping in direct exposure to such cold temperatures. Previous lows were between just -5°C and a little below -10°C. The research, published in the Journal of Thermal Biology, suggests they may be more resilient to climate change than first feared.
Africa Faces Unsustainable Levels of Ivory Poaching
August 20, 2014 06:27 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
When it comes to illegal wildlife trade, one thing has always puzzled me ... Why is the demand for ivory so high? While I may not come across the black-market demands or understand the cultural or historical needs for these rare animal teeth, one thing is easy to see - populations of the African elephant are declining.
Toxic Algae Scare Prompts Backlash Against Farms
August 18, 2014 09:25 AM - S.E. Smith, Care2
What do a no-drink order in Toledo and a backlash against factory farming have in common? A lot, as it turns out. Residents of Ohio's fourth-largest city were advised for multiple days earlier this month to refrain from drinking their tap water because it had been contaminated by toxic algae. As residents struggled to deal with their contaminated water supply, the culprit behind the problem became readily apparent: factory farms. The Ohio Agriculture Advisory Council (OAAC) is proposing a regulatory crackdown that could forever change industrial farming practices in this Midwestern state.
Habitat protection for the Yellow-billed Cuckoo
August 15, 2014 08:10 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect more than a half-million acres of critical habitat across the West for the yellow-billed cuckoo, a songbird that lives along rivers and streams. The bird was proposed for Endangered Species Act protection in October 2013 as part of a 2011 agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed protection decisions for 757 imperiled species nationwide. Today’s proposal would protect 546,335 acres of streamside habitat in nine western states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. "This is an important victory not just for yellow-billed cuckoos but for rivers and streams across the West," said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate at the Center, which first petitioned for the cuckoo’s protection in 1998.
What can we learn from the California Rim Fire?
August 14, 2014 06:42 AM - Crystal Shepeard, Care2
August 17, 2014 will mark the one year anniversary of the Rim Fire in the California Sierra Nevadas. It was dubbed the Rim Fire due to its proximity to the Rim of the World scenic lookout. The third largest wildfire in California’s history, it burned 257,000 acres of land in Stanislaus National Forest and the western edge of Yosemite National Park, in addition to private land in neighboring counties. It cost more than $127 million to contain, and included more than $50 million in property damage. In the early hours of the fire, a deer hunter was rescued. After the hunter was taken to safety by helicopter, investigators interviewed him to see if he witnessed anything. He told them that he had slipped and caused a rock slide that may have ignited the dry vegetation. As time went on, his story changed several times, even blaming it on marijuana growers. Finally, as the fire had been raging for several weeks, he finally told the real story.