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Victory for Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises at CITES

Several freshwater turtle and tortoise species are to be afforded greater protection as a result of successful conservation talks at the CITES meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. At the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), proposals were put forward to restrict trade in 44 Asian turtle and tortoise species, as well as three North American pond turtle species. >> Read the Full Article

Sustainable Air Travel Takes Off

Last Thursday, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight 642 completed the seven hour and 17 minute flight from New York's JFK Airport to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol using sustainable biofuels. Flight KL642, operated by a Boeing 777-200, will fly every Thursday fueled by recycled cooking oil as part of the Dutch carrier's goal to have one percent of its flights operate on biofuels by 2015. For five years, KLM has experimented with various forms of biofuels in order to try to reduce its carbon footprint. First was the attempt to fuel 12 Fokker-50 planes with algae-based biofuel. Bio-kerosene was an experiment a year later, and as many as 200 short hop flights are now powered by a 50-50 blend of kerosene and recycled cooking oil. >> Read the Full Article

Martian Water Channels

Water on Mars exists today almost exclusively as water ice. The Martian polar ice caps consist primarily of water ice, and further ice is contained in Martian surface rocks at more temperate latitudes (permafrost). A small amount of water vapor is present in the atmosphere. There are no bodies of liquid water on the Martian surface today. Despite this, research suggests that in the past there was liquid water flowing on the surface, creating large areas similar to Earth's oceans. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has provided images allowing scientists for the first time to create a 3-D reconstruction of ancient water channels below the Martian surface. The spacecraft took numerous images during the past few years that showed channels attributed to catastrophic flooding in the last 500 million years. During this period, Mars had been otherwise considered cold and dry. These channels are essential to understanding the extent to which recent hydrologic activity prevailed during such arid conditions. They also help scientists determine whether the floods could have induced episodes of climate change. >> Read the Full Article

Honeybees Get the Caffeine Buzz

Most of us rely on a cup of coffee to jump start our day. For us, that jolt of caffeine wards off drowsiness and restores alertness. Not only does caffeine help to wake us up, but it also can affect our memory. So how does caffeine affect other species in the animal kingdom? Does anything else share our addiction to morning caffeine? Well according to new research, it seems that honeybees also get their buzz from drinking caffeine-laced nectar. >> Read the Full Article

Earth Hour 2013: March 23, 8:30 PM

WWF's Earth Hour is a unique annual phenomenon that focuses the world's attention on our amazing planet, and how we need to protect it. Earth Hour is a simple idea gone global. Show your support and switch off! WWF is calling for people across the world to take part in Earth Hour 2013 – the biggest switch-off in history. At 8:30pm on 23rd March hundreds of millions of people across the globe are expected to turn off their lights for an hour, to show they care about the future of our planet. Last year's Earth Hour saw a staggering 6,950 towns and cities in more than 152 countries take part in what has become a global movement. From a single domestic light bulb to giant iconic illuminations such as Big Ben, the Taj Mahal and the Sydney Opera House, the Earth Hour switch-off can demonstrate a determination to help protect the planet. >> Read the Full Article

Meat DNA testing can help save species

African governments need to boost local efforts to protect endangered species by supporting DNA testing, argues Linda Nordling. The horsemeat scandal that recently hit Europe has shown how DNA testing can improve food monitoring and safety. Most African countries are yet to adopt the technology despite its huge potential - both in ensuring that food is correctly labelled and in policing the illegal trade in animal products. >> Read the Full Article

Convection at the Center of the Earth

The inner core of the Earth, its innermost part, is a primarily solid ball with a radius of about 760 miles, according to seismological studies. It is believed to consist primarily of an iron–nickel alloy, and to be about the same temperature as the surface of the Sun. A new study, by an international team of researchers from Leeds, London and California, states that rocks could be circulating in the inner core which may explain the unusual behavior of seismic waves passing through it. >> Read the Full Article

Impacts of Global Warming on Rainforest Modeled

Tropical forests may be less sensitive to global warming than previously thought, argues a new study published in Nature Geoscience. The research is based on computer simulations using 22 climate models for tropical forests in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. It projects loss of forest biomass as a result of climate change only in the Americas. However the study is far from conclusive, with the authors listing several uncertainties about how tropical forests will respond to climate change. >> Read the Full Article

Don't Miss Comet PANSTARRS

A comet visible to the naked eye is not that common. Scientists estimate that the opportunity to see one of these icy dirtballs advertising their cosmic presence so brilliantly they can be seen without the aid of a telescope or binoculars happens only once every five to 10 years. That said, there may be two naked-eye comets available for your viewing pleasure this year. "You might have heard of a comet ISON, which may become a spectacular naked-eye comet later this fall," said Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NASA's NEOWISE mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and self-described cosmic icy dirtball fan. "But if you have the right conditions you don't have to wait for ISON. Within a few days, comet PANSTARRS will be making its appearance in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere just after twilight." >> Read the Full Article

Anti-Aging Breakthrough!

Drugs that combat ageing may be available within five years, following landmark work led by an Australian researcher. The work, published in the March 8 issue of Science, finally proves that a single anti-ageing enzyme in the body can be targeted, with the potential to prevent age-related diseases and extend lifespans. The paper shows all of the 117 drugs tested work on the single enzyme through a common mechanism. This means that a whole new class of anti-ageing drugs is now viable, which could ultimately prevent cancer, Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes. >> Read the Full Article