• Shell suspends Arctic oil drilling for the year

    Royal Dutch Shell announced yesterday that it was setting "pause" on its exploratory drilling activities in the Arctic for 2013. Shell's operations are currently under review by the federal government after the oil company suffered numerous setbacks during last year's opening attempt to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, including running its drilling rig aground on Sitkalidak Island in southern Alaska in late December. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wasp Society

    Social wasps build an internal society or specialized workers. How do they do this on a genetic level? What makes a wasp do one task or another? The workers all support the queen of the colony. Scientists at the University of Bristol have sequenced the active parts of the genome – or transcriptome – of primitively eusocial wasps to identify which part makes a queen or a worker. The study, published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Genome Biology, shows that workers have a more active transcriptome than queens. This suggests that in these simple societies, workers may be the jack-of-all-trades in the colony, leaving the queen with a somewhat restricted set of work tasks. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Smartphone Technology Reveals US Stream and River Conditions

    Oh the things your smartphone can do! For the first time, data on current conditions on thousands of rivers and streams across the country, can be accessed from your smartphone, using USGS' latest system WaterNow. WaterNow makes the water conditions monitored by more than 16,000 stream gages and other sites across the country available via text or email. Stream gages refer to sites along a stream where information for streamflow, groundwater levels, springs, water quality, and lake levels are measured. They are used by hydrologists and scientists for monitoring purposes, although this data can be accessible to anyone who is interested. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rice Paddies and Fish Farming - Perfect Together!

    By combining aquaculture with wet paddy farming in its coastal areas Bangladesh can meet food security and climate change issues, says a new report. The approach promises more nutritious food, without causing environmental damage, and has the potential for a 'blue-green revolution' on Bangladesh’s existing crop areas extending to about 10.14 million hectares and an additional 2.83 million hectares that remain waterlogged for about 4–6 months. >> Read the Full Article
  • France Unveils Measures to Decrease Energy Use

    Even after the election of François Hollande as President of France, an energy conservation measure of the previous government will be implemented. The Sarkozy government wanted to require shops and offices to turn off their unnecessary lights at nights. This will be effective as of July 1, 2013. All nonresidential buildings will be required to shut off their lights an hour after the last worker leaves or by 1 a.m. each morning. Lights can be turned on again until 7 a.m. or just before they open. Similarly, the lights on building facades will have to be turned off. >> Read the Full Article
  • Why Long Necked Dinosaurs

    Dinosaurs often are depicted with very long necks. Nowadays we have the giraffe with a long neck who seem to have evolved this feature due to the need to eat leaves higher up. So why and how the dinosaur with its long neck? Researchers say the how is helped by hollow neck bones. The largest creatures to ever walk the Earth were the long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs known as the sauropods. These vegetarians had by far the longest necks of any known animal. The dinosaurs' necks reached up to 50 feet in length, six times longer than that of the current world-record holder, the giraffe, and at least five times longer than those of any other animal that has lived on land. >> Read the Full Article
  • Siberian Stalactites and Stalagmites Suggest Permafrost Thawing

    One of the greatest concerns of global warming is the effects temperature will have on snow and icecaps. With Arctic ice melt, many scientists predict sea levels rise, affecting coastlines and populations around the world. Not only will warmer temperatures affect ice caps, but according to a new study the thawing of permafrost in colder regions could eventually lead to the release of 1,000 giga-tonnes of greenhouse gases into the air which has the potential to further accelerate global warming. >> Read the Full Article
  • Blink and you’ll miss it: how species are being lost before they’re even found

    Asia's karst landscapes are yielding new biological discoveries at an astonishing rate, yet the majority of species found here remain unknown (and unloved) by the wider world. With limestone quarrying threatening these fragile ecosystems, is there anything we can do to stem the tide of unnoticed extinctions? >> Read the Full Article
  • Mutated Moth Genes May Lead to Environmentally Friendly Pest Control

    Pheromones are chemical substances secreted or excreted by species that when released into the environment can affect the behavior or physiology of others. Basically, these chemicals trigger social responses and are crucial to the mating systems in a wide range of organisms. According to a new study led by researchers from Sweden’s Lund University, a single gene mutation found in the moth genus, Ostrinia, has led to the species’ ability to produce an entirely new scent. >> Read the Full Article
  • Electric Flowers

    Flowers are pretty and attractive for a variety of reasons. These all just means of communicating to likely pollinators. Flowers' methods of communicating are at least as sophisticated as any devised by an advertising agency, according to a new study, published today in Science Express by researchers from the University of Bristol. However, for any advert to be successful, it has to reach, and be perceived by, its target audience. The research shows for the first time that pollinators such as bumblebees are able to find and distinguish electric signals given out by flowers. >> Read the Full Article