• The best Job in the World? Filming in the Jungle, new from BBC Earth

    Often the attraction of working in natural history is the thrill of the wild. The untamed, the undomesticated, the possibility of discovering the unknown! However even as a dedicated natural history program maker, there are certain hostile and remote locations where it is essential to have your super-human senses switched on. As a cameraman, crouching down to get that perfect shot on the dark and damp forest floor. It is your ears you need to rely on above all else, as often the only proof of the vast amounts of animal life around you…is what you hear! The high humidity of this environment creates ideal conditions for the strangest animals to live, breed and sing! Through the cacophony of rival mating calls, warning cries, sharing the location of a known food source and social interaction; the sounds of the wilderness could leave you overwhelmed. But it is a specific sound you are listening out for… As an enthusiastic drummer of the jungle, the chimpanzee has worked out a less stressful way of communicating with each other than exhaustive calls...which transpires is also a highly enjoyable one! While scouring the forest in search of their next meal, the troops will use buttress roots and hollow trunks to sound out! Drumming as they pass, the chimpanzee’s will make distinctive bass sounds (some even repeatedly on their favorite trees!) using their hands and feet to make clear - who is where, and how successful each party has been with their search. >> Read the Full Article
  • Don't fry day is coming, protect your skin!

    It’s natural to want to get out in the sun once the weather warms up. It should also be natural to take steps to protect your skin from the sun when you go outside. That’s why the Friday before Memorial Day is designated Don’t Fry Day – a day to raise awareness of sun safety and encourage everyone to take steps to protect their skin. Ultraviolet (UV) rays -- from the sun and other sources like tanning beds -- are the primary cause of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. But shielding your skin with clothing, sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, and shade can help lower your risk. The American Cancer Society has lots of information on how to protect your skin at cancer.org/sunsafety, along with a description of all our skin cancer prevention activities. >> Read the Full Article
  • Heart Risk and Injury

    Nitric Oxide, a gas that occurs naturally in the body, may do more than any prescription drug to prevent heart attack and stroke. Nitric Oxide is essential for healthy circulation. It helps dilate blood vessels, prevent blood clots and regulate blood pressure. It also helps inhibit the accumulation of dangerous arterial plaque. Nitric Oxide helps prevent heart disease and stroke in the following ways: blood vessels expansion and protecting the blood vessels smooth muscle tissue from harmful constriction. This allows the flexibility necessary for blood to circulate with less pressure. Exercise reduces the risk of a heart attack and protects the heart from injury if a heart attack does occur. For years, doctors have been trying to dissect how this second benefit of exercise works, with the aim of finding ways to protect the heart after a heart attack. >> Read the Full Article
  • Extensive Methane Leaks Discovered Under Streets of Boston

    ScienceDaily (May 13, 2011) — Earlier this year, Boston University researchers and collaborators conducted a mobile greenhouse gas audit in Boston and found hundreds of natural gas leaks under the streets and sidewalks of Greater Boston. Nathan Phillips, associate professor of geography and environment and director of BU's Center for Environmental and Energy Studies (CEES), and his research partners will present these and related findings at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) Global Monitoring Annual Conference, May 17-18 in Boulder, Colorado. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Fantastic Fox, new from BBC Earth

    In myth, the fox is better known for its cunning rather than its courage. Becoming a symbol of trickery, deceit and even having its name attributed to false prophets in the bible. Yet the bad press received is counter to the foxes natural strengths and abilities! Living on a diet of scavenged scraps while always remaining one step ahead of its many predators, are just two examples of this animals ability to adapt, and above all, survive. A member of the canine family, it is understandable to see how the fox has been able to colonize in so many parts of the world. As a relation of dogs, wolves and coyotes, this animal naturally sits on the boundaries of civilization. However this domestication has meant that while some species have thrived in the urban jungle, others have not. This species success story is therefore best seen out of the cities, and into the remote habitats where the variations in their biology can really be seen/appreciated. Although you may have to look hard, as these 'true foxes' of the deserts, mountains, tundra's and frozen worlds are kings of being coy. Of the 37 species referred to as foxes, only 12 actually belong to the Vulpes genus of true foxes; and one that fits into this category but also that of its own genus, is the Arctic fox. Surviving in a subzero temperatures, this compact fox has evolved to have short ears, short legs, and incredibly dense fur. This canine's unique physical development does not stop there. With its footpads also covered with thick hair, it enables this small creature to hunt all year round, by protecting it from the severe cold and even providing traction on ice. >> Read the Full Article
  • Longer Life from Good Work Relationships

    We all know how stressful work can be. The pounding headaches, the long hours, and the guilt adds up. Then we go home. People who have a good peer support system at work may live longer than people who don't have such a support system, according research published by the American Psychological Association. This effect of peer social support on the risk of mortality was most pronounced among those between the ages of 38 and 43. Yet similar support from workers' supervisors had no effect on mortality, the researchers found. In addition, men who felt like they had control and decision authority at work also experienced this protective effect, according to the study, published in the May issue of the APA journal Health Psychology. However, control and decision authority increased the risk of mortality among women in the sample. >> Read the Full Article
  • Study Finds Breastfeeding Leads to Good Behavior in Childhood

    Breastfeeding, the act of feeding an infant directly from the human breast, is known to be good for children. There are formulas available which can simulate a mother's milk, but can never perfectly replicate the natural act of breastfeeding. In the past, studies have shown inconsistent results as to whether or not breastfeeding really improves childhood wellbeing in areas such as IQ, behavior, and obesity. However, a new study from the University of Oxford has put a firmer grip on this already well-known theory. >> Read the Full Article
  • Bacteria-Laden Soap Not So Clean

    Soap may not always be as clean as it seems, suggests a new study, which found that every soap dispenser at an elementary school in Ohio was contaminated with bacteria that are known to cause illnesses. When kids washed with the soap, microbe levels on their hands soared. >> Read the Full Article
  • What makes humans special? The Power of communication. New from BBC Earth

    A human's need to communicate, can be observed from the first moments of life. The intuitive reaction of a newborn to cry, lays the stepping-stone for a process which at its heart, will enable every human to successfully communicate their experience of being alive. It has been said that words are man's greatest achievement. With the first utterances of symbolic language emerging 2.5 million years ago, slowly evolved by the first Homo sapiens – the solid foundations of modern articulation have decidedly been set. Yet many would argue that speech and language was developed not out of want, but out of need. Therefore in what ways do humans communicate…without using words? Music has long been a way of communicating for necessity as well as pleasure. Such as the use of a lullaby to sooth, a folk song to warn and a chant to call to arms! But in what ways do we use rhythm and melody to communicate with nature itself? >> Read the Full Article
  • Chicago sued over its sewage

    Environmental groups on Tuesday sued the city of Chicago's water treatment authority, charging its sewage promotes algae growth that is choking Midwestern rivers and contributes to the Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone." The federal lawsuit demands Chicago's Metropolitan Water Reclamation District deal with frequent runoff of untreated sewage into local waterways during storms that cause problems downstream. The suit also demands the district remove some phosphorous from its treated effluent that is the largest single contributor to the oxygen-poor "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The oxygen-poor zone where scant life exists covers thousands of square miles (km). "Other cities are managing to do this without breaking the bank," said Ann Alexander, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, part of the environmental coalition bringing the lawsuit. Removing the phosphorous would cost less than $2 per household per month, Alexander said. Milwaukee, Cleveland and other cities along the Great Lakes and Mississippi River are making greater progress than Chicago, she said. >> Read the Full Article