• New from BBC Earth: The circus comes to town

    Traveling to the farthest corners of the world, it is not just the remarkable environments that can prove a little hard to capture. When Rivers Producer/Director Mark Flowers met the children from the North-East Indian root tree villages, he hadn't bargained on having to make himself the center of attention. But sometimes it's the little extra's that make an experience unforgettable. The most heart-stealing and downright soul- enhancing benefit of working on a Human Planet shoot is the children we encounter while we are filming. It's unbelievably refreshing to step outside of a regulated, fast-paced and impersonal modern, urban society and meet people who live in a more open, communal and for me personally, a far more "Human" way. The children we met during our trip to film living root bridges in one of the most remote areas of North-East India were fantastic – cheeky, smart and funny. To the young people who live in isolated hill villages in the rainforests of Meghalaya, the arrival of a gangly bunch of giant, pale-skinned strangers, brandishing weird black boxes, screens and cables, was the most surprising thing to happen in a long while. The circus had come to town! Within minutes of us stepping out of the cars, there were bright eyes at the windows and small hands waving from the homes we passed. High pitched "hellos" echoed all around while tiny toddlers stood dumb struck for a few seconds in doorways and then exploded into howls. Dogs barked and sulky, caged cuckoos crooned from dark corners. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Fight Against Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes are not very popular with human beings. They suck your blood and can cause infections. Many ways have been devised to limit their attacks. Female mosquitoes are efficient carriers of deadly diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever, resulting each year in several million deaths and hundreds of millions of cases. To find human hosts to bite and spread disease, these mosquitoes use exhaled carbon dioxide as a vital cue. A disruption of the carbon dioxide detection machinery of mosquitoes, which would help control the spread of diseases they transmit, has therefore been a long sought-after goal. Anandasankar Ray, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues report that they have identified in the lab and in semi-field trials in Africa three classes of volatile odor molecules that can severely impair, if not completely disrupt, the mosquitoes' carbon dioxide detection machinery. >> Read the Full Article
  • Dried Fruit or Fresh Fruit

    Dried fruit is fruit where the majority of the original water content has been removed either naturally, through sun drying, or through the use of specialized dryers or dehydrators. Dried fruit has a long tradition of use dating back to the fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia. Internationally recognized health researchers presented their views at the 30th World Nut & Dried Fruit Congress on May 21, 2011, recommending that food policy makers consider dried fruits equivalent to fresh fruits in dietary recommendations. The presentations recommended that traditional dried fruits such as dried apricots, dried apples, dates, dried figs, raisins and sultanas, and prunes should be included side by side with fresh fruit recommendations. Dried fruits have the advantage of being easy to store and distribute, available year round, they are readily incorporated into other foods and recipes, relatively low cost and present a healthy alternative to sugary snacks. The scientific basis for recommending higher fruit intake is the epidemiological evidence that individuals who regularly eat generous amounts of these foods have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, obesity, several cancers, diabetes and other chronic disease. >> Read the Full Article
  • MIT Study calculates cost of lax air pollution regulations in China

    A new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change looks at the cost to the Chinese economy of lax air quality regulations between 1975 and 2005. The MIT researchers found that air pollutants produced a substantial socio-economic cost to China over the past three decades. China has experienced unprecedented development over the past three decades, but this growth has come at a substantial cost to the country's environment and public health. China is notorious for extremely high levels of air pollution. As the country faces continuous environmental challenges that mirror its continuing development, there is a need to measure the health impacts of air pollution. What makes this study unique is that researchers looked at long-term economic impacts that arise from health damages, and how pollution-induced morbidity and mortality cases may have had ripple effects on the Chinese economy beyond the time period when those cases actually occurred. This method creates a comprehensive picture of the cumulative impacts of air pollution on a dynamic, fast-developing country. >> Read the Full Article
  • Europe's New E. Coli Scare

    A new E. Coli outbreak has struck Europe. It started with a few deaths in Germany from what were thought to be Spanish cucumbers. Then more people in Germany and around the continent got infected. Trade tensions mounted and vegetable producers from various other countries became affected by the new outbreak. Now there have been cases reported in the United States, and Russia has banned the importing of fresh vegetables from the European Union. Vegetable producers around the continent are suffering from a worried public not buying their goods. >> Read the Full Article
  • Amazing new images from BBC Earth: Eating and living with Lions

    While diving into Life Is Human, we've cherished catching up with the Human Planet Production team via their blog. Traveling to eighty of the most remote locations on Earth, to gather incredible stories about man's remarkable relationship with the natural world... just was not enough! They decided to share their personal experiences too. Over the next few weeks we will be featuring some of the posts we've been bowled over by, and bringing them directly to you! This week, we're featuring Human Planet researcher Jane Atkins who tells the exceptional tale of the Dorobo tribe's hunter scavengers. Using skills passed down over 1000's of years, this ancient lifestyle is rapidly in decline, but is it the end of the Dorobo? Dive in to find out more. "You see, Lions and the Dorobo, we feed each other." "If we hunt a large animal, we take away as much as we can, but leave the rest for the lions to feed on. And sometimes the lions kill a really fat animal and we say, lets take this one. It is not simple, you have to track carefully and quietly. You are scared... thinking – will I be mauled?" "Once you make the decision to steal meat from lions, you have to be committed" Rakita says. "But when you are hungry and know lions have killed first - you take your chance. There are days when we eat only what the lion has killed. We live on those lion kills until we finally make our own kills." When we filmed 3 Dorobo hunters stride up to 15 lions to steal from their fresh kill our hearts were in our mouths. Courageous? Ingenious? Suicidal? All of these perhaps, but this one act is undeniably impressive. The Dorobo say they are hunters just like lions. They watch lions, and how they hunt. Just as lions do, the Dorobo watch every animal on the great plains – and study each individual. Like lions they observe which ones are wounded, slower, easier to pick off. They wait and wait until the time is right to hunt. And if the lion gets there first, well the Dorobo turn that into another opportunity. >> Read the Full Article
  • Anti-Tobacco Campaign Heats Up in China Despite Conflict of Interest Among Administrators

    China is on a severe tobacco crackdown to show that they are taking World No Tobacco Day seriously. Industry figures show that China produced 2.38 trillion cigarettes in 2010, rising a staggering 40% over the past decade. The tobacco industry currently generates about 7% of the government's annual revenue. However last year, the cost incurred by people smoking outweighed the tobacco profits and jobs created by $9.5 billion. >> Read the Full Article
  • Organic Eggs Not Created Equal, Says New Scorecard

    Next time you're at the grocery store aisle picking out eggs, you might need to think twice before assuming one organic brand is interchangeable with another. According to the Cornucopia Institute (CI), a non-profit which promotes economic justice for family scale farming, all organic eggs are not alike. They recently released the report Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture >> Read the Full Article
  • Change in season: Why salt doesn’t deserve its bad rap

    For something that's so often mixed with anti-caking agents, salt takes a lot of lumps in the American imagination. Like fat, people tend to think of it as an unnecessary additive -- something to be avoided by seeking out processed foods that are "free" of it. But also like fat, salt is an essential component of the human diet -- one that has been transformed into unhealthy forms by the food industry. >> Read the Full Article
  • How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Our Wallets and Our Health

    Seafood fraud is the practice of misleading consumers about their seafood in order to increase profits. Along with ripping off shoppers, these actions can have negative impacts on marine conservation efforts and human health. Types of seafood fraud include substituting one species for another without changing the label, including less seafood in the package than is indicated on the label, adding too much ice to seafood in order to increase the weight and shipping seafood products through different countries in order to avoid duties and tariffs. >> Read the Full Article