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17 Sep 14 - Science Environment News

The flawed nature of the International Whaling Commission's science
As a body established to look at a scientific approach to whaling, the International Whaling Commission's scientific credibility is sorely lacking. WHAT A MERRY DAY it was for Australia. Back in March, I stayed up late, watching on the Internet as an ...

Europeans drawn from three ancient 'tribes'
The science of analysing genomic DNA from ancient bones has put some of the prevailing theories to the test, throwing up a few surprises.

Red card on environment for 'greenest government ever'
The government is failing to reduce air pollution, protect biodiversity and prevent flooding, a cross-party body of MPs has said. The Environmental Audit Committee dished out a "red card" on these three concerns after examining efforts made since 2010.

Weak wells not fracking caused US gas leaks into water
A new study suggests that the contamination of drinking water by shale gas is due to faulty wells and not hydraulic fracturing. Researchers in the US analysed the gas content in 130 water wells in Pennsylvania and Texas.

Scottish independence: Future of science contested
Sir Paul Nurse, the President of the Royal Society, has said many scientists are "very worried" about the impact of Scottish independence on research.

A doomed Earth of science fiction may well become a reality
At the end, the friend I'd watched it with, who works for an official environmental body, went very quiet. “Do you know what I've been doing in the last few days?

Spinosaurus fossil: 'Giant swimming dinosaur' unearthed
A giant fossil, unearthed in the Sahara desert, has given scientists an unprecedented look at the largest-known carnivorous dinosaur: Spinosaurus.

More than twice as much mercury in environment as thought
But scientists and public health advocates also want to know how mercury is used and where it eventually ends up in the environment. This knowledge can help inform policy and regulations. First, some key figures in mercury accounting. Researchers have ...

Rosetta: 'Audacious' comet landing site chosen
Scientists and engineers have spent weeks studying the 4km-wide "ice mountain" known as 67P, looking for a location they can place a small robot.

Rare colossal squid thawed for examination in New Zealand
Marine biologists in New Zealand have started to examine a rare colossal squid, found in the Antarctic by fisherman. After being frozen for preservation it has now been defrosted for scientists to examine. It is thought to extend beyond four metres (13 ...

Selfie science: Taking the perfect snap
Have you ever wished your holiday snaps looked just a little crisper, or wondered why your nose looks big in a selfie? Two scientists from the University of Surrey are on a mission to help us make the most out of our digital cameras. These devices ...

'Boris' the robot can load up dishwasher
The team of scientists also presented a very different intelligent robot called Bob. Where Boris is dexterous but immobile, Bob's wheels carry his 4'9" frame freely around his environment, building a precise picture of the objects and people around him ...

Ozone layer beginning to recover after chemicals ban, say scientists
Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Program, said there are encouraging signs that the ozone layer “is on track to recovery by the middle of this century.

Environmental Scientists Make The Environmental Case For Fracking
America disavowed nuclear energy due to anti-science beliefs and lobbying by environmental groups and adopted dirty coal in its place.

Stonehenge secrets revealed by underground map
"For the past four years we have been looking at this amazing monument to try and see what was around it," Prof Vincent Gaffney, from the University of Birmingham, said at the British Science Festival. The research is also described in BBC Two ...

California blue whales bounce back to near historic numbers
Researchers believe that California blue whales have recovered in numbers and the population has returned to sustainable levels. Scientists say this is the only population of blue whales to have rebounded from the ravages of whaling. The research team ...

Young citizen scientists reveal urban bee 'surprise'
That isn't necessarily bad news, Dr Roy added, because it suggests that planting more flowers in cities will help boost bumblebee numbers.

Giant laser observatory makes progress
Over the last four years scientists have designed a more sensitive detector that achieved "full lock" in June this year, earlier than planned.

Deep sea 'mushroom' may be new branch of life
A mushroom-shaped sea animal discovered off the Australian coast has defied classification in the tree of life. A team of scientists at the University of Copenhagen says the tiny organism does not fit into any of the known subdivisions of the animal ...

Nasa picks astronaut crew ship designs
The US space agency Nasa has picked the companies it hopes can take the country's astronauts back into space. It is giving up to $6.2bn to the Boeing and SpaceX firms, to help them finish the development of new crew capsules.

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