Archive for November, 2017:

‘Unnatural’ microbe can make proteins

Image caption The bacteria were made to express a fluorescent protein to confirm that the unnatural code had been incorporated An altered microbe with an “unnatural” genetic code has been shown to assemble proteins – a key step towards designing new drugs and materials. Scientists modified the bacterium’s DNA to incorporate six “letters” rather than

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Hidden history of prehistoric women’s work revealed

Image caption A 3D model created using a scan of an upper arm (humerus) bone from a prehistoric woman farmer Grinding grain for hours a day gave prehistoric women stronger arms than today’s elite female rowers, a study suggests. The discovery points to a ”hidden history” of gruelling manual labour performed by women over millennia,

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Huge weather rescue project under way

Image copyright MET OFFICE It is shaping up to be a mammoth citizen science project. Volunteers are wanted to digitise early 20th Century weather records covering the UK and other parts of Europe. The temperature, pressure, rainfall and wind observations are in handwritten tables and need to be converted to a form that computers can

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Julius Caesar’s Britain invasion site ‘found by archaeologists’

Image copyright University of Leicester Image caption Archaeologists from the University of Leicester believe the ditch was part of a large fort in Kent Archaeologists believe they may have uncovered the first evidence of Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain in 54BC. The discovery of a defensive ditch and weapons led them to identify Pegwell Bay

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River departed ‘before Indus civilisation emergence’

Image copyright A.Singh Image caption Drilling sediments in the Ghaggar-Hakra palaeo-channel Further light has been shed on the emergence and demise of one of the earliest urban civilisations. The Indus society came to prominence in what is now northwest India and Pakistan some 5,300 years ago thanks in large part to the sustenance of a

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Trophy hunting removes ‘good genes’ and raises extinction risk

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cecil the lion, killed in 2015, was a major attraction at a national park in Zimbabwe. His black-fringed mane was an identifying characteristic Hunting animals that stand out from the crowd because of their impressive horns or lustrous manes could lead to extinction, according to a study. Research predicts

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EU settles dispute over major weedkiller glyphosate

Image copyright AFP Image caption Crop-spraying in Meteren, northern France: glyphosate can have a big impact on biodiversity EU countries have voted to renew the licence of glyphosate, a widely used weedkiller at the centre of environmental concerns. The proposal at the EU Commission’s Appeal Committee received 18 votes in favour and nine against, with

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Clean air target ‘could be met more quickly’

Image copyright Reuters Targets for reducing illegal levels of NO2 pollution from vehicles will be achieved more quickly than the government expects, a study says. Researchers say government projections of future NO2 are too pessimistic, because they ignore the latest real world data. They say cities may achieve roadside emissions standards several years earlier than

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Bird pulled from brink of extinction facing poisoning threat

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The red kite (Milvus milvus) is declining throughout Europe The red kite has become more common in the past 30 years in the UK, thanks to conservation schemes. But, while numbers of the birds of prey are on the rise, scientists say human factors threaten to derail progress. Post-mortem

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Catching fly-tippers in the act

Councils in England spend £58m a year on clearing rubbish that is dumped on the street illegally. But when fly-tipping occurs on private property, it can be a huge cost to landowners. Article source:

© Warren Fyfe