Day: October 18, 2019

Wild gorillas compose happy songs that they hum during meals

Read the full story in New Scientist.

Gorillas sing and hum when eating, a discovery that could help shed light on how language evolved in early humans.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change

Read the full story from Australian National University.

Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia’s most recognisable bird species.

Liquid metals the secret ingredients to clean up environment

Read the full story from the University of New South Wales.

Liquid metal catalysts show great promise for capturing carbon and cleaning up pollutants, requiring so little energy they can even be created in the kitchen.

New tool enables Nova Scotia lobster fishery to address impacts of climate change

Read the full story from the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

Researchers use long-term survey data sets and climate models to help fishing communities plan for a warmer ocean. Researchers have developed a tool that incorporates projected changes in ocean climate onto a geographic fishery management area. Now fishermen, resource managers, and policy-makers can use it to plan for the future sustainability of the lobster fishery in Nova Scotia and Canadian waters of the Gulf of Maine.

Population aging to create pockets of climate vulnerability in the US

Read the full story from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Population aging projections across the US show a divide between cities and rural areas, which could lead to pockets of vulnerability to climate change.

The Dark Side of Light

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

Beneath the surface of one of Germany’s deepest lakes, researchers are studying the hidden effects of artificial light.

It’s Time For The Academic World To See The Positive Side Of Negative Results

Read the full story from TechDirt.

It’s instructive to compare the world of academic publishing with what happens in Silicon Valley. There, failure is celebrated as proof that entrepreneurs have been willing to try new things, and acknowledged as a valuable learning experience. It’s added to CVs with pride, not glossed over like some shameful secret. It’s time to bring some of that enthusiastic willingness to take risks to the rigorous but rather timid world of academia. — and to reward it accordingly.

Science needs myths to thrive

Read the full story at The Conversation.

I can still remember the horror of discovering that everything I had worked on was wrong. I was a PhD candidate just starting my second year, and my supervisor and I had developed a test for rheumatoid arthritis which seemed a revelation. We wrote a paper for a prestigious journal but just before we sent it off, we decided to do one more experiment to check we were correct.

We weren’t. Everything that I had done in the last year was ruined and I had to start an entirely new research topic. It was a tough but valuable lesson for a young scientist – you should always go further to test your ideas.

That was 35 years ago, and I wonder if someone starting out as a researcher today would be encouraged as I was to go the extra mile. Does the incessant drive to publish and measure outcomes mean that researchers are under pressure to cut corners, and have less time and freedom to pursue their ideas?

The Wellcome Trust – one of the world’s largest funders of health research – recently launched a review of research culture, to find out if research has become so hyper-competitive that it “cares exclusively about what is achieved and not about how it is achieved”.

What helped me develop as a researcher was reading stories about those who came before me. For scientific research to be successful in the long term, I think researchers need a strong set of values, including an unwavering commitment to the truth, and a drive to test any idea to destruction.

Though they may seem opposed to the ideals of the rigorous scientific method, the best way of instilling these values is, as ever, through the stories and myths that we tell ourselves.

On the Northwest’s Snake River, the Case for Dam Removal Grows

Read the full story at e360.

As renewable energy becomes cheaper than hydropower and the presence of dams worsens the plight of salmon, pressure is mounting in the Pacific Northwest to take down four key dams on the lower Snake River that critics say have outlived their usefulness.

Mortality Composting Provides Disposal Solution for Animal Carcasses

Read the full story at Waste360.

Researchers say mortality composting is a simple, economical means of disposal that, if done properly, is safe and will not impact ground and surface water.

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