A recent analysis of U.K. demographics compiled by the Higher Education Statistics Agency finds that Science, Technology, Engineering, And Math fields are commonly dominated by women. But when it comes to fields that are more about basic research rather than helping people, things go the other way. Medicine, veterinary fields, agricultural science, and life sciences are all dominated by women, with only dentistry showing near parity at 58 percent, while in more reclusive fields such as physical sciences women are only 43 percent. At the bottom of that list, computer science is a haven for men…
Vandals who go by the name Faucheurs Volontaires (Volunteer Reapers) destroyed a field trial of high-oleic sunflowers claiming they were herbicide tolerant therefore GMOs under last year's European Court of Justice decision that all biotechnology except chemical and radiation baths to create new strains - mutagenesis - are to be considered GMOs. But such crops are actually still legal under the ruling and the sunflowers were not even herbicide resistant. Volunteer Reapers have been given a lot of positive publicity by French media and have refused to urge the French government to condemn the…
Playing to their western environmental allies, Russian groups are claiming bee deaths that occurred recently are due to neonicotinoid pesticides sprayed on oil rapeseed crops. An article in Russia’s Meteovesti goes on to restate discredited populist claims that the number of domestic bees in the United States has halved in 2015 alone.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) statement that chlorpyrifos should not be renewed in the EU won't stop farmers from wanting to use it. It will still be legal in Poland and farmers who want the best product could just buy it there, online, or from the black market. Some countries are getting even more extreme. Danish Minister for Food Mogens Jensen has requested the National Food Administration to consider a total ban on foods treated with the chemical. 
Eight students have started an EU Citizens' Initiative to reform the 2001 GMO Directive to make it research-friendly related to new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs.) They specifically want more legal clarity and further definitions. Their objective is to facilitate the authorization procedure for those products obtained through NPBTs, which carry only natural existing traits. The aim is to improve scientific progress in the European Union while protecting human and animal health and the environment. If you are an EU citizen, you can read the details here and if you like it, support it.
With the European Court of Justice decision that categorized new plant breeding techniques (NBTs) as genetic modification now one year old, European research institutes launched an open letter calling for a modernized approach that would enable the region's efforts to transition to more sustainable, less chemical-dependent agricultural systems. Opposed to the 100 scientific research institutions plus are environmental NGOs, with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM-EU) joining anti-biotechnology groups Global 2000, Slow Food International, IG Saatgut and …
Could Lyme disease in the U.S. be the result of an accidental release from a secret bioweapons experiment? Could the military have specifically engineered the Lyme disease bacterium to be more insidious and destructive – and then let it somehow escape the lab and spread in nature? Is this why 300,000 Americans are diagnosed annually with this potentially debilitating disease? It’s an old conspiracy theory currently enjoying a resurgence with lots of sensational headlines and tweets. Even Congress has ordered that the Pentagon must reveal whether it weaponized ticks. And it’s not true. Ticks…
Turkish coffee is thick, delicious, and if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, will contain your future in the grounds left at the bottom. There is no secret, many Turks will happily make it for you (depending on where you are, you might actually get a fair price from a vendor) even in their homes, but there is no secret in a Rembrandt either. That doesn't mean you can do it. There is truly nothing complex about it. A pan (cezve) is filled with water and ground coffee and heated. Percolators made this more civilized a long time ago but for the real experience not…
The "Grow scientific progress" movement is being given a chance in Europe. The European Commission is allowing a new citizen initiative calling for revisions to deregulate gene-editing techniques. The petition would need to receive over 1 million statements of support from residents of seven member states in order to trigger European Commission analysis and response. The organisers of the initiative state that Directive 2001/18/EC on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is ‘outdated' and ask for a revision of its rules concerning new plant breeding techniques (NPBT), with the objective of…
An artificial nose helps neurosurgeons to identify cancerous tissue during surgery and enables the more precise excision of tumours. Electrosurgical resection using devices such as an electric knife or diathermy blade is currently a widely used technique in neurosurgery. When tissue is burned, tissue molecules are dispersed in the form of surgical smoke. In the method developed by researchers at Tampere University, the surgical smoke is fed into a new type of measuring system that can identify malignant tissue and distinguish it from healthy tissue. An article on using surgical smoke to…
Researchers from the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of Seville have studied the archaeological evidence of prehistoric societies in the Neolithic Period in the Iberian Peninsula from the perspective of gender and show in a new paper that gender differences first appeared which meant male domination in later periods of history. They analysed two groups of indicators: life conditions and demographic aspects; and funerary practices. In the first group, they studied factors like the sexual ratio (proportion of men to women), diet, genetic data, movement, the most…
A survey commissioned by the European Commission Directorate-General for Trade found that among purchaser of products termed "sustainable", including beverages, furniture, clothing, games and printed materials, the food sector stood out, showing the highest growth of sustainable product sales in the last five years at over 18 percent. Retailers reported that 98 percent of food retailers reported increased sales of sustainable products over the past five years versus an average of 85% across all categories, nearly as many expected sales to increase in the next five years. Nielson carried out…
A gigantic meteorite, as much as one kilometer wide, struck off the coast of Scotland and left a crater 15 to 20 kilometers in size. Luckily, that happened 1.2 billion years old and was only even discovered in 2008 near Ullapool, NW Scotland but now its precise location is no longer a mystery. In a paper published today in Journal of the Geological Society, a team led by Dr Ken Amor from the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University, show how they have identified the crater location buried beneath both water and younger rocks in the Minch Basin. The material excavated during a giant…
An extraordinarily well-preserved Late Bronze Age settlement in Cambridgeshire, in the East of England, has been called 'Britain's Pompeii' or the 'Pompeii of the Fens' but is more accurately the Must Farm quarry. Thanks to corporate funding from Forterra Building Products Ltd, the quarry got a major excavation and there is now a definitive timeframe to Must Farm's occupation and destruction. It lasted just one year before being consumed in a catastrophic fire. Must Farm is located within the silts of a slow-flowing freshwater river, with stilted structures built to elevate the living…
A new blood test that will reduce the need for a liver biopsy in the management of paediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) could be ready within five years, finds international paediatric liver registry collaboration early results presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition in Glasgow.(1) Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease affects around one in 10 children (2) and is the most common paediatric liver disorder.(3) It can progress to advanced scarring (cirrhosis), liver failure, and liver cancer. Despite this,…
Dark matter is abundant in the universe, and even though we can't detect it is by far the most common form of matter, making up about 85 percent of the universe's total. It hides in plain sight so we don't know what it's made of but we can infer it by its gravitational pull on known matter. Theorized weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs, have been among the ideas for what comprises dark matter, but they haven't shown up where scientists had expected them. It may be time to look beyond popular notions with a lot of funding, such as big projects like Europe's CERN, and use lots of…
Using a genetic database of modern grapevines, researchers were able to test and compare 28 archaeological seeds from French sites dating back to the Iron Age, Roman era, and medieval period. They discovered one, Savagnin Blanc (not to be confused with Sauvignon Blanc) grape was genetically identical to a seed excavated from a medieval site in Orléans in central France. That means the variety has grown for at least 900 years as cuttings from just one ancestral plant. Savagnin Blanc, from the Jura region of France, is thought to have been popular in the past but is primarily consumed locally…
The sea and beaches on the Tarragona coast contain plastic similar to those in a big city like Barcelona but it's not water bottles or food containers. It's instead 57 percent clothing fibers from washing machines. You just can't see it. What they presented was microscopic plastic waste that cannot be seen by the naked eye but which some believed could have an impact on human health in higher quantities. In a series of studies initiated in 2018, they analysed samples of sea water, marine sediment and sand from Tarragona beaches to determine the presence of plastics and their possible source.…
Chloropicrin was first synthesized in 1848 by Scottish chemist John Stenhouse but only became an agricultural tool in 1920, when it was used to cure tomato "soil sickness." After that success it was used to restore pineapple productivity in Hawaii and to address soil fungal problems in California. It became popular as a fungicide, herbicide, insecticide, and nematicide. In 1940, chloropicrin was first used on potato as a wireworm suppressant and then in 1965 for verticillium. Farmers stopped using it on potatoes after that, because environmentalists claimed chloropicrin "sterilized soil",…
&To predict the fate of species, ecologists use computer models that consider individual species in isolation but reality does not work that way. Species are part of a giant network of mutual dependencies: For example, plants need insects to disperse their pollen and, in turn, insects depend on plants for food. These types of mutually beneficial interactions have been very important in generating the diversity of life on Earth. But the interaction also has a negative knock-on effect when the extinction of one species causes other species that are dependent on it to also die out, an effect…