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Environment

  • Philae may be sitting on comet life

    Comet lander Philae may be sitting on an object teeming with alien microbial life, according to two leading astronomers. Distinct features of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, such as its organic-rich black crust, are best explained by the...

  • Monster black holes discovered

    Monster black holes discovered

    Five monster black holes that were previously hidden by dust and gas have been uncovered by astronomers. The British-led discovery suggests there may be millions more “supermassive” black holes in the universe than were previously...

  • European heatwaves boosted by climate change – scientists

    European heatwaves boosted by climate change – scientists

    As Germany and Spain sweated and London sweltered through its hottest July day on record last week, scientists said it is “virtually certain” that climate change is increasing the likelihood of such heatwaves in Europe. In real-time data analysis,...

  • Spiders ‘sail on water like ships’

    Spiders are able to travel across water like ships, using their legs as sails and silk as an anchor, scientists have learned. The arachnids were already known to take to the air on ‘ballooning’ flights, using their silk to catch the wind and carry...

  • Seahorses so square, say scientists

    Seahorses so square, say scientists

    Seahorses have shown scientists that sometimes it is definitely hip to be square. The tails of the marine oddities have a cross section that is square, not round or semicircular as in most other animals. They evolved this way for good reasons,...

  • Climate management and ecocide law

    Climate management and ecocide law

    Life on earth exists today thanks to greenhouse gases. Over the eons they have acted as a blanket, shielding us from the cold of outer space. Yet as populations, economies and technologies have grown over the past few centuries, more gases have...

  • Colourful stellar regions: Rho Ophiuchi

    Colourful stellar regions: Rho Ophiuchi

    Last week the full moon appeared larger than usual as the moon today reaches its perigee – the point at which it is closest to the Earth (367,095km away). With the new moon next week the Milky Way will start shin­ing through as the constel­lations...

  • Quake Watch

    Quake Watch

    A magnitude 4.1 earthquake occurred close to Malta on June 26 at 10.51am. Its epicentre was about 150 kilometres west of Gozo (large red star on map). Another quake of magnitude 2.3 had occurred on June 25 just a few kilometres north-west of Gozo.

  • ‘Clock ticking’ for world’s oceans

    ‘Clock ticking’ for world’s oceans

    Time is rapidly running out for the world’s oceans and the creatures that live in them as the earth’s climate continues to warm, say scientists. Only “immediate and substantial” reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can hope to prevent “massive”...

  • Threat to polar bears’ survival

    Threat to polar bears’ survival

    Imperiled polar bears will see a population crash in most parts of the Arctic Ocean if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates, causing accelerated melting of the sea ice the bruins depend on for survival, US scientists said. A...

  • UN warning over Great Barrier Reef

    The UN says it is concerned about the state of the Great Barrier Reef and is urging greater efforts to conserve one of the most world’s spectacular natural sites. The decision, taken in Bonn, Germany, puts pressure on Australia to prevent further...

  • Poisonous cycads

    Poisonous cycads

    Cycads are small to large plants which are often mistaken for palms or ferns. A typical cycad is characterised by a thick wooden trunk and a crown of hard leaves at the top. Their size can vary from a few centimetres to several metres high. They...

  • Babbler birds can ‘convey meaning’

    Babbler birds can ‘convey meaning’

    Babbler birds do more than babble – they appear to communicate like humans, scientists have revealed. The chestnut-crowned babbler, from Australia, rearranges apparently random sounds to produce calls that convey meaning, researchers found. Such...

  • The battle against climate change ‘needs global effort’

    The battle against climate change ‘needs global effort’

    US President Barack Obama for a change was the one asking the questions in an interview that aired on Sunday with British naturalist David Attenborough in which they agreed that combating climate change would require a global effort. Saying he had...

  • Illusion to ‘draw planets closer’

    Illusion to ‘draw planets closer’

    A spectacular double act starring Jupiter and Venus will light up the sky tomorrow night. The two brightest planets will appear to be unusually close together –  roughly two-thirds of a full moon’s width apart. They are not about to collide, it is...

  • Solar plane is heading for Hawaii

    A solar-powered plane attempting to circumnavigate the globe without fuel has taken off from Japan after an unscheduled, month-long stop. The Solar Impulse 2 departed around 3am local time from an airport in Nagoya in central Japan. The plane with...

  • Chimps ‘ape moral values of humans’

    Chimps ‘ape moral values of humans’

    Chimpanzees may have a sense of right and wrong that echoes human concepts of morality, a study has found. Two groups of the apes paid more attention to film clips of an infant chimp being killed by its own kind than those showing other acts of...

  • ‘Paradise’ island turns into a nightmare for marine life

    ‘Paradise’ island turns into a nightmare for marine life

    Concern is mounting among some scientists that China’s reclamation work in the disputed Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea has done severe harm to one of the most important coral reef systems in Southeast Asia. China’s use of dredged sand...

  • Corals ‘adapting to climate change’

    Corals ‘adapting to climate change’

    Some corals are adapting to climate change and becoming more tolerant of warmer temperatures, a study has found. The discovery opens the door to saving threatened coral populations by allowing them to spread their genes. Scientists crossed corals...

  • Young reporters study water issues

    Young reporters study water issues

    HSBC water programme Catch the Drop Campaign supported students who participated in this year’s Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) programme. HSBC water programme staff volunteers visited the participating schools to give presentations on...

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