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Foreste e acqua unite sotto il segno del clima

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Oggi è la Giornata mondiale delle foreste

Sabato 25 marzo alle 20,30 l’Ora della Terra per ricordare a tutti che sul clima dobbiamo agire ora, domani sarà troppo tardi

 

Acqua, foreste, clima: quella appena iniziata è una settimana importante al livello globale con celebrazioni di temi chiave della salute degli ecosistemi del pianeta. Il 21 e 22 marzo, le due date che l’ONU  ha indetto per celebrare con Giornate globali le Foreste e l’Acqua,  sono in realtà profondamente unite ‘sotto il segno del clima’.

Queste date sono per il WWF un’occasione per riflettere sullo stretto legame che unisce  gli ambienti forestali e le risorse idriche del nostro pianeta. Quando distruggiamo le foreste intacchiamo pesantemente il loro importante ruolo nel ciclo dell’acqua e nei sistemi idrogeologici,  rafforziamo la portata e l’intensità delle alluvioni, dei dissesti idrogeologici, dei processi di desertificazione e dei periodi con forti siccità. E’ come una delicata catena che, se spezzata, produce devastazioni con un effetto domino sia su scala locale (disastri ambientali) sia su scala globale (cambiamento climatico). E sono proprio la deforestazione e la degradazione degli ambienti forestali responsabili globalmente di circa il 20% delle emissioni di gas serra.

 

Il karma di Francesco Gabbani per l'Ora della Terra del WWF

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Quest’anno Earth Hour ha un testimonial d’eccezione: il vincitore dell’ultimo Festival di Sanremo Francesco Gabbani che ha realizzato un simpatico video messaggio a sostegno del prossimo evento globale, Ora della Terra-Earth Hour che si terrà in tutto il mondo il prossimo 25 marzo. Sulle note di Occidentali’s Karma Gabbani invita tutti a spegnere simbolicamente per un’ora le luci.

Qui il video (da Facebook) di Francesco Gabbani per Earth Hour

La Scimmia Nuda, tornata alla ribalta con il brano di Gabbani è il titolo del libro culto scritto nel 1967 dall’etologo e zoologo inglese, Desmond Morris (circa 10 milioni di copie vendute), in cui descive la specie umana in chiave etologica ed evoluzionistica. La scimmia nuda in questo caso è la specie umana, vista con lo sguardo dell’etologo. E viste le conseguenze del riscaldamento globale sugli ecosistemi, sulle specie e soprattutto sulle salute umana, continuando su questa strada, la ‘Scimmia Nuda’ rischia di estinguere se stessa.

 

Fly larvae found to contribute to atmospheric methane pollution

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Greenhouse gases: First it was cows -- now it's larvae!

During the day, the Chaoborus spp hide in the sediment where dissolved methane is transferred into their gas sacs. Using the buoyancy from the methane, they float to the lake surface at night to feed on zooplankton. At the surface, the methane in the gas sacs is dissolved back into the water.  Chaoborus spp is a small fly species that is found all over the world (except in Antarctica). The insect spends one to two years of its life cycle under water in a larval state, in lakes no deeper than 70 metres. Larvae spend the day in lakebed sediment and rise to the surface at night to feed. They are equipped with air sacs that they can adjust to alter their depth in the water so as to migrate upwards and downwards.

 

Minitablets help medicate picky cats

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Hautala uutiskuva_500

Of all pets, cats are often considered the most difficult ones to medicate. Very small minitablets with flavours or flavour coatings can help cat owners commit to the treatment and make cats more compliant to it, while making it easier to regulate dosage and administer medication flexibly. In her dissertation, Jaana Hautala, MSc (Pharmacy), is seeking solutions for facilitating the medication of cats. In order for the oral medication of pets to succeed, the animal must enjoy the taste of the medicine and find it appealing. Palatability is essential both in acute cases and in the treatment of chronic illnesses which require regular, constant medical treatment. Successful treatment of pets is also necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of humans, communities and the environment.

 

A new web of life

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Leucauge venusta suspended from its web. Photo: Dimitar Dimitrov


For the first time biologists have made a full family tree of the world's spiders, giving us knowledge about venoms that can be useful in medicine. And we might be able to develop silk just as good as the spider's. They may make you cringe in horror, or they may intrigue you. Some even have them as pets. Regardless of how you judge them, spiders are a plentiful and widespread group of animals. They have been around for 400 million years, count 45 000 species, and crawl around on nearly every terrestrial habitat in in the world. For long, researchers have tried to unlock the secrets to their evolutionary history, striking diversity and success.

 

Fledgling stars try to prevent their neighbours from birthing planets

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Artist's impression of an evaporating protoplanetary disc. Image:NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

Stars don’t have to be massive to evaporate material from around nearby stars and affect their ability to form planets, a new study suggests. Newly formed stars are surrounded by a disc of dense gas and dust. This is called the protoplanetary disc, as material sticks together within it to form planets. Stars of different shapes and sizes are all born in huge star-forming regions. Scientists know that when a protoplanetary disc around a relatively small star is very close to a massive star, the larger star can evaporate parts of the protoplanetary disc.

 

How can you help save endangered species? Save the Pink Pigeon

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“Conservation genomics to the rescue, saving the pink pigeon #seqthepinkpigeon” is a research project led by the Earlham Institute (EI) and the University of East Anglia in partnership with PacBio. By voting to save the pink pigeon – we also hope to increase survival for other threatened species. Earlham Institute is one of just five finalists and only UK entry selected by a scientific committee to win a PacBio SMRT Sequencing grant. As part of the 2017 Plant and Animal SMRT Programme. EI, in collaboration with the UEA, EnvEast and partners are aiming to save the pink pigeon from its diminishing population on the island of Mauritius. This would be the first endangered bird species to be sequenced by the Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq method; the potential project will identify immune system genes and their variants which enable the unique species’ survival from a disease humans unwittingly introduced to the island.

 

‘The influence of the media on legislation is limited’

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Anyone watching the question hour in the Lower House on Tuesday afternoon will regularly hear MPs referring to news articles. Media attention is often the direct cause of questions to ministers or state secretaries, and often the reason for putting topics on the political agenda. If we look only at the course of legislative processes, the influence of the media is much less. PhD research by Lotte Melenhorst has led to this conclusion. The positions of politicians and their parties change little or not at all as a result of media attention. Melenhorst reaches this conclusion after studying three recent proposals for legislation, each of which received a lot of media attention: the Executives’ Pay (Standards) Act, the Law on Work and Social Security, and the Law on Tuition Fees Loans in Higher Education.

 

TPU foot implants improve life for pets and humans

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Thomas and Kutuzov the cats with artificial feet

Veterinaries successfully apply Tomsk Polytechnic University’s developments for implantology. Now titanium implants with bioactive coatings are already used to treat pets in BEST vet clinic, Novosibirsk, Russia. Tomas and Kutuzov the cats were the first patients to apply the Tomsk development. A scientific team led by associate professor Sergey Tverdokhlebov, the TPU Department of Experimental Physics, is engaged in the property modification of materials used in implant manufacturing. Tomas and Kutuzov the cats were the first patients to test the innovation. “One cat was missing a front foot, another – a back foot. Their owners addressed the clinic and doctors suggested implants with our coatings. The owners agreed and the pets were operated. Now the two are under observation and veterinaries systematically do them radiograph and tomography. Results show the implants have taken roots well. According to the doctors the four-leg patients feel themselves with artificial feet as comfortable as with their native ones,” says Sergey Tverdokhlebov.

 

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