Browsing: Discovery

Photo by Dallas Krentzel (CC BY 2.0) Nemonte Nenquimo is an indigenous activist that was recently given the 2020 Goldman environmental prize for her grassroots work that protected over 500,000 acres in the Ecuadorean Amazon from oil extraction. Born in 1986, she is a member of the Waorani nation and co-founder of Ceibo Alliance, an indigenous-led nonprofit that focuses on protecting indigenous land, life and cultural survival in the upper Amazon.  In her early life, she left her family who lived on the traditional Waorani community of Nemonparte to study at a missionary school. After the missionaries attempted to force her to…

With the mix of family, presents, religion, Christmas stories, and lots (and lots) of food, Christmas may not seem the most scientific time. But what better way to get in the festive spirit than to see some of the science behind the most wonderful time of the year?  Speaking of ‘the festive spirit’, science can tell us why some of us love the holiday season so much. When studying MRI scans of self-confessed ‘Christmas-lovers’ compared to ‘Christmas-haters’, scientists have found different activity in different areas of the brain. One such example is the premotor cortex, which is more active in…

Photo by Garry Knight (CC0 1.0) A climate lawsuit filed by six young activists has been approved and prioritized by the European Court of Human Rights. In this landmark case, the activists allege that the 33 countries have not made the cuts to greenhouse gas emissions that are needed to protect their futures and physical and mental well-being.  The crowdfunded case, filed in September, is the first of its kind to make it to the court in Strasbourg. As a result, the ECHR has given the 33 countries, which include the EU countries, Norway, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Ukraine and the…

Photo by alh1 (CC BY-ND 2.0)  Walk out of Bangor via beach road and take the first left. You’ll find yourself ambling down to Porth Penrhyn. The initial impression is that of your average boatyard.  A few fishing boats, yachts and occasionally some interesting cargo. A good place for a different view of Bangor.  Yet leaving the harbour you may notice the markings of a train line. A tunnel under the bridge leads you out of the port and along the river Cegin. It was along this path that the Penrhyn Quarry Railway once stood, transporting slate from the Penrhyn…

28 British Explorers have been honoured in Antarctica thanks to their contributions to polar exploration and advancement of polar sciences. Among them is ex-Bangor University professor David N. Thomas, who lends his name to Thomas’ Glacier.  These explorers will give their names to 28 locations across Antarctica including mountains, glaciers, and lakes. Before now, these locations were known only by their coordinates. The naming celebrates 200 years since the continent was discovered, which means the UK Antarctic Place-names Committee decided it was a rightful time to honour such a large group of people in one go. The names commemorate those…

China will launch the Chang’e-5 probe on Tuesday the 24th of November, an unmanned spacecraft which will be the first probe to bring back samples for over 40 years. Chang’e-5, named after the Chinese Goddess of the Moon, will land on a different part of the Moon which has been previously studied. It will collect data and samples from the “Ocean of Storms”, which has been carefully chosen by geologists to more carefully study the evolution of the Moon. In previous missions, collections focused on the “Sea of Crises”; NASA’s Apollo missions between 1969-1972 collected 382 kg of samples from…

From July 2020 to November 2020, there have been over 40 reported ‘attacks’ on fishing boats by a pod of rogue killer whales.  The most recent event in this series involved British sailor David Smith, who was sailing the coast of Portugal on a trip from France to Gibraltar when his crew spotted the orca. The pod began to ram into the rudder of the boat, and David Smith feared they would dislodge the rudder stock, which could lead to the killer whales breaking the boat and inevitably causing it to sink. In a conversation with the Portugese coast guard,…

Photo by Jean-Christophe Verhaegen (CC BY-SA 2.0) Pope Francis has said in his new book ‘Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future’, which is due to be released in December, has said that he thinks the Uighurs (a Muslim minority in China’s Xinjiang region) are “persecuted”. This is the first time the Pope has openly expressed his thoughts on this subject matter which is something human rights activists have been asking him to do for years. He mentions it in a statement where he says: “I think often of persecuted peoples: the Rohingya, the poor Uighurs, the Yazidi”. The…

Photo of Benjamin Ingrosso by Wouter van Vliet (For EuroVisionary, CC BY-SA 4.0) As International editor, I like to keep up with everything that is going on in the world around me especially in Europe partly because as you have seen in several articles I am trying to learn a few European languages but also I like to see what differs here to that of our neighbours in mainland Europe. One of the things that I like to do to help me learn is to follow trends in music in Europe and listen to music in different languages and I have…

Every year, humans produce over 300 million tonnes of plastic. 50% of this is classified as ‘single-use plastics’- like straws, plastic cutlery, and shopping bags- and more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year. Scientists are constantly looking for ways to reduce the plastic problem through new biodegradable plastics, but the solution could potentially lie with plastivores- organisms which can consume and digest plastics.  One of the most well-known examples of a plastivore is the Waxworm. Waxworms are the caterpillar larvae of the wax moth (sometimes known as the bee moth), and farmers generally…

Bangor University is participating in the SHAPE Sustainability Impact Projects, an initiative created by the British Academy and Students Organising for Sustainability Kingdom (SOS-UK). SHAPE is used by the British Academy as a collective term for Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy/Environment. These disciplines are important for understanding the fabric of the world, and how people interact within it. While academics and leaders in SHAPE fields have already contributed to major social and environmental change worldwide, approaches to sustainability challenges still often rest solely on people in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).…

Photo by James Shook (CC BY 2.5) In a legal system, a non-human entity can be granted the same rights and responsibilities as a person. This is a not a new occurrence, as corporations have been historically granted legal personhood status. What is new is the designation of an ecological entity, in this case a river, as having legal personhood as granted by the Aotearoa/New Zealand government in 2017. The Whanganui River is now legally known as Te Awa Tupua, which means an integrated, living whole from the mountains to the sea. This acknowledgement of the river as a legal…

American pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced recently that the early data from their clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine is “more than 90% effective in preventing the disease”.  Developed alongside German drug manufacturing company BioNTech, the vaccine injects RNA from the virus into the body, which is then stimulated to make the characteristic ‘spike’ protein of the virus. The body’s immune system then produces antibodies and activates T-cells as it would in the event of an infection. If the person does then get sick with covid-19, the immune system will already have the antibodies ready to fight it. This vaccine…

Photo of (from left to right) Nanaia Mahuta, Gannin Ormsby and Paul Eagle, by Nevada Halbert (CC BY 2.0) Jacinda Ardern was sworn in for a second term on Friday (6th November) after a landslide victory where her party (The Labour Party) managed to win 50.01% of the votes gaining one more seat than last time making her party have 65 seats in the 120-seat assembly. This is the first time any party in New Zealand has received a majority of votes in 69 years. The opposition will consist of 33 National MPs, the lowest number since the 2002 election with…

Movember, a movement known globally today, has its own story and meaning behind why and what it stands for; it’s a tale behind a group of Australian men who wanted to ‘Grow a Mo, save a Bro.’ The Movember charity has grown dramatically since  it’s modest beginnings in 2003, inspiring individuals to grow and groom their moustaches for the entire 30 days of November, while raising funds and awareness for the wellbeing of men. Travis Garone and Luke Slattery were sat with a drink in Melbourne discussing how moustaches had all but vanished from fashion trends worldwide, and together they…

In coping with pandemics, the world today has all the tools and expertise it needs, but that has not always been the case. Certain historical events have shown that certain infectious diseases were not so easy to monitor and manage. Pandemics stem back to the hunter-gatherer days of humanity, but the change to agrarian life and higher populations 10,000 years ago made epidemics more likely to arise. It was during this time that malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, influenza, smallpox and others first appeared. The more industrialized humans became, constructing cities and forging trade routes to communicate with other cities, and fighting wars with them, the more easily pandemics spread and became prevalent in larger groups of people. During the Peloponnesian War, the earliest documented pandemic occurred. It crossed the Athenian walls after having passed through Libya, Ethiopia and Egypt. As many as two thirds…

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