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Browsing: Science

Doctors rely on the results of clinical trials to know whether a drug is safe and effective to prescribe, and patients trust in that prescription. But these clinical trials are conducted by pharmaceutical companies who are riddled with corruption. A new campaign spearheaded by Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Pharma, and supported by various medical and patient groups, aims to change that. What’s the problem? Evidence from clinical trials is the most important factor for doctors deciding whether to prescribe treatments, but these trials are conducted by the same pharmaceutical companies who created the drugs, and they do everything they…

This year sees the return of Bangor Science Festival, a series of events running from 15-22 March with interactive demonstrations, debates, talks and activities for all ages. The Hidden Worlds Exhibition takes place on Saturday 16th, and welcomes visitors into university science facilities including the aquarium and natural history museum, as well as tours and talks on the cutting-edge research taking place in the North West Cancer Research Institute. Amongst a variety of films, talks and activities, there is also an exhibition of science photography and art. For those wanting to get their hands dirty, there is a Wild Science…

Fossil hunters in the high Arctic made an exciting discovery this week; fossilised fragments of bone from a long extinct species of camel, which once made the forests of Ellesmere Island its home. Camels actually originated in North America, 45 million years ago, and crossed into Asia via the Bering Strait around 7 million years ago, but they have since gone extinct in their original territory. The camel fossils found on Ellesmere Island suggest a camel which stood 3 metres tall at the hump, a whole third taller than modern dromedary (single hump) camels. The discovery sheds further light on…

Doctors in Mississippi appear to have successfully cured HIV in a two-year-old, who was born with the virus but now tests negative, after a triple-blast of anti-retroviral drugs. The mother of the baby only received her HIV-positive result during labour, far too late in her pregnancy for the doctors to carry out standard procedure, so doctors treated the baby with three different anti-retroviral drugs immediately after birth. Despite initially testing positive, levels of HIV in the child’s bloodstream were undetectable after only a month. Doctors then lost contact with the mother and child, and it wasn’t until a year later…

At the start of 2011, it was believed the general consensus amongst Japanese politicians and the public alike leant towards policies favouring “more nuclear and less renewable energy”. Yet on March 11th government officials were locked in debate amidst proposals of the Renewable Energies Promotion Bill, urging a step away from nuclear power. That afternoon the Tohoku Earthquake struck and with a tragic irony the debate was cut short by the resulting Fukushima nuclear accident. Although no deaths or cases of radiation sickness have been reported since then, Japans interests in nuclear energy have been shaken to the core. A…

Last year was an exceptional year for weather in the UK. The year began with a drought, starting in 2011, and ended with severe flooding across much of the UK. The drought continued into April 2012, but naturally as a hosepipe ban was introduced the heavens opened to 9 months of constant rainfall. The year had the wettest summer since records began and was only 6.6mm off the record set in 2000 for the wettest year. This rainfall was down to the jet stream being further south than usual bringing low pressure and rainfall. However 2013 is predicted to start…

The Endeavour Society is the student run ocean science society, running weekly talks on all aspects of ocean science from biology, geology through to engineering, chemistry and conservation which are a great way to spark an interest and to gain contacts in the scientific community for that future career. We also run lots of fun activities throughout the year including walks, beach clean socials, crabbing competitions, aquarium visits and pub socials (with free pizza and sandwiches). When we meet: Thursdays 7.30pm at Dennis Chrisp lecture theatre (Menai Bridge)- free bus provided from Bangor (Fridd Site) Contact us on email: osxe01@bangor.ac.uk The…

2012 was a year of weather extremes with drought conditions in many areas at the beginning followed by months of record breaking rain. Widespread flooding across much of the UK caused fatalities and excessive damage to properties and infrastructure. Increased development on floodplains could be increasing the risk of flooding at a time when the climate is changing unpredictably. In April, shortly after hosepipe bans were put in place in England, the skies opened and rain began to fall, which has persisted almost continuously ever since. Flooding occurred as rivers burst banks and run-off from fully saturated ground was rapid.…

Researches are concerned that west Antarctica is heating up at twice the rate as formerly thought. Data collected over many years has drawn the conclusion that there has been a 2.4 degrees Celsius increase in temperature over 52 years. The major point being emphasised is the contribution of melting ice to global sea level rise and therefore increased risk of flooding to regions such as the low-lying Maldives and Bangladesh. The US scientists have said it is expected for summer temperatures to be higher than at other times of year however Antarctic temperatures rarely exceed 0 degrees Celsius.

This December saw the School of Ocean Science’s first ever Polar Symposium, an opportunity for students and professionals from the world of polar science to meet and learn. With attendees and speakers travelling from all across the UK and a keynote speaker flying in from Norway for the event, Bangor became a hub of polar interest and knowledge over the weekend. With nine speakers on topics ranging from sea ice, to the greening Artic and even the surveying of the ocean floor for oil drilling, there was something to interest all those attending. Funded by the UK Polar Network, Bangor…

Common ash is the third most abundant native broadleaved tree species in Great Britain, its main environmental benefit is providing a diverse habitat for wildlife. In addition it has current economic uses such as flooring and barbecue charcoal. Unfortunately due to a new threat from fungal organism ‘Chalara fraxinea’, first seen in Poland in 1992, several ash species are under threat. Infection results in leaf loss, crown dieback and ultimately death. Young saplings are at particular risk as individuals are killed within one growing season of symptoms becoming visible. Despite this mature trees are by no means safe because although…

I’ve seen my fair share of storms and I’m not talking about your typical thunderstorm over the UK, I’m talking about the huge supercells that I was lucky enough to encounter during a storm chasing tour in tornado alley during 2010. Baseball size hail, winds that will topple 18 wheelers and such heavy rain the wipers are useless makes you realise pretty quickly that we get it easy. However, compared to that Hurricane Sandy was on a completely different scale. At its peak Sandy was the largest Atlantic Hurricane on record spanning 1100 miles in diameter, enough to engulf the…

After watching Jaws and hearing about shark attacks on the news, it’s often hard to see the reasoning behind protecting these infamous creatures but at the top of the food chain they’re playing a very important role. The main reason for shark fishing is for their fins. When these are cut off the shark is often still alive and is then tossed back into the sea, so the fins can be used for soup. The origins of shark fin soup are found in early medieval China where emperors served it as a demonstration of how powerful they were. This is…

Some people have been calling it ‘the greatest panic of our time’ and for any self confessed bacon lover out there, which we have to admit is nearly all of us, this is definitely a very worrying issue; almost as bad as climate change or H5N1. The great bacon shortage of 2012 was first announced by a British Trade Organisation actually named ‘The Pig Association’ (so they must know what they’re on about), and their press release stated that ‘a shortage of bacon and pork was now unavoidable’. This was immediately pounced on by bacon lovers the world over and…

STAG is based at the university’s beautiful Treborth Botanic Garden, where we help with all aspects of the garden: planting, weeding, woodland maintenance and generally making the place even better. If you like getting your hands dirty whilst learning about plants and nature, STAG is right for you. When we’re not gardening we run trips to botanic gardens, forage for mushrooms, hunt for bats and much more. Visit us on Facebook or email us to get the latest! Events: Sunday 28th October 10am-4pm Work Party and BBQ: The Great Gnome takeover For more info see our Facebook page or email…

The FBI defines eco-terrorism as “the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against people or property…for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature.” Unlike actual terrorists, ecoterrorists attack money, not people. They are known for burning down buildings that contribute to pollution, destruction of a natural area or promote urbanisation. The Earth Liberation Front (ELF), established in Brighton in 1992, was the first organisation to be labelled “eco-terrorists” when an American cell burned down a ski resort in Colorado costing the owners $12m. Elf claimed afterwards that “of clearcuts will…

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