How Global Warming Projects Avoid the Real Issue

Several scientists from Europe have warned that worldwide engineering operations, aimed at reducing global warming, have the potential to minimize rainfall in both Europe and North America, according to Reuters.

Though many of these projects are theoretical, they spark debate across the planet. Some involve reenacting the results of enormous volcanic eruptions by freeing clouds of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, while others are considering launching giant mirrors into space to deflect the sun’s rays.

The main issue with these plans is that they fail to address the actual problem; unbelievable amounts of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Other downsides include the potential consequences that the scientists have yet to research in depth, as well as a lack of an international governance structure.

A group of scientists from France, Norway, Germany and the UK created models to research the earth’s climate if it were subject to more carbon dioxide and less radiation from the sun. They discovered a 5% drop in rainfall in every scenario they explored.

“Climate engineering cannot be seen as a substitute for policy pathway of mitigating climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” the study argued in the Earth System Dynamics journal.

In other words, scientists should stop looking for far-fetched solutions to the problem. As a whole, Earth's people should be aiming to reduce harmful emissions before they trigger an irreversable disaster.

Rare Gorilla Species Caught on Video Camera

Conservationists have revealed that a cleverly concealed video trap has captured footage of the world’s rarest species of gorilla.

Located in the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary in Cameroon, the camera trap has recorded to first-ever video of Cross River gorillas. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the species has less than 250 individuals remaining.

The sanctuary was established in 2008 with only one goal- to protect the Cross River gorilla species, which survives only in the mountain forests along the Nigerian and Cameroon borders.

“This video gives us all a spectacular view into the hidden world of one of our closest relatives, which is in dire need of our help to survive,” said WCS president and COO Steve Sanderson.

“The video represents the best images to date of Cross River gorillas, normally shy animals hat flee at the slightest hint of human presence,” said Christopher Jameson, also of WCS. “The footage provides us with our first tantalizing glimpses of Cross River gorillas behaving normally in their environment. A person can study these animals for years and never catch a glimpse of the gorillas, much less see anything like this.”

Has Man Learned the Secret of Flight?

Jarno Smeets and the Human BirdwingsJarno Smeets, a Dutch engineer, has unleashed a video onto the public, sparking controversy, awe and skepticism across the globe.

The video, which showcases his ‘Human Birdwings’ project, is supposedly shot from a camera attached to Smeets’ helmet while he successfully takes off at a park in Hague. The 200-foot wings are part of Smeets’ invention, which he claims is the first to allow a human to fly in a way similar to that of a bird, with neither rotors nor jets. Instead, the contraption uses motion sensors from Nintendo Wii and an accelerometer from an HTC Wildfire S smartphone to ‘amplify’ the flapping motion of his arms, and then transfers it to small motors on the wings. This technology allows Smeets to flap wings much larger than his body would otherwise be capable of lifting.

Though the engineering of the wings is in fact plausible, many of the video’s viewers were quick to dismiss it as a fake. How did the engineer know it would take exactly 14 videos until a successful takeoff? Some have questioned the video’s legitimacy based on the physics involved, while others have analyzed the clear differences between the Human Birdwings and the natural wings and flapping motions of birds today, such as rotation and the specific angling of the wings before and during flight.

One interesting observation discussed the placement of Smeets’ legs. In general, the legs of a bird are thin, small and remarkably lightweight. Human legs are monstrous in comparison, and so would inevitably dangle beneath the torso, perpendicular to the floating body. However, the video clearly shows the legs rising to line up with the body at 38 seconds. The strength needed to hold the legs in this position without breaking the spine, especially when the body is suspended from the upper back, is incredible and therefore highly unlikely here. However, further scrutiny implies there might be a small sail placed between the feet which buoys the legs during flight.

An interesting analysis of the camera motion in the video provides another important perspective on the invention’s authenticity. Though the detailed study does not prove it is legitimate or a hoax, it does prove that the camera work is genuine and not a compilation of a number of processed clips.

Russian Scientists Resurrect 32,000 Year-Old Plant

A team of Russian scientists claims to have successfully generated living plants from the fruit of a small arctic flower that died 32,000 years ago. The fruit of the narrow-leafed campion was frozen, stored in a ground squirrel’s burrow on the Tundra of northern Siberia.

The fruit, excavated a number of years ago, is the oldest tissue on record to produce a living plant, if the claim is true. Scientists are familiar with the concept of seeds and cells surviving long periods when exposed to the right conditions. However, previous experiments involving extreme longevity were often failures, when the original seeds were tested by the radiocarbon method and found to be modern. These attempts include tales of wheat grown from seeds stored in the pyramids, as well as Lupines grown from seeds in a Yukon lemming burrow that was over 10,000 years old. Both specimens proved to be modern contaminators.

The current legitimate record is held by a date palm germinated from a seed that was found amongst the ruins of the ancient fortress of Masada, in Israel. That seed was a bit more than 2,000 years old.

The Russian experiment, mind-blowing in proportion to previous findings, is indeed supported by a firm radiocarbon date. It has also been tested in the field of DNA, though some discredit the method’s accuracy.

The experiment team included Svetlana Yashina and David Gilichinsky of the Russian Academy of Sciences research center. The outcome of their efforts was released in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S.

Dr. Zazula of the Yukon Paleontology program said “This is an amazing breakthrough. I have no doubt in my mind that this is a legitimate claim.” Zazula’s confirmation of the report is especially significant, as he was the scientist to discredit the Lupine seeds found a number of years ago.

The Russian team was unable to germinate the actual seeds, and so removed cells from the ancient fruit’s placenta. These they grew in culture dishes, and produced 36 ancient plants. The specimens seemed identical to modern day narrow-leafed campions, though their flowers proved to have narrower, more “splayed-out” petals.

For additional details about the experiment, see the full article here.

ISS Footage Reveals Earth in Sixty Seconds

The International Space Station, or ISS, recently celebrated a decade of human occupation. Traveling 220 miles above the surface of the earth, the ISS constantly photographs earth as it flies overhead and posts the images on The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth on the internet.

Science teacher James Drake spliced together more than 600 of these photos to create a video of the ISS traveling around the world in one minute. Starting at the Pacific Ocean, the film moves over North and South America before reaching Antarctica in daylight. Major cities and landmarks are clearly visible, including Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Guetemala, Panama, Peru, the Amazon and more. Also visible are lightning storms over the Pacific Ocean, as well as Earth’s ionosphere- the thin yellow line seen surrounding the planet.

For the full video, click here.

Mathematics Brain?

It seems that there are three types of people in the world: those born with a brain for Math, and those born without it.  Oh that’s only two.  Well there you go.  According to recent research as reported in a Daily Mail article, “being good at mathematics may be entirely pre-destined – you either have it or you don’t.”  But the flip side is that just because you are good at mathematics, will not necessarily mean you have overall intelligence.

<h2>US Research</h2>

This research was carried out in America, with psychologists from John Hopkins University in Baltimore having tested four-year-old children who had not yet been taught any mathematics.  Two hundred kids had to look at blue and yellow dots in flashing groups on a computer screen and say which color they saw the most. They then had to add up items of a page and work out which of two numbers was higher or lower and read numbers.  Other tests included multiplication and thereafter a verbal test since “language and math abilities are thought to be linked through general intelligence.”

The researchers were trying to work out if mathematical skills formed an integral part of one’s capacity to perform better in all sorts of other tasks as well.  It was found that the kids who performed best in the dots test were also those who were the best at mathematics. Dr. Melissa Libertus led the study that was published in the Developmental Science journal.  She said, “some children looked like they had better number sense simply because they had better math instruction.”  Libertus concluded, “one of the most important questions is whether we can train a child’s number sense to improving his future math ability.”

The results, published in the journal Developmental Science, showed that children who got the best score in the dots test were also the most competent at the maths tests.