Study looks at long-term impact of farming

Human use of land for crops and herds has completely altered the world's landscapes. A new field of research called experimental socio-ecology looks to the past to predict the consequences of this type of human activity in the future. Researchers at Arizona State University have spent the last 10 years studying the effects that small-scale farmers have had on land in the Mediterranean, and now they have released a report with the findings of the project.Read More

ParkedBench micro-park lets Londoners take five

A new park in London, UK, may be dwarfed by some of the city's larger and more grandiose green spaces, but it still provides a place for Londoners to take a break. The Tooley Street Fresh Air Square, which takes up just two car parking spaces, has been installed in the London Bridge area of the city.Read More


Mother and son team to pedal across the Atlantic

With the goal of drawing attention to the mass extinction of species caused by human activity, a mother-and-son team from South Africa is aiming to cross the south Atlantic on a customized boat powered solely with a pedal system. Experienced adventurer Davey du Plessis (27), a raw vegan environmentalist, author and speaker, will lead the 6,450-km (4,008-mi) crossing that is expected to launch in late November, weather permitting. His mother, Robyn Wolff (50), who is also vegan, will be on the boat pedalling with him.

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Swimsuits for sea turtles

If you're wondering what the best dressed sea turtles are wearing at the beach this season, then the University of Queensland has the answer. As part of a study to find the foraging areas of endangered loggerhead turtles, researchers there designed a bespoke swimsuit for the 120 kg (264 lb) animals that acts as a harness for a "giant nappy" to collect fecal samples.Read More


Researchers say Earth is entering a sixth mass extinction event

While there is still much conjecture about the causes of some mass extinctions, it is generally believed that they can occur when a biosphere under long-term stress is subjected to a short-term shock. In 1982, Jack Sepkoski and David M. Raup published a paper identifying five mass extinction events throughout Earth's history. Now a team of researchers claims that we are entering a sixth mass extinction event, which threatens our very existence.Read More

Good Thinking

Trees trained to grow into furniture

Much of our furniture is made from timber. The wood to make that furniture has to be harvested from a felled tree which is then milled, sawed, planed, sanded, put back together with glue and screws, and finished. Wouldn't it be easier to avoid most of these steps and simply coax a tree to grow into a piece of furniture? That way, it would be one-piece, inherently strong, and could potentially last many years longer than assembled furniture. Gavin Munro thought this too, and about a decade ago set about achieving this goal. He now creates furniture by cajoling trees to grow into one-piece items that are not only inherently practical, they are also eminently beautiful.Read More


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