Category: Science

Chocolate Could Go Extinct by 2050 Due to Climate Change

Chocolate is in trouble. Cacao, the plant used to produce cocoa and other treats, faces a global shortage by 2020, and the crop may be gone as soon as 2050. The implications of this deficit go beyond candy bars: cacao’s extinction spells economic strife for millions of people who depend on its production for their livelihoods. 70% of cacao is grown in four countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. These countries are expected to experience an increase in temperature of 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, a change that is projected to dramatically alter the geography of where the plant...

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How Monsanto Is Bribing Farmers to Use a Toxic Herbicide

In a ploy to avoid decreased sales on a federally-restricted, toxic herbicide linked to crop damage, Monsanto is attempting to bribe farmers with a program incentivizing its use. Monsanto is offering $6 cash back per acre, which represents a rebate of over 50%, to soybean farmers who spray the herbicide XtendiMax with VaporGrip. The herbicide is designed for use on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, which are genetically modified by Monsanto to resist the toxins in XtendiMax. The agribusiness giant is also promising $5.50 cash back per acre to cotton growers who plant cotton varieties engineered with XtendFlex Technology. This program may sound...

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Scientists Report Climate Change Really Did Make Hurricane Harvey Worse

Groundbreaking research has found that climate change increased the likelihood and magnitude of Hurricane Harvey. According to articles published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) and Environmental Research Letters (ERL), Hurricane Harvey was about three times more likely to happen and up to 38% more rain-heavy because of climate change. The scientists used two different approaches. In the ERL article, they analyzed U.S. Gulf Coast rainfall records dating back to 1880 and found that infrequent, heavy rainfall events have gotten more severe. In the GRL article, researchers looked at Houston-area weather data from 1950-2016 and climate records and came to a similar conclusion. In...

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Starving Polar Bear Caught on Camera Brings Bleak Glimpse of a Warmer Future

Devastating footage of a starving polar bear is causing international alarm across social media channels. The sickening image demonstrates the urgent need to make changes and implement solutions to address climate change, in order to lessen the impact it will have on the Earth. Sea Legacy, a collective of filmmakers and photographers, are on a mission to create healthy and abundant oceans. This summer they sent an expedition to the Canadian Baffin Islands, where they encountered a polar bear. Unfortunately, this once majestic and powerful creature was gaunt and frail, close to death from hunger. Paul Nicklen, the researcher...

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Bravo! A Non-Animal Testing Lab has Just Opened Up in China

One province in China is taking steps to help animals by opening a lab that doesn’t test on them. The regulatory organization for food, drugs, and cosmetics produced in China’s Zhejiang province, the Zhejiang Institute for Food and Drug Control (ZJIFDC), worked with international non-profit the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), to create the lab, which opened in November, 2017. “IIVS helped train our staff and provided guidance on implementation as we developed the laboratory,” Yang Li, the vice director of ZJIFDC and head of the alternatives laboratory said in a statement.  “Their assistance, combined with our dedication to the development of a...

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Having a Dog Makes You Live Longer, New Study Finds

Humans have been benefiting from their special relationship with dogs ever since their domestication. Many of those benefits are intuitively clear – dogs offer protection, companionship, and encourage their human friends to exercise when they play or go for walks. Now, scientific research shows dogs may do even more for their human companions. According to a Swedish study of over 3.4 million people that spanned 12 years, having a dog may help you live longer by reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Living with a dog may reduce your risk of cardiovascular...

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Red Hot Chillies May Save Elephants from Being Killed by Humans

Throughout India and Africa, increasing conflict between humans and elephants has led to hundreds of deaths per year for both species. As elephants forage for food, villagers fight to defend their farms, resulting in brutal violence. Elephants have been under attack for decades from a range of human threats: poachers in the ivory trade, circuses, zoos, tourist entertainment industries, and the destruction of their forest habitats. Increasingly desperate for survival, elephants are forced to search for food outside the territory left to them. In Africa, elephants have even begun to adapt to a nocturnal lifestyle in order to avoid...

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3D Printed Human Skin Could Help End Animal Testing

3D printers are doing amazing things. They’re creating “mini body organs,” producing prosthetics, building houses and printing human skin. This groundbreaking technology, specifically in creating mini body organs and human skin, is making huge strides in the effort to abolish laboratory animal testing. Carolina Catarino, a Brazilian scientist whose trials utilize 3D printed skin to advance cruelty-free research, just won the 2017 Lush Prize awarded for innovations in the fight against animal testing. While earning a Biomedical Engineering degree, Catarino had an internship at L’Oreal in Paris, where she worked with lab grown skin. Traditional animal tests begin with a piece of...

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