Joe Turner on Muck Rack

Joe Turner

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Don't put irrigation above drinking water scidev.net

Don't put irrigation above drinking water

Water policies and technologies aiming to help meet sustainable development goals (SDGs) must rebalance the attention given to agriculture over drinking water, a report issued last week (15 May) has found. The Water for Food Security and Nutrition report was commissioned by the Committee for World Food Security, a UN body based in Rome. It makes eight recommendations, saying that better access to technologies could make water use in farming more efficient, as well as improving access to drinking water for disadvantaged people. The report warns that population growth and climate change will put more strain on freshwater supplies, particularly in low-rainfall areas like Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

June 28, 2015 Go to Article

Handwashing with soap slashes gut worm infections scidev.net

Handwashing with soap slashes gut worm infections

Encouraging handwashing can slash the prevalence of worm infections in children, a study in Ethiopia has found. The six-month trial, published today in PLOS Medicine , found that regularly cleaning the hands with soap reduced new infections by intestinal parasites by 68 per cent. Weekly nail clipping reduced such infections by 49 per cent. The researchers also found that handwashing lowered children's rates of anaemia. The team of scientists split school-aged children into four treatment groups. One group received weekly nail clipping, one received soap and regular reminders to wash their hands, one received both treatments and a control group received neither intervention.

June 28, 2015 Go to Article

Women's healthcare remains poorer than men's scidev.net

Women's healthcare remains poorer than men's

By Joe Turner Women's life expectancy is increasing, but maternal health and non-communicable diseases still threaten their lives disproportionately, according to two compilations of the latest health research. Part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, published in The Lancet this month (7 June), tracked the trends of 301 causes of disease and injury from 188 countries between 1990 and 2013. It found that women in developing countries still face unequal access to healthcare and often receive poor service.

June 28, 2015 Go to Article

Europe's rare earth deposits could shore up tech industry horizon-magazine.eu

Europe's rare earth deposits could shore up tech industry

Rare earth elements are an essential ingredient of many of today's technologies, from hybrid cars to wind turbines and laptop computers. Currently, all of Europe's demand is met by imports from elsewhere in the world, and more than 90 % of global rare earth supplies come from China. However, according to scientists working in the field, Europe has enough rare earth deposits to become self-sufficient, if only we had the capability to mine and extract them. That is why researchers across Europe and neighbouring countries are working together to identify deposits and improve extraction techniques.

March 8, 2015 Go to Article

Fill up your gas tank with bamboo? news.sciencemag.org

Fill up your gas tank with bamboo?

2014 was a banner year for making automotive fuel from nonfood crops, with a series of major new production plants opening in the United States. However, producing this so-called cellulosic ethanol remains considerably more expensive than gasoline. So researchers are always on the lookout for new ways to trim costs. Now they have a new lead, a microbe that can use abundant nitrogen gas as the fertilizer it needs to produce ethanol from plants. The discovery is "a major commercial accomplishment for biofuel production," says Steven Ricke, a microbiologist and editor of a textbook on biofuel production at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, who was not involved in the study.

Jan. 29, 2015 Go to Article

S&T investment needed to hit water SDG targets scidev.net

S&T investment needed to hit water SDG targets

ZARAGOZA] Dedicated investment in science and technology will be needed to have any chance of reaching the proposed water and sanitation-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, delegates at the UN-Water conference in Zaragoza, Spain, heard last week. However, the conference (15-17 January) heard that blockages such as corruption, bad governance, poor pay of water facility operators and technicians, broken infrastructure and limited finances prevent existing technologies from being effectively used and hinder the spread of innovation. "There is a lack of scientific and technical knowledge as well as a lack of the spread of [existing] knowledge," Joakim Harlin, a senior water resources advisor at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the coordinator of the UN-Water working group on SDGs, told SciDev.Net.

Jan. 19, 2015 Go to Article

Giant kites on the horizon as energy researchers look skywards horizon-magazine.eu

Giant kites on the horizon as energy researchers look skywards

At ground level, wind does not blow at a consistent speed, but at a height of 1 000 metres or more winds blow at a speed of 10-12 metres per second almost everywhere, all of the time. 'In principle all electricity generation could come from high-altitude wind,' said Professor Moritz Diehl, who leads the European Research Council-funded HIGHWIND project. 'I believe that high-altitude wind power has good potential in Europe.' 'Even if they are only used for 600 hours a year they will still be cheaper than other renewable energy sources.'

Dec. 3, 2014 Go to Article

Complexities of Carbon Lowering the-scientist.com

Complexities of Carbon Lowering

In 2012, a large team of international scientists explained how algal blooms consume atmospheric carbon, which they drag to the sea floor as they sink and die. As The Scientist reported at the time, the results pointed to iron fertilization as a potential geoengineering solution to rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. But a study published last month (November 10) in Nature Geoscience called into question whether this approach would be as effective a carbon sink as initially thought.

Dec. 2, 2014 Go to Article

The changing climate: a burning need for action churchtimes.co.uk

The changing climate: a burning need for action

Politicians have failed to act with enough urgency, argues Joe Turner. Now it is up to ordinary people to make a difference AS THE scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met to discuss the final details of their latest report in Copenhagen earlier this week, several large blocks of ice, imported specially from Greenland for the event, slowly melted outside the city hall. The IPCC report is a synthesis of the evidence accepted by the vast majority of climate scientists to indicate convincingly (most would say "prove") that the climate is being changed, largely as a result of ...

Nov. 14, 2014 Go to Article

PM: Time to get serious on climate change - The Local www.thelocal.dk

PM: Time to get serious on climate change - The Local

Helle Thorning-Schmidt told a sustainability conference on Wednesday that it's time for action on climate change

Climate minister: 'We are in a lot of trouble' www.thelocal.dk

Climate minister: 'We are in a lot of trouble'

Rasmus Helveg Petersen, the minister for climate, energy and buildings, said on Friday that Denmark was at the forefront of action on climate change and that the European Council commitment for 2030 sets the standard for all other countries at the COP21 climate conference in Paris next year.

Oct. 26, 2014 Go to Article

Incorporating Soil Microbes in Climate Change Models www.the-scientist.com

Incorporating Soil Microbes in Climate Change Models

Without a solid understanding of how the soil microbiome contributes to atmospheric carbon, researchers are struggling to determine whether dirt-dwelling bacteria could impact—and be impacted by—climate change.

Sept. 23, 2014 Go to Article

Tsetse genome helping find sleeping sickness cure - Prof. Jan Van Den Abbeele horizon-magazine.eu

Tsetse genome helping find sleeping sickness cure - Prof. Jan Van Den Abbeele

The Tsetse fly is a major problem in Africa carrying a pathogen which causes sleeping sickness.

June 26, 2014 Go to Article

The challenge of joined up thinking on SIDS www.scidev.net

The challenge of joined up thinking on SIDS

By Joe Turner [BRISTOL] More questions than answers emerged last week when I spent a day (17 July) in Bristol at a meeting on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) called 'Living at the sharp end of environmental uncertainty in small island states'. Michael Crossley, who heads a research group at the University of Bristol looking at education in small states, organised the meeting. He told me it was designed to "build bridges" among international agencies, academics and practitioners working on the ground in SIDS and to explore experiences of education and sustainability projects there.

June 22, 2014 Go to Article

Insects can help feed the world - and chickens www.fwi.co.uk

Insects can help feed the world - and chickens

Momentum is building behind the idea of including insects in animal feed as a source of protein, to replace other ingredients such as soyabean meal and fishmeal. Delegates attending the Insects to Feed the World conference in the Netherlands this week heard that insects provide a highly nutritious and digestible source of protein for poultry.

the scientific interloper - observing scientific conferences as an outsider medium.com

the scientific interloper - observing scientific conferences as an outsider

"Food and taste is culture... the majority of the world population do not follow that [the Western trends of food choices] where they have different criteria to assess what is accessible, affordable and tasty, which are completely different to European standards. Let's look at it as a global problem" Dr Paul Vantomme, FAO at a recent conference about edible insects. Are insects as food the future?

May 22, 2014 Go to Article