Category: Tech

Heatwave: think it’s hot in Europe? The human body is already close to thermal limits elsewhere

I am a scientist who researches climate hazards. This week I have published research on the potential for a catastrophic cyclone-heatwave combo in the global south. Yet over the past few days I have been approached by various media outlets to talk not about that hazard, but about the unfolding UK heatwave and climate change. It is always satisfying to respond to public interest around weather extremes, but there is a danger that key messages about extreme heat globally are not receiving enough airtime.

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Sharks: one in four habitats in remote open ocean threatened by longline fishing

Unlike the many species which stalk the shallow, coastal waters that fisheries exploit all year round, pelagic sharks roam the vast open oceans. These are the long-distance travellers of the submarine world and include the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, and also one of the fastest fish in the sea, the shortfin mako shark, capable of swimming at 40mph.

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Ancient DNA is revealing the origins of livestock herding in Africa

Visitors to East Africa are often amazed by massive herds of cattle with a gorgeous array of horn, hump and coat patterns. Pastoralism – a way of life centered around herding – is a central part of many Africans’ identity. It’s also a key economic strategy that is now threatened by climate change, rising demands for meat, urban sprawl and land conflicts.

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Genetic risk tests are now widely available, but they aren’t always useful – and could even be harmful

Genetic testing used to be something that happened in a specialist clinic for those few families that had serious inherited conditions, like Huntington’s Disease or rare cancers.
Now, new genetic tests called “polygenic risk scores” have increased access to genetic risk information for a wide range of conditions. With a few clicks of a mouse and a few hundred dollars, anyone can access their or their genetic risk scores for diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, autism, and schizophrenia.

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Youth have a love-hate relationship with tech in the digital age

Young people are now fully ensconced in the digital age as it whirls around and within them.
This is the epoch of the Anthropocene — the age of humans, wherein a technological worldview and human tools hold the central place in re-shaping the earth and its people. It’s also a time when 1.8 billion youth make up the largest generation of 10 to 24 year olds in human history with 50 per cent of the world’s population under 30 years of age.

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