Reader’s Scigest – 22/12/19

By

Painting a bleak picture for the future of our planet, the World Meteorological Organization announced this week that this decade will have almost certainly been the hottest on record. They also found that 2019 is likely to be the second or third warmest year in history, and some 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, edging closer to the 1.5 degrees Celsius which scientists predict will be catastrophic for the planet.

2019 is likely to be the second or third warmest year in history

As part of the fight against climate change, over a hundred scientists from 25 countries journeyed like Indiana Jones to remote locations around the world to collect more than 370 wild species of crop seeds. Braving blood-sucking leeches and vicious tigers, and travelling by canoe, horse, and even elephant, scientists hope that these relatives of common agricultural seeds will secure the future of basic crops like rice and potatoes by widening the gene pool for growing in increasingly unpredictable conditions.

Our dogs spontaneously listen to us and understand the words we say

A study at the University of Sussex has found that dogs hear words just like humans! As well as recognising each other’s barks, dogs can recognise spoken words in a sophisticated way, filtering out differences in accent and pronunciation. A trait long-thought to be unique to humans, the study shows that our dogs spontaneously listen to us and understand the words we say.

Finally, scientists working in an Antarctic research station found that their brains shrank a bit for science. Blamed on the social isolation and monotonous working environment, parts of the crew’s brains were found to have shrunk by up to 7%. Hopefully those heading off to Palatinalps won’t suffer the same fate. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.