Europe faces allergy epidemic
Half of all Europeans may be suffering from some sort of allergy by 2015 if the escalating epidemic, which is responsible for millions of children missing school and being hospitalised and for adults staying off work, remains unchecked, scientists believe.
( The Guardian )
Fuel spill strikes World Heritage site
A spill of 13,000 litres of diesel fuel into New Zealand’s pristine Milford Sound is being investigated by police as a deliberate act of sabotage. The spill was discovered at 0600 local time on Sunday by the crew of the tourist boat Milford Monarch. A hose had been connected to the boat’s fuel tank, causing the fuel to gush into the fjord and form a two-kilometre-long slick.
( New Scientist )
Row over Hubble telescope erupts again
Shuttle astronauts would be just as safe going to the Hubble Space Telescope as they would be on a mission to the International Space Station, according to two leaked documents reportedly written by Nasa engineers. The surfacing of the documents has reignited the debate over Nasa's controversial cancellation of a 2006 mission to service and upgrade Hubble, mainly on the grounds of astronaut safety.
( New Scientist )
Rover Photographs Rocky Mars Crater
Nasa's Opportunity rover has embarked on a "scoot and shoot" on Mars, driving counterclockwise around the rocky inner perimeter of a crater while photographing it in detail. Scientists likened Opportunity 's landing to a hole-in-one in golf: The air bag-cushioned rover bounced and rolled across the martian surface right into a small crater.
( ABC News )
Treaty to safeguard sea eco-systems
This week in London, more than 100 countries, including Britain, are expected to sign a UN treaty regulating the management of ballast water by vessels around the world. Its aim is to halt the spread of aquatic organisms, from jellyfish to crabs, from algae to mussels, which can be devastating in new ecosystems, when discharged with ballast water at a ship's destination.
( The Independent )
When bed rest is bad for you
Bed rest is prescribed for medical problems ranging from some surgical procedures to high-risk pregnancies and flu. But while its general benefits are not in doubt, too long spent recovering in bed may in some cases cause more problems than it relieves. Researchers at the New England Medical Centre at Tufts University, Boston, say it can even be a “medical disaster”.
( The Times )
NGOs urge biodiversity progress
Delegates at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Malaysia this week have been urged by activist groups and international NGOs to take positive action on biodiversity issues. The 7th meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which runs from the 9th – 20th February in Kuala Lumpur, will see discussions on mountain ecosystems, protected areas, preservation of biodiversity and technological co-operation.
( Green Consumer Guide )