Tuesday, September 28News That Matters
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Climate change: Whisper it cautiously… there’s been progress in run up to COP26

Climate change: Whisper it cautiously… there’s been progress in run up to COP26

Science
ReutersWith just five weeks left until world leaders gather in Glasgow for a critical climate summit, the BBC's Matt McGrath and Roger Harrabin consider progress made at this week's UN gathering and the outstanding issues that remain.Climate change was the dominant theme at this year's UN General Assembly (UNGA) as countries recognised the seriousness of the global situation. All across the planet, the hallmarks of rising temperatures are being keenly felt with intense wildfires, storms and floods taking place on scales rarely seen.World on course to heat up to dangerous levelsWorld now sees twice as many days over 50CWildlife and plant species decline 'a crisis'Against this backdrop, Boris Johnson told the UN it was "time to grow up" on the climate issue. The prime minister fought to brin...
California fires: General Sherman and other sequoias given blankets

California fires: General Sherman and other sequoias given blankets

Science
AFPFirefighters are wrapping fire-resistant blankets around ancient trees as blazes tear through California's world-famous Sequoia National Park.Officials fear the fire could reach the Giant Forest, a grove of some of the world's biggest trees, within hours.The forest hosts some 2,000 sequoias, including the 275ft (83m) General Sherman, the biggest tree by volume on Earth and about 2,500 years old.The Colony and Paradise fires have been growing for a week.More than 350 firefighters, along with helicopters and water-dropping planes, have been mobilised to battle the blazes.They have wrapped several trees, including the General Sherman, with aluminium foil to protect them.National Park Service"It's a very significant area for many, many people, so a lot of special effort is going into protec...
Global computing’s carbon footprint is bigger than previously estimated

Global computing’s carbon footprint is bigger than previously estimated

Science
Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The world is more online than ever before, and as the digital economy continues to expand, so does the Internet's carbon footprint. According to a new study, published Friday in the journal Patterns, information and communications technology, or ICT for short, is responsible for a greater share of greenhouse gas emissions than previously estimated. When researchers at Lancaster University analyzed earlier attempts to calculate ICT's carbon footprint, they determined scientists had failed to account for the entire life-cycle and supply chain of ICT products and infrastructure. This would include, for example, the emissions produced by makers of ICT components, or the emissions linked with the disposal of ICT products. Scientists have previously pegged ICT's s...
Nanofibers improve face mask filtration, but must be replaced often

Nanofibers improve face mask filtration, but must be replaced often

Science
Sept. 7 (UPI) -- New research, published Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids, suggests the use of nanofibers can improve the filtration efficiency of face masks, but they must be replaced fairly frequently. With COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates spiking across the United States, health officials are once again encouraging people to wear face masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Since the pandemic began, health experts and material scientists have been trying determine the best ways to filter out viral particles. While N95 masks remain the standard for healthcare workers, single-use masks aren't always practical for the general public. While several studies have shown multiple cloth layers -- or combinations of cloth, silk and chiffon -- provide significa...
Archaeologists uncover dynamic human prehistory across the Arabian Peninsula

Archaeologists uncover dynamic human prehistory across the Arabian Peninsula

Science
Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Until now, relatively little was known about early human history on the Arabian Peninsula's vast interior. It turns out, the region was quite a dynamic place. An extensive archaeological survey of the peninsula's interior has turned up the earliest evidence that human habitation in the region dated to 400,000 years ago. The collaborative effort between researchers in Germany and Saudi Arabia -- detailed Wednesday in the journal Nature -- suggests humans moved across the peninsula in waves, each influx bringing a new phase of material culture to the interior. Both archaeological and paleoclimate data suggest the typically arid peninsula experienced periods of increased rainfall, making the region slightly more hospitable for humans moving through the region. I...