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The Amazon is flooding five times more often than it used to

The Amazon is flooding five times more often than it used to

Science
Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The Amazon, the world's largest river, is flooding five times more frequently than it did 100 years ago. Scientists in England, Chile and Brazil analyzed river level records dating back more than a century. The data showed extreme floods -- when water levels rise at least 95 feet, triggering an emergency declaration in the city of Manaus -- occurred approximately once every 20 years during the first half of the 20th century. Today, extreme floods occur every four years. "Increases of severe droughts in the Amazon have received a lot of attention by researchers," Jonathan Barichivich, researcher at the Austral University of Chile, said in a news release. "However, what really stands out from this long-term river record is the increase in the frequency and severity of the ...
Why do we hate wasps and love bees?

Why do we hate wasps and love bees?

Science
A new study reveals that wasps are largely disliked by the public, whereas bees are highly appreciated. The researchers involved say that this view is unfair because wasps are just as ecologically useful as bees. The scientists suggest a public relations campaign to restore the wasps' battered image.They'd like to see the same efforts made to conserve them as there currently are with bees.The survey of 750 people from 46 countries has been published in Ecological Entomology.Despised by picnickers, feared for their painful stings - wasps are among the least loved of insects according to the new study. In the survey, participants were asked to rate the insects on a scale...
Why songbirds can overeat and not get fat

Why songbirds can overeat and not get fat

Science
Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Songbirds living near bird feeders have access to an unlimited supply of food, and yet, they never seem to gain weight. According to research published this week in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, instead of precisely controlling food intake, songbirds may be able to adjust the way their bodies use energy. "The passerine birds at the bird feeders near my home never seem to get fat despite having this buffet constantly available to them, but there are people who get heavy when exposed to that kind of all-you-can-eat environment," Lewis Halsey, an environmental biologist at the University of Roehampton, said in a news release. Halsey argues there is more to weight control than calorie intake. Birds with access to bird feeders may increase their exercise by sin...
Solar Orbiter: Spacecraft to leave UK bound for the Sun

Solar Orbiter: Spacecraft to leave UK bound for the Sun

Science
It's taken a little longer than expected but the Solar Orbiter probe is built and ready to begin testing. UK engineers are putting the finishing touches to the satellite this week before sending it to Germany to begin a year-long test campaign. Such attention to detail is necessary because of the punishing conditions the spacecraft will experience when studying our star's inner workings. SolO is going to fly to within 43 million km of the solar surface. In doing so, the heatshield on the front of the European Space Agency (Esa) satellite will have to cope with temperatures of up to 600C. If you're thinking, "but I thought we just launched a probe to study the Sun" - you'd be right. That was the US space agency's (Nasa) Parker sat...
Elon Musk unveils first tourist for SpaceX 'Moon loop'

Elon Musk unveils first tourist for SpaceX 'Moon loop'

Science
Elon Musk's company SpaceX has unveiled the first private passenger it plans to fly around the Moon.Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, 42, announced: "I choose to go to the Moon."The mission is planned for 2023, and would be the first lunar journey by humans since 1972.But it is reliant on a rocket that has not been built yet, and Mr Musk cautioned: "It's not 100% certain we can bring this to flight."The man hoping to become world's first moon touristThe announcement was made at SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Tuesday. The company said the flight on board the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) - a launch system that was unveiled by Mr Musk in 2016 - represented...