News That Matters

Science

Trump puts elephant trophy imports on hold

Trump puts elephant trophy imports on hold

Science
President Donald Trump has suspended the import of elephant hunting trophies, only a day after a ban was relaxed by his administration.Imports of trophies from elephants legally hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe had been set to resume, reversing a 2014 Obama-era ban.But late on Friday, President Trump tweeted the change was on hold until he could "review all conservation facts".The move to relax the ban had sparked immediate anger from animal activists."Your shameful actions confirm the rumours that you are unfit for office," said French actress and animal-rights activist Brigitte Bardot in a letter to President Trump.Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrumpPut big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secret...
Watch: Boston Dynamics robot leaps, does back flips

Watch: Boston Dynamics robot leaps, does back flips

Science
Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Boston Dynamic's humanoid robot is getting more athletic.As evidenced by a new video released this week by the robotics company, the bipedal robot can leap from box to box and perform back flips.Blessing humanoid robots like Boston Dynamic's Atlas with dynamic balance has been an ongoing struggle for robotics engineers.Last year, the Google-owned company put Atlas through an intense bootcamp, tripping and pushing the robot as part of training exercises to improve the robot's balance. Their efforts paid off. Videos from the bootcamp showed Atlas trekking across rocky, uneven terrain.Now, with improved balance, Atlas has expanded its range of motion.Atlas is one of nine specialized robots being developed by Boston Dynamic. The company describes Atlas as the "world's most dyn...
Whether for recreation or sustenance, seagrass proves vital to fishing around the globe

Whether for recreation or sustenance, seagrass proves vital to fishing around the globe

Science
Nov. 17 (UPI) -- New research reveals the importance seagrass plays as host to fishing activity.When scientists looked at seagrasses and marine meadows around the globe, they found high levels of fishing activity are constant.The research -- published this week in the journal Fish & Fisheries -- suggests scientists need to consider how to protect and manage seagrass ecosystems in order to promote healthier, more sustainable fisheries."If there is seagrass and people there is most certainly fishing," Lina Mtwana Nordlund, an ecologist at Stockholm University in Sweden, said in a news release. "It doesn't matter if it is a country with high or low human development, fishing occurs. But the reasons for fishing and the target species vary."In less developed nations, seagrass tends to host ...
Small steps forward as UN climate talks end in Bonn

Small steps forward as UN climate talks end in Bonn

Science
UN climate talks in Bonn have concluded with progress on technical issues, but with bigger questions about cutting carbon unresolved. Delegates say they are pleased that the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement is finally coming together. But these technical discussions took place against the backdrop of a larger battle about coal, oil and gas. It means that next year's conference in Poland is set for a major showdown on the future of fossil fuels.This meeting, known as COP23, was tasked with clarifying complex operational issues around the workings of the Paris climate agreement. One of the most important elements was the development of a process that would help countries to review and ratchet up their commitments to cut carbon.Fiji, holding the presidency of this meeting, proposed wh...
Ring-tailed lemurs engage in stink-flirting to attract mates

Ring-tailed lemurs engage in stink-flirting to attract mates

Science
Nov. 17 (UPI) -- For ring-tailed lemurs, flirting is foul affair. Males perform a mating ritual involving the spraying of a stinky scent. New research suggests the performances can earn mates, but also inspire enemies.The behavior is called stink-flirting, and the latest study -- published this week in the American Journal of Primatology -- is one of the first to take a in-depth look at the unique act.Lemurs perform other types of scent marking, but the latest research suggests stink-flirting is the most offensive."These males are met with higher levels of aggression than if they were to do other types of scent-marking, so there's definitely something unique about this type of behavior," Amber Walker-Bolton, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, said in a news releas...