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Bipartisan group defends sequoia tree bill in California despite environmental groups’ opposition

Bipartisan group defends sequoia tree bill in California despite environmental groups’ opposition

Science
June 23 (UPI) -- A bipartisan trio of lawmakers defended the "Save Our Sequoias Act" on Thursday despite more than 80 environmental groups signing a letter to Congress opposing the act earlier this month. The bill introduced on Wednesday is aimed at expediting reforestation and protection efforts in California's Sequoia National Forest. But more than 80 environmental organizations signed a letter to members of Congress earlier this month, arguing that the bill could do even more damage to giant sequoias by weakening environmental regulations. "Protecting the iconic Giant Sequoias is an important goal, but this legislation would weaken existing environmental law to expedite potentially harmful logging projects that undermine the ecological integrity of sequoia groves and will do nothing to...
Huge plan to map the DNA of all life in British Isles

Huge plan to map the DNA of all life in British Isles

Science
Tony JolliffeSeventy thousand species.That’s the best guess for the tally of life, including plants, animals and fungi, found in Britain and Ireland.And it’s the target of one of biology's most ambitious projects - scientists want to map the DNA of every single one of these organisms. Having these genomes - each a complete set of genetic information for a species - could transform how we understand the natural world. And there could be benefits for us too in the hunt for nature-inspired medicines and materials.In Plymouth, the starting point for this immense task is some thick, sticky mud.Sediment scooped up from the bottom of the Plymouth Sound has been hoisted onto the deck of the research vessel that belongs to the Marine Biological Association.It's placed in a sieve and hosed off, rev...
Future foods: What you could be eating by 2050

Future foods: What you could be eating by 2050

Science
Getty ImagesScientists have drawn up a list of little-known plants that could be on the menu by 2050.In the future, you could be breakfasting on false banana or snacking on pandanus tree fruit.The Ukraine war has highlighted the dangers of relying on a few globally-traded crops. With 90% of calories coming from just 15 crops, experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London are hunting for ingredients to future-proof our diets. False banana offers hope for warming worldLab-grown meat 'good for planet and health' Fossilised berry clue to plant evolutionClimate change is increasing the risk of severe 'food shocks' where crops fail and prices of staples rise rapidly around the world.Diversifying the food we eat is one of the solutions to alleviating hunger, addressing biodiversity loss, an...
Maine passes first PFAS biosolids ban, taking stand against forever chemicals

Maine passes first PFAS biosolids ban, taking stand against forever chemicals

Science
BANGOR, Maine, May 4 (UPI) -- Maine has become the first state to ban fertilizer using sewage sludge containing "forever chemicals" -- synthetic compounds found in items from food wrappers to carpeting that fail to break down in the environment. The move, along with a ban approved last year on all PFAS-containing products, puts Maine at the forefront of the fight against per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer and high cholesterol. The chemicals accumulate over decades, filtering into soil, water, plants and animals -- and eventually into people's bloodstreams. "Maine is one of the few states that is really taking this problem seriously and taking action to address the issue," Jared Hayes, a policy analyst with the Envi...
Watch live: Rocket Lab plans launch, booster catch with helicopter after days of delays

Watch live: Rocket Lab plans launch, booster catch with helicopter after days of delays

Science
ORLANDO, Fla., May 2 (UPI) -- Unfavorable weather conditions pushed Rocket Lab's 26th launch of an Electron booster to the end of last week, and the company decided to wait for Monday to take a shot at catching the rocket with a helicopter for the first time. With final checks on its recovery system under way, the company now plans for liftoff around 6:41 p.m. EDT from Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The mission, called "There and back again," will mark the first time Rocket Lab has attempted to recover one of its first stage boosters. If recovery with the helicopter is successful, the company also plans to conduct it's first booster offloading, with the aircraft dropping the rocket on to a waiting ship. "We don't usually give mother nature quite so much power over launch timing, but fo...