Science Education & Policy

Being a green consumer is hard work, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The study highlights a need for more practical help and incentives for green consumers, if we are to achieve a more sustainable society.

The University of Leeds-led study found that consumers who try to live a sustainable lifestyle have difficulty deciding which product to buy. "Consumers find that being green or ethical is a very hard, time consuming, and emotional experience," says Dr William Young.

 In The Sunday Times Nigel Calder writes:
When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.

Archaeologists are now turning to forensic crime lab techniques to hunt for dyes, paint, and other decoration in prehistoric textiles.

Although ancient fabrics can offer clues about prehistoric cultures, often their colors are faded, patterns dissolved, and fibers crumbling. Forensic photography can be used as an inexpensive and non-destructive tool to analyze these artifacts more efficiently, according to new Ohio State University research.


An image of a Hopewell textile retrieved from Ohio Seip burial mounds in southern Ohio using ultraviolet reflectance. (From photos by Christel Baldia and Kathryn Jakes; reprinted from The Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol.

Temperatures are rising on Earth, which is heating up the debate over global warming and the future of our planet, but what may be needed most to combat global warming is a greater focus on adapting to our changing planet, says a team of science policy experts writing in this week's Nature magazine.

While many consider it taboo, adaptation to global climate change needs to be recognized as just as important as "mitigation," or cutting back, of greenhouse gases humans pump into Earth's atmosphere. The science policy experts, writing in the Feb.

An international team of scientists has discovered that the ubiquitous bacteria that causes most painful stomach ulcers has been present in the human digestive system since modern man migrated from Africa over 60,000 years ago. The research, published online (7 February) by the journal Nature, not only furthers our understanding of a disease causing bacteria but also offers a new way to study the migration and diversification of early humans.


A cell of H.pylori, a bacterial pathogen of the human stomach. The curved shape of the cell, and its bundle of flagella which enable it to wriggle through mucus covering the cells lining the stomach, can be seen clearly. (Image Credit: Dr.

Expectant parent' desire to see images of their unborn children has given rise to commercial companies offering keepsake ultrasound scans without medical supervision, often referred to as "boutique ultrasonography."

In a special report in this week's British Medical Journal, journalist Geoff Watts considers whether this non-medical use of the technique can be justified.

Improvements in ultrasound technology have transformed antenatal scans from two dimensional black and white images to 3D, 4D and even moving pictures of the unborn child.

The time is ripe for scientific organizations to adopt codes of ethics, according to a scientist and bioethicist from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the current issue of Science and Engineering Ethics.

"Medical practice and human subject research is influenced by the Hippocratic tradition," said Nancy L. Jones, Ph.D., "but no similar code of ethics has been formalized for the life and biomedical sciences.

In releasing its latest comprehensive report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) focuses an important spotlight on the current state of the Earth’s climate.

Climate change is just one of the many symptoms exhibited by a planet under pressure from human activities. "Global environmental change, which includes climate change, threatens to irreversibly alter our planet," says Kevin Noone, Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP).

Polar bear on ice. (Image Credit: Dan Crosbie, courtesy of Canadian Ice Service / Environment Canada)

The first major global assessment of climate change science in six years has concluded that changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps show unequivocally that the world is warming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that major advances in climate modelling and the collection and analysis of data now give scientists “very high confidence” (at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct) in their understanding of how human activities are causing the world to warm.

Groundhogs and other hibernators take a very sensible approach to winter: They slip into a state of suspended animation and let the worst of the cold weather pass.

The cold prompts profound physiological changes in these animals, causing their normally fast metabolism to come almost to a stop during winter. With metabolism slowed to a crawl, the animal draws on its fat stores sparingly to make it through the winter.

Hibernation has become the focus of interesting physiological research. A hibernating squirrel's heart may fall from 300 beats per minute to just three per minute. Its oxygen consumption can drop to just 2% of normal.