Latest posts in Science Matters
Scientists often come up with new discoveries, technologies or theories. But sometimes they rediscover what our ancestors already knew. A couple of recent findings show we have a lot to learn from our forebears — and nature — about bugs.
Modern methods of controlling pests have consisted mainly of poisoning them with chemicals. But that's led to problems. Pesticides kill far more than the bugs they target, and pollute air, water and soil. As we learned with the widespread use of DDT to control agricultural pests and mosquitoes, chemicals can bioaccumulate, meaning molecules may concentrate hundreds of thousands of times up the food web — eventually reaching people.
My parents lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s and were profoundly affected by it. They taught us to work hard to earn a living, live within our means, save for tomorrow, share and not be greedy and help our neighbours because one day we might need their help. Those homilies and teachings seem quaint in today's world of credit cards, hyper-consumption and massive debt.Continue reading »
Some people think a widespread shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources is not practical or even possible. You've probably heard the arguments: wind doesn't always blow, sun doesn't always shine, the technology's not advanced enough, installations take up too much space, we need sources of baseload power that can only come from fossil fuels or nuclear power. And so we carry on, rushing to squeeze every last drop of oil and gas from the ground using increasingly difficult and destructive methods like fracking, deep-sea drilling and oil sands extraction, with seemingly little concern for what we'll do after we've burned it all.Continue reading »
Is your office bad for your health and well-being? Unfortunately, a growing body of scientific evidence says yes.
The modern workday pose — fingers on keyboard, slight slouch, glassy eyes fixed on glowing screen, bathed in unnatural light — can drain vitality, happiness and creativity. Designed to maximize efficiency, this sterile setup actually reduces productivity and job satisfaction.
Opposition to windmills often centres on health effects, but what is it about wind power that causes people to feel ill? According to recent research, it may not be the infrasound from wind-energy installations but, oddly enough, the warnings from opponents.Continue reading »