House plants do not purify the air, study shows

Beautiful? Yes. Air purifiers? Not so fast.

Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash
  • A new meta-analysis at Drexel University shows that house plants are not effective for purifying the air of toxins.
  • A 1989 NASA report that claimed indoor plants are purifying was not conducted in realistic living conditions.
  • Indoor plants have positive effects on our mental health, just not in regards to air quality.
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The platypus is headed for extinction, warn Australian scientists

Australia's beloved and bizarre egg-laying mammal could start vanishing in coming years if current trends continue.

  • Platypuses are nocturnal, semiaquatic animals that are endemic to Australia and Tasmania.
  • A new study suggests that the species could lose half its population over the next 50 years, due mainly to drought, human development and climate change.
  • In 2019, the United Nations reported that some 1 million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction.
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Some shark species have evolved to walk

The relatively quick evolution of nine unusual shark species has scientists intrigued.

Image source: Mark Erdmann
  • Living off Australia and New Guinea are at least nine species of walking sharks.
  • Using fins as legs, they prowl coral reefs at low tide.
  • The sharks are small, don't be frightened.
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20 inspiring nature words you didn't know you needed

Hundreds more are documented in Robert Macfarlane's Landmarks.

Photo: Ahmed Saeed / Unsplash
  • In Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane revives hundreds of nearly-forgotten words to remind us of our relationship with nature.
  • New dictionaries are deleting nature words while adding technology terms, which Macfarlane states further separates us from the environment.
  • The words we speak shape the reality we understand, making it essential to aptly describe what is happening on the planet.
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Choosing new 'umbrella' species in Australia could save many others

Is the way we choose which animals to protect out of date?

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
  • "Umbrella" species are animals selected for protection because doing so protects other species in the habitat.
  • However, there may be a better, more efficient way of picking umbrella species: ignoring shared habitats and focusing instead on shared threats.
  • Using this new methodology, researchers discovered that seven times as many species could be protected using the same budget.
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