Lack of basic research hiding behind 'clean meat' hype

Despite tens of millions of dollars pouring into new technologies, a 'clean' burger remains elusive.

  • Tens of millions of dollars are funding projects to create a consumer-ready lab-grown burger.
  • Despite the hype, experts warn that a lot more research needs to be conducted.
  • Mainstream adoption of plant-based foods, however, is making lab-grown meat a welcome possibility.
Keep reading Show less

A 'vampire' fungus has killed millions of bats since 2006. Here's why it matters.

White-nose syndrome is nearly as lethal to bats as the Black Plague was for humans.

Photo by Igam Ogam on Unsplash
  • White-nose syndrome has killed at least 6.7 million bats, though this estimate was made in 2012, and the current figure is almost certainly much higher.
  • Bats serve a crucial role in our ecosystem and economy, and white-nose syndrome is already pushing many species to the brink of extinction.
  • Researchers and scientists are working hard to develop novel methods to cure white-nose syndrome; a few methods have shown promise, but none have yet been deployed in the field.
Keep reading Show less
Photo credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
  • A report from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, found that organic food production leads to higher carbon emissions.
  • This includes livestock as well as vegetables, as organic farming requires no fertilizer usage.
  • Certain types of organic foods are less impactful than others, the researchers note.
Keep reading Show less

New software could save 745 species in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest without hurting agribusiness

"This is a great example of a forest restoration plan which is both good for the people and good for nature," one researcher said.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
  • Brazil's Atlantic Forest is one of the world's most biodiverse regions, but relentless deforestation threatens hundreds of species of plants and animals.
  • Recently, a team of researchers created a computer program designed to optimize how forest land can best be used.
  • The approach could be used by governments and organizations in other parts of the world to maximize biodiversity gains while minimizing economic losses.
Keep reading Show less

The truth about panda sex

Zoologist Lucy Cooke explains why humans are totally wrong about panda sex, and why captive breeding backfires.

  • We humans love to hear about how utterly useless pandas are at sex. 'They won't breed to save their species!' Except that's not true at all, says zoologist Lucy Cooke.
  • Wild pandas are extremely virile — their sperm is 10 to 100 times more dense than human sperm — and pandas in the wild have been observed having sex 40 times in a single afternoon.
  • In this comprehensive and fascinating talk, Cooke explains the panda mating ritual ("a sort of urinary Olympics"), why captive breeding has created a second kind of panda that struggles to survive in the wild, and she reveals what humans can really do help: stop micromanaging pandas' sex lives.
Keep reading Show less