For world’s poorest, coronavirus loss of income threatens ability to eat

Urgent action is needed to feed people who can no longer buy food due to the pandemic and loss of income and to prevent hunger levels from soaring, say experts. Image credit - Pixabay/tyaqakk, licenced under Pixabay licence

by Alex Whiting The world’s poorest – who have lost their incomes from illness or because of lockdowns – are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and, unless they receive enough support, hunger levels will soar and some countries may see rising violence, experts say. Already 135 million people are on the brink of starvation … Read more

Biodegradable glitter and pollution-eating microalgae: the new materials inspired by nature

The reflected colour of the marble berry differs from cell to cell, giving it a striking appearance. Image credit - Juliano Costa/Wikimedia, licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0

The iridescence of marble berries and the clever, light-bending perforations of microalgae are some lessons from nature that scientists are drawing upon to create biodegradable glitter and makeup pigments, and bionic algae to use in lasers or to clean pollutants. Nature has spent millions of years evolving answers to problems. It has come up with ingenious solutions … Read more

The dangers of misinformation and neglecting linguistic minorities during a pandemic

Advice on policies such as 'social distancing' can become lost in translation during crises, say researchers. Image credit - Città di Parma/Flickr, licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0

By Fintan Burke The rapidly changing coronavirus pandemic means governments and health authorities need to act fast. But medical advice — and pleas for help — are being hindered by language barriers and misinformation online. Improving communication for vulnerable communities in particular has become a race against time. The pandemic has now led to roughly half … Read more

Solving an ancient dairy mystery could help cure modern food ills

Studying the culture of Mongolian herders may help crack the mystery of why humans started consuming animal milk before populations evolved to be able to digest it. Image credit - Matthäus Rest

by Alex Whiting Genghis Khan’s conquering armies fed on dried curd as they crossed the vast steppes of Eurasia, ancient Romans imported pungent cheeses from France, and Bedouin tribes crossing the Arabian Desert have for centuries survived on camel’s milk. Dairy has been central to people’s existence since at least 6,500 years BC. But a mystery … Read more

Our top 12 science facts from 2019

Image credits - PlanetMallika/ Pixabay; Pablo Trincado, licensed under CC BY 2.0; Image credit - Pixnio/ Janice Haney Carr, Jeff Hageman, M.H.S, USCDCP, licensed under CC0; Virpi Lummaa

by Josefine Kroll From bacterial invisibility cloaks to unexpected dinosaur colors, Horizon uncovered some fascinating facts in 2019. Here are our 12 favourites. 1. Meerkats live in cooperative societies where only one female is allowed to breed  2. There may be no free-flowing rivers left in Europe 3. Our idea of dinosaur colours may be completely wrong 4. Elephants … Read more