Eliminating coal, oil and natural gas is the easy part of fighting climate change – Johan Rockström

To stop climate change, it is not enough to eliminate the use of fossil fuels like brown coal, says Prof Rockström.

by Annette Ekin To avoid climate breakdown, eliminating fossil fuels is the easy part, according to Professor Johan Rockström, co-director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. He says that safeguarding biological resources such as water, soil and biodiversity will be the ultimate test of whether global warming targets can be reached. … Read more

Crash test dummies based on older bodies could reduce road fatalities

Because safety needs change as drivers' bodies age, researchers have created a new type of crash test dummy based on people over the age of 65.

Europe’s population is ageing rapidly, yet the majority of car safety equipment is tested using dummies modelled on people under the age of 65. Now researchers are developing vehicles and equipment designed specifically for the physical attributes and abilities of older bodies. When looking at the bare statistics, Europe’s roads seem to be getting safer. Over … Read more

Shelters with echoes thought to be preferred sites for prehistoric rock art

Scientists believe that rock art sites were chosen for their visual and acoustic properties.

The acoustic qualities of a rock shelter may have been a key factor in its selection as a site for rock art and indicate a spiritual significance to the practice, according to a recent study, while scientists are also looking into whether some caves were chosen as artistic sites because of the view. Professor Margarita … Read more

Skeleton teeth and historical photography are retelling the story of the plague

Scientists have unearthed photographs taken in countries including China during third plague pandemic, which killed 12 million people between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries.

New portraits of the evolution of some of history’s deadliest pandemics have been created through analysis of thousands of skeletons and new collections of historical photographs – and the results could indicate how similar diseases may evolve in the future. Genetic material from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and the plague leave fossil traces of … Read more