With the world’s oceans becoming choked with plastic, it’s easy to see that it’s probably not a good thing. And when scientists in Australia found that corals on the Great Barrier Reef readily eat micro-plastic pollution, they were concerned. The reef is already threatened by the effects of climate change, problems from land-based run-offs, fishing, and expanding coastal development.
“Corals are non-selective feeders and our results show that they can consume microplastics when the plastics are present in seawater. If microplastic pollution increases on the Great Barrier Reef, corals could be negatively affected as their tiny stomach-cavities become full of indigestible plastic” said Dr. Mia Hoogenboom, a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and a lead author of the study
Proving that it is not impossible to be kicked off the police force for attacking someone, a Florida police dog has been taken off K9 duty after biting a doughnut shop employee, three months after biting another officer.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Renzo, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, escaped from a Coconut Creek police cruiser and attacked a doughnut shop employee last week, biting him on the calf.
Last November, Renzo bit a police officer while he was tracking a suspect, wounding the officer’s leg.
AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.
The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands that makes the chips used in mobile phones and next-generation credit cards. Among its clients are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers around the world. The company operates in 85 countries and has more than 40 manufacturing facilities. One of its three global headquarters is in Austin, Texas and it has a large factory in Pennsylvania.
In all, Gemalto produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year. Its motto is “Security to be Free.”
A prominent academic and climate change denier’s work was funded almost entirely by the energy industry, receiving more than $1.2m from companies, lobby groups and oil billionaires over more than a decade, newly released documents show.
Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, received a total of $1.25m from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and a foundation run by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, the documents obtained by Greenpeace through freedom of information filings show.
According to the documents, the biggest single funder was Southern Company, one of the country’s biggest electricity providers that relies heavily on coal.
The documents draw new attention to the industry’s efforts to block action against climate change – including President Barack Obama’s power-plant rules.
Unlike the vast majority of scientists, Soon does not accept that rising greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial age are causing climate changes. He contends climate change is driven by the sun.
Last week I wrote about a snail with an iron-plated shell that lives around deep-sea hydrothermal vents, where the water tops 750 degrees F and toxic chemicals swirl. They’re about as close to hell as you can get on Earth. But down in Antarctica, there’s a polar-opposite (yeesh) ecosystem of brutally low temperatures, damn near 28.4 degrees F—the freezing point of seawater.
Yet even there, life flourishes. And one group of fishes, the notothenioids, swims in those frigid waters nearly carefree, thanks to very special blood loaded with antifreeze. Some of these fish have even done away with oxygen-carrying red blood cells altogether, adopting thin, crystal-clear blood that doesn’t get as viscous as the temperatures drop. These fishes are tougher than you. So much tougher than you.
Several important fish species that for centuries have been part of the staple diet of people in the Mediterranean region are abandoning sub-tropical seas because the water is too warm and are heading north.
Sardines, which for generations have been the most abundant commercial fish species in Portugal, are moving away. They are now established in the North Sea, and are being caught in the Baltic—a sea that until recently was normally frozen over in the winter.
Sardines, anchovies and mackerel—three fish species that are important in the diet of many southern European and North African countries—have been studied by scientists trying to discover how climate change and warming seas are affecting their distribution.
As well as the affect on the fishing industry, the abundance or disappearance of these species is crucial for many other marine species that rely on them for food.
A pioneering study, published in Global Change Biology, analysed 57,000 fish censuses conducted over 40 years, and has tracked the movement of these fish during this period.
It confirms that the continued increase in water temperature has altered the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems across the world. But it also shows that the effect has been greater in the North Atlantic, with increases of up to 1.3 ºC in the average temperature over the last 30 years.