Various articles on science

Northwest passage now open: shipping boon and global warming evidence?


Sea ice in the Arctic has sunk to its lowest level since satellite record-keeping began, fully opening the most direct route through the Northwest Passage, the European Space Agency said Friday.

The much-coveted shortcut connecting Asia to Europe through the Canadian Arctic has been historically impassable.

This could save around 5,000 kms per trip from Europe to Asia, as opposed to the Panama Canal route. This also adds to the growing evidence of global warming.

University of Guelph intends to identify species via DNA barcoding


The University of Guelph developed a technique called DNA barcoding that can identify species. They intend to catalog the world's estimated 10 million species via this technique.This is cool stuff, given that when I was studying biology in high school and university, identifying a species and putting it in a place in the taxonomy involved morphology and anatomy, and nothing more. Very similar to what Linnaeus did in the 18th century.Now there is a more accurate way!

NASA's Earth Lights map: Interesting observations


NASA's Virtual Earth has many interesting images.One of them is a composite night time earth lights. Some interesting observations on this image:

  • Look at the Nile as it traverses Egypt. See how dense the population is along its shores.
  • The same density is on the southern coast of France, and east coast of Italy, but not to the same continuity on the West coast.

Crayfish introduction to the Nile Delta and its effects


Crayfish are fresh water crustacean that look like a tiny lobster, to which they are closely related. Out of 250 species in the South-East United States, the species Procambarus clarkii, known as Louisiana red swamp crayfish, is the most well known.In places like Louisiana it is farmed commercially and consumed in various dishes.

Egyptian bird flu resistant to Tamiflu


After the worldwide scare of bird flu, Egypt saw several cases. Not surprising since Egypt is on one of the main migratory routes for birds from Europe and Asia south to Africa. The flu is caused by a strain of avian influenza virus called H5N1. Governments have been stockpiling Tamiflu, an oral medication for flu, in anticipation of a worldwide pandemic.

Pseudoscience: Paul Chiasson and the Island of Seven Cities


It seems that Gavin Menzies is not the only person who claims that the Chinese discovered the Americas before Columbus.Paul Chiasson, a Toronto architect and amateur archeologist, claims that some ruins at Cape Breton are indeed due to Chinese navigators who circumnavigated around Africa and came to Cape Breton and settled there. He claims that Mi'kmaq natives were culturally influenced by those alleged Chinese navigators too.

Drinking tea has health benefits


A new study shows that tea is mostly beneficial to the health.Tea cuts down the chances for heart attacks, has flouride in it and hence good for teeth, and has antioxidants in it as well, which although not conclusively cancer-preventing, has other benefits.Tea is also a source of fluid. The myth that tea causes dehydration, because of its caffeine content, has been debunked.All this is good news to me, since tea is my main source of fluid. The only downsides are the caffeine content of tea, which is less than coffee, and its prevention of iron absorption if taken around meal times.

King Tut's Necklace Gem Is Actually Natural Glass From Meteorite Impact


The BBC has an article on how a gem in one of King Tut's necklaces is actually made of natural glass that formed from a meteorite that exploded over the Western Desert.Here is an article on on the crater, called El Kebira ( الكبيرة "The Big" in Arabic), and here is a satellite photo.


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