Science and Technology

Fracking Fractures Argentina’s Energy Development

Unconventional oil and gas reserves in Vaca Muerta in southwest Argentina hold out the promise of energy self-sufficiency and development for the country. But the fracking technique used to extract this treasure from underground rocks could be used at a huge cost.

Ethiopia Shoots for the Stars and Galaxies as it Aims to Become Space Science Hub

High up in the eucalyptus-strewn Entoto Mountains, which overlook the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, work is nearly complete on the country’s first observatory. Studying the stars and the galaxies will be vital for this Horn of Africa nation’s development and will hopefully also go a long way to developing brotherly love, say scientists who are part of the project.

Q&A: Weather Forecasts to Prevent Strokes and Asthma Attacks in Cuba

A biometeorological forecast model developed in Cuba to sound the alert on weather conditions that exacerbate chronic diseases like asthma, hypertension and vascular disorders could also help predict the impacts of climate change on health.

Mexicans Develop Drones for Peace

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones, have earned a bad reputation due to their controversial use by the United States in its “war on terrorism”, yet they have almost unlimited potential as tools for scientific research.

Occupation Can’t Stifle Innovation

Afnan Hamad stands proudly in front of a booth at the Ramallah Cultural Palace exhibition hall, three plastic bottles filled with discoloured liquid on the table in front of her.

Rights Groups Call for Ban on Futuristic Killer Robots

The predator drone - an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) - is one of the relatively new lethal weapons used by the United States for targeted killings of suspected terrorists, particularly in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Nanotechnology Could Lighten Venezuela’s Oil Footprint

Venezuela is studying the use of nanotechnology as a means of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases caused by the oil industry.

Brazil Embarks on Cloning of Wild Animals

Brazilian scientists are attempting to clone animals in danger of extinction, like the jaguar and maned wolf, although the potential impact on the conservation of these threatened species is still not clear.

Improving the efficiency of small pumps could contribute to making irrigation viable for smallholder farmers. Credit: Busani Bafana/IPS

Q&A: Smallholder Farmers Driving New Trend Against Climate Change

Small-scale irrigation schemes can provide the biggest opportunity for boosting food security in Africa, according to Meredith Giordano, the research director at the International Water Management Institute.

mar_crecido_Cuba_Jorge_Luis_BaniosIPS

Norwegian Study Calls for Research on Natural Causes of Climate Change

While there is no doubt that global warming is primarily a consequence of human activities, it is also true that there are natural phenomena contributing to climate change as well.

Scientists Urge Reform for a Broken Global System

Unless governments work actively to build a brighter future for humanity, climate change, poverty and loss of biodiversity will worsen and continue to exacerbate existing global problems, top scientists warned ministers attending the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) governing council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday.

Building Sustainable Future Needs More Than Science, Experts Say

Contrary to popular belief, humans have failed to address the earth's worsening emergencies of climate change, species' extinction and resource overconsumption not because of a lack of information, but because of a lack of imagination, social scientists and artists say.

R&D Weathers the Crisis

Research and development, unlike other branches of productive activity, is resisting the ravages of one of the worst financial and economic crises to affect the world in the last 80 years.

BPA-free baby bottle. Credit: Photostock

Mexico Ignores Warnings about Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in strong plastics, is banned in baby bottles in Canada and the European Union. But Mexico has made no move to outlaw it from plastic bottles or the lining of food cans, despite the threat to health.

U.S.: Greater Oversight Urged for Human Research in Wake of Scandal

The current U.S. system for protecting the subjects of federally-funded medical research, both in the U.S. and around the world, has room for significant improvements, a presidential bioethics panel concluded late last week.

KENYA: Thirsty Eucalyptus Good for Absorbing Carbon

On a steep slope of land in Thangathi village in Central Province, Kenya, Peter Nyaga surveys his four-year-old eucalyptus woodlot. He calculates the value of every tree on his two-hectare piece of land at maturity in three years.

Protesters rally in Durban on Dec. 3, 2011. Credit: IPS Africa

Draft Climate Deal Dubbed a “Death Sentence for Africa”

No one is happy late Friday at the very contentious U.N. climate talks that went into extra time on Saturday. As the lights flicker on a rainy night here, the partial power failure echoes the failure of the multilateral process, according to civil society and some countries.

The vinchuca bug, which transmits Chagas disease, often lives in cracks in mud walls. Credit: Paul Lowry/CC BY 2.0

BRAZIL: Child-Adapted Formula to Deal Major Blow to Chagas Disease

A new paediatric formulation developed in Brazil holds out hope for a cure for over 90 percent of newborn babies infected with Chagas disease, a parasitic infection endemic in 21 Latin American countries, where it kills more people every year than malaria.

Observing Deforestation from Space

Global climate change can now be observed from space. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) launched a new technology that can survey the world’s forests via satellites and provide a more accurate, global picture of common threats to the environment, such as deforestation, degradation or illegal logging.

CLIMATE CHANGE-AFRICA: Farming By Phone

Francis Mburu used to keep indigenous cattle in Entasopia village in the semi- arid Kajiado region, 160 kilometres southwest of Nairobi. However, increasing temperatures and frequent droughts in Kenya have made this difficult in recent years.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Making a Hot Cup of Rooibos Tea Unaffordable

South Africa’s Rooibos tea has become a popular drink all around the globe. But prices of the herbal brew could shoot up within the next decade, as the Rooibos plant can only grow in one small region in the world – which is severely affected by climate change.

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