Archive for 2001

Male Gorillas Make a Splash to Woo Females, New Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 19, 2001   View Article

Cannonball!

Scientists have found that male gorillas in the forests of northern Congo (Brazzaville) deliberately splash about in swampland clearings to intimidate their competitors in the battle to woo female companions.

The discovery is the first evidence of a wild animal using its body to manipulate water for a visual effect.

New Clock Will Lead to More Accurate Measure of Time

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 13, 2001   View Article

Never be late again.

Scientists who specialize in the accuracy of time have created a new kind of clock—an optical atomic clock—that “ticks” one million billion times per second and is at least 20 times more stable than current atomic clocks that are based on microwaves.

The technological breakthrough is like acquiring a fine-grain view of nature, say its creators.

Book Report: Mummies Reflect Primal Urge to Extend Human Life

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 9, 2001   View Article

Most humans yearn for immortality. This desire to extend human life is the root of mummification all around the world, says a science journalist who explores the subject in a new book.

“Mummification is closest to [immortality],” says Heather Pringle, a science journalist from Vancouver, Canada. “It is a way of keeping something of us for future generations.”

Studies Measure Capacity of “Carbon Sinks”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 21, 2001   View Article

After years of wide disagreement, scientists are getting a better grip on how much carbon Earth’s forests and other biological components suck out of the atmosphere, thus acting as “carbon sinks.” New research in this area may be highly useful in efforts to devise international strategies to address global warming.

The emission of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels is the leading cause of the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which many people believe is the main culprit behind an increase in Earth’s temperatures.

New Mapping Tool Shows Impacts of Development Across the Globe

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 19, 2001   View Article

Step back and take in the big picture. Thousands of scientific studies assess the environmental impacts of a single road, or oil well, or mountain lodge, but the conclusions of these studies are generally disconnected. That is beginning to change.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has developed a global mapping technique, called GLOBIO, that combines these myriad conclusions into a comprehensive picture of the cumulative toll that infrastructure development is having on the planet.

Book Report: Search for Queen of Sheba Lures Writer to Arabian Desert

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 18, 2001   View Article

The Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon takes up 13 lines of the Bible. Those lines created a legend that has spawned thousands of pages of literature, sculptures, paintings, circus acts, operas, and even a restaurant in Houston, Texas.

But did the queen really exist?

Despite Prediction, Viagra Hasn’t Stemmed Trade in Threatened Wildlife

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 31, 2001   View Article

When the male potency drug Viagra came on the market in 1998, conservationists and animal protection groups were hopeful it would produce an unintended side effect: an end to world demand for animal parts—often from endangered species —used as aphrodisiacs.

In the case of harp seals, which are not endangered, anecdotal evidence has suggested that Viagra may have helped to shrink trade in seal genitals used in traditional medicines to enhance male virility. But conservationists and others caution against overstating the significance of such evidence, saying the link is tenuous.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach