If the word “drone” conjures negative thoughts of spying and remote warfare, here’s something cheerful to contemplate.
Drones and digital tags are helping scientists study humpback whales in remote areas of the Antarctic, where in-person access is limited.
A partnership among Duke University Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab (MaRRS), Friedlaender Lab, California Ocean Alliance, and the World Wildlife Fund is using drone photography to study how the whales feed, how healthy they are, and how they’re being affected by climate change. Drone images are also used to count local populations.
Have you ever heard of National Pollinators Week? Neither had I. Apparently, it’s in June, and after this year’s meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to begin the process of classifying four species of native bumble bees as endangered.
Why does this matter? Wild bees pollinate 80% of crops on our planet, and one out of every three bites of food we eat results from pollination. With California leading the way, it’s hoped that more states will join to protect these fuzzy little creatures.
Two of the four species are named Crotch’s and Suckley. Sounds like a degenerate law firm. Or a strip club.
Scientists have learned what India’s snake charmers have known for years: flute music has calming properties. But it’s not just about stress relief: hearing certain instruments actually improved brain function in premature babies.
Quick — someone please commission this composer to create music for our government buildings!
Bee-lieve it or not, scientists in Finland recently discovered a vaccine that could help save honeybees.
Still undergoing safety tests before it becomes commercially available, the vaccine helps the bee’s immune system identify and fight against harmful diseases, similar to the way antibodies work in our own bodies.
And no, they won’t have to catch the bees and inject them with tiny little needles! The vaccine will be delivered via an edible sugar patty. (I know you were worried.)
Yes, the first hurdle is getting people to actually admit there is such a thing, and that it poses a major threat.
But here’s reason for guarded optimism: According to recent reports, a new technique can convert carbon dioxide back into coal. In theory, this could make huge inroads into eliminating the global dangers of greenhouse gases.
Of course, a massive undertaking would be enormously expensive. But where there’s money to be made, there’s a way.
That alone might convert some skeptics.
Coal: It’s not just for barbecues anymore! Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com