Image from Coalition of the Willing web page The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) of Germany has just released an interim report
entitled “Environmental and economic effects of the Copenhagen pledges and more ambitious
emission reduction targets.” The report describes the environmental and
economic effects of the pledges submitted by industrialized and major
developing countries for 2020 under the Copenhagen Accord as quantifiable emission
reductions. Read on to find out more about the report and about an internet
campaign called ‘Coalition of the Willing’ - the really interesting bit of this blog!
“The trouble with the world is not that people know so little, but that they know so many things that ain’t so.” This observation from Mark Twain is one of many illuminating quotes in an examination by Richard Vetterof the power of myth in science and medicine, and the limited power of hard science in dispelling such myths.
Myths are particularly persuasive when they are consistent with pre-existing beliefs, are repeated frequently, and the origins become lost, says Vetter, in a paper in CAB Reviews. Vetter, from the University of California, Riverside, takes as his focus the urban myths that abound regarding spiders.
Be careful to check tuffets before you sit on them
I think everyone would agree that soccer referees have a very difficult job. They have to keep a close eye on a fast-moving game in which incidents often occur away from the ball, and need to make decisions in an instant which in high-profile games will be endlessly dissected by pundits and fans - sometimes for years to come - who have been able to replay the incident from every conceivable camera angle. But are there any factors contributing to errors or perceived bias in refereeing decision, and if so is there anything that can be done about them?
The Hand Picked blog is not perhaps a place where you'd normally expect to find pictures of celebrities. And fear not, we're not going down the route of showbiz gossip. But sometimes celebrity news and serious topics overlap. And the power of celebrity has been harnessed this week to highlight the malaria risk when travelling to the tropics, after British singer and television presenter Cheryl Cole was diagnosed with malaria following a recent trip to Tanzania.
Power an airplane, of course! A team of Swiss engineers, led by Mr. Andre Borschberg and fellow aviator Bertrand Piccard, have been doing just that for the past few years - building an airplane powered entirely by sun energy, which they named ‘Solar Impulse’. The airplane has 12,000 solar cells arranged on its wingspan and the cells collect enough sun energy to power the plane’s batteries for the flight. Read on to find out more about the flight.
Salt reduction is a hot topic at the moment in the US and the UK as officials
react to research that suggests decreasing salt intake could decrease levels of
stroke in the population. Consumers can do a lot to reduce the salt they
consume, but as most of salt consumption comes from eating processed food,
campaigns have also focussed on the food industry. The US has recently seen the launch of the National
Salt Reduction initiative, a campaign that aims to get food companies to
voluntarily reduce salt content in their products, while in the UK recent talks
on salt reduction between the Food Standards Agency (FSA), WHO and the food
industry have just finished. (Photo courtesy UK Salt Manufacturers Association)
How easy is it for the food industry to reduce the salt it uses? What
options are there for reducing salt in processed foods?
Plastiki departing from San Francisco-photo by Catherine Sparks
How about a 20-metre catamaran? That’s what British adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild and his crew of scientists and ecologists are sailing on, from San Francisco to Sydney since mid-March. Read on to find out more about the Plastiki and the expedition.
This blog is contributed by Dr. Arthur Culbert, a member of the Global Health advisory board, and Executive Director of the non-profit organisation Health Literacy Missouri (HLM), USA.
On May 27, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the
National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.The long-awaited action plan is aimed at
making health information and services easier to understand and use. It seeks
to engage organizations, professionals, policymakers, communities, individuals
and families around improving the health literacy of our nation.
The plan comes at an important time. More than 90 million people in the
United States have difficulty understanding and effectively using health
information such as following the directions on prescription drug labels or
understanding insurance forms. However, consumers are increasingly being asked
to take a greater role in managing their health, especially with the recent
passage of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which stresses