Ten new species found this year : The secret life of plants

Plant collectors have searched for the hidden wonders of the plant world for centuries. Yet plants that are new to science are still being described, at a rate of about 2,000 a year. Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, discovered and named more than 100 new plants in 2018. Their list of the top new plants includes carnivorous pitcher plants, exotic orchids and climbers with untapped medicinal powers. Herb found in a waterfall Prof Aiah Lebbie discovered an unusual plant clinging to rocks near a water fall in Sierra…

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Cyclone Gaja to hit Tamil Nadu coast soon; choppers rushed for relief

Tens of thousands of rescue personnel were on standby and many more people were evacuated in south Tamil Nadu coast as authorities braced for the landfall of Cyclone Gaja late this evening or night. The cyclone, the first major weather system to form since the onset of the North East monsoon on November 1, was moving at a speed of 10 kmph as of 6 pm, he said. The Met officials in Chennai said the outer edge of the cyclone has come close to the shores so it is expected…

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Greenland ice sheet hides huge ‘impact crater’

What looks to be a large impact crater has been identified beneath the Greenland ice sheet. The 31km-wide depression came to light when scientists examined radar images of the island’s bedrock. Investigations suggest the feature was probably dug out by a 1.5km-wide iron asteroid sometime between about 12,000 and three million years ago. But without drilling through nearly 1km of ice to sample the bed directly, scientists can’t be more specific. “We will endeavour to do this; it would certainly be the best way to get the ‘dead fish on…

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Cyclone likely to hit Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu on November 15

A cyclone is reportedly heading towards south coastal Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu. The weather department has predicted that the cyclone, to be named ‘Gaja’ by Thailand, will make landfall between south Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu coast on November 15. The cyclone is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours. It is very likely to move west-north-westwards during the next 36 hours. It will then move west-south-westwards towards north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts in the subsequent 48 hours.…

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DNA of world’s oldest natural mummy unlocks secrets of Ice Age tribes in the Americas

A legal battle over a 10,600 year old ancient skeleton — called the ‘Spirit Cave Mummy’ — has ended after advanced DNA sequencing found it was related to a Native American tribe. The revelation has been published in Science today (Thursday, November 8 at 14:00 US Eastern Time) as part of a wide ranging international study that genetically analysed the DNA of a series of famous and controversial ancient remains across North and South America including Spirit Cave, the Lovelock skeletons, the Lagoa Santa remains, an Inca mummy, and the oldest remains…

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Oceans ‘soaking up more heat than estimated’: Climate change

The world has seriously underestimated the amount of heat soaked up by our oceans over the past 25 years, researchers say. Their study suggests that the seas have absorbed 60% more than previously thought. They say it means the Earth is more sensitive to fossil fuel emissions than estimated. This could make it much more difficult to to keep global warming within safe levels this century. What is climate change? Final call to halt ‘climate catastrophe’ Risk of ‘Hothouse Earth’ despite CO2 cuts Media captionNo more beef? Five things you can…

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Air pollution kills 600,000 children each year: WHO

Exposure to toxic air both indoors and out kills some 600,000 children under the age of 15 each year, the World Health Organization warns. Data from the UN health body shows that every day, 93 percent of children under the age of 15 — a full 1.8 billion youngsters, including 630 million under the age of five — breathe dangerously polluted air. This has tragic consequences: In 2016 alone, some 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air, the WHO report found. “Polluted air is poisoning…

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Experts say, Pluto should be reclassified as a planet

The reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid, according to new research from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union, a global group of astronomy experts, established a definition of a planet that required it to “clear” its orbit, or in other words, be the largest gravitational force in its orbit. Since Neptune’s gravity influences its neighboring planet Pluto, and Pluto shares its orbit with frozen gases and objects in the Kuiper belt, that meant Pluto was out of planet status. However,…

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Goats ‘drawn to happy human faces’

Scientists have found that goats are drawn to humans with happy facial expressions. The result suggests a wider range of animals can read people’s moods than was previously thought. The researchers showed goats pairs of photos of the same person, one of them featuring an angry expression, and the other a happy demeanour. The goats made a beeline for the happy faces, the team reports in the journal Royal Society Open Science. The result implies that the ability of animals to perceive human facial cues is not limited to those…

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Gab user’s anti-Semitic posts removed

Two anti-Semitic posts have been deleted from fringe social network Gab after Microsoft, citing the content, threatened to take the site down. The posts were made by Patrick Little, who says he is running for US president and wants to remove Jewish people from America. Microsoft hosts Gab on its Azure cloud service. Gab’s founder Andrew Torba said that one of the posts “unquestionably” broke the site’s rules. The BBC has sent a request to Gab for comment. The social network describes itself as a platform for free speech, but…

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