Archive for Scientific Research
www.telegraph.co.uk 5th July 2011
The Natural History Museum, London, has postponed its biggest research expedition in 5o years following claims by human rights groups that it could put the lives of indigenous Paraguayan people at risk. The expedition intended to explore a vast dry forest called ‘Gran Chaco’ in the country, which holds the same biodiversity as the Amazon and has yet to be studied properly. However, concern was raised that the 40 scientists, along with their backup teams, may stumble across remote indigenous tribes that live in voluntary isolation. If this were to occur, the spreading of diseases may prove fatal to local people, just as they did 500 years ago when the Spanish and the English first alighted in the New World. The safety of the scientists was also questioned as some tribes, for example the Ayoreo, carry bows and arrows. The trip is now in a consultation period as the Paraguayan government discusses the venture with the Ayoreo tribe. The Natural History Museum has said that they would not go until “all parties were happy”. The Ayoreo are particularly important as the expedition hoped to work with them to learn local knowledge of the Gran Chaco’s environment. The forest, believed to home around 150 uncontacted people (down from 5,000 in 1950), is under severe threat from soy farming.
www.nationalgeographic.co.uk 15th September 2010
A white lab rat has been successfully fitted with a fuel cell that generates power from the blood sugar and oxygen of its host. The lab rat, called Ricky, wore the cell for 11 days without any ill effects at a laboratory in the Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France. Wires from the ‘glucose biofuel’ cell running out of the neck of the rodent demonstrated that a ‘significant’ amount of energy was being produced. Previous attempts to create such a cell has ended in failure as earlier models needed an acidic environment to operate, which cannot be found in a living body. The purpose of such an experiment is to create ‘longer lasting power to the next generation of medical implants’. These would include smaller and more efficient pace-makers as well as biosensors able to monitor insulin, for example.
For more information as to how the cell works click here to be taken to the original article.