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Posts Tagged "population"

Extinction Countdown

DNA Reveals the Last 20 Ethiopian Lions Are Genetically Distinct

ethiopian lion

Every day 20 unusual lions greet visitors at a tiny animal park in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These lions, which have spent generations in captivity, are not like most African lions (Panthera leo leo). For one thing, they are slightly smaller than the wild lions found elsewhere on the continent. For another, the males carry distinctive [...]

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Extinction Countdown

South Africa Invests in Elephant Birth Control [Video]

elephant family

African elephants face two terribly contradictory threats: In some parts of the continent the animals are being hunted into extinction for their valuable ivory tusks, but in other countries elephants are so heavily overpopulated that they pose a threat not just to themselves but to entire ecosystems. South Africa faces the latter problem. There are [...]

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Observations

Ratio of Workers to Retirees Will Plummet Worldwide

ratio US, fixed

As a nation’s population ages, more and more older people may draw from support systems such as Social Security, yet fewer workers may be around to pay into those systems. The problem is more dire than we think. The ratio of workers to retirees will drop precipitously in numerous countries worldwide this century, potentially sending [...]

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Observations

Imagination + a Little Movie Magic = a Volkswagen Hover Car Silently Navigating City Streets [Video]

Volkswagen,hover car,magnetic

A year ago, Volkswagen in China launched a marketing campaign called The People’s Car Project (PCP), which invited Chinese customers to submit ideas for cars of the future. Participants were able to tinker with designs on a Web site that Volkswagen set up for that purpose, or they could upload their own designs. Wang Jia, [...]

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Observations

DNA Fingers Real-Life Captain Ahabs for Precipitous Decline of Gray Whales

gray whale drawing

Tens of thousands of whales were slaughtered each year for decades from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, in the service of lighting city streets, painting ladies’ lips and providing multitudinous other modern conveniences. This monomaniacal hunt led many species to the brink of extinction. But recent research has suggested that gray whale (Eschrichtius [...]

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Observations

Royal Society Calls for Redistribution of Wealth and More Birth Control to Save the Planet

earth

During the 352-year life span of the Royal Society, the human population has risen from less than one billion people to seven billion and counting. That boom has been supported by science and technology—Watt’s coal-fired steam engine, Haber and Bosch synthesizing nitrogen fertilizer, Fleming’s discovery of penicillin—and continues today as the world’s population expands at [...]

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Observations

Will birth control solve climate change?

An additional 150 people join the ranks of humanity every minute, a pace that could lead our numbers to reach nine billion by 2050. Changing that peak population number alone could save at least 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year by 2050, according to a new analysis—the equivalent of [...]

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Observations

If the world is going to hell, why are humans doing so well?

For decades, apocalyptic environmentalists (and others) have warned of humanity’s imminent doom, largely as a result of our unsustainable use of and impact upon the natural systems of the planet. After all, the most recent comprehensive assessment of so-called ecosystem services—benefits provided for free by the natural world, such as clean water and air—found that [...]

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Observations

Environmental ills? It’s consumerism, stupid

plastic-painting-chris-jordan

Two typical German shepherds kept as pets in Europe or the U.S. consume more in a year than the average person living in Bangladesh, according to research by sustainability experts Brenda and Robert Vale of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. So are the world’s environmental ills really a result of the burgeoning number of [...]

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Observations

New recipe looks back for how to feed the world

norman-borlaug

When it comes to feeding Earth’s masses of people who regularly go hungry, a few things are clear: communism’s large-scale, collective farms don’t work, and breeding for specific traits in staple crops can boost yields, sometimes significantly. After all, two of the most significant agricultural successes of the past 50 years—a period marked by explosive [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Will Climate Change Bring an Invasion of the Octopuses—Or Halt It?

Climate change is bad news for many species. Environments are changing more rapidly than plants and animals can adapt to—or move out of—them. Octopuses, however, reproduce so quickly (and multitudinously) and have such short generation times, they are generally well primed to adapt and move.  The common Sydney octopus (Octopus tetricus), for one, is expanding [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Hey, How Old Is That Octopus?

octopus age

Trees have rings, horses have teeth and even rocks have radiocarbon decay. But how can you tell an octopus’s age? This isn’t a frivolous question. In fact, the future health of octopus populations depend on it. To meaningfully study any animal population, scientists need to be able not only to count the individual numbers (already [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopuses Feast On Florida’s Stone Crab Straight from Traps

octopus stone crab

Florida stone crabs (Menippe mercenaria) are known to diners for their sweet, meaty claws. And octopuses also seem to relish these delicacies. Reports are coming out of Florida that the stone crab fishery is way down this year—and many think local common octopuses (Octopus vulgaris) are to blame. The crabs are caught in traps, most [...]

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Plugged In

The Most Important Energy Source for the Future is…

544px-Compact-Fluorescent-Bulb

For months I’ve been writing about how hydraulic fracturing is shifting our energy mix from oil to natural gas. From environmental impacts to geopolitics, new horizontal drilling technologies are transforming the 21st century energy landscape. But the most important energy source for the future isn’t oil or gas – at least, according to Exxon. It’s [...]

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Plugged In

Population and Purpose: Where we use electricity

energy_consumption_2009 (1)

Electricity is used for many purposes – for example, illuminating a space, cooking food, cooling a store, or running a production line. In Wyoming, more than half of the electricity sold in the state is used for industrial applications. In the District of Columbia, more than 60% is sold to the commercial sector. When searching [...]

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Symbiartic

We’re All Minorities Compared To These Manhattan Residents

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Everyone would agree that a million is a lot and a billion is even more, but these types of numbers are hard to intuitively understand. So while you may nod and say, “wow” approvingly when told that there are more than a billion ants living in Manhattan, I bet you have a slightly more visceral [...]

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