Sunday, 27 February 2011

SOS: Save our Science - Drink Hearty Lads (and Ladies)

ResearchBlogging.orgHi Everyone. Hope there's still people out there reading this. Would be great to hear from you. Sorry things have been a bit slow, there's a lot going on this term, which I hope to write about (in part) soon. This new rotation is really fun, although quite long hours, and I've got loads of other projects going on relating to Science Communication, as many of you may already be aware. It means I'm not getting much time to sit and write articles on here though. I will be working hard to try and get back to ClearSci as much as possible, so hopefully more will be going on around here.

Anyway, so here's a fun story that is an issue I've been looking forward to having a go at. Everyone always has some new story about how alcohol is good for you or bad for you, and usually it depends on what you measure and whether it's the alcohol itself or something else (e.g. tannins in red wine) which is helping you out. This latest is cool because it pulls together a lot of research from the last 30 years, and actually finds some benefits, in certain instances, but also points out the importance of moderation. Enjoy. :)

This is a debate that I find quite interesting, especially since everyone seems to be more than a little biased in their desired outcome. It is the endless search for positive effects of drinking alcohol. A new meta-analysis (re-examination of lots of old data from different studies) of alcohol research may finally be able to put part of this issue to rest.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

SOS: Save our Science - Bug Battle

ResearchBlogging.orgThis post was a request from a reader (Yay!). I've got a lot of different projects going on at the moment so have been a bit slow with the posting. Hopefully I'll be posting about my latest lab soon. There's still a lot to write when I get the time. We had a lot of fun last week meeting the students interviewing to join my course next year and the lab work is going well. There is a much more theoretical element to it, which I've been enjoying. Anyway, so this is a bit of a proto-story really. A possible explanation for the disappearance of bees worldwide; though the real science is still under wraps.
A honeybee (Apis mellifera) (source)

Pollinating insects, like bees, are disappearing across the world. The phenomenon is known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). If CCD continues as it is the world stands to lose most, if not all, pollinating species, which stands to rapidly wipe out all flowering plant species and would severely alter every land based ecosystem. A key element in understanding CCD was uncovered over two years ago, but is only just emerging as published work.

CCD is being studied by a dedicated group of researchers in the US Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Lab. The rapid decline in colonies of pollinating insects due to CCD was originally observed in the US but has since been identified around the globe, though it has yet to arrive in some countries, including the UK.