Science

Solar sailing

Image caption A school commute with a difference How can you create public transport in the jungle without polluting it? The isolated Achuar peoples of Ecuador have created an ingenious solution. A couple of hours before dawn in Kapawi, a village in a remote corner of the Ecuadorian Amazon, a group of men gather to drink litres of tea made from the guayusa plant. One by one they then disappear

Rotten egg gas found on planet Uranus

Image copyright NASA Image caption The discovery confirms a long-held idea about Uranus’ atmosphere Hydrogen sulphide, the gas that gives rotten eggs their smell, has been detected in the atmosphere of the seventh planet, Uranus. The possibility of this gas being present had long been debated, but has now been confirmed for the first time by observations at a telescope on Hawaii. The malodorous gas was detected high above the

Environment prize goes to Flint water activist

Image copyright Goldman Prize Image caption Lead levels in Ms Walters’ home were found to be seven times acceptable limits The founder of a citizens’ movement that helped expose the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is one of the recipients of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Nearly 100,000 residents of Flint were left without safe tap water after lead began leaching into the supply. Mother of four LeeAnne Walters led

Climate change: Michael Bloomberg offers $4.5m for Paris deal

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Michael Bloomberg says he hopes the US will rejoin the climate agreement Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he will pay $4.5m (£3.2m) to cover the lapsed US financial commitment to the Paris climate accord. He said he had a responsibility to help improve the environment because of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal. The withdrawal was announced last June

Rare brown bear dies in Italy capture operation

Image copyright AFP Image caption The Marsican bear is a critically endangered subspecies of the brown bear A national park in central Italy is investigating the death of a rare brown bear during an operation to capture it. Biologists at the park in the Apennine mountains had trapped the animal to fit him with a radio collar so they could track his movements. But the male Marsican bear began to

Scientists discover protein behind motor neurone disease

Image copyright Getty Images Scientists say they have made a breakthrough in understanding the cause of both motor neurone disease and a rare form of dementia. They have discovered that a protein called FUS causes brain cells to die in both conditions. The researchers, from Cambridge and Toronto, said they were cautiously optimistic their findings could one day to lead to improved treatments. The study is published in the journal

Oxford Dodo was shot in head, scans find

Image copyright University of Warwick Image caption The remains of the bird were taken to the University of Warwick for analysis The Oxford Dodo – the world’s most famous example of the extinct bird – was shot in the head, research has found. Historians believed the flightless creature had been kept alive in a 17th Century London townhouse. But recent forensic analysis of its skull found lead shot pellets, which

Closing gender gap in physics ‘will take generations’

Image copyright Getty Images Closing the gender gap in physics will take hundreds of years, given the current rate of progress. That’s the finding of research analysing the names of authors listed on millions of scientific papers. Physics, computer science, maths and chemistry had the fewest women, while nursing and midwifery had the most. Without further interventions, the gender gap is likely to persist for generations, said scientists from the

National Trust should be ‘radical’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The National Trust owns land in picturesque Borrowdale in the Lake District The National Trust needs to be more radical, the charity’s new director-general has told the BBC. Hilary McGrady said the organisation needed to reach out to people living in towns and cities. In her first interview since getting the job, she said: “The people that need beauty the most, are the ones

Poison project

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionRetired Russian scientist Vladimir Uglev says he created a Novichok nerve agent. Moscow continues to deny the existence of a chemical weapons programme called Novichok. But this is a question of semantics. On Russia’s Black Sea coast I meet Vladimir Uglev, a scientist who helped develop nerve agents for the Soviet Union. “The aim of the programme was to produce a substance