Chad Booc, a 27-year-old volunteer teacher and activist in the Philippines, was killed under disputed circumstances, leaving a lasting impact on young activists. He spoke up for the Indigenous Lumad people’s land rights and against harmful mining projects, facing arrest and “red-tagging” by authorities. The Philippines is ranked as the most dangerous country in Asia for land and environmental defenders by Global Witness, with increased fear and repression on the ground. The practices of red-tagging and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 have been weaponized against environmental advocates, causing international concern. Online abuse, disinformation tactics, and fear persist, and activists face difficulties in encouraging participation in environmental causes. The Duterte and Marcos Jr administrations show little change in accountability and governance, maintaining a system featuring repression and impunity. (ABC)
New Zealand’s rigorous environmental policies aimed at combating climate change and reducing carbon emissions are causing unrest among rural voters, potentially affecting the upcoming October 14 election results. Farmers, displeased with the Labour Party’s regulations, including taxing livestock methane emissions and converting grazing lands to forests, are rallying behind conservative candidates hoping to unwind these policies. This shift may risk the nation’s green reputation and could bring right-wing parties, particularly the National Party and ACT party, into power. While the country has been pioneering in implementing sustainable changes in agriculture, contributing to about 50% of the nation’s emissions, farmers argue the increasing regulatory costs, lower commodity prices, and on-farm inflation necessitate a policy change. Despite the opposition, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Green Party co-leader James Shaw emphasize the importance of maintaining sustainability for the country’s future economic security and international credibility. (Reuters)
WI-FI BURDENS CONTINUE TO GROW.
The surge in home internet usage and connected devices, currently experiencing a 20% annual growth, necessitates advanced Wi-Fi technologies. Older routers struggle with increased data traffic, and while Wi-Fi 6 has enhanced capacity, its adoption is at 18%. Qualcomm’s introduction of the 10G Fiber Gateway platform, utilizing Wi-Fi 7 technology, aims to alleviate congestion issues. However, the technology’s incorporation is pending, with affordability and reluctance to invest by operators as significant obstacles. Qualcomm VP Rahul Patel emphasizes the urgency of adopting advanced Wi-Fi due to expected network congestion with increasing connected devices in homes. The adaptation to newer Wi-Fi generations like Wi-Fi 6E and 7 is deemed inevitable, with companies like TP Link, Eero, and Intel embracing these platforms. The Wi-Fi Alliance confirms that approval for Wi-Fi 7 is underway, and its implementation is crucial for maintaining service quality and avoiding customer churn due to subpar performance. (El Pais)
Researchers have conducted a detailed examination of an elephant’s trunk, revealing insights that could aid the design of robots with flexible appendages. Using a high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scan, scientists at Humboldt University of Berlin analyzed the trunk of a baby elephant, counting almost 90,000 tiny bundles of muscle fiber or fascicles, which grant the trunk its combination of strength and fine control. This surpasses the dexterity of a primate hand, which has far fewer muscle elements. The arrangement of fascicles, particularly dense at the trunk tip, enables fine control, allowing it to pucker and poke. Larger fascicles in the main trunk aid in overall movement and twisting. The findings could inform the design of mechanical actuators in soft robotics, helping to create trunk-like manipulators that can flex and elongate like an elephant’s trunk. (Science)
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‘ROOS LIKE YOU.
Researchers from the University of New South Wales have found that eastern grey kangaroos exhibit social lives that bear resemblance to humans, forming long-term friendships and maintaining social circles. This study, led by PhD candidate Nora Campbell, revealed that these kangaroos, particularly the females, seek companionship and maintain relationships over years, contrary to previous beliefs. The study, spanning six years, focused on a population of 130 kangaroos, analyzing their social interactions and groups through thousands of pictures. Female kangaroos were observed to be more social after becoming mothers, preferring smaller, more intimate groups. Daniel Ramp, a conservation biologist, noted that understanding the complex social lives and emotional bonds of such sentient animals is crucial for conservation efforts, as disrupting these bonds can cause real trauma, akin to human experiences. The findings offer valuable insights into the emotional complexity and inner worlds of kangaroos. (ABC)
WILD HORSES TO BE DRAGGED AWAY?
The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public opinion on whether the wild horses in North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park should be retained or removed. The draft assessment suggests that removing the horses would aid native wildlife and flora but may diminish visitor experiences. Governor Doug Burgum supports retaining the horses, citing their popularity and cultural significance. However, some park officials label the horses as “livestock,” causing concern among advocates who value the horses as a link to cultural history. Methods of removal could include capturing and redistributing the horses or implementing measures to prevent reproduction, allowing current horses to remain. The horses, initially unintended inhabitants post-1947, were once subject to eradication efforts until recognized as historic symbols around 1970, reflecting the open-range ranching era that Theodore Roosevelt experienced and wrote about. (Associated Press)
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.
WORDS: The Biology Guy.
IMAGE CREDIT: Valeriia Miller.