Inga Vesper

Journalist, editor, writer

Bulgaria in the cold as European Union freezes its innovation funding

European Union science ministers are due to meet on 2 February in their bloc's poorest member state — Bulgaria — to discuss future EU research policy. For the host nation, it was supposed to be a chance to showcase its ambitious plans to boost economic growth by attracting international research institutes to the country.


European drug regulation at risk of stalling as agency prepares to leave London

Post-Brexit plans to relocate the European Medicines Agency could trigger severe staff losses, its head has warned.

Lack of water and sanitation in hospitals mars SDG progress

[LONDON] Only 2 per cent of hospitals and clinics in lower and middle-income countries (LIMCs) provide patients with good quality services across the four key areas of water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management. The finding comes from the first study to provide a baseline measure of environmental conditions in healthcare facilities to support progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It looked at more than 130,000 facilities worldwide, and found that half of them lacked regular access to piped water.

London soil pollution worst on former Blitz bomb sites

The UK capital’s soil bears a poisonous legacy from the Blitz bombing campaign – with calcium, lead and zinc pollution highest in the most heavily damaged areas.

United Kingdom sees dip in European research applications after Brexit vote

The number of researchers applying for Europe-funded Marie Curie fellowships in the United Kingdom has dipped slightly since the country’s vote to leave the European Union, data released to Nature show.

Need a creativity boost? Try listening to happy background music

Need inspiration? Happy background music can help get the creative juices flowing. Simone Ritter, at Radboud University in the Netherlands, and Sam Ferguson, at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, have been studying the effect of silence and different types of music on how we think. A better understanding of how different types of music affect creativity is likely to be useful for many people, he says.

Shipping pollution hotspots mapped with real-time data

Coastal areas around South East Asia suffer the most from pollution caused by ship traffic, according to a global study that estimates shipping emissions based on real-time, local activity for the first time. The study, published in Atmospheric Environment, sheds light on forces at play in a region where shipping pollution is believed to cause up to 24,000 deaths a year.

Stainless steel sinks may up your risk of legionnaires’ disease

A combination of rusty water and stainless steel taps, or faucets, can put people at risk of life-threatening legionnaires’ disease. It seems that the protective coating on stainless steel fixtures – currently a firm favourite for kitchen and bathroom sinks – can degrade over time, encouraging the growth of Legionella species.

Mud bricks best for cool, green houses, says study

Simple mud concrete bricks provide the most affordable and sustainable houses in the tropics, a Sri-Lankan study suggests. Comparisons of four different types of walling materials revealed that mud concrete bricks have the lowest environmental impact and keep houses cool. They are also the cheapest, and easiest to dispose of once a house is knocked down.

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