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.
Living near a noisy road seems to affect couples who are trying get pregnant, increasing the likelihood that it will take them between six to 12 months. That’s according to an analysis of 65,000 women living in Denmark.
The US Marine Mammal Commission, an organisation charged with restoring mammal populations in the world’s oceans, is set for the chop in president Donald Trump’s latest budget proposal.
Researchers in Romania are stepping up protests against controversial government science reforms. Hundreds of scientists at leading research institutions say they will refuse to sit on national panels that assess and award grants, after the Romanian researchers’ association Ad Astra called for the boycott on 30 May. But not all scientists in the country support the move.
Advances made in the energy efficiency of heating and transport are lost because of people’s desire to have bigger houses and cars, two research papers have shown. Researchers have found that houses in England, Australia, Canada, the US and New Zealand are getting bigger as people want more space and extra rooms. This means there is more air to be heated, destroying any climate benefits gained by better heating systems and more efficient insulation, they say.
Climate change could reduce the amount of carbon stored in soil in the Mediterranean region by a third over the next 60 years, according to research undertaken at the University of Cordoba. This in turn could drive up food prices and endanger crop production in the region as soils become poorer and more and more fertiliser is needed to keep yields up.
An eye-tracking study reveals that stress levels affect how much attention people pay to climate change imagery, even if they are supportive of environmental issues.
The march organisers said they wanted to show the world that “lots of people care”. But to truly make things better for the scientific community, this care must be turned into proposals for action. Otherwise last week’s marches, and any subsequent protests, will remain little more than a photo opportunity.
When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union on 23 June last year, the decision triggered a period of intense soul-searching and uncertainty, not least for a research community with strong and long-standing financial and social links to the continent. Worries about science funding, residency rights and even about racist attacks took root in laboratories across the country.