Short Science, October 6, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 October, 2013, 4:56am

Oceans face 'deadly trio' of threats

The world's oceans are under greater threat than previously believed from a "deadly trio" of global warming, declining oxygen levels and acidification, an international study said. The oceans have continued to warm, pushing many commercial fish stocks towards the poles and raising the risk of extinction for some marine species, despite a slower pace of temperature rises in the atmosphere this century, it said. Reuters


Exhaust fumes drive bees from flowers

Diesel exhaust fumes alter the flowery smells that guide bees when they forage, potentially sending them off course and putting the food-growing industry at risk, a study says. Honeybees rely heavily on their sense of smell to locate flowers from which they harvest life-giving nectar - transferring pollen grains from one bloom to another. The new research shows that exhaust fumes from cars, tractors or power generators can chemically alter the smell of flowers and render them undetectable to bees. This, in turn, threatens the insects' crucial role as a key pollinators of human food crops. AFP


Billionaire techies want to land launchpad deal

Four decades ago, Nasa's Launch Complex 39A was at the centre of the cold war race to the moon. Now the mothballed launchpad at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, which dispatched Neil Armstrong and his crew on their historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969, is the focus of a battle of another sort. Two billionaire techies, seeking to dominate a new era of private space flight, are competing for the launchpad. Reuters


Scientists urge fund shift to bowel cancer

European governments should divert funds to routine bowel cancer tests from less effective breast and prostate screening programs, scientists have said, presenting what they called "irrefutable" evidence that bowel screening saves lives. They say that studies have found that routine breast mammograms can lead to so-called "over-diagnosis" when tests pick up tumours that would not be a problem. Reuters