Since humans started to think about the impacts of their industry on the planet, they tried to repair some of the worst damages they caused, restoring ecosystems or reintroducing species that may otherwise have gone extinct.
Now, a new study suggests that while many ecosystems do make progress toward recovery thanks to human intervention, few are restored to their pristine state. This, the authors suggest, indicates that the best solution to protect biodiversity is to concentrate on keeping existing ecosystems intact.
For the report, which was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B., the international team looked at 400 studies on environmental recovery, observing ecosystems’ response to disturbances such as oil spills, agriculture and logging.
“Passive recovery should be considered as a first option,” reads the paper’s abstract. “If recovery is slow, then active restoration actions should be better tailored to overcome specific obstacles to recovery and achieve restoration goals.”
In their meta analysis, they found that simply removing the disturbances affecting a natural environment, for example halting deforestation, did have very similar effects to active restoration. However, they acknowledge that their findings should be taken with caution, because only few studies compare active and passive restoration measures in the same place, as a response to the same negative impacts.
This isn’t the first time that a passive approach has been pitched as our best bet to repair ecological damage. Biologist E. O. Wilson – also known as the “father of biodiversity” – has argued for the lofty goal of ringfencing half of the planet as a nature reserve, as reported by The Guardian.
The authors of this study don’t set targets that are as ambitious as Wilson’s, but they do stress the importance of making sure that our limited restoration resources are used to their full potential. If our efforts don’t help ecosystems recover any quicker than they would naturally, perhaps we should focus on other situations where our actions can make a difference.
Sales of the Huawei Honor V10 start tomorrow, and JD.com reports it has reached over 570,000 registrations. The sale will start 10:08 local time and we have a feeling it will end minutes, if not seconds after that. Note that JD is only one of several major retailers in China to carry the phone. Vmall and Tmall will also sell the Honor V10, though they don’t have a registration counter so we can only guess how many people are buying through those stores. Another important V10 event tomorrow – a dedicated European event (and we’ll be there). We should find out launch details for the…
Thomas Was Alone [$ 4.99], the BAFTA Award winning game from Mike Bithell has finally been updated with 64-bit support. Bossa Studios has handled the iOS release and while I was originally very pleased to be able to play this on another platform, the port could be better. It was updated after launch with DLC and also became a Universal release to work on both iPhones and iPads. Now that it has been updated with iOS 11 support, I hope the team works on a performance update. Watch the original launch trailer below:
Thomas Was Alone is a fantastic game. Read our review of it here. I just wish the iOS port ran well. As of this post the PlayStation Vita version runs a lot better with much less power than a modern iOS device. Check out the forum thread for the game here. As of now, another one survives the App-ocalypse and will work on modern iOS devices letting you listen to Danny Wallace’s amazing narration once again.
Pocket Mine 3 [Free] from Roofdog Games is the best Pocket Mine yet. The franchise has done really well for them with Pocket Mine [Free] and Pocket Mine 2 [Free] crossing 9 million downloads when Pocket Mine 3 released. There’s a lot to like and appreciate when it comes to QOL changes and general polish here. There are a lot of games on the App Store that allow for sharing friend codes and the likes to get more social and we have a dedicated section in our forum just for that. Check it out here. Watch the trailer showcasing how much better this game is compared to the previous entries below:
If you’ve been digging and need a friend, look no further because we’ve got a forum thread where friend codes are being shared. You can view the game forum thread for general discussions on Pocket Mine 3here and check out the friend code sharing thread here.
Apple announced the latest iPhone yesterday. It’s thinner, faster and has a better screen than the previous model. But of course it does. That’s how these things go. But the phone also lacks things I consider part of my daily life. I’m lost. This iPhone is not for me. Without these two features, I’ll stick with the boring and passé iPhone 8. The iPhone X follows a… Read More Mobile – TechCrunch
More than 29 million people suffer from diabetes in the United States alone. Now, a new healthcare startup called Virta claims that it can stamp out the condition for good — and what’s more, it plans to do so using little more than a sensible diet plan and a smartphone app.
Virta puts its patients on a nutrition plan that cuts out sugar and bad carbohydrates. To make sure that they can stick to this diet safely, they’re kept in constant contact with a trained physician, exchanging text messages and engaging in video calls as often as every day.
Each patient’s plan is highly individualized, with everything from their food intake, to their recommended activity levels, to their medication being tailored to their specific situation. Preliminary test have been very promising, with a recent trial of 262 people allowing 87 percent of participants to stop using insulin completely or at least reduce their dosage.
Virta founder Sami Inkinen had good reason to get into diabetes care. In 2007, he had just started competing in Ironman triathlon events, when he was told that he was pre-diabetic.
“I started reading research and that’s what kind of led me to meet my scientific co-founders,” said Inkinen in a recent interview with Tech Crunch. “The bottom line, what these guys had shown is that there is a way to nutritionally reverse type 2 diabetes without starving you to death. They had published all these papers. I was like this is nuts. This is 30 years-old science.”
Diabetes has a huge impact on the lives of people affected, not least when they’re forced to administer their own insulin injections. Fortunately, researchers are finding ways to avoid this process, from CRISPR skin grafts to cell implants, to a smartphone app.
According to a new study by a team of astronomers from the Center of Cosmology at the University of California Irvine, such mergers are far more common than we thought. After conducting a survey of the cosmos intended to calculate and categorize black holes, the UCI team determined that there could be as many as 100 million black holes in the galaxy, a finding which has significant implications for the study of gravitational waves.
Their study began roughly a year and a half ago, shortly after LIGO announced the first detection of gravitational waves. These waves were created by the merger of two distant black holes, each of which was equivalent in mass to about 30 Suns. As James Bullock, a professor of physics and astronomy at UC Irvine and a co-author on the paper, explained in a UCI press release:
“Fundamentally, the detection of gravitational waves was a huge deal, as it was a confirmation of a key prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. But then we looked closer at the astrophysics of the actual result, a merger of two 30-solar-mass black holes. That was simply astounding and had us asking, ‘How common are black holes of this size, and how often do they merge?’”
Traditionally, astronomers have been of the opinion that black holes would typically be about the same mass as our Sun. As such, they sought to interpret the multiple gravitational wave detections made by LIGO in terms of what is known about galaxy formation. Beyond this, they also sought to create a framework for predicting future black hole mergers.
From this, they concluded that the Milky Way Galaxy would be home to up to 100 million black holes, 10 millions of which would have an estimated mass of about 30 Solar masses – i.e. similar to those that merged and created the first gravitational waves detected by LIGO in 2016. Meanwhile, dwarf galaxies – like the Draco Dwarf, which orbits at a distance of about 250,000 ly from the center of our galaxy – would host about 100 black holes.
They further determined that today, most low-mass black holes (~10 Solar masses) reside within galaxies of 1 trillion Solar masses (massive galaxies) while massive black holes (~50 Solar masses) reside within galaxies that have about 10 billion Solar masses (i.e. dwarf galaxies). After considering the relationship between galaxy mass and stellar metallicity, they interpreted a galaxy’s black hole count as a function of its stellar mass.
A Common Occurrence?
In addition, they also sought to determine how often black holes occur in pairs, how often they merge and how long this would take. Their analysis indicated that only a tiny fraction of black holes would need to be involved in mergers to accommodate what LIGO observed. It also offered predictions that showed how even larger black holes could be merging within the next decade.
As Manoj Kaplinghat, also a UCI professor of physics and astronomy and the second co-author on the study, explained:
“We show that only 0.1 to 1 percent of the black holes formed have to merge to explain what LIGO saw. Of course, the black holes have to get close enough to merge in a reasonable time, which is an open problem… If the current ideas about stellar evolution are right, then our calculations indicate that mergers of even 50-solar-mass black holes will be detected in a few years.”
In other words, our galaxy could be teeming with black holes, and mergers could be happening in a regular basis (relative to cosmological timescales). As such, we can expect that many more gravity wave detections will be possible in the coming years. This should come as no surprise, seeing as how LIGO has made twoadditional detections since the winter of 2016.
With many more expected to come, astronomers will have many opportunities to study black holes mergers, not to mention the physics that drive them!
Few people would argue that cybersecurity is in a parlous state. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a connected car wash and fish tank hacked respectively and a smart gun unlocked and fired thanks to a magnet at the latest DefCon. In response to the problem, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators has put forward new legislation to address the security problems of the Internet of Things. The new bill, introduced on Tuesday, would require vendors that provide connected equipment to the U.S. government ensure products are patchable and meet industry security standards, according to Reuters….Read More
Is your house missing some smart home essentials? Well now, you can knock that problem out for cheap. Google via eBay has both a Google Home and Chromecast 2nd gen bundle for just $ 99.99 – a savings of $ 65 over their combined MSRPs. And if you just want a Chromecast, you can pick up either the standard 2nd gen model or the Audio for only $ 25, which is $ 10 off the regular price.