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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Risk of Wildfires Could Rise by 50pc by End of the Century

New York, 23 Feb (ONA) --- A report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) calls on fires to be treated in same category as other humanitarian disasters such as earthquakes and floods. It also warns things have got so bad, even previously unaffected regions such as the Arctic now face an elevated risk of wildfires. The report, Spreading Like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires, calls for a radical change in government spending, shifting investments from reaction and response to prevention and preparedness. Tim Christopherson, of the UNEP said: "Wildfires are ...

Climate Change Report to Sound Warning on Impacts

Geneva, 22 Feb (ONA) --- A new report on the impacts of climate change will likely be the most worrying assessment yet of how rising temperatures affect every living thing. This will be the second of three major reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its first since November's COP26 summit. Scientists and officials will publish their conclusions on 28 February 2022. The study will focus heavily on regional impacts as well as on cities and coastal communities. The IPCC carries out these large-scale reviews of the latest research ...

Amazon Protected Areas Faces Mining Proposal Risk

Brasilia, 22 Feb (ONA) --- Areas of Amazon rainforest with a combined area the size of England could be threatened by new mining and deforestation, a new report claims. It is currently illegal to mine in these protected indigenous territories of the Amazon. US and UK companies are among those who had applied to open new mines, the report says. Protecting the Amazon is crucial in the fight to curb climate change because its enormous number of trees soak up carbon from the atmosphere. Thousands of indigenous people who live in these areas are also ...

First Global Map of Whale Migration Indicates Growing Dangers Along Superhighways

London, 17 Feb (ONA) --- Whales store more carbon than one thousand trees over their lifetime, but many are endangered and threats are growing, scientists warn. The world's first ever global map of whale migration patterns has been published, shining a light on the increasing threats to these endangered creatures of the deep. Scientists have combined satellite tracking data from 845 whales, collected over 30 years, and mapped it alongside the various and growing dangers whales face. Those dangers show bottleneck areas that need to be addressed most urgently. ...

Heritage, Tourism Ministry Organizes Lecture on Meteorites in Oman

Muscat, 17 Feb (ONA) --- The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism today organized a scientific lecture on meteorites in the Sultanate of Oman. The lecture was presented by Prof. Beda Hoffmann, Head of the Swiss scientific team working on several projects related to meteorites. The lecture touched on defining the meteorites, their genesis and formation, as well as the mechanism of determining their ages and how they fell down to earth. The lecture also highlighted the characteristics of meteorites that can be used in scientific enrichment on the formation of asteroids, besides introducing the ...

Sensor Development Allow Robots Get Human Reaction

London, 16 Feb (ONA) --- British researchers have discovered a new robotic sensor that mimics the automatic human reaction to heat in different circumstances, and it can be integrated into robots to raise their capabilities in rescue operations. Researchers used 'GelSight' sensor - something first invented by experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and which provides a highly detailed visual 3D topography of any surface by processing touch information. Scientists aim from this to help the robotic arms to hold tools efficiently according to their ...

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Succeeds in Testing Aerospace Device Liulin-SET

Sofia, 16 Feb (ONA)--- The device Liulin-SET developed by the Institute of Space Research and Technologies with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) has underwent successful test runs and is set to fly out to the International Space Station (ISS) on 19 February, BAS said. The device was developed on a commission of the California-based Space Environment Technology, Pacific Palisades, company, and will be part of the Automated Radiation Measurements for Aerospace Safety (ARMAS) module. The Bulgarian team that developed the device was headed by Prof. Tsvetan Dachev. This is the 23rd ...

Rare Baby Ghost Shark Discovered

Wellington, 16 Feb (ONA) --- Scientists in New Zealand have discovered a rare baby ghost shark, a little-known species of fish that lives in the shadowy depths of the ocean. Ghost sharks, also known as chimaera, are rarely spotted, and sightings of their young are even more uncommon. The newly-hatched shark that was discovered was collected at a depth of about 1.2km underwater near the South Island. Scientists say the find deepens understanding of the early stage of the species. Dr. Brit Finucci, member of the team involved in the discovery, called it a “neat ...

UN to Finalize Science Report on How Warming Hits Home Hard

Berlin, 14 Feb (ONA) --- Scientists and governments met today to finalize a major U.N. report on how global warming disrupts people’s lives, their natural environment and the Earth itself. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a collection of hundreds of the world’s top scientists, issues three huge reports on climate change every five to seven years. The latest update, which won’t be finished until the end of February, will explain how climate change already affects humans and the planet, what to expect in the future, and the risks and benefits ...

Research Project Explores Solar, Tidal, Wind Energy Resources in Oman

Muscat, 13 Feb (ONA) --- Among the many various innovative research projects in the 8th National Research Award, organized by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, is ‘Exploring the potential of solar, tidal, and wind energy resources in Oman using an integrated climatic-socioeconomic approach’ by principal investigator Dr. Mohamed Eldesoky Hereher, Assistant Professor, Geography Department, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). The project was awarded in the Energy and Industry field within the PhD category. For this particular research, Dr. Mohamed Hereher and ...

Zoo Battles to Save Dozens of Species from Extinction

London, 13 Feb (ONA) --- A zoo in Devon has begun cryogenically freezing genetic samples of some of its most endangered animals in a bid to save them from extinction.The zoo provides samples from animals that have died or been neutered."It's a really exciting opportunity and it really represents the diversity of roles that modern zoos, good zoos, can do," said Steve Nash from Wild Planet Trust, which runs the zoo."For a lot of species, time is running out. We work tirelessly to conserve animals all the time - it's what we do. But there are a lot of species for whom the challenges ...

Scientists Unveil Most Accurate Simulation Of The Universe

London, 10 Feb (ONA) --- Researchers have created what they describe as the "largest and most accurate computer simulation to date" of our section of the universe. The researchers consisted of people across the world, including from Durham University, and were led by the University of Helsinki. Scientists created the simulations, from the Big Bang to the present, using a supercomputer to recreate the entire evolution of the cosmos. By using advanced statistical techniques, the simulations are conditioned to reproduce our specific patch of universe, therefore containing the present ...

Higher Education Ministry Launches Strategic Research Projects Program

Muscat, 7 Feb (ONA) --- With the aim of strengthening cooperation between the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MoHERI) and various government bodies in alignment with Oman Vision 2040, the ministry announced the launch of the Strategic Research Projects Program (SRPP). It is a research program directed to address research challenges of national priority in government institutions and it is an updated version of the Strategic Research Program established in 2010. The program's mechanism of action depends on the principle of partnership between ...

Top Firms Exaggerate Climate Progress: Study

Berlin, 7 Feb (ONA) --- Many of the world's biggest companies are failing to meet their own targets on tackling climate change, according to a study of 25 corporations. They also routinely exaggerate or misreport their progress, the New Climate Institute report says. Corporations are under pressure to cut their environmental impact as more consumers want green products. Some of the companies disagreed with some of the methods used in the report and said they were committed to taking action to curb climate change. The firms analysed account for 5% of ...

German trains to switch to biofuel by 2040

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn has said it wants to completely eliminate diesel fuels from its fleet and replace them by 2040. "Our 3,000 diesel vehicles will be gradually transferred to running on alternative fuels from this year," Deutsche Bahn chief executive Richard Lutz said on Sunday. "In addition to the switch to 100-per-cent green electricity, the gradual elimination of diesel by 2040 is one of our central ecological plans." The group intends to rely on biofuels, among other things, which are to be produced from leftover and waste materials so that fuel production does not ...

Space Station to Crash down to Earth in 2031

Washington, 4 Feb (ONA) --- The International Space Station (ISS) will continue working until 2030, before plunging into the Pacific Ocean in early 2031, according to Nasa.In a report this week, the US space agency said the ISS would crash into a part of the ocean known as Point Nemo.This is the point furthest from land on planet Earth, also known as the spacecraft cemetery.Many old satellites and other space debris have crashed there, including the Russian space station Mir in 2001.Nasa said that in the future space activities close to Earth would be led by the commercial sector.The ISS - a ...

Mysterious Black Diamond Goes on Auction

London, 3 Feb (ONA) --- A billion-year-old black diamond thought to have come from outer space is going up for auction. Named The Enigma, it is believed to be the largest cut diamond on earth and may have formed from a meteoric impact. At 555.55 carats the gem is considered extremely heavy for a diamond, weighing about the same as a banana. The rock is expected to fetch over £4.4 m ($6m) at a Sotheby's auction in London by the time online bidding closes next week. The gem is a carbonado, one of the toughest forms of natural diamond. Black ...

UK Plants Now Flowering A Month Earlier

London, 2 Feb (ONA) --- Climate change is causing plants in the United Kingdom (UK) to flower almost a month earlier on average, according to a study. Just as autumn leaf fall is being delayed by warmer weather, flowers are appearing earlier on trees and shrubs. But while some might welcome these untimely blooms, scientists are warning of the risks. They say if the trend continues, there are knock-on effects for birds, insects and whole ecosystems. Ecological mismatch may kick in, which would have a dramatic effect "on the functioning and productivity" ...

Omani Research Explores Efficiency of Greenhouse Production in Oman

Muscat, 1 Feb (ONA) --- Among the many research projects submitted for the 8th National Research Award, organized by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, ‘Investigating the efficiency of greenhouse production in Oman: A two-stage approach based on Data Envelopment Analysis and double bootstrapping’ by principal investigator Dr. Nawal Khamis Al Mezeini is among the 13 winning projects of the 8th edition of the award. Winning in the Environmental and Biological Resources field of the PhD category, Dr. Nawal elaborated that Data ...

China Plans Space Station Completion, Many Launches in 2022

Beijing, 6 Jan (ONA) --- China has recommitted itself to completing its orbiting space station by the end of the year and says it is planning more than 40 launches for 2022, putting it roughly level with the United States. Launches would include those of two Shenzhou crewed missions, two Tianzhou cargo spacecraft and the station’s additional two modules, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing a recent announcement by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation known as CASC. Named Mengtian and Wentian, the science modules will join ...

Space Telescope Launched on Daring Quest to Behold 1st Stars

Washington, 26 Dec (ONA) --- The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope rocketed away on a high-stakes quest to behold light from the first stars and galaxies and scour the universe for hints of life. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope soared from French Guiana on South America’s northeastern coast, riding a European Ariane rocket into the Christmas morning sky. The $10 billion observatory hurtled toward its destination 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away, or more than four times beyond the moon. It will take a month to get there and ...

NASA Launches Spacecraft to Test Asteroid Defense Concept

Los Angeles, 24 Nov (ONA) --- NASA launched a spacecraft on a mission to smash into an asteroid and test whether it would be possible to knock a speeding space rock off course if one were to threaten Earth. The DART spacecraft, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in a $330 million project with echoes of the Bruce Willis movie “Armageddon.” If all goes well, in September 2022 it will slam head-on into Dimorphos, an asteroid 525 feet (160 meters) across, at 15,000 mph (24,139 ...

Australia’s Barrier Reef Erupts in Color as Corals Spawn

Canberra, Australia, 24 Nov (ONA) --- Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is spawning in an explosion of color as the World Heritage-listed natural wonder recovers from life-threatening coral bleaching episodes. Scientists recorded the corals fertilizing billions of offspring by casting sperm and eggs into the Pacific Ocean off the Queensland state coastal city of Cairns. The spawning event lasts for two or three days. The network of 2,500 reefs covering 348,000 square kilometers (134,000 square miles) suffered significantly from coral bleaching caused by ...

After Covid-19 Infection, You Still Need Your Jabs, US Study Finds

Washington, 22 Nov (ONA) --- Natural immunity has become a popular excuse for not getting vaccinated against Covid-19, but a new study from the University of Pittsburgh found that antibody levels left over from a prior infection vary significantly — and in many cases aren’t enough to protect people from getting sick again. The study, which was posted to the preprint website medRxiv and has not yet been peer-reviewed, analyzed antibody levels among adults who had recovered from moderate Covid-19 infections and found that people under age 30 had lower antibody levels than older people. ...

India, UK to Launch Global Solar Grid Project at COP26

New Delhi, 31 Oct (ONA) --- India and the United Kingdom (UK) will launch a project that aims to create a solar grid connecting countries in different parts of the world at the upcoming U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland. The project, known as the “Green Grids Initiative,” is being initiated by the International Solar Alliance, which was launched by India and France at the 2015 Paris climate conference to promote solar energy. The U.K. and India agreed to join forces in the initiative in May this year. Although solar energy is becoming cheaper than ...

Facebook, Google, Twitter Face Grilling by UK Lawmakers

London, 28 Oct (ONA) --- British lawmakers are set to grill Facebook and other tech giants today over how they handle online safety as European efforts to regulate social media companies gain momentum. Representatives from Facebook, Google, Twitter and TikTok will be questioned by members of a parliamentary committee scrutinizing the British government’s draft online safety legislation. Governments on both sides of the Atlantic want tougher rules aimed at protecting social media users, especially younger ones, but the United Kingdom’s (UK) efforts are ...

Cooperation Programme Inked to Boost Environment Protection, Pollution Control

Muscat, 24 Oct (ONA) --- A programme of technical cooperation was signed here today to promote partnership to address issues of environment protection and pollution control. It was signed by the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ) and Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company (OQ8).The programme seeks to develop an institutional scheme for the exchange of experiences and information in the field of environment protection and pollution control.The pact was signed by Eng. Ahmed bin Hassan Al Dheeb, Deputy Chairman of OPAZ, and Eng. Wael Khalid ...

South Korea Launches First Homegrown Space Rocket

Seoul, 21 Oct (ONA) --- South Korea has launched its first homegrown rocket, stepping up the country's ambitions in space. The Korean Satellite Launch Vehicle II, known as Nuri, took off from Goheung, about 500km (310 miles) south of Seoul. President Moon Jae-in said the vehicle completed its full flight sequence, but failed in its goal of putting a dummy satellite in orbit. Such launches are essential for a space programme, but could potentially also have military applications. South Korea is locked in an arms race with North Korea, with both recently ...

Energy Agency Urges Bigger Global Push to Cut Emissions

  Frankfurt, 13 Oct (ONA) --- The International Energy Agency (IEA) is urging governments to make stronger commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions at an upcoming U.N. climate summit, warning the world is not on track to meet environmental goals and that new investment in clean energy was needed to “jolt the energy system onto a new set of rails.”   The Paris-based international organization said Wednesday in its annual world energy outlook that great strides have been made to move away from fossil fuels by relying on more wind and solar energy, while ...

Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake Jolts Greek Island of Crete

Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake Jolts Greek Island of Crete   Athens, 12 Oct (ONA) --- A strong earthquake today jolted the Greek island of Crete, three weeks after another temblor killed a man and damaged hundreds of buildings.   The Geodynamic Institute in Athens said the undersea earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 and occurred off the island’s eastern coast.   It was felt as far as the coast of Turkey and on Cyprus, more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) to the east, local authorities said.   Magnitude 4.1 and 4.6 quakes that ...