scitech, twist

ICYMI: Science and technology updates from May 5 to 11, 2019.

‘Green scorecard’ reveals 9 senatorial candidates with ‘green’ track record and platform

‘Green Scorecard’ reveal nine senatorial candidates with green agenda

Out of 35 candidates who received GTC scorecard,…

Posted by Green Thumb Coalition on Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Philippines’ Green Thumb Coalition recently released the results of their “Green Scorecard,” which assessed the candidates in the 2019 senatorial elections based on their track record and proposed policies pertaining to environment preservation. However, out of the 35 candidates who received the questionnaire, only nine responded.

Neri Colmenares, who scored 84 percent, topped the survey, followed by Chel Diokno (82%), Leody De Guzman (77%), Florin Hilbay (71%), Bam Aquino (69%), Conrado Generoso (58%), Samira Gutoc (46%), and Grace Poe (35%, based on an unfinished/incomplete survey response). Opposition candidate Erin Tanada responded to the Green Electoral Initiative survey conducted by No Burn Pilipinas and Ecowaste Coalition, which focused on waste management issues.

The scorecard tackled the following themes: biodiversity preservation and ecosystem integrity; natural resource and land use management and governance; sustainable agriculture; waste management; climate justice; energy transformation and democracy; mining, extractives, and mineral resource management; upholding human rights and integrity of creation; and people-centered sustainable development.

Twelve aspiring Pinoy scientists to attend int’l scitech fair

The 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the largest global pre-college science competition, will take place from May 12 to 17 in Phoenix, Arizona — and 12 brilliant young minds from different high schools in the Philippines are representing the country this year. The representatives are the winners of the 2019 National Science and Technology Fair, which was held by the Department of Education (DepEd) last February 18 to 22 in Tagaytay City. Read the full story.

New study: One million species under threat of extinction

According to a new study–one that analyzed about 15,000 studies conducted within the last 50 years–about one million of the world’s species are facing extinction within the next couple of decades. This is roughly equivalent to 1 in every 8 plant or animal species on the planet. Over the last half-century, the human population has doubled. And based on the findings of the researchers from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), our activities have accelerated the global species extinction rate up to hundreds of times faster than the average rate over the last 10 million years. Read the full story.

Dietary fats in the brain may explain link between obesity and depression

The link between obesity and depression has long been recognized, but is hardly well-understood. A new study by the University of Glasgow and the Gladstone Institutes, however, points to the consumption of foods high in saturated fats (which lead to obesity) as the cause of the development of depression phenotypes.  Read the full story.

MOMO: Japan’s first successful private rocket launch

Artist’s impression of the Momo sounding rocket. (Image: Interstellar Technologies Inc.)

Aerospace startup Interstellar successfully launched its MOMO sounding rocket to an altitude of 110 kilometres (68.4 miles) above Earth. It is the first commercially developed Japanese rocket to reach orbit. According to Interstellar, the rocket was launched from Taiki, Hokkaido, flew for about 10 minutes, then fell into the Pacific Ocean after crossing the boundary between Earth and outer space. This was the company’s third attempt at reaching space over the course of two years. Read the full story.

Mongolian couple dies after eating raw marmot meat, triggers town-wide quarantine

A couple living in Tsagaannuur, Mongolia contracted the bubonic plague after consuming the uncooked meat and organs of an infected marmot. The couple, a 38-year-old man and his 37-year-old wife, believed that eating the rodent’s raw meat was “very good for health.” The couple soon experienced what health officials presume was an agonizing death, which also led to the entire town being sealed off for fear of an outbreak. Read the full story.

This previously extinct bird ‘evolved into existence’ once again

The Aldabra white-throated rail. (Image: Charles J. Sharp)

Formerly on the list of extinct species, the Aldabra white-throated rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri) evolved back into existence, according to a recently published study in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. The flightless bird, which resides on the Aldabra coral atoll in the Indian Ocean, first went extinct about 136,000 years ago. However, due to a unique phenomenon known as “iterative evolution,” its ancestral lineage produced an offshoot species that was essentially identical, despite being from a different point in time. Read the full story.

New bat-winged dinosaur sheds light on prehistoric flight

Ambopteryx longibranchium. (Image: Chung-Tat Cheung)

A newly named species of winged dinosaur called Ambopteryx longibranchium (“both wings, long upper arm”) was discovered in Wubaiding Village in northeastern China two years ago. According to Min Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ambopteryx, which is the second dinosaur of its kind to be unearthed, had a sparrow-sized body, quill-like feathers on its neck, a stubby tail, and a long, thin, rod-like bone running down from its wrist, the same length as its entire forearm. This bony rod presumably supported the leathery membranes that gave it the ability to glide from tree to tree. Read the full story.