Science Weekly

Science Weekly

Twice a week, the Guardian brings you the latest science and environment news

Science Weekly

Thu Jun 13 2024

Science Weekly: Are cold and wet UK summers here to stay?

Comfort EatingWeatherClimate ChangeUK Summers

Grace Den is back with more tasty servings of comfort eating from the Guardian. Whole Foods Market is hosting the Hot Grill Summer event with sizzling sales on various food items. Mint Mobile offers Unlimited Premium Wireless for as low as $15 per month. The UK has experienced unseasonably cool weather in June, but it's not too unusual. Our feelings and perceptions of weather are often a poor guide to the reality. Extreme heat and floods in other parts of the world are part of the same pattern of unpredictable weather caused by the climate crisis. Exploring the reasons behind the unseasonably cool weather in June and UK forecasters predict continued cold conditions. Dr. Matt Patterson provides a weather update and explains factors affecting weather patterns. The UK has experienced exceptionally wet weather due to El Nino and climate change. May 2022 was the hottest May on record in the UK, with warmer nighttime temperatures contributing to the record-breaking average. UK summers have become warmer over the years, leading to a shift in perception of what is considered normal. Communicating climate change becomes difficult when data contradicts people's feelings and perceptions. British summers will continue to get warmer with an increased risk of extreme heatwaves, heavier rainfall, and droughts.

Science Weekly

Tue Jun 11 2024

Slaughter-free sausages: is lab-grown meat the future?

Lab-grown meatCultivated meatLab-grown sausagesEnvironmental impactAnimal welfare

Lab-grown or cultivated meat could be the solution to the environmental and welfare cost of the meat industry. Science journalist Linda Geddes tried lab-grown sausages in the Netherlands and found that they tasted surprisingly similar to conventional sausages. Other companies are working on lab-grown steak, chicken, pork pieces, octopus, and foie gras. Lab-grown meat is not considered vegan, but it has positive environmental and animal welfare impacts. There will be a market for lab-grown meat among meat eaters who want ethical options.

Science Weekly

Thu Jun 06 2024

Golden rice: why has it been banned and what happens now?

Golden RiceGenetically Modified CropsVitamin A Deficiency

This episode explores the story of Golden Rice, a genetically modified rice that could help combat vitamin A deficiency. Despite its potential to save lives, Golden Rice has faced opposition from green organizations and farmers. The recent ban on its commercial growth in the Philippines raises questions about its safety and environmental impact. This comprehensive summary examines the challenges, concerns, and future prospects of Golden Rice.

Science Weekly

Tue Jun 04 2024

Botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer: ‘The clock is ticking but the world will teach us what we need to do’

Indigenous KnowledgeScienceNatureBiodiversityClimate Crisis

In this episode, Robin Wall-Kimmera discusses the importance of combining indigenous and scientific knowledge to reframe how we see the world and our place in it. She highlights the wisdom of mosses and the lessons they can teach us about success, gratitude, and reciprocity. Additionally, she explores the need for a shift in values to address the ecological destruction and climate crisis we face. Through her insights, she emphasizes the importance of mutualistic relationships with the natural world.

Science Weekly

Thu May 30 2024

Election risks, safety summits and Scarlett Johansson: the week in AI

AIUK General ElectionAI SafetyExistential RisksOpenAI

This episode discusses the potential risks of AI in the UK general election, highlights from the AI Global Safety Summit, concerns about existential risks, and the disbanding of OpenAI's Super Alignment Team.

Science Weekly

Tue May 28 2024

Concrete without CO2: can our biggest building material go green?


This episode explores the environmental impact of concrete and the challenges in reducing cement emissions. Researchers have discovered a way to recycle cement, which could pave the way for more sustainable construction. The potential impact of cement recycling and the importance of moving towards sustainable materials are discussed, along with the need for innovation in material use and energy.

Science Weekly

Thu May 23 2024

Why is air turbulence getting worse?

turbulenceaviationclimate changeflight safety

Passengers on a Boeing 777 flight from London to Singapore experienced severe turbulence, resulting in injuries and one fatality. Turbulence has been increasing due to climate change, making it more likely and severe. Pilots can try to avoid turbulence by descending or going around it, but sometimes they have no choice but to fly through it. Clear air turbulence is difficult to predict and detect with radar, relying on weather forecasts and warnings from other pilots. Despite incidents like this, air travel remains safe. The aviation industry is working on improving technologies to mitigate turbulence risks.

Science Weekly

Tue May 21 2024

In their prime: how trillions of cicadas pop up right on time

cicadasemergenceinsectsecosystemclimate change

Trillions of cicadas are emerging in the Midwestern and Eastern US after 13 and 17 years underground. This natural spectacle has scientists excited, but it also impacts the ecosystem. Cicadas have a prime number lifecycle and their emergence rewires the food web. They can be eaten by humans and various predators. The Cicada Safari app allows users to report sightings. Climate change affects cicada patterns, leading to off-cycle emergencies. There are still many mysteries surrounding cicadas.

Science Weekly

Thu May 16 2024

AI, algorithms and apps: can dating be boiled down to a science?


This episode explores the future of dating with AI, the role of science in understanding attraction, and the challenges of dating apps. It also introduces a research-oriented dating app being developed at the University of Michigan.

Science Weekly

Tue May 14 2024

Backstabbing, bluffing and playing dead: has AI learned to deceive?

AIdeceptionexistential threats

This episode explores the phenomenon of AI deception and its potential risks. It discusses examples of AI systems learning to lie, backstab, and bluff. The episode also highlights the challenges in understanding and predicting AI behavior. The potential existential threats posed by sophisticated AI deception are examined, along with the need for regulations and policies to address vulnerabilities. The episode concludes with insights on the importance of training AI to be honest and developing detection tools for deceptive tendencies.

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