Perhaps we should thank the fracking companies for bringing fossil fuel infrastructure to people’s doorsteps. If people’s dislike of low-carbon power production drives them to reject climate science, their dislike of high-carbon power production could drive them to accept it.

For the first time in decades, prosperous, well-connected people in this country are having to face the reality of fossil fuel extraction, and they don’t like it one bit. Some of us have long been arguing that oil, coal and gas do far more harm at every stage of production than most forms of renewable energy. Now the fracking companies have obligingly chosen to demonstrate it.

I suspect that as fracking - and its attendant protests - spreads, we’ll see a renewed surge of concern about global warming. After all, climate change is the most powerful of the many arguments that can be deployed against fossil fuels, and those who oppose their extraction would be foolish not to use it.

GEORGE MONBIOT | Fracking brings climate debate closer to home - read more

Whales have been shown to increase the pigment in their skin in response to sunshine, just as we get a tan.Research published today in Nature journal, Scientific Reports, reveals that not only do some species of whales get darker with sun exposure, incurring DNA damage in their skin just like us, they also accumulate damage to the cells in the skin as they get older.Experts in the response of skin to UV radiation at Newcastle University, UK were called in after marine biologists in Mexico noticed an increasing number of whales in the area had blistered skin. Analysing samples from three types of whales – blue, sperm and fin - they worked together to study the changes in the whale skin after their annual migration to sunnier climes.Mark Birch-Machin, Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Newcastle University and joint senior author of the paper said: “Whales can be thought of as the UV barometers of the sea. It’s important that we study them as they are some of the longest living sea creatures and are sensitive to changes in their environment so they reflect the health of the ocean.” …

    Whales feel the (sun)burn - read more    Photo by Réunion Underwater Photography

Whales have been shown to increase the pigment in their skin in response to sunshine, just as we get a tan.

Research published today in Nature journal, Scientific Reports, reveals that not only do some species of  get darker with sun exposure, incurring DNA damage in their  just like us, they also accumulate damage to the cells in the skin as they get older.

Experts in the response of skin to UV radiation at Newcastle University, UK were called in after marine biologists in Mexico noticed an increasing number of whales in the area had blistered skin. Analysing samples from three types of whales – blue, sperm and fin - they worked together to study the changes in the whale skin after their annual migration to sunnier climes.

Mark Birch-Machin, Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Newcastle University and joint senior author of the paper said: “Whales can be thought of as the UV barometers of the sea. It’s important that we study them as they are some of the longest living  and are sensitive to changes in their environment so they reflect the health of the ocean.” …

    Whales feel the (sun)burn - read more
    Photo by Réunion Underwater Photography

In the image above, all the eggs in the top row are laid by cuckoos and those in the bottom row belong to their victims. These uncanny similarities help cuckoos to fob off their parental duties by laying their eggs in the nests of other species. If the hosts can’t tell the difference between their eggs and the foreign ones, they’ll end up raising the cuckoo chick as their own. And they pay a hefty price for their gullibility, since cuckoo chicks often kill or outcompete their foster siblings.

The relationship between cuckoos and their hosts is a classic example of an evolutionary arms race. Cuckoos, should evolve eggs that more closely match those of their hosts, while the hosts should evolve keener senses to discriminate between their own eggs and a cuckoo’s.

But in Africa, this classic story takes an unusual twist…

    Parasitic Bird Fights Evolutionary Arms Race… With Itself - read more