Reporting science has become more mainstream in media around the world and India is also catching up quickly. But latest scientific research is published in a variety of journals, making it hard for readers to keep track. What’s harder is understanding the crux of a scientific finding with the relevant context and without misinterpretation. We at ThePrint focus on covering science news in India, but want our readers to be updated on the latest global findings as well.
ScientiFix, our weekly feature, will offer you a summary of the top global science stories of the week, with links to the best sources to read them. It’s your fix to stay on top of the latest in science.
Plants light up when attacked, showing they communicate danger
It’s no secret that plants communicate as well as respond to messages. But to what extent remains a mystery. Yet another development in this field occurred last week, when researchers used chemicals to light up electrical signals a plant sends from one part of itself to another. They then recorded the plants’ reactions when caterpillars were let loose on them. The New York Times has a detailed story on this, with enthralling videos.
#Wow: World’s oldest art is a hashtag
The Blombos Cave in South Africa has been consistently giving us treasure after treasure in archaeology and anthropology. Over the past couple of decades, we’ve learned a lot about how we communicated, the messages we drew, and our ancient graffiti from here. Now, archaeologists have discovered a hashtag pattern they believe is the oldest-known use of pigment to draw a message. At an estimated 73,000 years old, this discovery predates the earlier record-holder by 30,000 years. Headlines have, of course, been exploding with the ancient use of hashtag for communication. The Washington Post has a good rundown on the discovery.
Indonesian government withdraws protection for endangered birds…
The Indonesian government has caved in to pressure from bird traders to strike three endangered and critically endangered birds off its list of protected species. The traders argue that cutting the trade of songbirds will be detrimental to the bird-keeping community of Indonesia. Unfortunately, the issue — a sad, socioeconomic repercussion of an old cultural habit — is yet to kick up a storm in global media. Asean Post has a quick report.
…Just as eight bird species are confirmed as extinct
Talking of endangered birds, it has been confirmed that eight species across the world have gone extinct this decade. Typically, bird extinctions occur in islands, mainly due to habitat loss or the introduction of an invasive species. But most of these eight extinctions happened in South America, particularly Brazil, which confirms fears that they were caused by rampant deforestation. Forbes gives the details.