Posts about BBC

Elephants Learn to Cooperate to Reach Their Objective

This clip shows elephants learning to work together to achieve what they can’t achieve alone (from BBC’s Super Smart Animals). It is interesting to see what animals are capable of. See the related post links for more amazing animal behavior.

Related: Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant (2007)Crows can Perform as Well as 7 to 10-year-olds on cause-and-effect Water Displacement TasksBeehive Fence Protects Farms from ElephantsCapuchin Monkeys Don’t Like Being Paid Less Than Their PeersFriday Fun: Bird Using Bait to Fish

Physical Activity for Adults: Inactivity Leads to 5.3 Million Early Deaths a Year

Obviously health care doesn’t only mean sickness treatment. Avoiding sickness is much better than treating it. Sadly we spend far too little energy on creating health and far too much on treating sickness.

Physical activity guidelines for adults (follow link for more details and guidelines for others) from the UK National Health Service

To stay healthy, adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and should do:

  • At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, or
  • 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week
  • and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Sedentary lifestyle can kill

one in three adults worldwide fails to do the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week. In the UK two out of three adults don’t manage it.

So rather than stressing the health benefits of exercise, the Lancet researchers have opted to show the harm caused by inactivity. They estimate lack of exercise is responsible for about 5.3m deaths a year – about the same number as smoking.

This is based on estimates of the impact on inactivity on coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and two specfic cancers – breast and bowel – where lack of exercise is a major risk factor.

Related: Today, Most Deaths Caused by Lifetime of InactionStudy Finds Obesity as Teen as Deadly as SmokingCan Just A Few Minutes of Exercise a Day Prevent Diabetes?An Apple a Day is Good Advice

Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy

Worldwide, we estimate that physical inactivity causes 6% (ranging from 3·2% in southeast Asia to 7·8% in the eastern Mediterranean region) of the burden of disease from coronary heart disease, 7% (3·9—9·6) of type 2 diabetes, 10% (5·6—14·1) of breast cancer, and 10% (5·7—13·8) of colon cancer. Inactivity causes 9% (range 5·1—12·5) of premature mortality, or more than 5·3 million of the 57 million deaths that occurred worldwide in 2008. If inactivity were not eliminated, but decreased instead by 10% or 25%, more than 533 000 and more than 1·3 million deaths, respectively, could be averted every year. We estimated that elimination of physical inactivity would increase the life expectancy of the world’s population by 0·68 (range 0·41—0·95) years.

Science is at its best when curious people are just trying to find things out

Brian Cox has a new television show, Wonders Of The Universe (a co-production of the BBC, the Discovery Channel, and the Science Channel), that looks like it will be wonderful. I would love more great shows on science. BBC has done some great stuff, so has PBS and the Discovery channel. I’ll be exploring what kind of access those channels have provided over the internet in the next year. I hope it is good. I was going to link to the web site for the show but the first 2 videos I tried to click on to view they wouldn’t show, so I don’t see the point in linking – hopefully eventually people that care about promoting science will make decisions to use the internet sensibly).

Interview of Professor Brian Cox

That’s a very important point about scientific discovery in general. Most scientists are interested in just looking at the universe, looking at nature. I don’t think there are many great discoveries that you can point to that were the result of someone wanting to find the answer to a particular question. If you look back at Einstein or Newton, you find that people are fascinated often by the smallest things, actually. In terms of Einstein, cosmology—which is a real part of the way the universe evolved, the way the universe began, the Big Bang—all that stuff came from Einstein really just being interested in the speed of light. He was just interested. It was a question he’d always asked. He’d always wondered about how light travels. It’s a useful lesson, in general, not only to the theories, but that science is at its best when curious people are just trying to find things out.

There’s a very famous quote from [Alexander] Fleming, when he discovered penicillin, he said something like, “On September something 1928, I didn’t expect to wake up and revolutionize medicine.” He woke up playing around with little bits of mold in his kitchen, basically. He was just interested in moldy things. [Laughs.] And he revolutionized everybody’s life. Everybody. Virtually everybody who is over the age of about 40 or 50 is alive today because of antibiotics. Virtually everybody would have died if it hadn’t been for that. And it wasn’t someone trying to discover antibiotics that did it. It was someone exploring nature. So, the argument, “Couldn’t we just spend our money making everybody’s lives better?” We are doing that. That’s what exploration actually does.

Related: Why Do People Invest Large Amounts of Time and Money? (Neil deGrasse Tyson)Brian Cox Particle Physics WebcastScience and Engineering WebcastsScientifically Literate See a Different WorldScience and the Excitement, the Mystery and the Awe of a Flower

Attenborough: Amazing DIY Orangutans

Related: Capuchin Monkeys Using Stone ToolsOrangutan Attempts to Hunt Fish with SpearCrow Using a Sequence of Three Tools

Invisible Worlds: Fastest Thing on the Planet

Fun with Fungi.

Related: Secret Life of MicrobesPlants, Unikonts, Excavates and SARsSmallest Known Living Organisms Found – 200 nanometers

Bewick’s Swan Divorce

photo of Sarindi and Sarind (by Colin Butters)

Experts stunned by swan ‘divorce’ at Slimbridge wetland

It is only the second time in more than 40 years that a “separation” has been recorded at the centre. Staff have described the new couplings as “bizarre”. It is not unheard of for the birds, which usually mate for life, to find a new mate but it tends to be because one of the pair has died, they said.

During the past four decades 4,000 pairs of Bewick’s swans have been studied at Slimbridge, with only one previous couple moving on to find new partners.

First suspicions of the rare event were raised when male swan Sarindi turned up in the annual migration from Arctic Russia without his partner of two years Saruni and with a new female – newly-named Sarind – in tow.

The pair’s arrival led conservationists to fear the worst for Saruni. But shortly afterwards Saruni arrived at the wetlands site – also with a new mate, Surune.

As for why they may have split, she said: “Failure to breed could be a possible reason, as they had been together for a couple of years but had never brought back a cygnet, but it is difficult to say for sure.”

Bewick’s swans are the smallest and rarest of the three species found in the UK and each individual can be identified by their unique bill pattern.

Related: Bewick’s swan diaryDarwin’s Beetles Surprising Sex Lives of AnimalsBackyard Wildlife: CrowsDuckling imprinted on this puppy in ChinaBird Species Plummeted After West Nile

Capuchin Monkeys Using Stone Tools

This BBC documentary “Clever Monkeys”, narrated by David Attenborough, shows Capuchin monkeys in Brazil using heavy stones to break open aged palm nuts.

Related: Chimps Used Stone HammersBird Using Bait to FishOrangutan Attempts to Hunt Fish with SpearDolphins Using Tools to Hunt

Friday Fun: Bird Mimics Other Birds and More

The lyre bird, not only mimics the calls of other birds, buy also man made noises such as cameras, saws and chainsaws, in an attempt to impress potential mates. David Attenborough narrates the above clip.

Related: Friday Fun: Bird Using Bait to FishLeafhopper Feeding a GeckoBackyard Wildlife: RaptorBdelloid Rotifers Abandoned Sex 100 Million Years Ago

40 New Species Found in Papua New Guinea

huge rat found in New GuineaThe rat is not afraid of humans, which could make it vulnerable. Photo by the BBC.

Yet another discovery of dozens of new species has been made. The rat that’s the size of a cat: 40 new species in ‘lost world’ at a remote volcano in Papua New Guinea.

In the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi, they found a habitat teeming with life which has evolved in isolation since the volcano last erupted 200,000 years ago.

Among the new species was the the Bosavi Woolly Rat. One of the biggest rats in the world, it measures just over 32 inches from nose to tail and weighs 3lb. The silvery grey mammal has dense fur and its teeth suggest it has a largely vegetarian diet and probably builds nests in tree hollows or underground.

It is estimated that along with the giant rat and cuscus the expedition found about 16 species of frogs, one species of gecko, at least three species of fish, at least 20 of insects and spiders and possibly one new species of bat.

Further evidence of the rich wildlife of the tropical location came with the discovery of the Bosavi Silky Cuscus. This animal, which resembles a small bear, is a marsupial that lives up in trees, feeding on fruits and leaves.

Weighing in at some 4.5lb, it has thick silky fur adapted for the mountain environment in which it lives. Dr Helgen has identified it as a new subspecies in the group of strange marsupials known as cuscuses.

The habitat in the area is currently regarded as pristine, but less than 20 miles to the south of Mount Bosavi extensive logging operations are happening.

Related: 2,000 Species New to Science from One Island1,000 Species Discovered in Greater Mekong in Last DecadeMassive Gorilla Population Found50 Species of Diatoms

Physics from Universe to Multiverse

2005 video of Dr. Michio Kaku speaking on BBC on physics from Universe to Multiverse.

Unfortunately BBC leaders decided to hide this from the world and removed the video. Maybe scientists should stop talking to organizations won’t share the output with the world.

Related: Extra-Universal MatterBefore the Big BangGreat Physics Webcast LecturesNeutrino Detector Searching for String Theory Evidence

Dangerous Infinity

In this BBC documentary, Dangerous Knowledge, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians РGeorg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt G̦del and Alan Turing Рwhose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide.

The film begins with Georg Cantor, the great mathematician whose work proved to be the foundation for much of the 20th-century mathematics. He believed he was God’s messenger and was eventually driven insane trying to prove his theories of infinity.

They explore, among other things, varying levels of infinity. With Ludwig Boltzmann they explore challenges to the understanding of physics.

Related: BBC Dangerous Knowledge web sitePoincaré ConjectureProblems Programming MathCompounding is the Most Powerful Force in the UniverseInnovation with Math