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Dodos killed by deadly combination of humans and MEGADROUGHT

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dodos killed by deadly combination of humans and megadrought

Giant creatures from Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands were killed by a deadly combination of human activity and a megadrought, a mineral sample study found.

The creatures, including dodos and giant tortoises, survived through millennia of repeated droughts until humans arrived and finally wiped them out.

Both islands suffered a ‘megafauna crash’ between 1500 and 500 years ago that saw significant large animal and bird species go extinct at about the same time. 

Researchers from the University of Innsbruck studied climate data and mineral deposits in Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands dating back 8,000 years.

Experts found that it was likely a ‘double whammy’ of heightened human activities in combination with a particularly severe ‘megadrought’ that doomed the creatures. 

The creatures, including dodos and giant tortoises, survived through millennia of repeated droughts until humans arrived and finally wiped them out, authors claim

The creatures, including dodos and giant tortoises, survived through millennia of repeated droughts until humans arrived and finally wiped them out, authors claim

The creatures, including dodos and giant tortoises, survived through millennia of repeated droughts until humans arrived and finally wiped them out, authors claim

Nearly all of Madagascan megafauna – including the famous Dodo bird, gorilla-sized lemurs, giant tortoises, and the Elephant Bird which stood 9ft tall vanished. 

Theories suggested this could have been due to a changing climate, large droughts over long periods of time – or from overhunting by humans when they arrived. 

The Mascarene islands, just to the east of Madagascar, are of special interest because they are among the last islands on earth to be colonised by humans. 

‘Intriguingly, the islands’ megafauna crashed in just a couple of centuries following human settlement,’ according to the research team. 

The large, charismatic animals that were native to the islands managed to survive repeated megadroughts over thousands of years – before humans arrived.

The team say a combination of hunting, deforestation and other human-caused stressors may have contributed significantly to the extinctions. 

While both Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands are considered biodiversity ‘hot spots,’ these islands have lost most of their endemic animals. 

Lead researcher Hanying Li and colleagues reconstructed millennial-scale climate trends in calcite deposits from the La Vierge cave in Rodrigues, Mascarene islands.

They determined these deposits represent the climatic record of the region more broadly – rather than just for that island. 

Using this proxy data, the researchers defined periods of drier and wetter conditions, observing numerous longer, more severe drying trends throughout the late Holocene than the period in which the megafauna died out. 

This suggests that the climate, and severity of the megadroughts, had been much worse at various points in the past than when the creatures went extinct. 

The researchers rule out climate change as the one and only cause, and instead suggest that the impact of human colonization was a crucial contributor.   

Nearly all of Madagascan megafauna - including the famous Dodo bird, gorilla-sized lemurs, giant tortoises, and the Elephant Bird which stood 9ft tall vanished between 1500 and 500 years ago

Nearly all of Madagascan megafauna - including the famous Dodo bird, gorilla-sized lemurs, giant tortoises, and the Elephant Bird which stood 9ft tall vanished between 1500 and 500 years ago

Nearly all of Madagascan megafauna – including the famous Dodo bird, gorilla-sized lemurs, giant tortoises, and the Elephant Bird which stood 9ft tall vanished between 1500 and 500 years ago

The most recent of the drying trends in the region commenced around 1500 years ago at a time when the archaeological and proxy records began to show definitive signs of increased human presence on the island. 

Ashish Sinha, professor of earth science at California State University, said they can’t say for certain human activity was the ‘last straw that broke the camel’s back’ but the records suggest that it was the case.

This is because the megafauna had shown a resilience to past climate swings, suggesting an additional stressor contributed to their extinction. 

‘There are still many pieces missing to fully solve the riddle of megafauna collapse. This study now provides an important multi-millennial climatic context to megafaunal extinction,’ says Ny Rivao Voarintsoa from KU Leuven in Belgium. 

The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances.

WHY DID THE DODO GO EXTINCT?

Little is known about the life of the dodo, despite the notoriety that comes with being one of the world’s most famous extinct species in history.

The bird gets its name from the Portuguese word for fool after colonialists mocked its apparent lack of fear of human hunters.

The 3ft (one metre) tall bird was wiped out by visiting sailors and the dogs, cats, pigs and monkeys they brought to the island in the 17th century.

Because the species lived in isolation on Mauritius for millions of years, the bird was fearless, and its inability to fly made it easy prey.

Its last confirmed sighting was in 1662 after Dutch sailors first spotted the species just 64 years earlier in 1598. 

As it had evolved without any predators, it survived in bliss for centuries. 

The arrival of human settlers to the islands meant that its numbers rapidly diminished as it was eaten by the new species invading its habitat – humans. 

Sailors and settlers ravaged the docile bird and it went from a successful animal occupying an environmental niche with no predators to extinct in a single lifetime.

Other birds, such as the kakapo in New Zealand,  also evolved to be similarly fearless, plump and sluggish. 

As humans spread around the world, they also decimated the population numbers of these birds. 

 The kakapo is now an endangered species. 

The dodo (pictured) was native to Mauritius and lived in harmony with no natural predators or enemies for centuries. Humans arrived on the island and the animal was extinct in 64 years

The dodo (pictured) was native to Mauritius and lived in harmony with no natural predators or enemies for centuries. Humans arrived on the island and the animal was extinct in 64 years

The kakapo (pictured) is native to New Zealand and is now endangered. The bird is flightless and has no predators, like the dodo. it is being hunted by humans and also suffering from habitat loss

The kakapo (pictured) is native to New Zealand and is now endangered. The bird is flightless and has no predators, like the dodo. it is being hunted by humans and also suffering from habitat loss

The dodo (left) is now extinct after a 17th century assault of hungry sailors destroyed the population of the docile, fearless birds. The kakapo (right) is a similarly flightless, fearless bird that is now struggling to survive and is currently endangered 

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Moment the Moon photobombs NASA observation satellite’s view of the Sun during lunar transit 

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moment the moon photobombs nasa observation satellites view of the sun during lunar transit

The moon stole the show from the sun during its lunar transit.

Astronomers observing the ball of gas caught the moon photobombing their footage on October 16 when it passed between NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the sun.

The transit lasted for about 50 minutes and at its peak, the moon covered 44 percent the fiery surface.

Although the moon interrupted their views, scientists were able to capture footage of two regions on the sun that appear to be active due to it starting Solar Cycle 25.

NASA announced in September that ‘Solar Cycle 25 has begun’, which occurs when the sun passes from one of its 11-year activity cycles into another.

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The moon stole the show from the sun during its lunar transit. Astronomers observing the ball of gas caught the moon photobombing footage on October 16 when it passed between NASA¿s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the sun

The moon stole the show from the sun during its lunar transit. Astronomers observing the ball of gas caught the moon photobombing footage on October 16 when it passed between NASA¿s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the sun

The moon stole the show from the sun during its lunar transit. Astronomers observing the ball of gas caught the moon photobombing footage on October 16 when it passed between NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the sun

The solar cycle affects activity on the surface of the sun, such as sunspots which are caused by the sun’s magnetic fields.

However, as the cycle ends, the sun fades back to solar minimum and then a new cycle begins.

The latest Solar Cycle 25 appears to have started in December 2019 and experts say it will peak in 2025.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has been observing the massive glowing star for a decade, snapping pictures of it ever 0.75 seconds.

¿This apparent crossing in space, called a lunar transit, lasted about 50 minutes, between 3:05pm and 3:53pm ET,¿ NASA shared in a statement

¿This apparent crossing in space, called a lunar transit, lasted about 50 minutes, between 3:05pm and 3:53pm ET,¿ NASA shared in a statement

‘This apparent crossing in space, called a lunar transit, lasted about 50 minutes, between 3:05pm and 3:53pm ET,’ NASA shared in a statement

The transit lasted for about 50 minutes and at its peak, the moon covered 44 percent the fiery surface

The transit lasted for about 50 minutes and at its peak, the moon covered 44 percent the fiery surface

The transit lasted for about 50 minutes and at its peak, the moon covered 44 percent the fiery surface

And the lasts set captured the moon making its lunar transit.

‘This apparent crossing in space, called a lunar transit, lasted about 50 minutes, between 3:05pm and 3:53pm ET,’ NASA shared in a statement.

‘At the peak, the Moon covered about 44% of the Sun. During this time, the Moon also happened to cover two of the spacecraft’s fine-guidance sensors — causing its view of the Sun to jitter slightly.’

‘The spacecraft, called SDO for short, recovered its steady view soon after the transit ended.’

Just days before NASA announced Solar Cycle 25 had begun, researchers in Europe shared an up-close look of intricate structures as small as 30 miles across on the sun’s fiery surface.

Although the moon interrupted their views, scientists were able to capture footage of two regions on the sun that appear to be active due to it starting Solar Cycle 25

Although the moon interrupted their views, scientists were able to capture footage of two regions on the sun that appear to be active due to it starting Solar Cycle 25

Although the moon interrupted their views, scientists were able to capture footage of two regions on the sun that appear to be active due to it starting Solar Cycle 25

Using the largest telescope in Europe, known as GREGOR, scientists captured stunning details of sunspot evolution and complex design of solar plasma.

These are the highest resolution images a European telescope has observed, which the team attributes to new optics capable of probing the massive star’s magnetic fields, convection, solar eruptions and sunspots with great detail – unlike ever before.

The photographs show solar magnetic fields taken at a wavelength 516 nanometers and sunspots at 430 nanometers, which astronomers say it is ‘as if one saw a needle on a soccer field perfectly sharp from a distance of one kilometer.’

Just days before NASA announced Solar Cycle 25 had begun, researchers in Europe shared an up-close look of intricate structures as small as 30 miles across on the sun¿s fiery surface

Just days before NASA announced Solar Cycle 25 had begun, researchers in Europe shared an up-close look of intricate structures as small as 30 miles across on the sun¿s fiery surface

Just days before NASA announced Solar Cycle 25 had begun, researchers in Europe shared an up-close look of intricate structures as small as 30 miles across on the sun’s fiery surface

In each, hot plasma rises up in the bright center of the cell before cooling off and sinking back into the star to form dark lanes that can be seen by GREGOR ¿ some have compared it to the look of popcorn

In each, hot plasma rises up in the bright center of the cell before cooling off and sinking back into the star to form dark lanes that can be seen by GREGOR ¿ some have compared it to the look of popcorn

In each, hot plasma rises up in the bright center of the cell before cooling off and sinking back into the star to form dark lanes that can be seen by GREGOR – some have compared it to the look of popcorn

Our star is covered in numerous cell-like structures — each the size of the US state of Texas — that are the product of the violent convection motions that transport heat up from deep within the Sun’s interior.

In each, hot plasma rises up in the bright center of the cell before cooling off and sinking back into the star to form dark lanes that can be seen by GREGOR – some have compared it to the look of popcorn.

Dr. Lucia Kleint, who led the project and the German solar telescopes on Tenerife, said: ‘This was a very exciting, but also extremely challenging project. In only one year we completely redesigned the optics, mechanics, and electronics to achieve the best possible image quality.’

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5G: O2 expands its UK coverage to more than 100 locations

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5g o2 expands its uk coverage to more than 100 locations

Telecoms firm O2 has expanded its 5G coverage to more than 100 locations across the UK, bringing it nearly level with EE, the nation’s biggest provider.

New towns and cities joining the expanding range of the ultra-fast internet network include Chelmsford, Ipswich, Milton Keynes and Slough. 

O2 customers can pick from a selection of 28 5G-enabled devices with their mobile plan, including the Apple iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, which will be released tomorrow. 

Of the other major providers, EE offers 5G in 112 locations, while Three customers can access high-speed internet in 66 locations and Vodafone 55.

34672016 0 image a 47 1603298094892

34672016 0 image a 47 1603298094892

Telecoms firm O2 (pictured) has expanded its 5G coverage to more than 100 locations across the UK , bringing it nearly level with EE, the nation’s biggest provider

‘When we launched 5G last October, we said it was the first step on a journey,’ said O2’s Chief Operating Officer Derek McManus.

‘One year on and we have made some incredible progress, not just in terms of our roll-out but in bringing about new capabilities that will make real changes to people’s everyday lives.’

‘No one could have predicted the way this year has turned out — and that almost overnight, customers would turn to their networks more than ever before to keep them connected to loved ones, colleagues and suppliers.’

According to research by O2 and Development Economics, 4G and 5G connectivity helped to enable firms to still undertake £205 billions worth of business in the period from March to September this year during a time many were working remotely. 

List of O2 5G locations in the UK  

Aberdeen

Ashford

Aughton

Aylesbury

Banstead

Basildon

Beaconsfield

Bedford

Belfast

Birmingham

Blaydon

Bradford

Bridge of Don

Brighton

Bristol

Bury St Edmunds

Byfleet

Cambridge

Cardiff

Chadwell St Mary

Chatham

Chelmsford

Chesterfield

Chipstead

Colchester

Coventry

Dartford

Derby

Dewsbury

Doncaster

Dundee

Durham

Dyce

Eastbourne

Edinburgh 

Epsom 

Esher

Eton and Windsor 

Gillingham

Glasgow

Gravesend

Grays

Great Yarmouth

Halifax

Harlington

Harlow

Hemel Hempstead

Hextable

High Wycombe

Hove

How Wood

Huddersfield

Hull

Ipswich

Jarrow

Leeds

Leicester 

Lincoln

Lisburn

Liverpool

London

Longford

Loughborough

Lowestoft

Luton

Manchester

Mansfield

Middlesbrough

Milton Keynes

Morley

Newcastle Upon Tyne 

Newtownabbey 

North Shields 

Northampton

Norwich 

Nottingham

Nuneaton

Orpington

Oxford

Peterborough 

Plymouth

Rainham

Redhill

Rotherham

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Rugby

Sheffield

Shepperton Green

Slough

South Shields

Southend-On-Sea

Staines 

Stevenage

Stockton

Stoke-on-Trent

Sunbury

Sunderland

Thundersley

Tynemouth

Warrington

Washington

Weybridge

Whickham

Whitley Bay 

Worthing

York 

 

 

 

 

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Since March, O2 has doubled the capacity of its voice network to meet the increased demand — which surged by 57 per cent on the first day of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Alongside this, the service provider has boosted its 4G provisions in around 5 per cent of the UK’s postcodes. 

‘Connectivity has never been more important, and we want our network to continue to raise the bar,’ Mr McManus continued.

‘We firmly believe 5G has a role in helping to rebuild Britain, unlocking huge possibilities for our economy and society.’

‘We’re excited to keep pushing ahead with our rollout along with our partners Ericson and Nokia, to keep supporting our customers, businesses and society.’

O2 is also bringing it 5G services to aid corporate customers.

With the Northumbrian Water Group, for example, the service provider has been working to aid experienced technicians to remotely direct on-the-ground teams using augmented reality.

Moreover, O2 is collaborating with researchers at the University of Glasgow and the European Space Agency to deliver a trial 5G-connected ‘clinic-on-wheels’ to help monitor COVID-19 across six care homes in Glasgow. 

EXPLAINED: THE EVOLUTION OF MOBILE BROADBAND UP TO 5G

The evolution of the G system started in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed for analogue data to be transmitted via phone calls.   

Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched. 

Since then, the capabilities and carrying capacity for the mobile network has increased massively. 

More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network quicker than ever.

5G is expected to be 100 times faster than the currently used 4G. 

Whilst the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the step to 5G will be so fast they become almost real-time. 

That means mobile operations will be just as fast as office-based internet connections.

Potential uses for 5g include: 

  • Simultaneous translation of several languages in a party conference call 
  • Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
  • A full length 8GB film can be downloaded in six seconds. 

5G is expected to be so quick and efficient it is possible it could start the end of wired connections.  

By the end of 2020, industry estimates claim 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.

The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps - 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future 

The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps - 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future 

The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps – 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future 

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Wacky tube man could keep dingoes from killing cattle in Australia, study finds

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wacky tube man could keep dingoes from killing cattle in australia study finds

Forget about scarecrows – Australian farmers hoping to save their livestock from dingos might want to borrow a wacky tube man from their local used car dealer.

A new study suggests the humorous figures’ unpredictable gyrations can scare off the legendary wild dogs.

Dingoes are a major problem for Australia’s sheep industry, slaughtering thousands of animals and causing up to $60 million in damages annually.

Animal rights advocates decry shooting or poisoning the creatures, and killing off a parent dingo can lead to more attacks from reckless pups.

So scientists in Adelaide tested out a tube man to keep dingos away from a bowl of dog food.

They were successful 75 percent of the time, with nine of the twelve canines running away in fear. 

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Dingoes are a major problem for Australia's sheep industry, slaughtering thousands of animals and causing up to $60 million in damages annually. Researchers believe the unpredictable movements of inflatable tube men could be an effective and nonlethal deterrent

Dingoes are a major problem for Australia's sheep industry, slaughtering thousands of animals and causing up to $60 million in damages annually. Researchers believe the unpredictable movements of inflatable tube men could be an effective and nonlethal deterrent

Dingoes are a major problem for Australia’s sheep industry, slaughtering thousands of animals and causing up to $60 million in damages annually. Researchers believe the unpredictable movements of inflatable tube men could be an effective and nonlethal deterrent

Farmers have tried non-lethal approaches before, including shrill sirens, but the dingos quickly adapt.  

 ‘They’re very intelligent,’ Bradley Smith, an animal behaviorist at Central Queensland University in Adelaide, told Science magazine. ‘It’s hard to scare them for too long.’ 

And dingoes serve an evolutionary purpose, keeping the number of prey animals, like kangaroos, in check. 

So Smith and his colleagues brought ‘Fred-a-Scare,’ a 13-foot skydancer, to a dingo sanctuary in Melbourne and placed him near a bowl of dry dog food. 

[embedded content]

Nine of the twelves dingoes ran away after laying eyes on the tube man, compared with only one that bolted after hearing the sound of gunshots. Over three days, 'Fred' scared away the dogs 75 percent of the time

Nine of the twelves dingoes ran away after laying eyes on the tube man, compared with only one that bolted after hearing the sound of gunshots. Over three days, 'Fred' scared away the dogs 75 percent of the time

Nine of the twelves dingoes ran away after laying eyes on the tube man, compared with only one that bolted after hearing the sound of gunshots. Over three days, ‘Fred’ scared away the dogs 75 percent of the time

As reported in the journal Pacific Conservation Biology, pairs of hungry dingoes were brought into the yard downhill from the inflatable effigy.

Nine of the twelves dingoes ran away in fear after laying eyes on Fred, compared with only one that bolted after hearing a speaker that played the sound of gunshots.

Over the course of three days, Fred successfully protected the dog food three-quarters of the time.

‘When you have sound, the dingoes will flinch. They’re a bit nervous but they don’t run away,’ Smith said. ‘But the wavy man, boy, they bolted.’

It’s not a fool-proof solution, though.

Though dingos are a major nuisance they serve an evolutionary purpose, keeping the numbers of prey animals in check. Farmers have tried nonlethal approaches before but the dogs quickly adapt

Though dingos are a major nuisance they serve an evolutionary purpose, keeping the numbers of prey animals in check. Farmers have tried nonlethal approaches before but the dogs quickly adapt

Though dingos are a major nuisance they serve an evolutionary purpose, keeping the numbers of prey animals in check. Farmers have tried nonlethal approaches before but the dogs quickly adapt

Each wind-blown tube man requires about 1000 watts to power, about the same as a dishwasher.

And the dingos could eventually get used to even this weird sight.

But it wouldn’t be the first time someone’s resorted to a mechanical boogeyman to keep an animal nuisance at bay.

Smith was actually inspired to try out Fred after hearing about conservationist Suzanne Stone, who used a wacky tube man to scare off wolves from a ranch in Oregon.    

And restaurateurs around the famed Sydney Opera House have employed a mechanical falcon to scare off seagulls that attack tourists and diners.

But a spokesperson for the venue said the imitation bird of prey, which costs about $6,500, hasn’t proven very effective.

In Japan, farmers are protecting their crops from wild boars using robotic wolves that have fangs, fur and red eyes

The two-foot-tall canines howl when another creature approaches them.

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