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Tea-drinking Brits waste enough water to fill 28 Olympic swimming pools a year

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tea drinking brits waste enough water to fill 28 olympic swimming pools a year

Tea-drinking Brits waste enough water to fill 28 Olympic swimming pools a year by boiling double amount of water they really need, says energy supplier Utilita.  

The 49.7 million British tea drinkers, who drink an average of four cups of tea a day, are actually boiling enough water for around 400 million drinks a year, rather than the 199.1 million they actually consume, it estimates. 

That equates to 69,696,447 litres wasted in total, assuming an average mug uses 350ml of water, the company says. 

The more water that’s in a kettle, the more energy a kettle uses to bring it to the boil, and Utilita is therefore advising people to think more carefully about how much they actually need. 

Utilita also revealed that overfilling the kettle, which can be a result of carelessness or uncertainty, is the top way Brits waste energy.  

Many kettles have measurements showing how many cups the water inside would fill. Brits could cut their energy bills by taking more notice of them, the research suggests

Many kettles have measurements showing how many cups the water inside would fill. Brits could cut their energy bills by taking more notice of them, the research suggests

Many kettles have measurements showing how many cups the water inside would fill. Brits could cut their energy bills by taking more notice of them, the research suggests

Many kettles have measurements showing how many cups the water inside would fill, and Brits could cut their energy bills by taking more notice of them. 

TIPS TO REDUCE KETTLE OVERFILL AND WASTED ENERGY

–  Get a kettle that has a measurements on the side, showing how many cups the water inside would fill.

– Only fill the kettle up to the maximum amount if you’re making tea for a big group of people.

– It’s quicker and saves more energy to just fill up the kettle only slightly if you’re making a single cup.

– If you’re worried about limescale, clean your kettle regularly. 

– If a kettle’s already boiled in the last 20 minutes it may contain water that’s still at a perfect temperature for drinking. 

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‘[It] certainly adds up, both in terms of energy use and water that’s coming out the tap and generally going straight back down the sink,’ said a spokesman for Utilita.

‘It will have an impact both at home, in your energy bills, as well as in wider society as needlessly expended energy depletes our non-renewable resources.’

The energy supplier commissioned OnePoll.com to conduct a survey of 2,000 adults to find out more about their kettle-filling habits.

According to the survey, a quarter of brew lovers don’t know how much water it takes to fill one mug. 

23 per cent worry their tea water will end up ‘limescaley’ if they only heat up enough to cover the bottom of the kettle – meaning they fill up the kettle too much just to be safe. 

Overfilling the kettle is the number one way Brits waste energy, Utilita also concluded, followed by leaving appliances on standby and leaving the TV on when it’s not being watched.

Other energy-wasting habits include leaving chargers in phones when they’ve already been fully charged and filling the bath too full, which often leaves hot water all over the floor once a person gets in.  

As much as 44 per cent of Brits confess that over-filling the kettle is the main way they waste energy around the home, while 15 per cent have had their heating on with the windows open. 

Anyone else imaging swimming in pool full of tea? Britain’s tea drinkers waste 70 million litres of water every year by boiling double the amount of water they need when making a brew, Utilita, which is enough to fill 28 Olympic swimming pools

Anyone else imaging swimming in pool full of tea? Britain’s tea drinkers waste 70 million litres of water every year by boiling double the amount of water they need when making a brew, Utilita, which is enough to fill 28 Olympic swimming pools

Anyone else imaging swimming in pool full of tea? Britain’s tea drinkers waste 70 million litres of water every year by boiling double the amount of water they need when making a brew, Utilita, which is enough to fill 28 Olympic swimming pools

Another quarter of those polled have cranked the heating up when feeling a bit chilly, rather than just putting on a jumper. 

And one in three have left the taps running while brushing their teeth, wasting yet more water.

40 per cent believe their household is ‘average’ in terms of energy waste and 24 per cent admit they waste more than everybody else. 

And 14 per cent of adults have even been told off by their kids for leaving lights on in the house.

 It also emerged the average energy bill across the country comes to £72.51 each month – although more than a tenth believe they pay £100 or more. 

As a result, 59 per cent know they need to do more to reduce their energy wastage around the home, according to the research.

But just under half have an ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ attitude towards doing their bit to save energy because the results aren’t instantly apparent.

‘There are so many small changes to be made that can have a positive impact on energy usage,’ Utilita said. 

‘After a while, with practise, flicking lights off as you leave a room or turning off the tap while brushing your teeth will become second nature. 

‘Having a working smart meter is also a great way to keep energy use front and centre of your mind, as you can see how much you are using in real time.

‘If everyone in the country were to make a few small changes each, that would add up to a tremendous benefit to the environment – and everyone’s monthly bills.’ 

TOP 20 WAYS BRITS HAVE WASTED ENERGY 

 1. Overfilled the kettle 

2. Left appliances on standby rather than turning them off properly 

3. Left the TV on when they weren’t in the room 

4. Fallen asleep with the TV on 

5. Left chargers etc plugged in when gadgets are fully charged 

6. Left gadgets on standby 

7. Left a light on when they’ve left the house 

8. Left the tap running while brushing their teeth 

9. Spent longer than 10 minutes in the shower 

10. Had more than one bath in a week 

11. Put the oven on to ‘heat up’ for longer than they needed to 

12. Turned the heating on rather than put on a jumper 

13. Slept with a light on in the house 

14. Used the tumble dryer instead of hanging a wash out – even when it was sunny 

15. Not shutting the fridge/freezer door properly 

16. Ran the taps to do their washing up constantly, rather than used a washing up bowl 

17. Filled a bath almost to the brim 

18. Filled the sink up with water to wash only a small amount of dishes 

19. Left the washing in the machine and had to do a second wash. 

20. Had the heating on – and windows open 

Source: Utilita Energy

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Roadside weed is found to halt the spread of breast cancer

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roadside weed is found to halt the spread of breast cancer

A roadside weed with white flowers which was thought to be boring and medically useless is able to kill breast cancer cells while leaving normal cells untouched. 

Thale cress, also known by its scientific name Arabidopsis thaliana, is an unassuming member of the cabbage family that grows to around eight inches tall. 

Experiments in a lab found its leaves, when treated with a plant hormone found in jasmine, successfully killed the cancer. 

The exact way it does this is unknown, but the study also found that while killing the dangerous cancerous cells, healthy tissues are left untouched. 

Dr Alessandra Devoto, the biologist leading the project, is hopeful this could lead to better chemotherapy treatments with fewer side effects. 

Breast cancer directly affects one in eight women in the UK, most over the age of 50. 

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A small weed with white flowers which was thought to be boring and medically useless is able to kill breast cancer cells while leaving normal cells untouched. Thale cress, also known by its scientific name Arabidopsis thaliana, is an unassuming member of the cabbage family

A small weed with white flowers which was thought to be boring and medically useless is able to kill breast cancer cells while leaving normal cells untouched. Thale cress, also known by its scientific name Arabidopsis thaliana, is an unassuming member of the cabbage family

A small weed with white flowers which was thought to be boring and medically useless is able to kill breast cancer cells while leaving normal cells untouched. Thale cress, also known by its scientific name Arabidopsis thaliana, is an unassuming member of the cabbage family

Arabidopsis is a very simple planet and for centuries scientists have disregarded it when looking for herbal remedies to human diseases. 

As a result, its only contribution to the scientific world so far has been as a ‘model organism’, used in experiments to see how plants as a whole react to certain chemicals or conditions. 

For example, an Arabidopsis plant was sent to the far side of the moon via the Chinese Chang’e-4 lander to see how microgravity affects plant growth.    

But Dr Devoto, from Royal Holloway University, thought it had more to offer and began looking at its medicinal properties in 2006. 

‘The plant is very much like the ‘Cinderella’ of the medicinal plant world – no one thought it was so special, but it has shown its true colours via our research,’ she said. 

‘The discovery has important implications in developing treatments for cancer as well as other diseases.’

As part of the research, published today in the journal New Phytologist, Dr Devoto wanted to see if the Arabidopsis plant possessed chemicals which could be useful.   

The leaves were treated with a chemical called methyljasmonate, a compound found in jasmine, which is normally produced by the plant when under stress. 

Arabidopsis is very simple and for centuries scientists have disregarded it when looking for plants that could help treat human disease. As a result its only contribution to the scientific world so far has been as a 'model organism'. The weed is often found in grass verges

Arabidopsis is very simple and for centuries scientists have disregarded it when looking for plants that could help treat human disease. As a result its only contribution to the scientific world so far has been as a 'model organism'. The weed is often found in grass verges

Arabidopsis is very simple and for centuries scientists have disregarded it when looking for plants that could help treat human disease. As a result its only contribution to the scientific world so far has been as a ‘model organism’. The weed is often found in grass verges 

Once the leaves were emitting all their hormones, they were incubated with cell cultures of breast cancer to see how it impacted their growth.

The study found the cancer cells stopped growing and the normal cells remained unaffected.

Professor Devoto said: ‘I am truly excited to have discovered the amazing impact this unassuming plant has on breast cancer cells. 

‘It just proves that even plants with a non-medicinal pedigree can work for cancer treatment.’

Co-authors of the research Dr Amanda Harvey at Brunel University London, and Professor Nicholas Smirnoff at University of Exeter say the next step is to identify which exact compounds made by Thale cress are killing the cancer.

China grows plants on the far side of the moon 

China’s Chang’e-4 mission successfully started growing plants on the moon at the start of 2019. 

Cotton seeds can be seen sprouting in a photo released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). 

The mission took a variety of seeds to the moon as part of its biosphere experiment and this marks the first time ever that biological material has been cultivated on the lunar surface. 

Other biological matter on the Chang’e-4 mission includes cotton, oilseed rape, potato, Arabidopsis, yeast and fruit flies.

More plants are expected to sprout in the next 100 days, the Chinese space agency claims.  

Developing the ability to grow plants in space is an important step towards successful long duration space flight to Mars and beyond. 

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Australian caterpillar constructs a weapon in its head from shedded skulls to fight predators 

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australian caterpillar constructs a weapon in its head from shedded skulls to fight predators

A caterpillar native to Australia constructs a tower of its shedded skulls atop its head to use as a weapon against predators.

Called the gum-leaf skeletonizer, this insect is just two centimeters long and stacks its molted heads to create a horn like structure to swing at its enemies – specifically stink bugs.

The creatures have received a number of nicknames, from Unicorn Caterpillars to Mad Hatterpillars, but its scientific name is Uraba lugens.

Each gum-leaf skeletonizer molts up to 13 times before spinning a cocoon and turning into a moth.

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A caterpillar native to Australia constructs a tower of its shedded skulls atop its head to use as a weapon against predators

A caterpillar native to Australia constructs a tower of its shedded skulls atop its head to use as a weapon against predators

A caterpillar native to Australia constructs a tower of its shedded skulls atop its head to use as a weapon against predators

The caterpillar was first discovered in New Zealand in 1995 and received its name due to its habit of ‘skeletonizing’ gum leaves by feeding only on the green parts – leaving just the veins behind.

They are hairy creatures with shades of yellow and black, along with gray markings.

But what makes them stand out from the rest is the unique ‘hat’ on their heads consisting of former head capsules.

Dieter Hochuli, from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney, told Newsweek: ‘These guys create a tower of five, six or seven heads up there and they use them to deter things that are trying to eat them.’

Called the gum-leaf skeletonizer, this insect is just two centimeters long and stacks its molted heads to create a horn like structure to swing at its enemies ¿ specifically stink bugs

Called the gum-leaf skeletonizer, this insect is just two centimeters long and stacks its molted heads to create a horn like structure to swing at its enemies ¿ specifically stink bugs

Called the gum-leaf skeletonizer, this insect is just two centimeters long and stacks its molted heads to create a horn like structure to swing at its enemies – specifically stink bugs

And the caterpillar’s main threat is the stink bug.

The bug attacks the skeletonizer by sticking a needle from its mouth through the victim’s head.

The stink bug hits just the tower of empty heads, leaving it confused and opens a small window of opportunity for the caterpillar to escape.

However, these caterpillars are not as helpless as they seem – it is hazardous to both the environment and human health.

The creatures have received a number of nicknames, from Unicorn Caterpillars to Mad Hatterpillars, but its scientific name is Uraba lugens

The creatures have received a number of nicknames, from Unicorn Caterpillars to Mad Hatterpillars, but its scientific name is Uraba lugens

The creatures have received a number of nicknames, from Unicorn Caterpillars to Mad Hatterpillars, but its scientific name is Uraba lugens

Each gum-leaf skeletonizer molts up to 13 times before spinning a cocoon and turning into a moth

Each gum-leaf skeletonizer molts up to 13 times before spinning a cocoon and turning into a moth

Each gum-leaf skeletonizer molts up to 13 times before spinning a cocoon and turning into a moth

The hairs on its body cause a painful sting and skin irritation on contact with human skin.

Another dangerous caterpillar has been found to invade parts of the US that also pose a threat to humans.

Called a puss caterpillar, the furry creature is covered in venomous spikes that causes intense pain when touched, along with swelling, fever and symptoms of shock.

The hairy creature resides in the southern states and feeds on shade trees such as elm, oak and sycamore, but locals have spotted it roaming around parks and other structures.

However, there has been a recent ‘outbreak’ in parts of Virginia, following numerous sightings of what is called the most poisonous caterpillar in the US.

Officials note that the toxic caterpillar population is kept under control by natural enemies, but chemical insecticides will be deployed if necessary.

Virginia Department for Forestry has received numerous reports the caterpillar in a few eastern counties in the state, but has not specified exact locations.

Another dangerous caterpillar has been found to invade parts of the US that also pose a threat to humans. Called a puss caterpillar, the furry creature is covered in venomous spikes that causes intense pain when touched, along with swelling, fever and symptoms of shock

Another dangerous caterpillar has been found to invade parts of the US that also pose a threat to humans. Called a puss caterpillar, the furry creature is covered in venomous spikes that causes intense pain when touched, along with swelling, fever and symptoms of shock

Another dangerous caterpillar has been found to invade parts of the US that also pose a threat to humans. Called a puss caterpillar, the furry creature is covered in venomous spikes that causes intense pain when touched, along with swelling, fever and symptoms of shock

Crystal Spindel Gaston, a resident in Richmond, told The Daily Progress, about her encounter with the puss caterpillar.

Gaston was reaching into the back of her car parked outside of her home when she felt an excruciating pain.

‘It felt exactly like a scorching-hot knife passing through the outside of my calf,’ said Gaston, 55, of New Kent County.

‘Before I looked down to see where it came from, I thought 100 percent I was going to see a big piece of metal, super sharp, sticking out from my car.’

She felt ‘white hot pain’ and immediately went to the emergency room – it took her three days to feel normal again.

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Denisovan DNA discovered in a Tibetan cave may be only 45,000 years old

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denisovan dna discovered in a tibetan cave may be only 45000 years old

DNA belonging to Denisovans – the ancient human ancestor – discovered in a Tibetan cave may be only 45,000 years old, scientists say. 

The ancient Denisovan mitochondrial DNA was recovered in sediments from Baishiya Karst Cave, a limestone cave at the northeast margin of the Tibetan Plateau, 3,280 meters above sea level. 

Samples indicate Denisovans occupied the high-altitude cave as early as 100,000 years ago, and possibly as recently as 45,000 years ago, as well as at a point in-between. 

If the DNA is indeed only 45,000 years old, the species would have lived alongside modern humans in northeast central Asia. 

Site of Baishiya Karst Cave, a Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary and a high-altitude paleoanthropological site for researchers

Site of Baishiya Karst Cave, a Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary and a high-altitude paleoanthropological site for researchers

Site of Baishiya Karst Cave, a Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary and a high-altitude paleoanthropological site for researchers

Denisovans, a group of extinct hominins that diverged from Neanderthals about 400,000 years ago, may have more widely inhabited northeast central Asia than scientists previously thought.  

Samples of sediments were analysed by an international team including Charles Perreault at Arizona State University.

‘When we started developing this project about 10 years ago, none of us expected Baishya Cave to be such a rich site,’ he said

‘We’ve barely scratched the surface – three small excavation units have yielded hundreds of stone tools, fauna and ancient DNA. There’s a lot that remains to be done.’ 

‘Future work in Baishiya Cave may give us a truly unique access to Denisovan behavior and solidifies the picture that is emerging, which is that Denisovans, like Neanderthals, were not mere offshoots of the human family tree.

‘They were part of a web of now-extinct populations that contributed to the current human gene pool and shaped the evolution of our species in ways that we are only beginning to understand.’

By examining the sediment of Baishiya Karst Cave located on a high plateau in Tibet, researchers identified ancient mitochondrial DNA from Denisovans, indicating their presence possibly 45,000 years ago

By examining the sediment of Baishiya Karst Cave located on a high plateau in Tibet, researchers identified ancient mitochondrial DNA from Denisovans, indicating their presence possibly 45,000 years ago

By examining the sediment of Baishiya Karst Cave located on a high plateau in Tibet, researchers identified ancient mitochondrial DNA from Denisovans, indicating their presence possibly 45,000 years ago

A mandible fossil (the ‘Xiahe mandible’) from the same cave, which was dated to 160,000, had been previously identified as Denisovan, based on a single amino acid position. 

This new study of the DNA dispels any doubt left that the Denisovans occupied the cave, according to the researchers. 

Evidence of archaic hominins this far above sea level is unusual due to the severity of the conditions at high altitude.  

Life on the plateau is harsh due to its thin air, and humans can develop altitude sickness anywhere above 2,500 meters above sea level. 

Presence of the DNA suggests the Denisovans may have evolved adaptations to high altitude, much like modern Tibetans. 

The dates of the sediments with mitochondrial DNA, along with the older 160,000-year-old Xiahe mandible, suggest that the Denisovans have been on the Plateau continuously for tens of thousands of years.

Pictured, the Xiahe mandible remains. The Denisovan jawbone was originally discovered in 1980 by a local monk

Pictured, the Xiahe mandible remains. The Denisovan jawbone was originally discovered in 1980 by a local monk

Pictured, the Xiahe mandible remains. The Denisovan jawbone was originally discovered in 1980 by a local monk

This would have been more than long enough for genetic adaptations to emerge in Denisovans to help them survive adverse effects of high altitude. 

This discovery in Baishiya Karst Cave is the first time Denisovan DNA has been recovered from a location that is outside Denisova Cave in Siberia, Russia. 

This Siberian cave was previously the single location in the world where a handful of DNA-bearing Denisovan fossil bones have been discovered. 

In 2010, a fingerbone belonging to a previously unknown hominin species was found buried in Denisova Cave in the Russian Altai Mountains. 

Evidence of this new species forced anthropologists to revise their model of human evolution outside of Africa. 

Scientists had thought that modern humans left Africa about 60,000 years ago and, as they colonized Western Eurasia, found a world empty of any other archaic hominin species.

But this assumption stemmed in part from the fact that the prehistory of Asia is poorly known compared to that of Africa and Europe. 

Researchers suspected that Denisovans were widespread in Asia, based on the widespread Denisovan genomic signal among present-day Asians. 

The new study has been published in the journal Science.                   

It is thought that the shared ancestors of Denisovans and Neanderthals, which are unknown in the fossil record, likely split from the ancestors of modern humans around 800,000 years ago

It is thought that the shared ancestors of Denisovans and Neanderthals, which are unknown in the fossil record, likely split from the ancestors of modern humans around 800,000 years ago

It is thought that the shared ancestors of Denisovans and Neanderthals, which are unknown in the fossil record, likely split from the ancestors of modern humans around 800,000 years ago

WHO WERE THE DENISOVANS?

The Denisovans are an extinct species of human that appear to have lived in Siberia and even down as far as southeast Asia.

Although remains of these mysterious early humans have only been discovered at one site – the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, DNA analysis has shown they were widespread.

DNA from these early humans has been found in the genomes of modern humans over a wide area of Asia, suggesting they once covered a vast range.

DNA analysis of a fragment of pinky finger bone in 2010, (pictured) which belonged to a young girl, revealed the Denisovans were a species related to, but different from, Neanderthals.

DNA analysis of a fragment of pinky finger bone in 2010, (pictured) which belonged to a young girl, revealed the Denisovans were a species related to, but different from, Neanderthals.

DNA analysis of a fragment of pinky finger bone in 2010, (pictured) which belonged to a young girl, revealed the Denisovans were a species related to, but different from, Neanderthals.

They are thought to have been a sister species of the Neanderthals, who lived in western Asia and Europe at around the same time.

The two species appear to have separated from a common ancestor around 200,000 years ago, while they split from the modern human Homo sapien lineage around 600,000 years ago. 

Bone and ivory beads found in the Denisova Cave were discovered in the same sediment layers as the Denisovan fossils, leading to suggestions they had sophisticated tools and jewellery.

DNA analysis of a fragment of a fifth digit finger bone in 2010, which belonged to a young girl, revealed they were a species related to, but different from, Neanderthals.

Later genetic studies suggested that the ancient human species split away from the Neanderthals sometime between 470,000 and 190,000 years ago. 

Anthropologists have since puzzled over whether the cave had been a temporary shelter for a group of these Denisovans or it had formed a more permanent settlement.

DNA from molar teeth belonging to two other individuals, one adult male and one young female, showed they died in the cave at least 65,000 years earlier.

Other tests have suggested the tooth of the young female could be as old as 170,000 years.

A third molar is thought to have belonged to an adult male who died around 7,500 years before the girl whose pinky was discovered.

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