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“World First”: Watch Polar Bear Cubs Open Eyes

Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo catches twin cubs opening their eyes—the first such video ever recorded.

Clean Air Rules Face Scrutiny as World’s Largest Emitter Develops Climate Plan

Oral arguments were held Tuesday to determine the legality of a rule that regulates air pollution crossing state lines. Before the U.S. Supreme Court was the issue of whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeded its authority by designing state limits for air pollution when it developed the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which was intended to take…

National Geographic Launches Global Exploration Fund

“There is still so much to explore and discover about our planet,” National Geographic Executive Vice President for Mission Programs, Terry Garcia, said today at the launch of National Geographic’s new Global Exploration Fund. “We are at the beginning of our greatest age of exploration.”

Australia’s Wild Weather May Have Helped Push Carbon Tax

Although Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard had promised before to not enact a carbon tax, floods, bush fires, heat waves, and drought reawakened discussion about putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. This week, Australia’s House of Representatives narrowly passed a carbon tax, sending the bill to the country’s Senate, where observers say it is almost certain…

“Crony Capitalism” Alleged Behind Tar Sands Pipeline Review

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could carry a diluted form of tar sands from Canada to Texas, has attracted the ire of many environmentalists, including Bill McKibben, who spearheaded protests in front of the White House last month. This week, McKibben argued the Obama administration is practicing “crony capitalism” and that e-mails obtained through a Freedom of…

China Aims to Become Solar Powerhouse with New Subsidies

China is already the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturer, but now it is making a move to become a major solar energy consumer as well, with a nationwide feed-in tariff to pay people or businesses a subsidy for electricity they produce with solar panels. This follows on the heels of the country’s wind energy feed-in tariff in…

Japan, Germany Struggle With Nuclear Power Slowdown

With a large share of their nuclear power plants down at the moment, both Japan and Germany are scrambling to meet energy demand and figure out how to get by without nuclear in the future. Two-thirds of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors are currently down, most of them for maintenance and testing. To cope with the…

U.K.’s “Greenest Government Ever” Charges Ahead with Nuclear Power

Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, has repeatedly pledged to create the “greenest government ever,” and now the country has adopted a new, ambitious goal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, aiming by 2025 to slash them by half, compared with 1990. The goal, agreed to by Cabinet ministers in the ruling coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats,…

Asian Invaders Showed Europeans how to Farm, Graveyard Study Finds

International researchers led by ancient DNA experts from the University of Adelaide, Australia, said today that they had settled the longstanding issue of the origins of the people who introduced farming to Europe some 8,000 years ago. DNA carefully extracted from a complete graveyard of Early Neolithic farmers unearthed at the town of Derenburg in…

African wild dog and cheetah all but extinct in North Cameroon

The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) and the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) are “functionally extirpated” in North Cameroon, an international group of researchers said today. Cameroon is a country of central and western Africa. Photo courtesy of the University of Leiden “Other large carnivores such as lion, leopard, striped hyena and spotted hyena, have become rare and…

Bats set compass by the sun

Despite the fact that bats are active after sunset, they rely on the sun as their most trusted source of navigation, German researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology reported today. The scientists found that the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) orients itself with the help of the earth’s magnetic field at night and…

Feeding birds shown to impact their evolution

Feeding birds can have profound effects on their future and perhaps even create new species in a relatively short span opf time, German scientists report. According to research published in the current edition of the journal Current Biology, what was once a single population in central Europe of birds known as blackcaps has been split into…

Can Flies Show Robots How to Navigate?

German scientists have built a flight simulator for flies to better understand how the insects see and coordinate their movements. What they learn might be of use in developing robots that can move around their environment. Photo courtesy USDA “A fly’s brain enables the unbelievable–the animal’s easy negotiation of obstacles in rapid flight, split-second reaction…

Soccer-playing Robots from Germany Win 2009 RoboCup

Robots from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, are the winners of this year’s RoboCup. “The cooperative soccer-playing robots of the Universität Stuttgart are world champions in the middle size league of robot soccer,” the University said in a news statement. “After one of the most interesting competitions in the history of RoboCup from 29th June to…

Meet “Smoky,” the Robot Fish

German scientists are looking at how fish move through water to see if technology can be adapted to make shipping more friendly to underwater habitats. Photo courtesy TU Darmstadt A team of researchers at Technische Universität Darmstadt analyzed videos of fish’s motions and then developed a prototype fish robot that duplicated them, and are now…