But scientists say human effects can be a positive, not negative, factor for life on earth
Human beings now directly influence more than three quarters of the earths landmass, according to a state-of-the-art map of the world produced by a team of scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Columbia Universitys Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). Published in the latest issue of the scientific journal BioScience, the map should serve as a wake-up call that humans are stewards of the natural world, whether we like it or not – something that should be viewed as an opportunity, the authors say.
The map adds together influences from population density, access from roads and waterways, electrical power infrastructure, and land transformation such as urbanization and agricultural use. It reveals that 83 percent of the lands surface is under human influence, while a staggering 98 percent of the area where it is possible to grow rice, wheat or maize is directly influenced by human beings. At the same time, wide swaths of land still remain wild, including: the northern forests of Alaska, Canada and Russia; the high plateaus of Tibet and Mongolia; and much of the Amazon River Basin.
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New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum
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Combining an atomically thin graphene and a boron nitride layer at a slightly rotated angle changes their electrical properties. Physicists at the University of Basel have now shown for the first time the combination with a third layer can result in new material properties also in a three-layer sandwich of carbon and boron nitride. This significantly increases the number of potential synthetic materials, report the researchers in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
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