Mangroves on Cayo Coco, Cuba. Photo: Prisma by Dukas/UIG via Getty Images
Axios' new science editor Andrew Freedman writes: Human activities are encroaching on the lands we've set aside to protect vulnerable species, according to new research.
Key findings: About 33% — or roughly 2.3 million square miles — of protected land worldwide is under "intense human pressure" from development, such as roads, growing urban areas and agriculture, per the study, published Thursday in Science. Only 42% of protected land is free of any "measurable human pressure."
What they did: The authors devised a metric for the human footprint on our planet that includes proximity to built environments, pasture lands, intensive agriculture, nighttime lights and human population density, among other variables.
Go deeper: Read the story here.
Blood sample collected at a Russian medical center. Photo: Kirill Kukhmar/TASS via Getty Images
The World Health Organization this week issued a list of must-have diagnostic tools for nations to adopt, Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports. They expect the first round of the Essential Diagnostics List (EDL) will encourage manufacturers to boost production of the tests.
Why it matters: Diagnostic tools are the first key step in ensuring a patient receives the correct treatment and in assisting countries in containing and responding to disease outbreaks, but many developing countries do not have access to them.
"Diagnostics are going to be key ... to be able to triage and respond and manage patients when an outbreak happens."— Jamie Bay Nishi, director, Global Health Technologies Coalition
The context: Creating a global pandemic response system, which would include rapid diagnostic tests, is increasingly being recognized as a major health and security priority. "The world needs to prepare for pandemics the way it prepares for war," Bill Gates said recently.
Go deeper: Read the rest of Eileen's story.
Aqueduct Arch in southern Utah. Photo: Paul Geimer/University of Utah
Etched by wind and water, the sandstone bridges and arches of southern Utah seem to be stoics of the desert. But as rock features go, they are quite sensitive.
What's new: University of Utah professor Jeff Moore and graduate student Paul Geimer borrowed techniques from civil engineering to study 15 arches across southern Utah, including continuously monitoring Aqueduct Arch.
"[It's] a magnificent smooth form that is probably on its last legs as an arch. I have a soft spot for it," says Geimer.
The goal: They want to use the measured frequencies and 3D models of the arches to estimate their thickness and strength, and to try to track trends. From that, they hope to create a framework for monitoring sensitive sites or one day predicting imminent collapse in seemingly stable structures.