Earth Hour 2013: March 23, 8:30 PM

WWF's Earth Hour is a unique annual phenomenon that focuses the world's attention on our amazing planet, and how we need to protect it. Earth Hour is a simple idea gone global. Show your support and switch off! WWF is calling for people across the world to take part in Earth Hour 2013 – the biggest switch-off in history. At 8:30pm on 23rd March hundreds of millions of people across the globe are expected to turn off their lights for an hour, to show they care about the future of our planet. Last year's Earth Hour saw a staggering 6,950 towns and cities in more than 152 countries take part in what has become a global movement. From a single domestic light bulb to giant iconic illuminations such as Big Ben, the Taj Mahal and the Sydney Opera House, the Earth Hour switch-off can demonstrate a determination to help protect the planet.

Meat DNA testing can help save species

African governments need to boost local efforts to protect endangered species by supporting DNA testing, argues Linda Nordling. The horsemeat scandal that recently hit Europe has shown how DNA testing can improve food monitoring and safety. Most African countries are yet to adopt the technology despite its huge potential - both in ensuring that food is correctly labelled and in policing the illegal trade in animal products.

New discovery could have potential for regenerative medicine

Special cells that were discovered in healthy breast tissue from women undergoing breast reductions may hold the key for an important discovery. UC San Francisco researchers found that certain rare cells extracted from adult breast tissue have the capability to turn into other cell types. Similar to human embryonic stem cells, the newly found cells are pluripotent. Pluripotent cells have the potential to differentiate into almost any cell in the body.

India needs micro-level data for climate action

India needs micro-level scientific assessment at the state, district and village levels for effective planning and implementation of measures to combat climate change, a national workshop has highlighted. The workshop on climate-resilient development, organized last month (13 February), discussed integrating climate change into development programs in semi-arid regions like Bundelkhand in central India.

Starry Frog is NOT Extinct After all!

In 1853 Edward Frederick Kelaart, a physician and naturalist, collected a strange frog on the island of Sri Lanka then a British colony known as Ceylon. The specimen was a large shrub frog (about 2 inches or 5.5 centimeters long) with black-outlined white specks on lime-green skin. He dubbed it "starry" after its pale specks, but that was last anyone heard of it. Even the holotype—the body of the amphibian collected by Kelaart—went missing. Fast forward nearly 160 years—two world wars, Sri Lanka's independence, and a man on the moon—when a recent expedition into Sri Lanka's Peak Wilderness rediscovered a beguiling frog with pinkish specks. "These quite stunning frogs were observed perched on leaves in the canopy. They were slow moving, we collected samples which we thought were new species. But after reviewing past work, [especially] extinct species, it was evident that this was Pseudophilautus stellatus," L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe told mongabay. Kelaart's starry shrub frog, or Pseudophilautus stellatus, had been re-discovered.

How Warm Was it Once Upon a Time?

How warm or cold is it on Earth as compared to earlier times? Of course, going back far enough and one can find all sorts of extremes. How about the last ten thousand years? Using data from 73 sites around the world, scientists have been able to reconstruct Earth’s temperature history back to the end of the last Ice Age, revealing that the planet today is warmer than it has been during 70 to 80 percent of the time over the last 11,300 years. Of even more concern are projections of global temperature for the year 2100, when virtually every climate model evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that temperatures will exceed the warmest temperatures during that 11,300-year period known as the Holocene – under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

Deer Cull Necessary To Protect UK Countryside

Around half of the United Kingdom's deer population needs to be shot each year to prevent damage to woodlands and other wildlife, according to a group of scientists.

In the News: USA and Russia unite to protect the polar bear

As the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties continues, the USA and Russia have come together in an attempt to ban export trade in polar bear products. In a bid to provide polar bears with the highest level of protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the American-Russian proposal calls for a ban on any international commercial trade of skin, fur, fangs and other products made from polar bears.

Melanoma and Obesity Connection

A gene linked to obesity and over eating may also increase the risk of malignant melanoma – the most deadly skin cancer, according to scientists at the University of Leeds. The research, funded by Cancer Research UK, shows that people with particular variations in a stretch of DNA within the FTO gene, called intron 8, could be at greater risk of developing melanoma.

Global Warming Will Open Arctic Shipping Routes

Who said the effects of global warming are all negative? According to new research conducted by UCLA, melting sea ice during the late summer will make Arctic shipping channels much more accessible. The economy of the world depends on shipping as nearly all of a country’s imports and exports are transported across the global by these large ships. Canals like the Suez and Panama have helped reduce the length of certain shipping routes, but nothing has been done in the Arctic region because of the unreliable weather and treacherous ice.