The Daily Populous

Friday February 14th, 2020 night edition

image for Car ‘splatometer’ tests reveal huge decline in number of insects

Two scientific studies of the number of insects splattered by cars have revealed a huge decline in abundance at European sites in two decades.

It also found a parallel decline in the number of swallows and martins, birds that live on insects.

Show Hide Insects are crucial to the health of functioning ecosystems that are vital for food production and security.

Insect populations around the world are plummeting, with 40% of species declining and a third endangered, according to the same literature review.

In the long term, scientists have called for an international body to monitor the health of insect populations and action taken to help them.

“What there is slight doubt about is the extent to which this occurs across geographical and temporal scales.”.

Kent Wildlife Trust is now working on a smartphone app to make it easier for volunteers to provide insect splat data. »

Study reveals food waste is worse than we thought — and which group is most to blame

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In fact, the amount of food people waste globally is twice as high as the most-commonly cited estimate, the data suggests.

At the individual level, food waste is tied directly to affluence — the more money you have, the more likely you are to throw out uneaten food, the study finds.

Two ways of reducing your own food waste is to choose food with long shelf lives, and to make sure it is stored and packaged correctly. »

In wake of Brexit, EU to put Cayman Islands on tax haven blacklist

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The Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory, is to be put on an EU blacklist of tax havens, less than two weeks after the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc.

Last year the UK and its “corporate tax haven network” was judged to be by far the world’s greatest enabler of corporate tax avoidance by the Tax Justice Network.

Miles Dean, head of international tax at Andersen Tax UK, said: “The Cayman Islands already has legislation to obtain information that is far better than the UK’s. »

A tiny area of the brain may enable consciousness, says "exhilarating" study

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In a wild new experiment conducted on monkeys, scientists discovered that a tiny, but powerful area of the brain may enable consciousness: the central lateral thalamus.

This brain circuit works as a sort-of “engine for consciousness,” the researchers say, enabling conscious thought and feeling in primates.

More studies — in humans, not primates — are needed to explore how the central lateral thalamus operates in the brain. »