Science in Action

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The latest science research and news stories from all over the world.


The Environmental Impact of Toxic Mudslide in Brazil

November 26th, 2015

Episode 65 of 118 episodes

A wave of toxic mud travelling down Rio Doce in Brazil from a collapsed dam has reached the Atlantic Ocean. The area of sea near the mouth of the river is a feeding ground and a breeding location for many species of marine life. Experts in the field predict the impact on the Atlantic and marine life will be the equivalent of destroying 200,000 square kilometres of Amazon rainforest. BBC Brazil News journalist Luis Barrucho tells us about the impacts on wildlife, agriculture and local communities. Mobile Phone Metadata Reveals Wealth Distribution Accurate and timely estimates of population wealth are very important for social and economic policy making. Data on mobile phone usage has been used by researchers in the US to infer nation-wide socio-economic status in Rwanda. This is a cheap way to obtain crucial information in countries with limited resources. Sneezing and the Shapes of Fluid Spray The shapes of the fluid we eject when sneezing has been mapped by researchers. Diversity in London At the Museum of London, DNA analysis of human remains stretching back 5,500 years reveals that London has been an ethnically diverse city since its very beginnings. Concussion Detecting Materials Researchers in the US have developed a material that changes colour depending on how hard it is hit. In the future, using this material to line protective headgear could give an early warning of a concussion. (Photo: Brazil toxic mudslide. Getty images)