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Life sciences/Organismal biology/Animals/Domesticated animals/Livestock

Protein-rich diets can be detrimental to the locust species Oedaleus asiaticus, according to researchers working in northeast China. As a consequence, swarms of these locusts are more likely to occur where vegetation contains low levels of nitrogen—a primary protein source for the insects.

Unfortunately for many farmers, erosion and heavy grazing by livestock contribute to desertification—a significant problem in China—but also reduce the amount of nitrogen in crops, thereby increasing the chances of a locust swarm on overgrazed land.

A recent congressional rider that removed federal protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains has set a precedent that could encourage lawmakers to weaken protections for other species, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said at AAAS.

Sylvia Fallon, now with NRDC’s Wildlife Conservation Project, said it is too early to say whether the rider involving wolves was an aberration or the start of a more activist role by Congress to directly intervene in the administration of the Endangered Species Act.

Ask Bob Hirshon, executive producer and host of AAAS’s award-winning, nationally syndicated radio program Science Update about his favorite episode and you can almost hear his mental Rolodex spinning.

Perhaps the shows with Nobel Laureates, like James Watson? Or engineering giants like Robert Noyce? Of course, there have also been shows on singing Hawaiian fruitflies, intelligent parrots, and naked mole rat society.

Nine billion people are expected to inhabit the Earth by 2050. But while the world population is growing, the amount of available cropland, fresh water and other key resources is not. The number of undernourished people already exceeds one billion—how do we feed the world without exacerbating environmental problems and simultaneously cope with climate change?

Several continuous developments over the past two decades have greatly increased the potential application of geospatial technologies to human rights issues and a range of other fields. The first is the decreasing cost of personal computing technology and the robust development of associated software, both proprietary and open source. The rapid growth of available geospatial data is a second factor. A third is the increasing amount of satellite sensors imaging the earth allowing for the availability of high-resolution satellite imagery commercially and publicly.