Earthquakes in Oklahoma
Between 1976, when good recordings of earthquakes stated to be kept, up until 2008, Oklahoma State would experience on average, one magnitude three quake per year. But recently there have been many more earthquakes. Geophysicist Professor Katie Keranen from Cornell University has just published research in the journal Science that shows this huge upswing in the number of earthquakes is probably due to waste water from oil extraction being pumped back into the ground – at just a handful of sites.
Stem Cell Retraction
Earlier this year Japanese scientists claimed in a Nature paper to have been able to make stems cells quickly and easily just by adding acid to adult cells. If it had been true, it would have been remarkable, and perhaps ushered in a new era of regenerative medicine. But this week the paper has been retracted. The term used was "critical errors" – what that means in practice is that mistakes were found, parts were lifted from earlier work, and results were fabricated. Professor Chris Mason, a stem cell biologist from University College London, explains what happened.
Orbiting Carbon Observatory Launched
The OCO, or Orbiting Carbon Observatory, will measure sources of carbon dioxide on Earth, and also help show where it is absorbed out of the atmosphere. CO2 is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas, emitted by the burning of fossil fuels, and understanding it better should help us understand the course that climate change is likely to take. Jack Stewart discusses the aims of the OCO with two scientists involved, Dr Hartmut Bösch, from the University of Leicester, and Professor Paul Palmer, from University of Edinburgh.
Ancient African Scripts
Thousands of irreplaceable manuscripts were rescued from Timbuktu, in Mali, western Africa last year, as the city was taken over by Islamic militants. The rebels set fire to libraries, and there were fears that the treasure trove of ancient texts would be destroyed, but many of them were smuggled out in cars, carts, and canoes, hidden under crates of fruit. Now that these manuscripts have come to light, researchers say they could help recover lost medical and farming knowledge. Lou Del Bello from SciDev.net has been investigating the next steps for the texts.
Discovering New Species
In a world where most of the world’s natural habitats have been explored by scientists, finding new species has become a modern biological holy grail. Science in Action's resident zoologist, Dr Tim Cockerill, reveals how he found a new species in his cup of tea.
(Photo: Pump jacks are seen next to a canal in an oil field ©Getty Images)
Presenter: Jack Stewart
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz