Does compression gym gear actually benefit the wearer?

A cyclist taking part in the trial
Image caption Twenty-five cyclists took part in the tests at the University of Birmingham

I'm very definitely a "MAMIL" - a middle-aged man in lycra - who spends not as much time as he'd like in the gym.

But as I'm getting older I'm more and more interested in anything that might help improve my workout and even aid recovery.

Which brings us to compression wear and the question of whether or not it really works?

You may well have tried compression wear - stretchy garments that look at least five sizes too small. Once you've squeezed into the leggings or shirt you can feel a very real tightness around your muscles.

From bog-standard gym goers like me to elite sportspeople, everyone is pouring themselves into the tight grip of compression wear and it's a multibillion pound business.

Cyclists

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CBD oil products - fad or the future of food?

Cans of the fizzy drink
Image caption A company says it is the first to make a fizzy drink containing CBD

CBD oil is derived from cannabis and hemp plants and it's suddenly everywhere.

From coffee to frozen yogurt to balms, drops and even cosmetics... and all on sale online or on your local high street.

Read full article CBD oil products - fad or the future of food?

Roaches recovery eight months after fire disaster

Footage shows smoke billowing into the air
Image caption Drone footage of the fire from August last year

In August last year a devastating fire swept through the Staffordshire Roaches leaving around 20% of this important wildlife area blackened and lifeless.

Last week I was offered the chance to go back and see how nature is recovering. And sadly it isn't good news.

Read full article Roaches recovery eight months after fire disaster

Electric cars and the councils that have run out of juice

  • 5 April 2019
  • From the section England
Electric charging point
Image caption Rapid charging points in Coventry city centre

The government has set some ambitious targets to increase the use of electric vehicles, for all the usual green reasons.

But new research from the BBC's Shared Data Unit shows there's a real postcode lottery when it comes to that most vital bit of having an electric car - somewhere to charge it once you leave home.

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How magpie myths help with wildlife conservation effort

Magpie

What's the best way to get kids excited about wildlife and conservation?

Is it to fill them up with science about diet and range and populations? Or can you give them a sense of wildlife wonder with facts about folklore and history?

Read full article How magpie myths help with wildlife conservation effort

Sooty terns: A squid diet causes population problems for sea birds

A sooty tern chick on Ascension Image copyright University of Birmingham
Image caption A sooty tern chick on Ascension

University of Birmingham scientists have cracked a wildlife mystery - a mysterious population crash in seabird numbers on Ascension Island in the Atlantic.

Once there were millions of sooty terns on Ascension now there are just a few hundred thousand.

Read full article Sooty terns: A squid diet causes population problems for sea birds

When aliens attack Antarctica

  • 12 January 2019
  • From the section England
Eretmoptera murphyi
Image caption Eretmoptera murphyi, the tiny flightless midge causing all the problems

This tiny bug is technically the largest land animal that lives permanently in Antarctica. (Penguins and seals don't count as they are marine animals.) Unfortunately, it's not supposed to be there and new research from the University of Birmingham has revealed the size of the problems it's causing.

Eretmoptera murphyi is a flightless midge that arrived on the Antarctic island of Signy in the 1960s and, rather embarrassingly, it was brought there by scientists conducting an experiments on plants.

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Big changes to recycling black plastic

  • 14 December 2018
  • From the section England
Herbs ready for next year being potted up in the plastic pots
Image caption The taupe pots are being made by a company in Tipton

Traditional black plastic plant pots are being replaced with a new colour.

The change will allow the pots to be put straight into household recycling for the first time.

Read full article Big changes to recycling black plastic

Detecting gravitational waves caused by black holes

  • 11 December 2018
  • From the section England
Artists impression of two black holes locked in a “death spiral” Image copyright LIGO
Image caption An artist's impression of two black holes locked in a death spiral

If I'm honest, I was a bit jealous when gravitational waves were discovered. One hundred years after Einstein said they existed, researchers from the University of Birmingham throw the switch on their big new detector and find gravitational waves on day one.

I mean, who does science like that? That's just showing off.

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Discover the violent end of the Oxford dodo

Display model of a dodo Image copyright University of Warwick
Image caption A dodo model on display in Oxford - the actual dodo remains are usually kept under lock and key

For a bird that has been extinct for more than 350 years, you probably think there is not much left to learn about the dodo. But you would be wrong, thanks to the latest research at the University of Warwick.

The specimen that the team based at WMG has been studying is a very famous dodo indeed. It belongs to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and it is so precious it is kept under lock and key.

Read full article Discover the violent end of the Oxford dodo