Sir David Attenborough launches ‘Boaty’ polar ship

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Media captionAttenborough launches “Boaty McBoatface” polar ship
Sir David Attenborough has launched the 10,000-tonne hull of the UK's newest polar ship – named after him – into the River Mersey.
The broadcaster pushed the button, sending the hull sliding out from the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead, into the water where building will continue.
“Our future will be affected by what people working on this ship will be discovering in years to come,” he said.
It is “the greatest possible honour” to be its namesake, Sir David added.
The hull of the £200m research vessel entered the river stern-first, creating a big wave as it hit the water.

Ahead of the launch, the riverbed was dredged in front of the slipway to make sure the steel mass did not bottom out.

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Cammell Laird

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Sir David and Dame Jane Francis press the big button

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PA

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Tugs were on hand to catch the hull as i..

Sir David Attenborough polar ship set for launch

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Media captionSir David Attenborough polar ship: Here's an inside peek
It should make for quite a splash!
The 10,000-tonne hull of the UK's new polar ship will be put in the River Mersey later – around 12:20 BST.
Named after the TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough, the vessel has been assembled at the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead and placed on its slipway.
The broadcaster himself will be asked to unleash his steel namesake – pushing the button that sends the hull sliding down wooden rails which have been caked in thick grease.
The hull will go in stern-first and should create a big wave as it bites the water just as the Mersey reaches high tide.

Cammell Laird has had the riverbed dredged in front of its slipway to make sure the steel mass does not bottom out.

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The wooden rails will be smothered in grease for the launch

Saturday is an important milestone for the ship, whose development has been followed..

Brexit ‘could damage UK environment’

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Reuters

The environment is still at risk of damage after Brexit, according to a cross-party group of 74 MPs and peers.
They say personal reassurances by Environment Secretary Michael Gove are of no value without new legislation.
Mr Gove has promised that the environment will be maintained or enhanced after the UK leaves the EU.
The group of 74 want a new Clean Air Act. They say they fear that, following Brexit, the government will pass the buck on pollution to councils.
They have outlined their concerns in a letter, which has been organised by Geraint Davies, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution.

He told BBC News: “Mr Gove talks the talk very impressively. But assurances are worth nothing until they are enacted.
“If there’s no deal, then the UK will be on a cliff edge in March. The government failed to meet existing standards, but it will no longer be able to be taken to court.
“It could easily pass the buck to local councils to transfer resp..

Source of cosmic ‘ghost’ particle revealed

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IceCube/NSF

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The discovery was made at the IceCube detector in Antarctica

Ghost-like particles known as neutrinos have been puzzling scientists for decades.
Part of the family of fundamental particles that make up all known matter, neutrinos hurtle unimpeded through the Universe, interacting with almost nothing.
The majority shoot right through the Earth as though it isn't even there, making them exceptionally difficult to detect and study.
Despite this, researchers have worked out that many are created by the Sun and even in our own atmosphere. But the source of one high energy group, known as cosmic neutrinos, has remained particularly elusive.
Now, in the first discovery of its kind, it turns out that a distant galaxy powered by a supermassive black hole may be shooting a beam of these cosmic neutrinos straight towards Earth.

Step One: Catch a neutrinoIt all starts with IceCube, a highly sensitive detector buried about two kilometres beneat..

Killing rats could save coral reefs

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SPL

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Brown rat – an invasive predator that eats seabird eggs and chicks

The much maligned rat is not a creature many would associate with coral reefs.
But scientists studying reefs on tropical islands say the animals directly threaten the survival of these ecosystems.
A team working on the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean found that invasive rats on the islands are a “big problem” for coral reefs.
Rats decimate seabird populations, in turn decimating the volume of bird droppings – a natural reef fertiliser.
The findings are published in Nature.

Coral reefs entangled with plastic
Rats and mice cleared from South Georgia
The rare event threatening coral reefs
Scientists now advocate eradicating rats from all of the islands to protect these delicate marine habitats.

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Nick Graham

How do rats harm coral reefs? The Chagos Archipelago provided a large-scale natural laboratory to answer this question; although the islands are uninh..

Survey: Half of young people want electric cars

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EPA

Half of young people in the UK would like to own an electric car – compared with just a quarter of their parents, a survey suggests.
The research comes from motoring group the AA, which says myths about electric vehicles are putting off many drivers.
This matters because cleaning up air pollution and tackling climate change both depend on mass acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs).
Young people seem to be more accepting of the technology than older people.
But too many still hold needless fears, the AA says.

It comes as the government has announced a target for 50% of all new vehicle sales to be in the ultra-low emissions category by 2030.
The opinions were revealed in an AA/Populus poll of 10,293 drivers.
What the public thinks
85% of people overall in the survey said that there aren’t enough public charging points for EVs.
76% said EVs can’t go far enough on a single charge.
76% think EVs are too expensive.
67% think EVs take too long to charge.
67% think ther..

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