Dehai News

Tragedy in Beirut | Sperms fool scientists

Posted by: The Conversation Global

Date: Friday, 07 August 2020


A state of emergency has been declared in Lebanon following an explosion in the capital, Beirut, which damaged large sections of the city and has resulted in the deaths of at least 135 people. Tragically, Beirut’s historic port is deep in the city’s heart and as Sara Fregonese explains, it’s a major driver of an economy, which is already in strife.

Meanwhile, Maritime security experts Scott Edwards and Christian Bueger look into how the chain of events leading to this disaster are not by any means uncommon in a world where port security can be compromised by corruption or disorganisation. They spell out the changes that are required to prevent a disaster like this ever happening again.

In other news, for 350 years, scientists have always believed that to reproduce, the human sperm have to swim a distance equivalent to climbing Mount Everest to find the egg. Well, it turns out that is not correct as Hermes Gadêlha in a breakthrough discovery found that sperms aren’t “swimmers” after all.

Grace Allen

Cities and Young People Editor

Devastation in central Beirut following the explosion on 4 August 2020. EPA-EFE/WAEL HAMZEH

The port of Beirut: vital, historic centre of a complex city

Sara Fregonese, University of Birmingham

The port, and surrounding neighbourhoods devastated by the explosion, are at the heart of Beirut.

Beirut explosion: the disaster was exceptional but events leading up to it were not – researchers

Scott Edwards, University of Bristol; Christian Bueger, University of Copenhagen

Abandoned containers of hazardous goods are found regularly in ports.

Sperm fooled scientists for 350 years – they spin not swim

Hermes Gadêlha, University of Bristol

Our breakthrough discovery has found that sperm aren't "swimmers" after all.


Africa’s research ecosystem needs a culture of mentoring

Oluwaseyi Dolapo Somefun, University of the Western Cape; Kudus Adebayo

Mentoring can help build the confidence of young scholars in Sub-Saharan Africa, reducing the likelihood of brain drain.

How to narrow the gap between what universities produce and what employers expect

Angelo Fynn, University of South Africa

A South African study explored how psychology students benefited from an alternative approach to teaching and learning.


Sea level rise: three visions of a future summer holiday at the coast

Nick Davies, University of Salford; David Jarratt, University of Central Lancashire

Sea levels could be two metres higher by 2100. How will our relationship to the drowned coast change?

Microplastics: tiny crustaceans can fragment them into even smaller nanoplastics

Alicia Mateos Cárdenas, University College Cork

The discovery that such a common animal can rapidly produce vast numbers of nanoplastics is particularly worrying.

En Français

Quand les éruptions volcaniques provoquent des tsunamis

Alexis Bougouin, Université Clermont Auvergne; Olivier Roche, Université Clermont Auvergne; Raphael Paris, Université Clermont Auvergne

Les éruptions volcaniques peuvent provoquer des tsunamis particulièrement meurtriers. Pour mieux comprendre ces phénomènes relativement rares, on les recrée en laboratoire.

Maths au quotidien : Sur la route des vacances, aller au plus court ou au plus rapide ?

Daniel Bloch, Université Sorbonne Paris Nord – USPC

La ligne droite n’est pas toujours le chemin le plus court pour arriver à destination. La notion de « métrique » permet de cerner ce problème au quotidien et pour des optimisations plus pointues.


Danakali eyes finish line for Eritrea potash project

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