Drought in the Amazon, Up Close and Personal

Drought in the Amazon, Up Close and PersonalYou can learn a lot muddling around a forest in the middle of nowhere, but you also learn a lot once you’re back in the city catching up on your e-mail.

In the field we worried about why it was raining so little. Back in Iquitos, Peru, we discovered that our field work had coincided with the worst drought ever recorded in the Amazon basin. Reading the previous two-and-a-half weeks of e-mail, it was possible to track the drought’s progress through the newsletters I receive every few days from a Brazilian research institute.

Print Email Share Dream Shield to protect Indigenous ideas

Print Email Share Dream Shield to protect Indigenous ideasA new resource to protect the intellectual property (IP) of Indigenous Australians is being launched today.

A project known as Dream Shield has been launched to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to profit from their ideas and traditional knowledge.

But the project had a somewhat surprising beginning - it was sparked by a crocodile bite.

Exploding star recorded in Aboriginal Dreamtime

Exploding star recorded in Aboriginal DreamtimeLONG BEFORE THE WORD astronomy was even coined, Aborigines were gazing into the night sky and documenting its events, weaving them into their Dreamtime stories.

Australian researchers have recently discovered that the eruption of a huge star 150 years ago was recorded and incorporated into the traditions of an Australian Aboriginal community living near Lake Tyrell in north-western Victoria.

Modern Soldiers, Ancient Medicines

Modern Soldiers, Ancient MedicinesIt's late afternoon on the Colorado plains, and the sun is disappearing behind the ridge of mountains to the west of us, but all I can see is darkness.

I'm in a traditional Lakota sweat lodge, a 15-foot-wide dome of willow branches covered in thick moving blankets and canvas.

Inside the tiny lodge, 20 of us are shoulder to sweaty shoulder in burning pain. The ceremony leader sings a traditional song, pouring cup after cup of water onto the still-glowing rocks, increasing the heat until voices break the darkness in anguish. Mine would join them if I could, but the heat is like a hundred pounds of sand, pressing me down into submission.

Are dreams trying to tell us something?

Are dreams trying to tell us something?The woman lies asleep next to her husband in a lovely house in the Scottish countryside.

She is a film maker. She has made several award-winning documentaries about science. Her three children are abed. She is dreaming. Suddenly, she wakes up, feeling very scared. In her dreams, her horse, George, has spoken to her. He has told her that he is dying. Trembling, she ventures outside in the dark night. George is lying on the ground. He is dead.