Biochemistry Lab Manager Janet Hope from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences holds a vial of pink coloured porphyrins representing the oldest intact pigments in the world. Image credit: Australian National University
Being well informed isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. In this feature, The Yorker is bringing you a fortnightly roundup of politics free national and international news. From the stories you’ve seen to some you might not have, this is everything you need to know from the past two weeks.
Bright pink – the world’s oldest colour
As part of her PhD studies, Dr Nur Gueneli from the Australian National University, has discovered what scientists are calling the “world’s oldest biological colour”. Researchers crushed 1.1bn-year-old rocks found in a marine shale deposit, beneath the Sahara Desert. In a statement, Gueneli said, “The bright pink pigments are the molecular fossils of chlorophyll that were produced by ancient photosynthetic organisms inhabiting an ancient ocean that has long since vanished”. This discovery also sheds light on why it took so long for large, complex creatures to appear on Earth. Dr Gueneli added, these “tiny cyanobacteria dominated the base of the food chain in the oceans a billion years ago, which helps to explain why animals did not exist at the time”. Senior lead researcher Associate Professor Jochen Brocks, also from the Australian National University, explained that the evolution of larger organisms was probably restrained by the absence of larger food particles. In modern oceans, there are algae, which is microscopic. However, algae is still a thousand times larger than the cyanobacteria. This makes it a much better food source. Brocks added, “the cyanobacterial oceans started to vanish about 650 million years ago, when algae began to rapidly spread to provide the burst of energy needed for the evolution of complex ecosystems, where large animals, including humans, could thrive on Earth.”
Teenagers nowadays are more sensible
A survey of 1,000 16 to 18-year-olds by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) found that teenagers are becoming less likely to have sex, and prefer to spend time with their families, and have romantic relationships online. Sexting is seen as a precursor to intercourse with only 34% saying they had sex while overestimating the proportion of their peer group that had. The report said that the current generation of teenagers appeared to be more sensible, with a larger focus on their future career and getting good grades (82% saying this was of high importance). They also wanted to avoid teenage pregnancy, which the report found is “highly stigmatised by young people themselves.” The report also stated that their findings show the importance of good sex and relationship education (SRE) as those that reported their SRE as good were more likely to delay sexual activity. However, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Prof Lesley Regan told the BBC that there are still strong regional variations in teenage pregnancy. She found it disappointing “a significant proportion of young people are not receiving a high-quality of sex and relationships education”, calling on the government to improve this “as a matter of urgency”.
What else do you need to know?
The 12 Thai football players and their coach were eventually rescued from the cave.
India’s Supreme Court hear case to decriminalise gay sex. Read more about it here.
The past 17 years has seen HBO consistently get the most Emmy nominations. However, while they got 108 nominations this year, Netflix overtook the television network to gain the most nominations, 112 overall. The winners will be announced mid-September.
In related news, the UK’s media regulator reported that video-on-demand services like Netflix have, for the first time, more subscribers than pay-TV providers like Sky.
France won its second World Cup, defeating Croatia 4 – 2. France last won 20 years ago when it’s star striker, Kylian Mbappé, had not yet been born.
In other sports news, South Africa had its first Wimbledon finalist in 97 years. Unfortunately, the South African, Kevin Anderson, was beaten by Novak Djokovic. After two years of injury, Djokovic has come back and won his fourth Wimbledon. Serena Williams lost to first time winner Angelique Kerber in the Ladies’ final.
China’s first $100 million movie was a complete flop in the box office and was pulled from cinemas after a disappointing opening weekend.
A suspect for the rape and murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley in 1988 has been identified with the help of a DNA site and a genealogist.
Starbucks is set to become the next big business to stop using disposable plastic straws. The shift will be complete by 2020 and according to the retailer, it will eliminate more than one billion straws a year.