Shuddering and unable to breathe, he vomited up five plastic bags. The small pilot whale, found in a Thai canal this past June, is another symptom of a crisis in the world’s oceans. Plastic waste, mostly broken down into tiny particles, floats in huge blobs that together cover as much as 40 percent of Earth’s ocean surface. Growing public concern has inspired movements to ban single-use plastics, most notably straws.
News from Asia
Regional News from Stanford University - Asia
Stanford researchers have found the oldest archaeological evidence of beer brewing, a discovery that supports the hypothesis that in some regions, beer may have been an underlying motivation to cultivate cereals.
A complex and dangerous mission is underway to rescue twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach, who survived more than two weeks trapped by rising waters in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system. Though one person, a former Thai Navy SEAL, has lost his life in the effort, prospects are brightening for the boys as elite divers guide them, one by one, through a treacherous 2.5-mile route to freedom.
Imagine if a country mobilized tens of thousands of people to reforest an area the size of Ireland within a year. This and other seemingly incomprehensible scenarios are a reality in China. A massively ambitious effort to become “the ecological civilization of the 21st Century” has driven the Middle Kingdom to commit more than a trillion dollars to environmental investments, limit development on nearly half of its total land area and pay 200 million people to restore landscapes, change farming practices or move out of sensitive areas.
A new Bing Overseas Studies Program in Hong Kong will open in 2019. From their home base in Hong Kong, Stanford students may also get the opportunity to pursue other academic and cultural offerings, including internships in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
News Item Fishing's Global Footprint
Seafood provides sustenance for billions of people and livelihoods for tens of millions, yet the full global reach of high seas fishing has remained largely a mystery until now. A team of researchers, including Stanford scientists, has directly quantified industrial fishing’s footprint using satellites and onboard ship-locating technology.
Their data reveal, among other surprises, that five countries account for more than 85 percent of high seas fishing, and holidays affect fishing patterns much more than fish migrations or ocean conditions.
The Winter Olympics are here again, and you know what that means: lots and lots of mental rehearsal, that thing where athletes picture themselves swooping around the gates of a downhill skiing course, spinning in mid air above a skating rink, and vigorously sweeping the ice with a broom (which is what you would do if you were into curling).
Psychologists — not to mention those athletes — know that mental rehearsal works, in the sense that picturing yourself doing something before you actually do it improves your chances of success or, if you're an Olympic athlete, a gold medal.
Keep your eyes peeled during the Olympics — you might spy Stanford's Eugene Roh, MD, in one of the ice rinks. Roh, a sports medicine specialist, was selected as a Team USA physician and he'll be on hand near the ice, and wherever he's needed.
The individual commitments made by parties of the United Nations Paris Agreement are not enough to fulfill the agreement’s overall goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The difference between the U.N. goal and the actual country commitments is a mere 1 C, which may seem negligible. But a study from Stanford University, published Feb. 14 in Science Advances, finds that even that 1-degree difference could increase the likelihood of extreme weather.
How well a child grows in early childhood can be marker for survival, cognitive development and economic success later in life. Malnutrition and diarrhea cause poor health and stunted growth for millions of children living in poverty worldwide, but intervention strategies to combat the problem have not been rigorously tested.