What is bioethics?
Andres Soosaar takes a glance at a scientific field which can generate a lot of passionate discussions and disagreements. Bioethics becomes increasingly topical as molecular biology advances rapidly. It is a rather new discipline that emerged in the 1970ies in the US. Bioethics encompasses issues of biology, biotechnology, sometimes also medicine and environment. Bioethics involves philosophers, clergymen, lawyers, politicians, social scientists and others, being very interdisciplinary field. The article focuses specifically on biomedical ethics, covering the principal issues of human life, such as birth and death.
Will the mystery of Tunguska remain a secret?
Jüri Plado reminds the explosion that happened in Siberia a century ago, caused by the falling of a meteorite, the landing of the Eveng’ god Agdõ or some other powerful event. The event is mysterious because there are no signs or traces of meteorite matter. There were hundreds of people who actually saw the event, but scientific research did not begin before 1920ies, initiated by L. Kulik, born in Tartu. 8 km from the center of the Tunguska Event lays Lake Cheko, which some believe is formed by a meteorite fall. So far the scientists have not agreed on how exactly the Tunguska Event happened.
The craters of Ilumetsa: from folk tales to science
Arvi Liiva finds relations between the genesis of meteorite craters and the bottomless pits of the devil: the meteorites fell down late enough for the folk to remember the event. The exciting pits were discovered in 1930ies, but based on the folk tales, the places were known to people before that. There are 5 depressions that resemble meteorite craters, but only two of them are definitely of meteorite origin. One of the main issues regarding the Ilumetsa craters is their age. Different methods have given very different results, ranging from 2000 years to about 7500 years. According to the latest and the most accurate data, the craters are 6000-6030 years old.
The secret of the Pilistvere meteorite fall
Kaljo Simson explains the possible origin of the meteorites that fell down 145 years ago: it is not unlikely that the stone pieces that fell down near Põltsamaa formed parts of the Swift-Tuttle comet. The event was witnessed by numerous people and based on their stories, four of them have been found. The author describes the event from the astronomical point of view.
Estonian Nature enquires
Uudo Timm explains how the information on the habitats of protected species reaches the environmental registry.
Pille Malkov introduces the activities of the NGO “Piusamaa”.
Our Boletuses 8
Vello Liiv’s overview of the next four Boletus species.
The „twisted” landscapes of Agusalu in the Alutaguse area
Kaili Viilma and Anne-Ly Feršel introduce the Agusalu nature protection area which protects the southern part of the Puhatu mire system. Due to unique fauna, the nature protection area deserves much more attention than it gets now. The area forms a buffer zone between the oil shale mining area and the Lake Peipsi recreational coastal area and lies on 11 000 ha. The area is exceptional for its high and narrow sand ridges that alternate with small fens. The article gives an overview of the cultural history, flora and fauna as well as the protection management of the area.
Interview: We can never know enough of insects
Toomas Kukk has interviewed Mati Martin, an enthomologist.
Oil pollution, the everyday of our fish
Randel Kreitsberg and Arvo Tuvikene explore the flounders of the Nõva region in search of signs of oil pollution in our sea. In order to explain the health of fish, they elaborate on the essence of oil and its impact on underwater environment. The samples taken from flounders indicate that the situation is not very bad yet and that nature recovers fast – the samples taken a year after the oil spill were as clean as from not-spilled waters.
The forest habitats of Nature Directive: how much do we know of their status?
Anneli Palo, Rainer Kuuba, Matis Mägi and Jaanus Paal estimate the status of our valuable forests protected by the nature directive to be rather poor. Moreover, the official knowledge of these forests is poor as well. The authors point at numerous errors in the database of the Ministry of Environment of Estonia. The audit by the State Audit Office indicated that there are numerous habitats of the nature directive listed in the database of the ministry that do not really meet the standards of the directive. At the same time, numerous valuable habitats are not protected. The detailed tables present some of the possible mistakes in the registry.
The many functions of pectin
Urmas Kokassaar shares advice about making jam: use material that is not very ripe yet or add some natural pectins to the jam to make it thicker. He presents the biochemical character of the substance and explains how pectin acts in jellying food.
The mysterious water-phantom, Old Kolju
Tõnu Ojap gets acquainted to the sea giant and bringer of fish luck, who is nowadays remembered by the Koljunukk, a cape near Maardu. The cape consists of erratic boulders. The author looks at the genealogy of the place name and brings forward interesting linguistic relationships regarding the name “Kolju”.