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A journal of science, thought, and action.

Mountains in a 'Sand Sea'

4

Dec

2013

Mountains in a 'Sand Sea'

The Air and Tenere Mountains rise abruptly from the Sahara Desert in Niger.
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Mars in VR

19

Oct

2017

Mars in VR

Mars as if you were there.

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The Conservation Alliance

Archive Highlights

Intelligent Designers

Intelligent Designers

Portland is using 'intelligent designers' to replace an aging coal-fired power plant and other cities should follow their lead.

17 Apr 2015

Video Highlights

Recent Archive Highlights

A Monumental President

A Monumental President 26 August 2017

A Monumental President

Two new national monuments were designated.

Fishing for Plastic

Fishing for Plastic 9 August 2017

Fishing for Plastic

It takes garbage to make a boat.

Intelligence of Plants

Intelligence of Plants 8 August 2017

Intelligence of Plants

Amazing new understandings of intelligence in plants.

The Colours of Australia are Fading

The Colours of Australia are Fading 2 June 2017

The Colours of Australia are Fading

Major changes have occurred recently to Australian forests.

Super Coral...a Super Hero?

Super Coral...a Super Hero? 26 May 2017

Super Coral...a Super Hero?

Heat-tolerant corals may help reef restoration.

Replanting Corals

Replanting Corals 17 May 2017

Replanting Corals

Some people are taking positive action today to reverse the damage caused by climate change and building resilience for tomorrow.

When Plates Collide

Continental Drift, or plate tectonics, has shaped the world as we know it. The process is a cornerstone of modern geology. The plates that carry the continents move and grind against each other and have done so for billions of years. The location and size of the land masses existing during the Devonian, Cretaceous, or Permian ages were totally different from what we know today. The world of the far future---perhaps 50-200 million years from now---will have a new supercontinent, Amasia, ...
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From Russia With Love

At the height of the Cold War, James Bond was enlisted to retrieve a Russian encryption device and save the world from the evil SPECTRE. Times have changed, the cold war is over, and the Russians have made a  ar more exciting discovery than scrambling messages. Russian engineers and polar researchers have now succeed in drilling more than 12000 feet into the Antarctic Ice Sheet and reached Lake Vostok, a huge body of water covered for millions of years by the ice. Sampling the ice-covered ...
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As Cheap As Sunlight

A new solar cell design has been developed by researchers at Cambridge University in the UK. In a huge increase in efficiency, the new cells promise to increase efficiency by a significant amount. Conversion efficiency of solar energy into electricity directly affects the economics of solar energy production. The more photons converted to electrons per unit area, the better the efficiency, and the lower the cost of energy production. The Cambridge research being published by the journal ...
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Cannon fire

Breaking news: cannon fire at the White House this week. There were no injuries. No, the British army of 1812 has not returned. The cannon ball was a marshmallow. This was at the second White House Science Fair, President Obama helped an eighth-grader from Arizona load and fire his “Extreme Marshmallow Cannon” through the air of the State Dining Room. Watch the President get all childlike about it, pitching in to pump up the cannon and directing it away (I think) from some paintings on ...
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Auroras, Stars, & Trees

The amazing light-shows known as auroras are very active and very beautiful now. The Sun has recently become active with numerous eruptions of flares, sunspots, and ejections of mass from its surface. These solar events expel charged particles into the solar system triggering auroras when they encounter the Earth’s upper atmosphere. One massive solar storm produced the beautiful auroras seen in this video from northern Norway. The storms on the Sun will continue for some time allowing ...
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Rampage of the Pythons

  Invasive species are annoying. Whether they are cane toads hopping across Australia, kudzu vines smothering southern pine forests, or lionfish eating Caribbean coral reefs, these new visitors from other environments are rapidly growing in their frequency, impacts, and eradication costs. Such unwelcome guests can be especially troublesome if they happen to be an apex or top predator like pythons that have invaded the Florida in massive numbers. OnPoint Radio from WBUR focused attention ...
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The Jurassic Speaks

The Jurassic Age ended 145 million years ago. However, we can now hear how the ancient forests may have sounded courtesy of new research. Paleontologists in China unearthed, complete, fossilized, Jurassic crickets with their hind-leg scales intact. These are the anatomical structures responsible for the sounds produced by modern crickets on a cool summer night. They are familiar to everyone. The prehistoric mating chatter of the ancient katydids was recreated by comparing the wing ...
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Beach Front Property

The Europeans treasure their summer vacations at the beach. Thousands make an annual pilgrimage to the south of France, Italy, Greece, and Croatia. Now, researchers with the European Space Agency ( ESA ) have announced discovering a large beach that once existed on Mars. It dried up nearly 4 billion years ago. Using radar data from an ESA instrument known as MARSIS, the researchers detected sedimentary materials in the northern plains on Mars in a region that has been identified as a ...
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Changing Zones

Every so often, the USDA updates its hardiness zone maps for the nation. The agricultural agency released their latest map at the beginning of 2012 to reflect changes since 1990. A hardiness zone is defined, “as a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing under the existing climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone.” The maps are of particular utility to farmers and gardeners making plans ...
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City of Lights

Paris, France is known as the City of Lights. It is a place of beauty from any vantage point. I wonder if you can see the Eifel Tower, a 19th Century technological artifact, from the height of a 20th Century one, the international space station (ISS)? ISS views Europe at night (credit: NASA) WHB
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Earth: The Other Side

        Beautiful photo of Earth from NASA’s Suomi NPP.
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The Mechanical Swarm

";" alt=""> The brain sees these little buggers and immediately thinks: attack of the drones. But maybe not. Couldn’t we program these little guys to deliver pizza?
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Super-sized Earth

The first extra-solar planet has been clearly identified orbiting within the habitable zone. The new alien planet to close to Earth. The newly discovered world is designated as GJ667Cc, takes roughly 28 days to circle its parent star, a red-dwarf, and is located only 22 light-years away in the constellation Scorpios. The planet a super-sized, rocky world, 4.5 times as massive as Earth. Its red-dwarf star is part of a triple system, is about one-third the size of the Sun, and, while faint, ...
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X-ray Specs for Pollution

Casey Roberts is a student at the University of Houston. She also writes for Radiology Assistant, which helps students find the right radiology degree. She was kind enough to write for us about how scientists are using X-rays to study pollution. When a bone is broken, you x-ray it. When the planet is broken, maybe you do the same thing. A new technology called Q-XAS, or Quick Scanning X-ray Absorbtion Spectroscopy, uses the power of radiololgy to help care for the environment. This ...
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Bigger, Better, and Best

Robots continue getting better, particularly those complicated mobile machines the Jet Propulsion Laboratory builds to roll autonomously around the surface of Mars. JPL’s latest testing lab, the Mars Science Laboratory, is enroute to attempt a tricky landing there in August. Here is an image illustrating the growth in size and scientific testing complexity of three generations of JPL Mars rovers . JPL Mars Rovers (credit: NASA) The first rover, Sojourner, which landed on Mars in 1997 ...
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Bulbmania

  I must admit suffering from an acute condition known as bulbmania, the love of rare and unusual geophytes, as they are technically known. Be warned, the condition can be contagious. The bulbs I refer to aren’t the typical super-hybridized daffodils, tulips, or hyacinths of your garden center or florist shop but wild geophytes found in semi-arid and desert landscapes ranging from South Africa’s Namaqualand, the Central Asian mountains and steppes, to Chile’s Atacama Desert. The majority ...
  • 1328

Dunes-R-Cool

Dunes are some of the coolest features of any landscape be it Earth, Mars, or Titan, the largest moon in our solar system. We typically conjure visions of sand dunes from the Sahara, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, or some creepy SciFi movie that swallows entire cities. The tiny particles that create dunes are moved around dry landscapes by winds—aeolian—and deposited when the air flow stops. On Earth, dunes are produced by sand grains moved by our atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen; on Mars its by ...
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Where the warming's at

Dear Climate Morons:If global warming isn't caused by people and the billions of fires we light every day in our engines and power plants, and it's caused instead by sun spots or solar flares or a wobbly Earth, then why is so much of the warming happening in the northern hemisphere, where all the people are? 
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LeBron bikes to work

No helicopters or Lambos, like Kobe. LeBron bikes to work. Apparently he does this all the time.
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You think you have a small house?

How's this for a small house? This one fits in your pocket.  Casa Básica / Basic House from martinazua on Vimeo.
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Interview with Tim DeChristopher

Tim DeChristopher interviewed from prison. "What the climate movement needs to get to is a point of resistance that doesn't have an ending," he says. "That's what make a lot of people uncomfortable about the Occupy movement was that it didn't have an ending."  He's scheduled to be out of prison in the spring on 2013. 
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Underwater jet pack

From ITN.
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The Beauty of Pollination

Those talented programmers at the TED Talks have provided a beautiful introduction to pollination. And this new presentation doesn’t even include any talking. Our wellbeing is dependent on these critters more than we ever knew. ";" alt="">The Beauty of Pollination (credit: TED Conferences) WHB
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DIY Launches

The do-it-yourself (DIY) philosophy is getting way out of hand. A pair of Canadian teens launched a little plastic Lego robot off into the stratosphere riding on top of a balloon. The high altitude voyage carried a video cam wrapped in woolen hand-warmers to record the trip. The balloon returned to Earth undamaged more than 100 miles from the launch site. Check it out: ";" alt="">Lego Man Goes to Space (credit: YouTube) However, the little Maple Leaf Lego guy should have been ...
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Chasing Ice

In the vein of full disclosure, it must be admitted that I am super-biased about the subject matter of a yet-to-be released movie, Chasing Ice, the film’s subject James Balog, a friend of 40 years, and the Sundance Film Festival where I was an original long-time volunteer. It is hard not to celebrate this fantastic documentary film, the dedicated explorer-photographer, and a festival that has come to represent all that is important in independent filmmaking. Chasing Ice chronicles the ...
  • 2894

Rust Belt

The idea of a rust belt conjures images of derelict steel mills or long abandoned auto plants covered, well, in red rust of industrial strength. It isn’t a pretty sight. Far less well known are rusts that impact the natural world, particularly plants. Plant rusts are diseases caused by pathogenic fungi of which nearly 7800 species are known. Rusts can affect all plants from their leaves, stems, and roots, to their fruits and seeds. An outbreak of Myrtle Rust has been spreading like a ...
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