Posts

October 16, 2014

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3:30 PM | Bats like city living
We’re used to sharing our cities with pigeons, ants, and the occasional skunk. In part of Australia, though, urban areas are increasingly overrun by thousands of bats — and a new study suggests that the animals’ inclination for city life is only growing. Urban development can splinter habitat and force out wildlife, but it also
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2:50 PM | Spider diversity
Female Aganippe sp. Image: WA MuseumMygalomorphae is an infraorder of spiders including several families comprising e.g. tarantulas as well as the famous Australian funnel-web spiders. Quite a few species of this group are short-range endemics which makes them exceptionally well-suited for monitoring conservation status of terrestrial ecosystems. Mygalomorph spiders have been proposed as bioindicators for monitoring ecological changes despite secretive habits and a challenging taxonomy as […]
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2:00 PM | New Paper Outlines Updated Look on San Andreas Fault System
A new study from our local earthquake experts has put new and clearer numbers on the risk of large earthquakes in the Bay Area's future--evidence of new progress in this slow process of enlightenment.
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12:09 PM | Aw Shucks! What Are They Doing to Corn Now?
By Susan Cosier Corn was once so tough that you had to hammer it with hard objects to get to the 10 or so kernels inside. And for all that effort, it tasted like dry, raw potato. But that was 9,000 years ago. We’ve been engineering crops and livestock for millennia, selecting for traits that make food bigger, healthier, and more delicious. Corn is now 1,000 times larger, 3.5 times sweeter, easy to peel, and so juicy that when you crunch down on a cob […]
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1:58 AM | Bay Area Remembers the Loma Prieta Earthquake
The 25th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake comes up on Friday, and the Bay Area is full of commemorative events, as well as resource fairs to help people prepare for future quakes.
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1:34 AM | What You Need to Know about the EBOLA OUTBREAK in West Africa
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October 15, 2014

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8:17 PM | Small, Curious, and Growing
By Aaron Ferster Bam! I remember jumping out of my chair at the sudden, reverberating sound of something smacking the empty metal file cabinet I had left in the middle of the living room, meaning to move it into a safe, tidy corner before becoming distracted. I listened for signs of trouble as I sprinted […]
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7:38 PM | A Wild Idea: Save Tasmanian Devils While Controlling Killer Cats
Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) disappeared from mainland Australia centuries ago, probably not long after humans first brought dingoes to the continent. A new plan could bring the infamous,... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:07 PM | Gecko Feet May Hold the Keys to More Agile Robots
An in depth study of how a gecko's feet work could lead to designs for robots that can maneuver on complex surfaces.Underside of a gecko's foot, Photo by Emily Kane, UC RiversideTo climb steep surfaces, geckos use an adhesive system in their toes. This evolutionary innovation is how they climb vertically both up and down. On the underside of their toes are structures called setae, millions of very fine hair-like structures, which increase the surface area and improve contact between the foot […]
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5:27 PM | #24: Our work in the Christian Science Monitor!
This week's edition of the Christian Science Monitor features our Right Whale Research Program on the cover and in the article "The Whale Savers!" The author, Doug Struck, spent time this summer interviewing researchers at our field station and even went out with the survey team on our research vessel Nereid.  Mr. Struck details the history of the Program, the work we currently do to
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2:58 PM | What's the Holdup, Hurricanes?
By Andrea Thompson This story originally appeared at Climate Central.The Atlantic hurricane season usually hits its peak of stormy activity in early September, with more storms typically spinning up in that month than any other month of the six-month hurricane season. But after a couple storms early in the month, the basin went quiet for the rest of this September, even though that is the time when oceans reach their warmest temperatures, providing prime […]
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2:02 PM | Could Jerry Brown become “the most important water manager on Earth”?
Brett Walton evaluates Jerry Brown’s drought and water governance, comes away impressed: The last ten months are an impressive record of achievement, evidence of a governor taking seriously the duties of governing. What Brown is orchestrating in California is distinctive, perhaps unique in the United States during this frustrating age of division. In most other ...Continue reading ‘Could Jerry Brown become “the most important water manager on Earth”?’ »
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1:37 PM | David Roberts Questions Naomi Klein’s Capitalism-Focused Climate Quest
Naomi Klein says climate campaigners should attack capitalism because it already is a popular target.
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1:17 PM | Bee pollen
Pollen collection system (from the study)The current pollen demand for human nutrition has drastically increased due to its therapeutic value, with potential for medical and nutritional applications. Pollen pellets collected by honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) contain proteins, all the basic amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Based on the presence of these compounds, pollen is eligible as human food, and national pollen standards […]
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12:10 PM | See You in September...(Sweating in Tank Tops and Flip-Flops)
By Susan Cosier Fall is a time for hot apple cider, toasted pumpkin seeds, and best of all, sweater weather, but you may want to hold on to your short sleeves for a little longer. Last month was the warmest September ever recorded, and October hasn't done much yet to cool things down. As you can see from this graph of average global temperature records back to 1880, trends have been going up for the last 134 years. Obviously weather varies with your […]
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12:00 PM | To save the scavengers, open up vulture restaurants
Animals are born, they eat, they breed, and they die. That’s how it’s supposed to work, at least if you believe the lyrics of a Disney movie featuring cartoon lions. In the best cases, reality is not too far off. But sometimes animals are born and they never get the chance to grow up. Or

October 14, 2014

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9:28 PM | High Temps Intensified California Drought
Heat and drought often go hand-in-hand, creating a vicious cycle that looks a lot like California these days.
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7:46 PM | An Odious Odyssey
By Brian Palmer You’ve probably heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—millions of pieces of plastic and other debris swirling around between Hawaii and California. The only thing more revolting than a massive swirl of marine garbage is the realization that there are actually five massive swirls of marine garbage. The South Pacific, the Indian, and the North and South Atlantic Oceans all have their own prodigious aggregations of plastic.You […]
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5:56 PM | Energy Transition: Two Energy Lessons for Germany from the United States
As I introduced in my last post, I recently traveled to Germany as a member of a transatlantic delegation of young American energy professionals and academics working in the areas of smart grids and... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:12 PM | Crocodiles Are Surprisingly Sophisticated Hunters
New research from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville reveals that crocodiles are very sophisticated hunters. Crocodilians (crocodiles, alligators, caimans) have been observed using teamwork and even tools to catch their prey.American crocodiles basking at a swamp in La Manzanilla, in the state of Jalisco, MexicoPhoto courtesy of Tomas CastelazoRecently, other studies have found that crocodiles and their relatives are highly intelligent animals capable of sophisticated behavior such […]
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4:29 PM | Seminar – Exploring disaster responses in the Philippines
Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog - Making a difference to how we live with hazard and risk. 20th October 2014, 13:00 to 14:30, W007, Dept of Geography, Dr Ines V. Danao, Asian Social Institute A seminar considering lessons to be drawn from the disaster risk reduction and management responses to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013; the 1990 Baguio [...] The post Seminar – Exploring disaster responses in the Philippines appeared first on Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog.
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3:23 PM | Discoveries of the week
Aegista diversifamiliaAegista subchinensis (Möllendorff, 1884) is a widely distributed land snail species with morphological variation and endemic to Taiwan. Three genetic markers (partial sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I [COI], the 16S rDNA and the nuclear internal transcribed spacer 2 [ITS2]) were analysed to infer phylogenetic relationships and genetic divergence of closely related species of the genus Aegista, A. vermis (Reeve, 1852) and A. oculus (Pfeiffer, […]
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2:53 PM | LEGO Doesn't Want to Play with Shell Oil Anymore
By Susan Cosier Think LEGO movies aren’t dark? Well, you haven’t seen this twisted animation of an Arctic drilling disaster smothering plastic brick people, polar bears, puppies, and Santa Claus in thick, black crude. Set to a cover of "Everything is Awesome," this video is a tearjerker … but it worked! After receiving more than 6 million views, the Greenpeace production forced LEGO to end a 40-year partnership with Shell. The oil […]
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2:38 PM | Children’s Health: An Investment in Our Future
By Dr. James H. Johnson Jr. Although children make up 30 percent of the population, they are 100 percent of our future. As a former college professor, I’ve had the distinct honor of serving as an educator and mentor to many, many young people, and there is no greater personal or professional pleasure than watching […]
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1:00 PM | Green space makes for better students
We’ve been hearing for a while now how simply being around green space more can be beneficial. Early this year, for example, a study found that moving to areas with more trees and vegetation led to an immediate and prolonged improvement in mental health. Just looking at a tree every now and then seems to
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12:57 PM | This Little Piggy Bred a Superbug
By Ted Genoways Earlier this year OnEarth’s editor-at-large reported on the explosion of hog farming in Iowa and the resulting damage to the state’s waterways. His new book The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food is out today. This adapted excerpt explains how the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections in U.S. hospitals can be traced directly to modern farming practices. In 1937, at the height of the Great Depression, Jay C. Hormel […]
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12:22 PM | Nature Talks Back, and Sounds a Lot like Edward Norton
Edward Norton, Julia Roberts and other actors give voice to soils, seas and other natural assets.

October 13, 2014

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4:37 PM | Fastest Computing Ever: Researchers Take One More Step Toward Putting it in Your Hands
Two research teams at the University of New South Wales have taken us a step closer to building super powerful quantum computers.The teams have created two types of quantum bits, or qubits. Qubits are the building blocks for quantum computers. These qubits are not only super fast, it's also super accurate, with each processing data with an accuracy above 99%. Menno Veldhorst of UNSW says, "It is really amazing that we can make such an accurate qubit using pretty much the same devices as we […]
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4:19 PM | Things I probably shouldn’t talk about with my doctor
You know what’s worse for a hypochondriac than access to google? Having a friend in med school. Me: Why am I tired all the time even though my iron and thyroid check out? Med Student: LEUKAEMIA Me: Why does my … Continue reading →
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3:43 PM | NASA: September Was Warmest on Record
This just in: The global average temperature in September was the warmest in a record dating back to 1880, according to an update from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. That makes it two months in a row: August was also the hottest on record by NASA’s reckoning. Later this week, the National Oceanic and […]The post NASA: September Was Warmest on Record appeared first on ImaGeo.
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