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April 10, 2014

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2:25 PM | Smart Car Tipping Is a Thing Now, Fox News by the Numbers, Sea Monsters on Vacation
By Jason Bittel Faux News: According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, climate change coverage by the Fox News Channel in 2013 was only accurate 28 percent of the time. The rest of the time, the network either understated the reality or effects of climate change, misled the debate, or flat-out dissed on climate science. But wait! Before you get too discouraged, you should know that this is actually an improvement for Fox. In 2012, the network’s […]
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2:00 PM | Invaders in the Great Lakes
By Marguerite Huber I grew up in Chicago, where Lake Michigan, or simply “the lake” as we locals refer to it, is a part of everyday life. I swam in it. I ran next to it. I drank the water from it. I even paddle boarded on it. As fond as I am of Lake […]
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1:50 PM | El Niño Looks Increasingly Likely
The odds that an El Niño will develop by summer appear to be getting stronger. In a report released yesterday, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology raised the odds of an El Niño developing by summer (winter in the Southern Hemisphere) to greater than 70 percent. And in his monthly analysis, Klaus Wolter of NOAA’s Earth […]The post El Niño Looks Increasingly Likely appeared first on ImaGeo.
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1:38 PM | Flexible Plastics Turn Vibrations Into Electrical Energy
Kui Yao and co-workers from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering in Singapore have discovered a way to give lightweight polymer vibration harvesters a hundredfold boost in energy output—a finding that may help to eliminate manual battery recharging in microsensors and mobile devices. Read more »

Lei Zhang, ., Oh, S., Ting Chong Wong, ., Chin Yaw Tan, . & Kui Yao, . (2013). Piezoelectric polymer multilayer on flexible substrate for energy harvesting, IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, 60 (9) 2013-2020. DOI:

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Editor's Pick
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1:09 PM | Killifishes Killed Off: 2 Fish Species May Be Extinct in the Wild
Is it time to add two more species to the list of recent extinctions? New research indicates that two critically endangered fish species may now be extinct in the wild following the destruction of... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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2:53 AM | The Colorado River is no one thing
Photographer John Trotter on the Colorado River: When they opened those gates on (Morelos) dam and let water back into the main channel on the river, it kind of engaged those people. It brought them back into the mainstream of all the other people who are living along it in Moab or Grand Junction or ...Continue reading ‘The Colorado River is no one thing’ » Related posts:“water hoarding” on the U.S. side of the border Minute 320? A river means different things to […]
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1:30 AM | During Long, Dry Summer of Drought, Nobody Wins
Water managers are walking a tightrope this year, balancing three competing needs: how much water to deliver to people and agriculture, how much to provide for wildlife and how much to save for next year, in case it’s just as dry.
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1:00 AM | Natural Parks Define American Cities
With almost all of my career (and most of my adult life) spent working in or around city parks, I was recently surprised to learn an astonishing fact. In American’s largest cities, more than half contain park systems that are … Continue reading →

April 09, 2014

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11:55 PM | Even New York Drivers Wowed by a White, Winged Commuter
An odd moment in which a white pigeon races commuters on a New York highway seems a little less odd after some Googling.
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10:14 PM | New York’s type foundry district
Tobias Frere-Jones: I re-read Maurice Annenberg’s “Type Foundries of America and their Catalogs”, tracked down business directories of the period, and spent too much time in Google Earth. But I was able to plot out the locations for every foundry that had been active in New York between 1828 (the earliest records I could find […]∞
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9:47 PM | What’s Next OnEarth
By Douglas S. Barasch, Scott Dodd Dear readers, We want to share some important news with you about changes to OnEarth: this fall we’ll be launching an all-digital version of our award-winning publication. That means our summer print issue will be the last delivered to newsstands and mailboxes. We remain committed to publishing powerful, engaging stories in bold new ways that we believe can reach more readers than ever. And we think the most effective […]
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8:00 PM | Can You Identify These Cities From Their Light Signatures?
Fun quiz by Rose Eveleth for Nautilus. (I missed number nine, but at least I my guess was a city in a similar biome.) When you’re done, come back and see if you can tell urban from rural. ∞∞
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7:12 PM | Scientists Use Trees to Make High-Tech Supercapacitors
Based on a chemical discovery by scientists at Oregon State University (OSU), it appears that trees may soon play a major role in making high-tech supercapacitors for energy storage. Read more »

Luo, W., Wang, B., Heron, C., Allen, M., Morre, J., Maier, C., Stickle, W. & Ji, X. (2014). Pyrolysis of Cellulose under Ammonia Leads to Nitrogen-Doped Nanoporous Carbon Generated through Methane Formation, Nano Letters, 2147483647. DOI:

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6:49 PM | White House Climate Data Initiative Addresses Climate Change Through Open Data
On March 19, 2014, the White House launched the Climate Data Initiative (CDI), part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan launched in June 2013.  The Climate Action Plan is the Administration’s blueprint for domestic and international efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change and reduce carbon emissions.  The CDI is meant to spur … Continue reading »
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6:16 PM | Barcodes to validate Mitogenomes
mtDNA (image 'stolen' here)Today I found an article published in Mitchondrial DNA which tackles a problem that I have encountered myself in a couple of situations. Unfortunately, the article is hiding behind a paywall even for me at a university with rather good library access. This is particularly frustrating given the rather important message and recommendations provided in the publication.The researchers deal with the issue coming from the misidentification of biological samples used for […]
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6:04 PM | GWEC Expects 47 GW of Wind Capacity to Be Installed in 2014
The Global Wind Energy Council launched its Global Wind Report – Annual Market Update (pdf) today, updating the status of the global industry, along with market projections for the years 2014-2018. Read more »
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4:51 PM | Gamesa Launches Anti-Icing Paint for Wind Turbines
Gamesa, a Spanish wind turbine manufacturer, has developed an anti-icing paint that prevents ice formation on wind turbine blades. Read more »
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3:39 PM | Silver Nanoparticles Help Solar Cells Absorb More Light
Nanostructures could enable more light to be directed into the active layer of solar cells, increasing their efficiency. Read more »

Schmid, M., Grandidier, J. & Atwater, H. (2013). Scanning near-field optical microscopy on dense random assemblies of metal nanoparticles, Journal of Optics, 15 (12) 125001. DOI:

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2:48 PM | Join an Open-source Apps Challenge This Weekend
By Darshan Karwat When I attended a Google Solve For <X> event at the US Capitol building on a chilly afternoon last fall, I did not expect to come away with a seed of an idea that would sprout into one of my major projects here at EPA. Innovative collaborations are sparked in unexpected places. […]
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2:46 PM | Dashboard Helps Reduce Energy Use in Office Buildings
A team at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture has developed a dashboard that helps people to see how much energy they use at work and how to reduce this use to help the environment. Read more »
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2:15 PM | Infrastructure Spotting
When I began writing On the Grid, my book about the infrastructure systems that make our lives possible, I envisioned it as a sort of Peterson’s Guide to the Infrastructure of the Modern World.... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:34 PM | The Atmosphere’s New Hole, Sailors Sue Tepco, 402 PPM and Rising
By Jason Bittel Oops, we did it again: Nine miles up in the sky, scientists just discovered an invisible, several thousand square mile long hole in the Earth’s innermost atmospheric layer, the troposphere. We don’t know what’s causing the hole yet, but scientists say it’s a big deal because the troposphere typically acts as a “washing machine” layer, which breaks down harmful substances and sending them back down into the […]
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1:27 PM | fighting off the desert with fake water
We come to a desert but it is not to our liking. One wonders why, then, we came to a desert, but no matter. We can engineer our way out of this: Meadow Lake was never much of a meadow. It was too wild, too wide, its sage-studded plains golden with buffalo grass and endless ...Continue reading ‘fighting off the desert with fake water’ » Related posts:Water in the Desert Legislative Failings and New Mexico Water Wars Water in the Desert: Tempe Town Lake
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1:11 PM | Stunted butterfly wings linked to food shortages during caterpillar phase
A lack of food during a critical stage of larval development may impair the growth of adult monarch butterfly wings, with potentially disastrous consequences for the migration success of this species.  Butterflies have a complex lifecycle, undergoing an astonishing transformation from caterpillar to adult butterfly. During the larval stage, the caterpillar must consume vast quantities […]

Johnson H, Solensky MJ, Satterfield DA & Davis AK (2014). Does Skipping a Meal Matter to a Butterfly's Appearance? Effects of Larval Food Stress on Wing Morphology and Color in Monarch Butterflies., PLoS ONE, 9 (4) PMID:

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12:34 PM | The Uphill Climate Challenge in ‘Years of Living Dangerously’
Some thoughts on the challenges facing a nine-part Showtime series on global warming.
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12:00 PM | Should we close the high seas to fishing?
The ocean is a big place, but not all seas are created equal. While 58% of the seas are classified as “high seas,” and open to access from all nations, there are over 150 exclusive economic zones (EEZs), which are the sole domain of the countries that operate them. EEZs comprise the remaining 42% of
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7:58 AM | After a baby and a book Under the Banyan is back
I’ve been away from this blog for nearly a year, but I have returned today to bring it back to life. It has been a busy time. My main reason for putting the blog on hold is pictured below, hiding … Continue reading →
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3:22 AM | New tools review
Today a post about new developments from the world of DNA barcoding informatics. I selected three publications of the last few months that actually provide some new package worth to be tested by the community. Without further ado my little collection of new bioinformatic releases.Multispecies coalescentThis idea starts with the notion that a modern DNA barcoding approach should incorporate the multispecies coalescent. The multispecies coalescent model was developed as a framework to infer […]
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2:14 AM | Welcome, pulse flow readers. Buy my (old) book!
It occurs to me that the brief and delightful pulse flow of clicks to this blog reading my recent coverage of what’s going on in the Colorado River delta might be potential book buyers. (Duh. Marketing is not my strength.) It’s called The Tree Rings’ Tale, a science book for kids (middle school aged, 13 ...Continue reading ‘Welcome, pulse flow readers. Buy my (old) book!’ » Related posts:Tree Rings’ Tale – Teacher Feedback John Wesley […]

April 08, 2014

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8:26 PM | How to Talk to Vaccine-Hesitant Parents
This tweet from today caught my eye: One picture that will convince everyone to vaccinate their kids http://t.co/cPH5cnbd9C — ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) April 8, 2014 The smart folks at ThinkProgress seem to have missed all the media coverage of this recent study, which found that, for those already suspicious or concerned about vaccines, images of sick children […]The post How to Talk to Vaccine-Hesitant Parents appeared first on Collide-a-Scape.
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