Posts

October 02, 2014

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9:38 PM | Staying Upbeat and Engaged in a Turbulent, Complicated Climate
Seven climate-focused people explain how they sustain their energy and enthusiasm.
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9:36 PM | Venice of the East Coast?
Casey Ross, reporting for the Boston Globe: A report scheduled to be released Tuesday about preparing Boston for climate change suggests that building canals through the Back Bay neighborhood would help it withstand water levels that could rise as much as 7 feet by 2100. Some roads and public alleys, such as Clarendon Street, could […]∞
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7:37 PM | “drying up the streams” – Elwood Mead
To water many western valleys will involve drying up the streams that flow through through them, and this physical fact ought to be faced frankly and honestly. That’s Elwood Mead, sounding an awful lot like a proto-environmentalist, in his 1903 book Irrigation Institutions. Mead, who headed the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from 1924 to 1936, ...Continue reading ‘“drying up the streams” – Elwood Mead’ »
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7:13 PM | Computer-Generated Molecular Models Promises Greener Concrete
More precisely targeted cement would use less calcium and use less energy to create it. A study at MIT exploring the molecular structure of cement promises substantial energy and greenhouse-gas savings in this crucial technology.
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6:51 PM | Cheaper Energy Could be Inspired by Giant Clams
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Santa Barbara have found out how giant clams are operating as super-efficient, living greenhouses that grow symbiotic algae as food.Iridescent Giant Clam, courtesy of Alison SweeneyThis discovery could have implications for alternative energy research, paving the way for new types of solar panels or improved reactors for growing biofuel."Many mollusks, like squid, octopuses, snails and cuttlefish have iridescent […]
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5:58 PM | The Tar Sands Bubble
By Brian Palmer The Canadian tar sands industry has seen better days. Energy giant Statoil announced last week that it would postpone a major mining project in Alberta for at least three years. It was just the latest in a string of major setbacks for tar sands oil, which has become nearly as bad for corporate profits as it is for the environment.High labor costs and the falling price of crude oil have contributed to the industry’s dark days, but […]
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5:14 PM | Barcoding a zoo
Meet Marla, a wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) calf born 2012 in the Munich Zoo Hellabrunn. Soon after the birthday veterinarians took blood samples for a standard check up. Today, two years later, Marla has already moved to a different zoo in Germany (Leipzig) and grown quite a bit. However, her blood sample is making headlines in the German press as it represents the first of a new project run out of the Zoological State Collection in Munich.The colleagues are planning to generate DNA […]
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4:23 PM | We’re (Almost) #1! Liquid Petroleum Production in the U.S.
The U.S. is on track to become the world’s leading liquid petroleum producer. According to IEA, domestic production of oil was about 11.5m barrels a day in August, and the Financial Times... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:28 PM | Science knowledge and policy support
[W]idespread knowledge and well-informed citizen support are not necessarily required for implementation of effective climate policies. From “Does effective climate policy require well-informed citizen support?”, Rhodes et. al, Global Environmental Change, Volume 29, November 2014, Pages 92–104
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1:17 PM | PG&E Tests Tech Adapted From NASA’s Mars Rover
The sensor is based on a tool that's mounted on NASA's Mars Curiosity rover.
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1:00 PM | Instead of herbicides, use goats
Where herbicides and mowers have failed, goats might succeed. In a new study, scientists have found that these humble herbivores can devour 12-foot-high invasive plants, allowing native species to regain a foothold in wetlands. The plant in question is the common reed (Phragmites australis), which arrived in North America from Europe in the 1700s and
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12:26 PM | Where'd the Aral Sea Go? (Seriously, It's Missing)
By Susan Cosier Can you point out the Aral Sea on a map? Yeah, neither can we … because it barely exists anymore. Once the fourth largest lake in the world (it’s actually a lake, not a sea), the Aral has gone dry. The lake reached its lowest level in modern history in August, as shown in these NASA satellite images (see the full transformation here). What happened? Starting in the 1950s, the Soviets began diverting the region's two largest […]
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11:00 AM | Do sharks have personalities?
Do sharks have social personality traits? According to a new study, they do. Some sharks act more gregarious and have strong social connections. Others are more solitary and prefer to remain inconspicuous.Small spotted catsharkPhoto by Hans HillewaertA team from the University of Exeter and the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) has been studying the behavior of spotted catsharks and have reported evidence of personalities. Personalities are known to exist in many animals, and […]
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3:25 AM | Gordon Jacoby and the Colorado River: “predicting hydrologic bankruptcy”
In my world, the 1976 tree ring analysis of the Colorado River’s long term flow done by Charles Stockton and Gordon Jacoby stands as one of the great works of policy-relevant science. But by the time I came on the scene, “Stockton and Jacoby”* (pdf) was just a marker, a signpost along our path to ...Continue reading ‘Gordon Jacoby and the Colorado River: “predicting hydrologic bankruptcy”’ »

October 01, 2014

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9:12 PM | When to Blame the Rain (or Lack Thereof) on Climate Change
By Clara Chaisson According to a bevy of studies released Monday, we can point the finger at climate change for much of last year’s extreme weather. (And there was a lot of it.) In a report published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, scientists from 22 research groups looked at 16 separate extreme weather events from 2013 and asked—in their best Steve Urkel voice—“Did climate change do that?”In half of […]
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7:07 PM | Why You Should Protect the Western Screech Owl
Here are our top five reasons why you should take action to help owls!
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6:50 PM | Warning times for species extinctions
Climate change is expected to result in heightened risk of extinction for many species. Because conservation scientists are just starting to understand this threat, many have concluded that current risk assessment protocols, such as the International 'Red List' published by IUCN will fail to identify many species at risk from climate change because they are based on rules established in the 1990s,  .A team of researchers from the US and the UK quantitatively tested the the performance of […]
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6:16 PM | What happens inside your brain when you use a tool?
Image courtesy of Marie-Louise Brandi/TUMScientists in Munich are examining the network in our brains that enables us to use tools.Researchers from Technische Universität München (TUM) and the Klinikum rechts der Isar hospital have analyzed the brain networks that control the use of tools and utensils, such as car keys and chopsticks. Using MRI scans, they watched the areas of the brain that activate when a person first thinks about using a tool and then actually picks it up and uses […]
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3:57 PM | Aide le renard véloce à faire un retour en force!
Voici les cinq meilleures raisons de te joindre à l’équipe « Sauvons le renard véloce »!
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12:24 PM | Behold: Thousands of Stranded Walruses
By Susan Cosier An Alaskan beach is spilling over with an enormous herd of bathing beauties—about 35,000 Pacific walruses. The mammals are coming ashore in record numbers because there is no sea ice left on which they can rest, give birth, and dive from for food—higher temperatures made short work of that this summer. (Arctic ice cover is at its sixth lowest average ever recorded.) The edge of the sea ice has been receding further […]
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12:00 PM | America’s pronghorn migration faces human obstacles
When you think of the planet’s greatest migrations, perhaps you think of the annual trek of the wildebeest through Africa’s Mara ecosystem, or the salty trails of the sperm whales, oceanic giants who feed in the waters of the frigid poles but mate in the warm tropics. Maybe you imagine the four generations it takes
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11:00 AM | An Expanding Menu for Locavores: Tilapia on Hudson
An innovative business brings new meaning to the idea of local food by raising tilapia, salmon and year-round greens in the Hudson Valley.
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11:00 AM | Improving Babies' Language Skills Before They're Even Old Enough to Speak
Rutgers University--In the first months of life, when babies begin to distinguish sounds that make up language from all the other sounds in the world, they can be trained to more effectively recognize which sounds "might" be language, accelerating the development of the brain maps which are critical to language acquisition and processing.April Benasich of Rutgers University-Newark says 4 to 7 months is an ideal age to enhance a baby's listening skills.Image courtesy of Benasich LabResearchers […]
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9:04 AM | Environmental Management Centre Research Group
Paulo Pereira pereiraub@gmail.com Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania The Environmental Management Centre The Environmental Management Centre (EMC) was founded in 2013 at Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania. The group is composed by young and proactive researchers from the entire world. The centre has an interdisplinary vision of science and aims to connect environmental, sociological and economical questions, […]
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6:00 AM | Glutbusters: October 2014
Homegrown Garlic, Rosemary & Lemon Thyme by Susy Morris Well, that was the driest September since records began, and one of the warmest this century! Good news for the last of the summer crops; bad news for the gardener toting the watering can…. The warm weather means there’s still time to plant overwintering onions, so have a look at September’s advice on that topic. A true GlutBusters tip arrived in my inbox from Suttons this week, who recommend planting your onions […]
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2:59 AM | For this one tree, autumn
What makes the first tree decide, “OK, now’s the time to turn.”

September 30, 2014

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11:56 PM | New bulletin
Our new issue of the Barcode Bulletin is out. Get your copy here (just click on the image):
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11:48 PM | Discoveries of the week
Hausera hauseriSpecies diversity of Brazilian cave fauna has been seriously underestimated. A karst area located in Felipe Guerra, northeastern Brazil, which is a hotspot of subterranean diversity in Brazil, has revealed more than 20 troglobitic species, most of them still undescribed. Based on recent samplings in this karst area, we document the occurrence of the suborder Cavernicola (Platyhelminthes) in South American hypogean environments for the first time and describe a new genus and […]
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11:34 PM | California’s ‘Water Year’ Ends as Third Driest on Record
Only 1924 and 1977 were drier. And there's little in the long-range forecasts to suggest a rebound soon.
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10:00 PM | Soils at Imaggeo: fire watch constellation
Egle Rackauskaite, Xinyan Huang and Guillermo Rein HazeLab, Imperial College London, UK Winner of the Best Fire Science Image, 11th IAFSS Symposium, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2014 Description This composite shows a constellation of combined visual and infrared imaging of a smouldering combustion front spreading radially over a thin sample of dry peat. The central watch […]
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