Posts

December 15, 2014

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2:00 PM | Designing the Interstellar Doorbell (Or How to Talk to ET)
Humans have been sending messages into outer space for decades, hoping some intelligent extra-terrestrial might come upon them. Now, for the first time in history, we have addresses. So, what should we say?
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2:00 PM | Getting Genetic-Based Health Data Just Got Easier in Canada and the U.K.
Here in the U.S., if you want to get health information from your direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic test, you need to use an online resource like Promethease. The same is no longer true in Canada and the U.K.

December 14, 2014

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11:07 PM | Mount Polley mine disaster: redux
Science Borealis is holding a blog carnival to celebrate their first anniversary, with bloggers writing about the most important story in their field for 2014. I’ve chosen the Mount Polley mine disaster, which I first wrote about on 5 August. To recap: on 4 August, a tailings pond at the Mount Polley gold mine in…
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10:30 PM | Stuff I wrote elsewhere about deceptive bird sex
The best part of doing this story was standing by the Rio Grande at dusk with Chris Witt, watching the sandhill cranes fly in to roost. The birds were great, but the really extraordinary part was watching Chris watch them – eyes flitting, counting, listening and hearing. As they flew by, they announced their presence ...Continue reading ‘Stuff I wrote elsewhere about deceptive bird sex’ »
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9:47 PM | At Climate Talks in Lima, Not ‘Same as it Ever Was’?
An environmental journalist says the Lima summit mainly shows how climate diplomacy is racing to catch up with energy progress on the ground.
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8:07 PM | Global Average Temperature Cools a Bit in November, But No Pause in Global Warming — And There Never Was One
This past November was the ninth warmest globally in a record extending back to 1880, according to data released today by NASA. This represents a bit of a cool-down from October, which was the warmest globally. What happened? The answer is weather. In the map above, check out that big blue blob sitting over most of North America (with California and Alaska being the notable exceptions). Temperatures here were as much as 4 degrees C cooler than the long term average, helping to bring do
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2:00 PM | Celebrating  the Wilderness Act of 1964—and Celebrating Wildness in Cities
September 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing into United States law of the Wilderness Act. A watershed act and a cornerstone of contemporary environmentalism, it  put into place new and important safeguards on the protection and development of … Continue reading →
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8:11 AM | News Media #Fail: Storms DID Ease California's Historic Drought. But Erasing it Could Take Years
If you've been following news reports about California's epic drought in the aftermath of the recent storms there, it would be understandable if you've found yourself perplexed. "Finally, Some Good News In The California Drought" read the headline in Huffington Post. "Flood-Causing Deluge Amounts to Just Drops in California Drought" proclaimed the New York Times' glass-almost-empty headline: Refilling the glass a bit, the San Jose Mercury News stuck to reporting facts: "Winter […]
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7:59 AM | Gardening offers 14/12
Wintry ivy Whether you’ve got some Christmas shopping to do, or are getting ahead on stocking next year’s garden, there are some good bargains around at the moment. You can get free P&P on everything at Thompson & Morgan (including their range of Christmas gifts) if you order before midnight tonight, using the discount code TWBP36YZ. Place an order worth £25 or more with Harrod Horticultural, and you can add a free watering can to your order by entering the code […]
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2:52 AM | The blurred line between antique chic and ruin porn
No summary available for this post.

December 13, 2014

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5:35 PM | Through Rhonda’s Window
Rhonda and I were at a provincial watershed planning meeting the other day when she shared this photo of a mid-day winter sky. She took it through the window on her farm near Donnelly, Alberta. I didn’t know where Donnelly was, so I google mapped it. (Rhonda had said, “it’s in real northern Alberta, not […]
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2:33 PM | Countdown of Animals that Change Colour in the Winter
Just like we change our clothing for the winter, so do many animals change their appearance!
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2:44 AM | Northern California Ski Slopes Reopen After Storm
Bay Area Storm Brings Fresh Snow and Ski-Worthy Conditions to the Sierra Nevada
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2:24 AM | Santa Fe, Christmas 2014
No summary available for this post.

December 12, 2014

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10:03 PM | Sponsor a Right Whale: Piper
Sponsoring a right whale through the New England Aquarium supports the critical research we're doing to protect this endangered species. This holiday season, give a sponsorship! It's a gift that gives back to our blue planet. Today's post introduces one of the whales available for sponsorship: Piper. Piper is named for a small scar on her left flank. With some imagination the scar looks like
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9:00 PM | This Week in EPA Science
By Kacey Fitzpatrick It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time for eggnog, cookies, and extended-family gatherings. Wondering how you are going to make small talk with your third cousin, twice removed this holiday season? Why don’t you share some interesting stories you’ve read on Research Recap! Here are a few from this […]
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7:40 PM | The Sun's Colossal Glowing Loops, Up Close and Personal
The gargantuan glowing loops that quiver and dance at the Sun's surface are absolutely mesmerizing. If you've never seen them up close and personal, make sure to check out the videos a little lower down in this post. But first, have a look at the image above. It is a supercomputer visualization that allows us to see what it would be like to fly through them. To understand what you're looking at, you first need to understand how these features form. First, consider the Sun's […]
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4:38 PM | 500 posts
I almost missed this milestone. Today I wrote my 500th post for the DNA Barcoding blog. My posts have on average a length of 400 words which means I have written about 200 000 words about DNA Barcoding and Biodiversity Research. According to Amazon's Text Stats feature, the median length for all books is about 64,000 words - go figure.A big thank you to all my readers for making this possible. Believe or not, this blog's audience is still growing continuously.
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4:00 PM | Butt-Breathing Turtle Now Critically Endangered
Few reptiles can breathe underwater. Australia is home to one of the exceptions, the white-throated snapping turtle (Elseya albagula), which can extract oxygen from water through its backside via a... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:44 PM | Fin-Eating Fish
Some freshwater fish in sub-Saharan Africa have a rather nasty habit where they bite off and eat the fins of other fish. This behaviour called pterygophagy is rare and the fish have actually evolved highly specialized jaws for fin-eating. As juveniles, some of them eat smaller fish as a whole, but by the time they become adults, they switch to biting of fin pieces.This behaviour reminds me of the scale-eating cichlid fishes in Lake Tanganyika who became text-book examples for […]
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3:06 PM | Students Put Stormwater Calculator to Work for Community
By Marguerite Huber This year, students from Bullitt East High School in Mount Washington, Kentucky, had the chance to apply an EPA tool to a project that will benefit their community. The high school juniors are part of a student group called the Youth Chamber of Preservationists, whose mission is to focus on the preservation […]
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2:45 PM | Earth Rangers at Parliament Hill
Find out how a group of amazing Earth Rangers shared their animal saving projects with Members of Parliament!
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2:00 PM | NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds Evidence of Possible Long-Term Water on Mars
NASA announced that Mars' Gale Crater was once the site of a vast lake that appears to have filled up, dried out and filled up again repeatedly over a much longer period than wet conditions were believed to have persisted.
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1:00 PM | To avoid multiple threats, leopards have to be crafty cats
Where there are people, expect to find few leopards. That’s because the apex predator suffers from hunting for their pelts, from habitat loss and fragmentation, and from retaliatory killings due to real or imagined losses of human or livestock lives. Similarly, where there are tigers, expect to find few leopards. In this case, it’s because
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12:00 PM | How to Disrupt a Hummingbird’s Hover
Watching a hummingbird hover and maneuver can be mesmerizing. To hover in place, however, isn’t as easy as it might appear, according to new research from University of British Columbia (UBC). UBC has found that a hovering hummingbird needs a completely stationary visual field. Zoologists Benjamin Goller and Douglas Altshuler discovered this quirk in the […] The post How to Disrupt a Hummingbird’s Hover appeared first on EH Science.
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4:23 AM | Oregon Moves Toward Girding Schools Against an Inevitable Great Quake
Some money appears poised to flow to buttress schools in Oregon against an inevitable great earthquake.

December 11, 2014

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8:46 PM | ‘Pineapple Express’ Soaks Bay Area
The precipitation flooding many parts of the Bay Area is part of a low pressure system that is both common and uncommon during California's winter months.
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8:16 PM | L.A.’s “Resilience By Design” Report Lays Out Ambitious Earthquake Infrastructure Plan
The just-released seismic resiliency plan for Los Angeles goes beyond just saving lives; it hopes to ensure that the nation's second-largest city will still work after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.
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5:23 PM | Pineapple Express Drenches California, Further Easing the Worst Drought in 1,200 Years
The fierce storm now battering Northern California is bringing welcome rain and snow to a state experiencing what may well be its worst drought in 1,200 years. But the storm is also bringing dangerous surf, high winds, and the potential for flooding. We'll see how much of an additional dent this latest blast of moisture, and more rains forecast for Sunday, will make in the drought. Meanwhile, the storm comes just days after a major report from the U.S. National […]
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5:16 PM | Gingko or not Gingko
For many centuries, leaves from the Ginkgo biloba tree have been a common treatment in Chinese medicine. Over the last few decades an increasing number of people started to take ginkgo supplements in the belief that they will improve memory and sharpen thinking. Sales of Ginkgo biloba herbal supplements, in the United States of America, totaled more than US$25.8 million during 2012  - making G. biloba the fifth best-selling herbal supplement.Ginkgo improves blood flow to the […]
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