Posts

November 20, 2014

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5:01 PM | Trendy Pond
My new Trendy Pond, still in its packaging The nice people at Swell UK have given me a trendy pond to play with – as you can see, I haven’t managed to take it out of the box yet, but might manage that this weekend. I’m hoping that it will make a nice water feature in the garden next year, and that I can plant it up with some edible plants. Ryan has already said that he’s not keen on the idea of an indoor pond (one of the suggestions made on the packaging!), so we can […]
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3:30 PM | Making the Most of Puberty on the Scale of a Planet
Access to education and jobs can make the world's huge youth population an asset.
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2:00 PM | Does climate change spell trouble for airlines?
As if airplane travel weren’t already bad enough, scientists have found yet another problem that might arise with climate change. In warmer air, planes could have more trouble taking off and may need to shed cargo or passengers to get aloft. Airlines already deal with this issue: planes have specific weight restrictions depending on the
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9:00 AM | How modelling social behaviour can help prevent poor health choices
Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog - Making a difference to how we live with hazard and risk. Key Points In a population a person may not necessarily copy the behaviour that’s popular, but the behaviours they interact with. Populations have a kind of memory that keeps them locked into the same behaviour, making it difficult to change [...] The post How modelling social behaviour can help prevent poor health choices appeared first on Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog.
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2:19 AM | Stunning New Satellite Image of Brutal Lake Effect Snow
For Buffalonians and others in the Great Lakes region, the snow just keeps on coming. And coming, and coming, and… Yesterday, some suburban areas of Buffalo got 60 inches or more, prompting the National Weather Service to Tweet that the area may have set a record for “highest 24hr snow in a populated area.” Time […]The post Stunning New Satellite Image of Brutal Lake Effect Snow appeared first on ImaGeo.
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12:42 AM | NASA CO2 Animation Recalls 1859 Account of the Global Flow of this Gas
A new NASA visualization and an 1859 account by America's first oceanographer make the same point about carbon dioxide.

November 19, 2014

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10:06 PM | A day in my life
Siri Carpenter interviewed me for The Open Notebook, a fantastic resource for journalists—professional and aspiring—that helps lift the veil on the craft. Head on over if you’re curious about what I do during a typical day. ∞∞
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9:18 PM | New life for the artificial leaf?
Three years ago, the world was wowed by the advances in building artificial leaves—essentially solar cells that convert water and sunlight into energy. Reality fell short of the promise, but, as Phil McKenna reports for Ensia, there may be new hope for the promise.  ∞∞
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9:12 PM | Funny Talking Animals Video
Meet a hungry bear who hates spinach, watch a snow leopard tickle fight, sing along at animal bathtime and find out why two penguins are arguing about pizza in this funny talking animals video.
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8:18 PM | What happened to Google’s renewable energy moonshot?
Ross Koningstein and David Fork, two Google engineers, writing at IEEE Spectrum: Google’s boldest energy move was an effort known as RE<C, which aimed to develop renewable energy sources that would generate electricity more cheaply than coal-fired power plants do. The company announced that Google would help promising technologies mature by investing in start-ups and […]∞
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7:18 PM | Why Doesn’t Everyone Believe Humans Are Causing Climate Change?
Brad Balukjian, reporting for NOVA Next: Only 40% of Americans attribute global warming to human activity, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll. This, despite decades of scientific evidence and the fact that Americans generally trust climate scientists. That apparent cognitive dissonance has vexed two scientists in particular: Michael Ranney, a professor of education […]∞
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4:43 PM | Highlighting the Health-protective Properties of Alaskan Berries (your Elders already knew)
November is Native American Heritage month. Throughout the month, we will be featuring blogs related to Tribal Science.  By Mary Ann Lila I was ecstatic when the EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program put out the request for applications for the study of tribal resources and climate change. My office mate was a rural sociologist, so we […]
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3:53 PM | Malaysia’s Prime Minister Says Fast-Growing Nations Have Role in Curbing Warming
The prime minister of gas-rich Malaysia sees a climate-friendly path ahead.
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3:37 PM | Discoveries of the week
Megaselia shadeaeA new Megaselia species, M. shadeae, with a large, central, pigmented and bubble-like wing spot and a greatly enlarged radial wing vein fork, is described from Zurquí de Moravia, Costa Rica. As part of the Zurquí All Diptera Biodiversity Inventory (ZADBI) project, it represents the first of an incredible number of new phorid species to be described from this one Costa Rican cloud forest site. A new, streamlined method of description for species of this enormous […]
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3:07 PM | Approval of Keystone XL Pipeline Makes Candidates Most Appealing to Seniors and Republicans
With Keystone XL back in the news after the pipeline bill failed to pass the Senate, I pulled up the latest UT Energy Poll data to a look at what we know about public opinion on the topic*. While we... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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2:00 PM | Efforts to Restore Monarch Butterflies’ Milkweed Habitats May Be Doing More Harm than Good
Migratory monarch butterfly populations have fallen into a tailspin in recent years. Scientists fear that in a classic case of good intentions gone awry, efforts to help the beleaguered butterflies may be inadvertently making matters worse by changing their behavior.
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2:00 PM | Want to Go to Mars? A Cheaper Alternative Resides in Chile’s Atacama Desert
If you want to go to Mars but can’t quite afford the hundreds of billions of dollars for a ticket, there is another solution: consider instead a trip to the Atacama Desert in Chile
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1:00 PM | Sea star wasting disease is caused by a virus
For nearly a year and a half, sea stars – in particular, those of the taxonomic family Asteroidea have been suffering from mass die-offs. The cause of the widespread sea star mortality has been uncertain, so it has simply become known as “sea star wasting disease” (SSWD). But now a large group of researchers from
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8:03 AM | Totally Insane! Buffalo Suburbs May Have Set a Record for 24-Hour Snowfall in a Populated Area
The national record for snowfall in a 24-hour period is 76 inches, up in the mountains of Colorado. Some suburbs of Buffalo approached that amount on Tuesday — “possibly the highest 24hr snow in a populated area,” the National Weather Service Tweeted late Tuesday night. Unfortunately, four people have lost their lives as a result […]The post Totally Insane! Buffalo Suburbs May Have Set a Record for 24-Hour Snowfall in a Populated Area appeared first on ImaGeo.
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7:25 AM | Feed round-up
Dew baubles Today, for a change, I thought you might like a glimpse of the things that have appeared in my feed reader (Feedly) that have caught my eye and been saved to read later….Nature’s Poisons has been pondering how people come to eat poisonous plants, and advises you not to eat anything with death in its name. A perennially-useful reminder that not all plants are benign (but that taking reasonable precautions mean we don’t need to fear them).I follow From the Kitchen […]
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6:07 AM | Both Beautiful and Disturbing, a New NASA Visualization Shows Carbon Dioxide Emissions Swirling Around the World
The following is a guest post from Paul McDivitt, a second-year master’s student studying journalism and mass communication research at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He is taking a course in journalistic blogging from me there. This is his second post at Discover. His first was at Keith Kloor’s Collide-a-Scape blog. Follow Paul on twitter @paulmcdivitt. In the wake […]The post Both Beautiful and Disturbing, a New NASA Visualization Shows Carbon Dioxide […]
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2:43 AM | This Week’s Rain Unlikely to Dent Drought
Rain systems so far this season have been on the wimpy side. This next series is likely to continue the trend.

November 18, 2014

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6:34 PM | Through Val’s Window
My friend Val has just made it to a yoga retreat—high up in the mountains in India—after spending a few weeks volunteering at an orphanage in Vietnam. I’ve been keeping up with her often-sobering-but-sometimes-hilarious adventures through her travel blog, and she has sent me several photos along the way. I think my favourite is the […]
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6:33 PM | Three Reasons Oncor’s Energy Storage Proposal Is a Game Changer
Early last week, Texas transmission and distribution company Oncor announced a proposal to install 5,000 megawatts of battery energy storage on the Texas grid. The words “game-changing” get thrown... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:40 PM | Building Ecological Services: Restoring the Ecosystem Services of the Habitats We Are Replacing with Human Development
Every year, new scientific advances indicate life is more interwoven than we ever imagined. From recent reports that reveal the cascading effects of wolves’ reintroduction to Wyoming to current studies that track the dire impact of Washington dams on the … Continue reading →
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4:06 PM | Houston’s Electric Utility Reaping Windfall Profits, Asking For More
The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power (TCAP), a consumer advocacy group, reports that Houston company CenterPoint Energy is pulling in tens of millions of dollars in excess profits, and Houston’s electrical customers are the ones paying the bill. Texas is … Continue reading →
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4:02 PM | Bluefin Tuna, Chinese Cobra and Others Added to Red List of Threatened Species
The latest update to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was published Monday and, as you can imagine, it wasn’t good news. The Red List, the global inventory of species, now identifies... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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2:30 PM | What Gall! The Crazy Cribs of Parasitic Wasps
Plenty of animals build their homes in oak trees. But some very teeny, tricky wasps make the tree do all the work. “What nerve!” you might say. What… gall! And you’d be right. The wasps are called gall-inducers. And each miniature mansion that the trees build for the wasps' larvae is weirder and more flamboyant than the next.
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2:00 PM | Helix Science Center in Los Altos Will Close Its Doors at the End of November
Helix, a Los Altos "community science center" run by the Exploratorium, will close its doors on November 30. The 5,000-square-foot space brought hands-on science exhibits, a classroom with ever-changing activities and a museum gift shop to downtown Los Altos.
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2:00 PM | Rain storms leave Harlem River flush with pollution
The obvious effects of big rainstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes are bad enough. But hidden in the aftermath of storms like Hurricane Sandy—and even much, much smaller storms that don’t get a name or a Wikipedia page—is the nefarious combined sewer overflow, or CSO. This is about as bad as it sounds: many older cities
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