Posts

October 22, 2014

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2:24 PM | Right of Way
WHEN THE MONTANA Department of Transportation approached the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes about widening the portion of U.S. Highway 93 that bisects the Flathead Indian Reservation, the tribes resisted. They first wanted assurances that any highway expansion would address the spirit that defines this region of prime wildlife habitat and natural wonders. The primary goal for the tribes was to mitigate the impact of the road on wildlife. While people view highways as a means of […]
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2:17 PM | Meet the Beetles
Sharman Apt Russell I AM SQUATTING on a sandy riverbank, watching a pack of western red-bellied tiger beetles eat a dead frog. Although the insects are only two feet away and about a third of an inch long, through close-focusing binoculars they fill my vision, an entirely new and surprising world. Tiger beetles have disproportionately large, sickle-shaped mouthparts, which they use now to stab into the white belly of the frog, slicing and scything and scissoring their mandibles like a […]
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2:04 PM | The New Farmers
Lauren Markham SPRING IS THE TIME of year when Deena Miller, owner and operator of Sweet Roots Farm in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, thinks of quitting. Her body hurts, money is tight, and just enough of her organic, love-sown seeds have sprouted from the ground that she can see her failures: wimpy leaves, frost-stunted sprouts, roots chewed through by beetles. It’s the fourth season that thirty-year-old Miller and her husband, Robbie Martin, have farmed three and a half […]
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2:00 PM | As More Crude Oil Rolls In, a Push for Better Track Inspection
In response to concerns about the risks of crude by rail, Union Pacific has begun to boost its rail inspection program by dispatching vehicles with lasers that can find tiny track imperfections.
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1:59 PM | Down by the River
Rowan Jacobsen ALTHOUGH YOU WOULDN’T have known it as recently as ten years ago, the Sonoran Desert city of Yuma, Arizona, is a river town. Located near the junction of California, Arizona, and Mexico, this kiln-dry city of ninety thousand people and 3 billion heads of lettuce has always owed its existence to the Colorado River. It was here in 1849 that thousands of Gold Rushers arrived at Yuma Crossing, where two granite ledges funneled the powerful Colorado River through a deep […]
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12:00 PM | Reef sharks may already be adapted for climate change
The oceans are getting more and more acidic as they slurp up all the carbon dioxide that our cars and factories are churning into the air. What will happen to marine life as their environment becomes more and more diluted with CO2? To try to predict the affects of acidification on ocean biodiversity, some researchers
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11:42 AM | Antarctica’s Lost Photo Albums
By Susan Cosier Flipping through old family albums can remind you where you come from, and that goes for NASA, too. The space agency is getting a peek at its history—and the history of our planet—with hundreds of thousands of old satellite photographs. The long forgotten magnetic tapes and photographic film have been sitting in boxes and collecting dust for five decades at the National Climatic Data Center. Along with early snapshots of the Aral […]

October 21, 2014

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5:51 PM | So What Direction Should Solar Panels Face?
The following is a guest post by Dr. Joshua Rhodes, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in The Webber Energy Group and the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. There has recently been a... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:40 PM | Discoveries of the week
It is Tuesday again, time for some new species accounts.Bumba lennoniWe propose the name Bumba as a new name for Maraca, preoccupied by Maraca Hebard, 1926 (Orthoptera). We describe and illustrate Bumba lennoni, a new theraphosid species from Caxiuanã, Pará, Brazil. This species differs from the other species of the genus in the extremely reduced keel on male palpal organ and in the higher number of labial and maxillary cuspules. Females additionally differ in the spermathecal […]
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5:19 PM | The Biggest Loser: Shark Edition
By Jason Bittel Are you an overweight shark having trouble saying no to second, third, and fourth helpings? Do you stay up late at night slamming squid juice after squid juice? Are you consumed by the constant desire to find, hunt, and devour prey in a way that has haters calling you an “eating machine” behind your back?Well, do I have the thing for you—it’s called the Ocean Acidification Diet!This amazing diet has already been […]
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4:22 PM | Is There Room for Agreement on the Merits and Limits of Efficient Lighting
Seeking constructive dialogue on the merits and limits of clean, efficient lighting.
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4:22 PM | "Bluefin" Killifish Sport Red, Yellow, and Black Fins-- What Do the Colors Mean?
Fish use their fins to swim, but fins can also advertise a fish's social status and health. In a new study, researchers report that for the male bluefin killifish (Lucania goodei), each colorful fin communicates different messages to other fish.The pigment melanin contributes to the black edges (b) on the anal fin that are a sign of dominance, while pterins account for the red and yellow colors (a) on the anal fin, and signal health. Carotenoids on the caudal fin (c) indicate […]
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2:44 PM | Endangered Language
Wendy Call ON A RAINY WINTER evening, seventy people jammed into a Seattle recording studio to listen to poetry by Irma Pineda, who had traveled from her hometown of Juchitán, Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. She writes in Isthmus Zapotec, the mother tongue of several people in the audience that night—immigrants from Mexico’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec who were anxious to hear the sounds of home. Most others in the audience had never heard Zapotec before, much less listened to […]
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2:36 PM | Predators in the Barnyard
Sy Montgomery “IF YOU WANT to see wildlife,” my husband tells people, “try keeping chickens.” Indeed, our gentle flock of free-range laying hens draws all sorts of wild animals to our yard. Some summers, our ladies attract foxes like children to the Good Humor truck. One day my husband spotted a young red fox trotting across our neighbor’s yard in broad daylight, carrying one of our fat Black Australorps in its mouth. “Hey!” my husband yelled […]
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2:32 PM | 7 Mountains I Did Not Conquer
Leath Tonino 1. Mount Erebus, Antarctica It’s the world’s southernmost active volcano, a hulking ice monster with a beating magmatic heart. Need I say more? Okay, I’ll say more. I was working for the United States Antarctic Program at the time, and my superiors—who were many—told me again and again that I was at The Bottom Of The World to shovel snow, not go on adventures. They explained that should I wander from the station, drawn heavenward by the promise […]
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2:29 PM | Preamble
H. Emerson Blake TODAY, AS WE GO to press with this issue of Orion, we’re in the gap between yesterday’s People’s Climate March and the United Nations Climate Summit, which begins tomorrow. No one knows yet whether or how the march will influence the summit’s deliberations, which in turn will set the stage for the discussions that will take place at the international climate treaty talks in Paris next year. But we do know what happened at the People’s […]
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2:09 PM | Turning Back Time: Repairing Water Infrastructure
By Marguerite Huber I am about to turn 25 years old—the quarter century mark! Yikes! While I may start to feel “old” when I consider that number, I am in considerably better shape than some of the pipes and sewer mains that make up the country’s water infrastructure, some components of which are more than […]
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2:08 PM | I’m on TV!!
About a year ago I was asked to appear as a guest on a kids television show about rocks and minerals called Finding Stuff Out. I was asked to come an talk about rocks, minerals, geology in general and how I got interested in geology. The show is for 8-10 year olds and it is […]
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2:08 PM | The inevitability of Westlands’ woes
Bettina Boxall on the Westlands Water District: [T]he nation’s largest irrigation district is in the wrong place.
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2:00 PM | New Research Shows Targeted Antioxidants Help Mice Live Longer, Healthier Lives
While many of the benefits of antioxidants are undoubtedly oversold, we do know that if given at high enough levels and targeted to the right place, antioxidants can help a mouse live 10-20% longer. If this holds up in people, that is equivalent to an extra 7-14 years for people here in the U.S.
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1:39 PM | The Heat is On: 2014 Headed for Warmest Year on Record
Last week, a NASA update pegged September as the warmest on record. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has concurred — and reported that 2014 is on track to be the be the warmest year since record keeping began in 1880. NOAA also reports  that the January through September period was tied with 1998 […]The post The Heat is On: 2014 Headed for Warmest Year on Record appeared first on ImaGeo.
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1:16 PM | Flares Erupt from An Active Region on the Sun
The Sun has been acting up lately, producing one powerful X-class flare and several more moderate flares over the past 72 hours. You can see the X-class flare exploding off the lower left aspect of the Sun in the false-color image above, which was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength […]The post Flares Erupt from An Active Region on the Sun appeared first on ImaGeo.
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1:00 PM | Ten conservation questions that satellites could help answer
On Sunday this week, the Guardian reported that deforestation in the Brazilian portion of the Amazon rainforest spiked by 190 percent over the last couple of months. This ugly bit of news came via remote sensing techniques; satellites orbiting the earth are particularly useful tools for monitoring things like deforestation. In Brazil, new satellites may
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1:00 PM | Pygmy Seahorses: Masters of Camouflage
Over the summer, biologists from the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco returned from an expedition to the Philippines with some very rare and diminutive guests, a mating pair of pygmy seahorses. The two tiny fish, each shorter than an inch and bright orange, we’re collected as part of a larger study of the […]
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12:39 PM | Random Acts of Bird Watching: Pigeons
From a pigeon that nearly gave her life to save an army […]
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12:04 PM | Beijing Marathon: 'On Your Mark, Get Set, Face Mask!'
By Susan Cosier Marathoners tend to run with a lot of stuff: sneakers, shorts, headbands, wristbands, sports bras, sunglasses, gel packs, wicking socks, water belts, chaffing rubs, and even band-aids on their nipples. But many runners participating in Sunday's Beijing Marathon added air masks to their gear. The air quality was so bad that day that the city’s environment center warned children and the elderly to stay inside and told everyone else to […]

October 20, 2014

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8:07 PM | The Jargonaut: REDD All Over?
By Brian Palmer REDD (n.): A climate change mitigation strategy that involves paying landowners or the governments of developing countries to leave forested land undisturbed. It is an acronym for “Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation.” When it comes to fighting climate change, it’s hard to underestimate the importance of saving trees. At the United Nations climate summit last month, an initiative to halt […]
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7:44 PM | Connective Tissue Matters in the Nature of Cities
The TNOC Roundtable for October 2014 focused on green corridors in cities to support nature, and the ‘natural’ ecology that resides in the city.  I am focused on the ecology of the city.  The aim of ecologists and scientists to strengthen … Continue reading →
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5:14 PM | Can your birth season affect your mood later in life?
Researchers from Budapest, Hungary have found a correlation between birth season and moods. (Feelart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)The team is trying to discover if people born at certain times of year may have a greater chance of developing certain types of affective temperaments, which in turn can lead to mood disorders (affective disorders). While these findings may sound like the stuff of pseudoscience and folklore, the work is being presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology […]
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3:32 PM | Is NYC poised to become an energy storage leader?
The recently announced Demand Management Program by ConEd includes significant incentives for both thermal and electricity storage technologies. If the plan moves ahead, the NYC area could be home to... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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