Stopping the slaughter of the bats

Stopping the slaughter of the bats

In 7 years, white-nose syndrome has spread to 22 states and 5 provinces. Why is the fungus so deadly? Why don’t bats die in Europe? And where are the chinks in its armor? More »

Weather: [More data + more computers = better forecasts]

Weather: [More data + more computers = better forecasts]

Synopsis: Weather forecasters are gathering new data to improve forecast accuracy, but already, forecasts outside the summer season are highly accurate. What new technologies are being put into place to improve forecast accuracy, especially for the convective storms that cause… More »

Trash: Does burning beat burying?

Trash: Does burning beat burying?

Synopsis: Disposal of municipal solid waste is a necessity of modern life. Why does much of Europe rely on incinerators while landfilling is predominant in the United States? How do these choices affect air pollution, greenhouse gas production, and recycling… More »

Screaming about screen time

Screaming about screen time

Synopsis: As people spend more time with computers, smart phones and tablets, screens are really taking over. What is the social impact of our intimate relationship with these screens, and the technology and networks behind them? Is this just something… More »

Arctic Warming: Greenhouse gas nightmare?

Arctic Warming: Greenhouse gas nightmare?

Synopsis: The polar regions are home to the fastest warming on the planet. Warming releases not only carbon dioxide but also methane – an even stronger greenhouse gas. Will more warming release more of these gases, leading to more warming… More »

Neutrinos

Neutrinos

Synopsis: To view neutrinos from distant explosions, astrophysicists have set up thousands of detectors in pure ice at the South Pole. What are neutrinos, and what do these scientists hope to learning from them? Find the article: Chasing Neutrinos at… More »

Native American Farming

Native American Farming

Synopsis: Native American agriculture was often a sophisticated response to a challenging environment. What were the secrets of permaculture, companion cropping and corn farming? Could these techniques contribute to modern farming? Find the article: Farming: Native American style Courtesy Eve… More »

Hurricanes

Hurricanes

Synopsis: Hurricanes, the most powerful and dangerous storms of all, get their energy from the difference in temperature between a warm ocean and a cooler atmosphere. A century ago, hurricanes blew in with almost no warning; now they are tracked… More »

Einstein

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Classroom Activity Page: In 1919, 14 years after Einstein published his theory of special relativity, scientists found the first proof for his theory. Then, in 2011, scientists found that Earth’s rotation “drags” spacetime, further proof that Einstein had it right! Applying his penetrating intellect to data gathered by simple instruments, Einstein devised deep physical theories that changed our view of the world. Over the last century, scientists have found that gravity bends light, neutron stars make gravitational waves, and a new state of matter exists near absolute zero: all predicted by Einstein. Although Einstein had neither satellites nor modern equipment, his theories are still on the money. What was his secret? More »

Fracking

Fracking

Classroom Activity Page: Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a high-pressure technique for cracking rocks and allowing natural gas to reach wells. Amid a boom in U.S. natural gas production, industry promises that fracking will bring Americans jobs and low-cost energy for decades. Opponents warn that the drilling-and-fracking process threatens to pollute air, surface water, and most importantly, groundwater. Will these concerns stymie an ongoing boom in natural gas production? Should they? More »

Tsunamis

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Classroom Activity Page: Tsunamis are caused by violent disturbances of the sea floor; usually due to an earthquake. The 2004 “Christmas tsunami” offshore of Sumatra was one of the worst natural disasters on record. Fewer people died in Japan in 2011, but the giant waves caused explosions, havoc and public radiation exposures at a six-reactor nuclear complex. What are tsunamis? Are they predictable? What are people doing to reduce the harm? More »

Ants

close up of ant faces with revolutionary-themed background

Classroom Activity Page: Four genomes for ants have just been decoded. The genetic information gives us a better picture of why ants are so successful, and helps us understand why leaf-cutter ants live in a close, mutually beneficial relationship (symbiosis) with fungus. Some argue that leaf-cutters are the most industrious farmers on Earth. More »

Secrets of the microfarm: Amoeba grows bacteria!

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Classroom Activity Page: One species of amoeba can transport and plant bacteria when it runs short of its normal food, bacteria in the soil. A recent study is the first proof that anything smaller than an ant can “farm,” and shows how evolution can produce alternative strategies to meet the challenges of survival. More »

Live birth in ancient reptile

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Classroom Activity Page: The fossil of a plesiosaur, which was a large, dangerous predator of the seas between 200 and 85 million years ago, showed strong evidence of being pregnant. Evidence for pregnancy included the location of the unborn plesiosaur, its size, and the fact that its bones were not fully hardened, or ossified. The find helps flesh out the evolutionary transition between laying eggs and live birth. More »

Forensic Science: Bugs, Maggots And DNA

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Classroom Activity Page: Don’t leave any goodies behind at the crime scene. Collect the bugs. Collect the maggots, and don’t EVER leave a ransom note! Forensic science — it’s better than ever! More »