SC dolphin video leads biologist to speak up about dangers of ‘begging dolphins’
People have fed “begging dolphins” turkey legs and done worse.
08/17/2019 - 02:41 PM
First-ever mandatory water cutbacks will kick in next year along the Colorado River
‘An era of limits’ for the Colorado River: Mandatory cuts in water deliveries will take effect in 2020, reducing supplies for Arizona, Nevada, Mexico.
08/17/2019 - 08:53 AM
Bill Nye Slams Trump's Climate Failures: 'The U.S. Has Become A Pariah'
“Everybody, we have a chance to do this right, to save the world for humans,” the famed TV "science guy" said.
08/17/2019 - 03:35 PM
Contracts Galore as NASA Ramps Up Project Artemis to Land on the Moon
NASA has more than 60 years of space experience to share with private industry -- and it will do so in the hopes of getting back to the moon faster.
08/17/2019 - 12:22 PM
Napping more? That could be an early symptom of Alzheimer's, a new study says
Alzheimer's wipes out an entire network of neurons that keeps us awake, the study found. This means increased napping may be an Alzheimer's symptom.
08/17/2019 - 11:20 AM
The Science of Personal Space: Why We Need It and 5 Ways to Deal When People Ignore It
We all know that person who just stands WAY too close.
08/17/2019 - 11:00 AM
From tusks to tails, nations eye trade in endangered species
From guitars to traditional medicines and from tusk to tail, mankind's exploitation of the planet's fauna and flora is putting some of them at risk of extinction. Representatives of some 180 nations are meeting in Geneva to agree on protections for vulnerable species, taking up issues including the trade in ivory and the demand for shark fin soup. The World Wildlife Conference on trade in endangered species, known as CITES, which takes place every three years, aims to make sure that global trade in specimens of wild animals and plants doesn't jeopardize their survival.
08/17/2019 - 10:26 AM
Unprecedented heatwave 'kills thousands of fish' in Alaska
Climate change and warming rivers may have caused the mass death of salmon in parts of Alaska, scientists say.Large numbers of salmon died prematurely in some Alaskan rivers in July according to local reports, and scientists believe the cause could be the unprecedented heatwave that gripped the state last month.“Climate change is here in Alaska. We are seeing it. We are feeling it. And our salmon are dying because of it,” said Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, a biologist specialising in salmon and the director of the Yukon Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, in a Facebook post.> 200 miles of river. Dead chum consistently along entire stretch. None had spawned. 850 counted, many more missed. Likely ruled out mining, disease/parasites. All signs point to heat stress. Sad to see. Hoping this is not the new normal. climatechange salmon yukonriver alaska pic.twitter.com/zAHWSgy3pg> > — Steph Quinn-Davidson (@SalmonStephAK) > > July 29, 2019
08/17/2019 - 07:52 AM
Did Russia’s Bizarre Nuclear-Powered Missile Just Blow Up?
Did Russia’s nuclear-powered cruise missile just blow up? Or was it something else that spewed a radioactive cloud and triggered radiation alarms? An accident at a military test site in northern Russia has sparked speculation of a mishap with the 9M730 Burevestnik ("Petrel"), an intercontinental cruise missile powered by a nuclear reactor. Russia has confirmed an explosion during an August 8 test at Nyonoksa, a military testing base on the White Sea. The explosion killed employees of Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation. “Five Rosatom staff members died and a further three people were injured in a tragic accident that took place during tests on a liquid propulsion system involving isotopes at a military facility in Arkhangelsk region,” stated a brief Rosatom announcement. After Russian media reports that radiation in the area had spiked to 200 times normal background levels, Russian news agency TASS hastened to claim that the dose was less than that of a medical X-ray—though the village near the explosion has been ordered to evacuate, raising memories of the Chernobyl incident. The fact that the accident involved rocket propulsion and radioactive isotopes immediately led to speculation that the Burevestnik (NATO code name SSC-X-9 Skyfall) was involved. In fact, President Donald Trump went on Twitter to announce that “we have similar, though more advanced, technology. The Russian ‘Skyfall’ explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!” But Edward Geist, an expert on Russian nuclear history at the RAND Corp. think tank, cautioned that it is premature to assume that the Petrel was the culprit. “The case that this may be associated with the nuclear cruise missile is pretty circumstantial,” Geist told The National Interest. For example, the site of the accident is a closed Russian military town that is “associated with the testing of all kinds of missiles.” Perhaps there was an accident involving Petrel. Or, perhaps there was an accident involving another weapon that damaged a Petrel. Or, maybe Russia was testing some other system: among Putin’s much-touted wonder weapons is the nuclear-powered Poseidon robotic torpedo. In other words, something happened, and that something involved fatalities and release of radiation. But we can’t be sure, and the Russian government isn’t likely to tell us. Nonetheless, Geist suspects that Russia is expanding on Cold War-era Soviet research into nuclear aircraft propulsion. During that era, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union explored nuclear-powered manned aircraft. They also explored nuclear-powered missiles, such as the notorious 1950s U.S. Project Pluto, a nuclear-powered, low-altitude, supersonic ramjet missile that would have dropped atomic bombs over the Soviet Union—and poisoned the Russian countryside with radioactive exhaust from its reactor. While the United States abandoned those projects by the 1960s, Soviet research continued into the 1970s, according to Guest. It is more than possible that Petrel is based on those old nuclear ramjet designs. The problem isn’t with nuclear power per se. NASA uses Radioisotope Power Systems—fueled by plutonium—for its spacecraft exploring Mars, Saturn, Pluto and the Voyager probes that have journeyed beyond our solar system. Operating so far from the Sun, solar power isn’t an option. Despite some public fears about launching a plutonium device through the atmosphere aboard a rocket, the system has so far worked safely. But these spacecraft spend almost all of their lives far, far from Earth. Not only are there technical challenges to powering a missile or aircraft with a nuclear reactor (especially if the aircraft is manned), but the Petrel will fly inside the atmosphere. Nor is it clear why Russia needs a nuclear-powered cruise missile in the first place. Russia claims that because such a weapon has unlimited range, it can evade U.S. missile defenses designed to stop ballistic missiles descending from space rather than low-flying cruise missiles. Yet even if the Petrel was hard to detect and intercept, it would be too slow as a first-strike weapon. It would be more useful as a retaliatory weapon. But as always with the nuclear Balance of Terror, it would be simpler to just build more ICBMs, armed with multiple warheads, to overwhelm anti-missile defenses. An ICBM can also reach its target within 30 minutes, compared to a cruise missile that would take hours. Unlike an ICBM, a nuclear-powered cruise missile could potentially stay aloft indefinitely. But over whose territory would the radiation-spewing missile orbit? For how long? And why would anyone want a nuclear missile orbiting over their heads 24/7? Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.Image: Reuters
08/17/2019 - 07:30 AM
Thailand's lost baby dugong dies from shock, eating plastic
An 8-month-old dugong nurtured by marine experts after it was found lost near a beach in southern Thailand has died of what biologists believe was a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste, officials said Saturday. The female dugong — a large ocean mammal — was named "Marium" and became a hit in Thailand after images of biologists embracing and feeding her with milk and seagrass spread across social media. Veterinarians and volunteers had set out in canoes to feed Marium up to 15 times a day while also giving her health checks.
08/17/2019 - 06:59 AM
Climate change will create serious upheaval. What will our role be?
During a reporting fellowship in Rhode Island five years ago, I was taken to a beach in Narragansett. Not for beach play and swimming, but to see how the area was losing its beach to rising seas and catastrophic storms, as well as settling of the Earth. In other words, Rhode Island, which already had a low shoreline, is slowly sinking while the waters adjacent to it are rising at a more rapid pace.
08/17/2019 - 03:01 AM
NASA puts Alabama center in charge of moon lander program, drawing Texans’ ire
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced today that Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will take the lead role in developing the vehicles for landing astronauts on the moon – which could be good news for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture, but definitely came as bad news for Texas lawmakers. To be fair, Texas is getting a piece of the action in NASA's Artemis moon program as well: NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will continue to take the lead role in human spaceflight – and in the development of the ascent module for the human landing system.… Read More
08/17/2019 - 12:17 AM
Evers creates new Wisconsin office to reach carbon-free goal
Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order Friday creating a new office to help his administration achieve his goal of 100% carbon-free electricity in Wisconsin by 2050 after Republicans killed the proposal in the state budget. The governor issued an executive order creating the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy within the state Department of Administration. The order requires the office to work with other state agencies and utilities to achieve the goal of ensuring all electricity used within the state is generated from sources that don't emit carbon dioxide as coal and natural gas do.
08/16/2019 - 10:30 PM
Will SpaceX Lose Its Monopoly on Reusable Rockets?
Tiny Rocket Lab takes aim at Elon Musk's company with a plan to recover and reuse its own rockets.
08/16/2019 - 09:18 PM
NASA picks Alabama's 'Rocket City' for lunar lander job
NASA picked Alabama's "Rocket City" on Friday to lead development of the next moon lander for astronauts. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville beat out Johnson Space Center in Houston, which managed the Apollo lunar lander a half-century ago. The new lunar lander — not yet built or even designed — is meant to carry an American woman and a man to the moon's south pole by 2024.
08/16/2019 - 05:39 PM
NASA chief announces Alabama facility as moon spacecraft headquarters
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Friday said Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will anchor the U.S. space agency's programme to build a spacecraft to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, a boon for the state and a disappointment for Texas. Bridenstine, accompanied by U.S. lawmakers from Alabama, made the announcement about the NASA Artemis lunar programme at the Huntsville facility in front of a 149-foot-tall (45 meters) test version of a fuel tank for NASA's heavy-lift moon rocket, the Space Launch System. The announcement, which promises to bring jobs and prestige to Alabama, disappointed lawmakers from Texas who had lobbied for the lunar lander programme to be headquartered at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, which under NASA's announcement will play a secondary role.
08/16/2019 - 03:29 PM
Is a global food crisis avoidable?
A dire United Nations report warns that humanity may not be able to create enough food in the future. What steps can mankind take to avoid a global food crisis?
08/16/2019 - 02:30 PM
There could be up to 10 billion warm and cozy Earth-like planets in our home galaxy, new research reveals
Thanks to the Kepler telescope, scientists have enough data to estimate how many sun-like stars have Earth-like planets that could hold liquid water.
08/16/2019 - 01:28 PM
New guidelines on prescribing fewer opioids could have massive impact: Study
Surgeons in Michigan are prescribing fewer opioid medications after operations, but here's the kicker: Their patients are not complaining. A new study further explores whether too many opioids were being given to patients and how new guidelines can help surgeons curb usage without affecting pain relief.
08/16/2019 - 01:14 PM
Trump’s U.N. ambassador confronts ethics questions over climate change
President Donald Trump’s new ambassador to the United Nations will decide whether to recuse herself from issues involving fossil fuels on a case-by-case basis after a recent briefing with ethics lawyers, State Department officials said.
08/16/2019 - 12:50 PM
Denmark sees resolution soon to EU rift on 2050 climate goal
The new energy and climate minister of Denmark, a frontrunner in fighting climate change, said on Friday he was confident fellow EU countries would soon agree to go carbon-neutral by 2050 despite resistance in the east of the bloc. A push by most European Union nations for the world's biggest economic bloc to go carbon-neutral by 2050 was dropped to a footnote in June after fierce resistance from Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary who fear it would hurt economies like theirs dependent on nuclear power and coal. "I think it will happen in the near future," energy and climate minister Dan Jorgensen said, referring to an EU-wide commitment to achieving a balance between carbon emitted and removed from the atmosphere within the next three decades.
08/16/2019 - 12:28 PM
Blow the Top Off a Mountain: Check out the U.S. Navy's Powerful New Railgun
According to Fanta, most of the key technologies behind railguns—which have until now mostly been in the realm of science fiction—have been unlocked.While the U.S. Navy had announced last year that it would take a prototype railgun to sea onboard the expeditionary fast transport USNS Trenton (JHSV-5) in 2016, the service may have to scupper those plans.If the Navy does take the railgun out to sea on a fast transport, it will be in 2017 at the earliest. In lieu of testing the prototype rail gun in an at-sea environment, the Navy might instead proceed directly to developing an operational weapon system.“It’s not definitely off but it’s not definitely going ahead,” Rear Adm. Peter Fanta, the Navy’s director of surface warfare, told Defense News during a Dec. 30 interview.(This first appeared in 2016.)“Primarily because it will slow the engineering work that I have to do to get that power transference that I need to get multiple repeatable shots that I can now install in a ship. And I would frankly rather have an operational unit faster than have to take the nine months to a year it will take to set up the demo and install the systems, take the one operational [railgun] unit I have, put it on a ship, take it to sea, do a dozen shots, turn around, take it off, reinstall it into a test bed.”Fanta said that he believes that an operational railgun is feasible within the next five years. Indeed, the Navy hopes to replace one of the 155mm gun turrets onboard the third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002) with a rail gun. “I don’t know if I can get there from the engineering status yet. But that’s what we continue to look at,” Fanta told Defense News.According to Fanta, most of the key technologies behind railguns—which have until now mostly been in the realm of science fiction—have been unlocked. “It’s engineering at this point, it’s no longer science,” Fanta told Defense News. “It’s no longer the deep dark secrets of what can I do with this sort of energy. It’s engineering and how much power density can I get, how much beam quality can I get, what sort of metallurgy do I need to sustain multiple shots over multiple periods of time. The rail gun as well as the laser.”Solving the metallurgy problem might require novel solutions—and it’s possible a solution might not exist. “My old gun barrels used to last me a few thousand rounds. Is that still the way we want to go? Other countries are solving it the other way,” Fanta told Defense News.> “Maybe if I carry four barrels and have them easily swapped out with a bunch of bosun’s mates on the [forecastle] and stick [them] in and a half-turn and you go. It’s kind of the way we do it when we overheat machine guns. The new machine guns, you got the old barrel, you stick in a new one and you keep shooting. Maybe that’s the way to go if we can’t solve the metallurgy issues that allow me to do 1,000 rounds out of a barrel.”Eventually, the Navy will have to test a full-up railgun. The trick will be to find a suitable range where the weapon can be fired at maximum range and velocity. But if the test program moves from Dahlgren, Virginia, to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, it won’t be able to conduct the at-sea demo onboard a fast transport.“I need to be able to see how this thing—for both the projectile and the gun—how it shoots at full range, which means I need both elevation and altitude and long range where I can go blow the top off a mountain someplace and not worry about someone fishing around somewhere,” Fanta told Defense News. “The discussion now [is to] move it to a better site that allows me to do full range testing, or do I go do the demo? Because it’s an either/or, it’s not both at this point.”Dave Majumdar is the former defense editor for the National Interest.
08/16/2019 - 11:28 AM
Virgin Galactic unveiled the luxurious lounge where tourists will spend time before their $250,000 trips into space
Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic is racing to send humans into space as tourists, and hundreds of people have already signed up.
08/16/2019 - 10:05 AM
Arctic sea ice loaded with microplastics
"We didn't expect this amount of plastic, we were shocked," said University of Rhode Island ice expert Alessandra D'Angelo, one of a dozen scientists collecting and analysing data during an 18-day expedition aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden. "There is so much of it, and of every kind -- beads, filaments, nylons," she told AFP from Greenland, days after completing the voyage. Plastic pollution was not a primary focus of the Northwest Passage Project, funded by the US National Science Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation.
08/16/2019 - 09:08 AM
Dead planets can 'broadcast' for up to a billion years, and they could tell astronomers what will happen after our sun blows up
Finding dead planets' radio broadcasts can help scientists learn how the sun's death in 5 billion years will affect our solar system.
08/16/2019 - 08:36 AM
Black super new moon 2019: What is it and will we be able to see the lunar event in the UK?
A black super new moon is the next lunar phenomenon to take place this year, when both a black moon and a super new moon will occur at the same time. While North America’s black moon occurred slightly earlier on July 31, it won’t take place in Europe until later this month. But, what exactly is a black moon and a supermoon, and will we be able to see the event? Here is everything you need to know about the black super new moon, including definitions and the science behind Earth’s only natural satellite. What is a black moon? There is actually no single, accepted definition for black moon, but it is used by stargazers to describe three phenomena. In most cases, it refers to the second occurrence of a new moon in a single calendar month. This type will next take place in the UK on August 30, 2019. Some may use black moon to describe the third new moon in a season of four new moons. Each season usually sees three new moons, but a fourth takes place around every 33 months. Black moon also refers to a month, which sees no new moons. This tends to take place every 19 years and can only happen in February because it is shorter than a lunation. So what exactly is a new moon? A new moon is the first lunar phase, when the sun and moon are aligned and the sun and earth are on opposite sides of the moon. This month has already seen one new moon occur on August 1, with another to follow on August 30. What about a supermoon? The name “supermoon” typically describes a moon that appears larger and brighter in the sky. Factually speaking, this occurs when the moon is at its closest point, or perigee, to Earth during its elliptical orbit. How a supermoon is generated However, there are actually two types, a super full moon, the name given to a full moon at its nearest point to Earth, and a super new moon, the term used to describe a new moon at its closest approach to Earth. A super full moon is the type that usually attracts celestial fanfare. When the sky is clear and visibility is good, the moon can appear up to 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter to the naked eye. At the start of 2019, we were treated to three super full moons on January 21, February 19 and March 21. This year, the UK has also seen a super new moon occur on August 1, with another two set to take place on August 30 and September 28. But, a super new moon is less exciting for space fans because it is invisible from Earth. Moon-gazing | Our satellite’s next three big events Will we be able to see the black super new moon in the UK? Unfortunately for us earthlings, new moons are invisible to the naked eye. The alignment of the Sun, the moon and Earth leaves the area of the moon that faces the Earth in darkness, therefore hiding the natural satellite’s bright white hue. New moons also rise and set at the same time as the Sun, bringing them too close to the Sun’s glare. But following the lunar event, the moon becomes visible again the next day, appearing in the sky as a beautiful waxing crescent moon.
08/16/2019 - 08:10 AM
Imperiled by climate change, Pacific nations chide Australia
Small Pacific islands nations at risk from rising sea levels lambasted Australia on Friday after it blocked moves at a regional forum to set down tough policies to combat climate change. Leaders of 18 countries in the Pacific Islands Forum concluded their meeting in Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu, on Thursday with a communique that lacked any commitment to the policies it endorsed. "We came together in a nation that risks disappearing to the seas, but unfortunately, we settled for the status quo in our communique," Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said on Twitter.
08/16/2019 - 03:34 AM
Trans-Brazil trail raises hopes for future of Atlantic Forest
Luiz Pedreira walks with other hikers beneath the Atlantic Forest's thick canopy in Brazil, where an 8,000-kilometre (5,000-mile) trail stretching the full length of the country is being opened up. Inspired by long-distance tracks such as Canada's 24,000-kilometer Great Trail, the project will connect paths from the southern town of Chui on Brazil's border with Uruguay, to Oiapoque on its northern frontier with French Guiana. Work is already under way on the trail, which has the backing of Brazil's environment and tourism ministries, but it could take years to complete.
08/15/2019 - 10:59 PM
Climate change forces Chile ski stations to make fake snow
Once deep in powder this time of year, Chile's ski stations are fighting the ravages of climate change and pollution that have brought less and less snow to the central Andes. Just a few decades ago, the Andes mountain range could be buried under four meters of snow, forcing the closure of access roads and requiring the use of tractors to get around. It's not just Chile affected, but the whole of the Andes where the area of snow cover in the central zone has diminished by five to 10 percent each decade, according to Raul Cordero, an academic at the University of Santiago.
08/15/2019 - 09:37 PM
Sprinting to the future: robo-shorts that help runners get ahead
Once confined to comic books, exosuits that enhance a wearer's physical abilities took a step forward Thursday as researchers unveiled a pair of robotic shorts that assist in walking and running. Walking and running are very different activities from a biomechanical viewpoint, and previous devices had focused on boosting one or the other, but not both, co-author Conor Walsh from Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering told AFP. In a paper published in the journal Science on Thursday, the team from Harvard University and the University of Nebraska Omaha wrote that the suit reduces the average energy cost of walking by 9.3 percent and running by 4.0 percent, a range of improvement that has been shown to be meaningful in athletic performance.
08/15/2019 - 08:28 PM
Countries push to protect sharks, rays
Dozens of countries will push at a global meeting for regulations on trade in 18 types of shark and ray, with conservationists warning Thursday of looming extinction for many species. "Sharks and rays are pretty much unmanaged still in fisheries around the world and are disappearing before our eyes," Luke Warwick of the Wildlife Conservation Society told reporters in Geneva.
08/15/2019 - 08:24 PM
July 2019 hottest month on record for planet: US agency
July 2019 temperatures were the hottest ever recorded globally, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday, while satellite data showed polar ice shrank to its lowest levels. According to the NOAA, the average global temperature for the month was 0.95 degrees Celsius (1.71 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average of 15.8 degrees Celsius (60.4 Fahrenheit), making it the hottest July in its records, which go back to 1880.
08/15/2019 - 08:04 PM
Climate change still threatens key US river after wet winter
Snow piled up in the mountains across the U.S. West last winter, leaving enough to thrill skiers into the summer, swelling rivers and streams when it melted, and largely making wildfire restrictions unnecessary. Climate change means the region is still getting drier and hotter. "It only demonstrates the wide swings we have to manage going forward," James Eklund, former director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, an interstate agency that ensures river water is doled out properly, said earlier this year.
08/15/2019 - 07:25 PM
Norway blocks 30 mn-euro deforestation subsidy to Brazil
Norway said Thursday it would halt Amazon protection subsidies worth 30 million euros ($33 million) to Brazil, which it accused of turning its back on the fight against deforestation. Days after Germany also withdrew money promised for forest protection in Brazil, Norway said the South American nation "broke the agreement" with contributors to the Amazon Fund.
08/15/2019 - 07:04 PM
Algae blooming in popular SC lake could be harmful to people and pets
Algae toxic enough to cause skin rashes and itching are showing up at Lake Wateree, and state regulators are warning swimmers to stay out of areas where the greenish, scummy material is visible in the water.
08/15/2019 - 06:55 PM
Virgin Galactic reveals futuristic outpost for space tourism
Spaceport America is no longer just a shiny shell of hope that space tourism would one day launch from this remote spot in the New Mexico desert. The once-empty hangar that anchors the taxpayer-financed launch and landing facility has been transformed into a custom-tailored headquarters where Virgin Galactic will run its commercial flight operations. The interior spaces unveiled Thursday aim to connect paying customers with every aspect of the operation, providing views of the hangar and the space vehicles as well as the banks of monitors inside mission control.
08/15/2019 - 06:26 PM
How to know if the algae in a pond or lake could kill your cat or dog
How can you tell if dog-killing toxic blue-green algae is in a body of water before you or your dog go for a splash or a swim?
08/15/2019 - 05:35 PM
NASA picks Alabama site as HQ for human moon lander program: sources
The head of NASA is set to announce plans on Friday to name the U.S. space agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama as headquarters for its human lunar lander program, signaling progress in its drive to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, three people familiar with the plan said. NASA also will designate its Johnson Space Center in Houston to oversee development of a spacecraft to launch astronauts off the moon's surface to a platform in lunar orbit dubbed Gateway, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, is scheduled to make the announcement at the Marshall facility in Huntsville, the facility from which the lander system, composed of three different parts to be built by a handful of space contractors, will be managed, the sources said.
08/15/2019 - 05:13 PM
NASA scientists fly over Greenland to track melting ice
The fields of rippling ice 500 feet below the NASA plane give way to the blue-green of water dotted with irregular chunks of bleached-white ice, some the size of battleships, some as tall as 15-story buildings. Like nearly every other glacier on Greenland, the massive Kangerlussuaq is melting. NASA scientist Josh Willis is now closely studying the phenomenon in hopes of figuring out precisely how global warming is eating away at Greenland's ice.
08/15/2019 - 04:16 PM
Planet 10 times Earth's mass may have smacked Jupiter long ago
Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet, may have been smacked head-on by an embryonic planet 10 times Earth's mass not long after being formed, a monumental crash with apparent lasting effects on the Jovian core, scientists said on Thursday. The violent collision, hypothesized by astronomers to explain data collected by NASA's Juno spacecraft, may have occurred just several million years after the birth of the sun roughly 4.5 billion years ago following the dispersal of the primordial disk of dust and gas that gave rise to solar system. "We believe that impacts, and in particular giant impacts, might have been rather common during the infancy of the solar system.
08/15/2019 - 03:10 PM
Top NASA official gets look at next moon rocket
NASA's top official says the rocket expected to power the next mission to the moon is about 90 percent complete. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine spoke during a visit Thursday to a facility in New Orleans where the core stage is being built. In the months to come, the engine section will be attached to the rest of the core section.
08/15/2019 - 03:08 PM
From not having kids to battling anxiety: Climate change is shaping life choices and affecting mental health
For some, ignoring climate change is not an option. It’s real, and preventing global warming from getting worse is a driving force in their lives.
08/15/2019 - 01:37 PM
Water crisis grips US city after lead contamination
A growing water crisis gripped a US city Thursday after environmental officials discovered high lead levels in tap water, sparking worry and highlighting creaking infrastructure in a major urban centre. Thousands of people in Newark, a city in New Jersey with a predominantly black and Hispanic population, have been told to drink only bottled water after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found filters were not extracting lead properly. The situation has drawn comparisons with a water crisis in the former industrial city of Flint, Michigan, which became a symbol of social injustice in America.
08/15/2019 - 01:34 PM
Scientists confirm July set new global heat record
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that July was 0.95 degrees Celsius (1.71 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the 20th century average of 15.8 C (60.4 F) for the month. The results had been expected after several European countries including France, Belgium and Germany reported that July smashed previous national temperature records. The record temperatures notched up in July were accompanied with other major landmarks.
08/15/2019 - 12:40 PM
Microplastics in Arctic snow point to widespread air contamination
Minute microplastic particles have been detected in the Arctic and the Alps, carried by the wind and later washed out in the snow, according to a study that called for urgent research to assess the health risks of inhalation. The new study, conducted by scientists at Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute and Switzerland's Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, found that microplastic particles can be transported tremendous distances through the atmosphere. "It's readily apparent that the majority of the microplastic in the snow comes from the air," said Melanie Bergmann, lead author of the paper published in Science Advances on Wednesday.
08/15/2019 - 10:17 AM
'Punch in the gut' as scientists find micro plastic in Arctic ice
Tiny pieces of plastic have been found in ice cores drilled in the Arctic by a U.S.-led team of scientists, underscoring the threat the growing form of pollution poses to marine life in even the remotest waters on the planet. The researchers used a helicopter to land on ice floes and retrieve the samples during an 18-day icebreaker expedition through the Northwest Passage, the hazardous route linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. "We had spent weeks looking out at what looks so much like pristine white sea ice floating out on the ocean," said Jacob Strock, a graduate student researcher at the University of Rhode Island, who conducted an initial onboard analysis of the cores.
08/15/2019 - 09:26 AM
Genetic study implicates humans in demise of prehistoric cave bear
Genetic research that reconstructed the past population dynamics of the cave bear, a prominent prehistoric denizen of Europe, implicates Homo sapiens rather than climate cooling in the Ice Age extinction of these brawny plant-loving beasts. Scientists said on Thursday they obtained genome data from 59 cave bears from bones unearthed at 14 sites in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland. Using this, they detected a population downturn roughly 50,000 years ago coinciding with the arrival of our species in eastern Europe and then a dramatic decline starting about 40,000 years ago coinciding with the spread of Homo sapiens throughout Europe.
08/15/2019 - 09:01 AM
Moleculin Completes Enrollment in Early-Stage Cancer Study
Moleculin (MBRX) reaches enrollment target in a clinical study evaluating its p-STAT3 inhibitor, WP1220, as a treatment for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a form of skin cancer.
08/15/2019 - 07:55 AM
U.S. scientist to file whistleblower complaint after agency halts his climate work
A climate scientist for the Trump administration's health protection agency who was ordered to drop work on climate issues will file a whistleblower complaint this week with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, his lawyers said on Wednesday. George Luber, who ran the climate and health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an expert on the health impacts of climate change including risks to hospitals and public health infrastructure and of diseases borne by mosquitoes and ticks as they increasingly move into northern regions as temperatures rise. Luber has been a contributor to U.S. government reports including the National Climate Assessment, which last year warned that climate change could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.
08/15/2019 - 06:16 AM
Could Restoring Soil Help Halt Climate Change?
leolintang/GettyBy David R. Montgomery, Professor of Earth and Space Sciences, University of WashingtonIt’s time to take soil seriously. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states with very high confidence in its latest report, land degradation represents “one of the biggest and most urgent challenges” that humanity faces.The report assesses potential impacts of climate change on food production and concludes that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will reduce crop yields and degrade the nutritional quality of food.To avert climate catastrophe, the report warns, people need to make changes in agriculture and land use. In other words, it’s no longer enough to wean society off of fossil fuels. Stabilizing the climate will also require removing carbon from the sky. Rethinking humanity’s relationship to the soil can help on both scores.Soils under stressHealthy, fertile soils are rich in organic matter built of carbon that living plants pulled out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Carbon-rich organic matter helps fuel the soil organisms that recycle and release mineral elements that plants take back up as nutrients.But soils release carbon too. And the frequent tillage and heavy fertilizer use that underpin modern conventional agriculture have accelerated degradation of soil organic matter, sending more carbon skyward—a lot, it turns out.The new IPCC report concludes that globally, cropland soils have lost 20-60 percent of their original organic carbon content. North American farmland has lost about half of its natural endowment of soil carbon. On top of those losses, modern agriculture consumes a lot of fossil fuels to pull plows and manufacture the synthetic nitrogen fertilizers that farmers rely on to coax large harvests from degraded soils.Land management choices also affect the amount of carbon stored in trees, plants and soil. The new IPCC report estimates that serious changes in forestry and agriculture to curtail deforestation and improve soil management could reduce global emissions by 5 percent to 20 percent. While this won’t solve the climate problem, it would represent a significant down payment on a global solution.Farming for carbonInvesting in soil regeneration would also deliver other benefits. One key takeaway from the IPCC report is that conventionally tilled soils erode more than 100 times faster than they form. This troubling conclusion echoes and amplifies what I found a decade ago, after compiling global data on rates of soil formation and loss. My book Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations tells how soil degradation undermined societies around the world, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the U.S. Dust Bowl of the 1930s.Today humans have degraded roughly one-third of the world’s topsoil, and about 3.2 billion people—more than a third of humanity—already suffer from the effects of degraded land. Continuing down this path does not bode well for feeding a growing world population.But what if it was possible to reverse course, regenerate soil organic matter and reduce farmers’ need for diesel fuel and chemical fertilizers made with fossil fuels? This would make it feasible to stash more carbon in the soil and reduce the amount that’s sent skyward in the process of growing food.I saw the potential for regenerative agriculture to restore soil organic matter in both developed and developing countries when I researched Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, my book about how regenerative farming practices allow farmers to reduce their use of costly fertilizers and pesticides.All of the farmers I interviewed shared three things in common. They had switched from plowing to no-till methods that minimized soil disturbance, planted cover crops, and grew a diverse mix of cash and cover crops. Some had even adopted regenerative grazing practices that put livestock to work rebuilding carbon-rich soil. Their results showed me that when farming and ranching practices build soil health, they can reverse soil degradation rapidly and profitably.Worth the transitionBarriers to adopting regenerative farming systems include force of habit, lack of knowledge about new practices and real and perceived economic risk during the transition. But the benefits of rebuilding healthy, fertile soil are clear.According to a 2018 U.N. report that reviewed global land degradation, the economic benefits of land restoration average 10 times the costs. Rebuilding fertile soil is also one of the most promising ways to address hunger and malnutrition in Africa, where the costs of failing to combat land degradation are typically three times the cost of addressing the problem.Restoring soil health would help mitigate the effects of climate change. Increasing the amount of organic matter in soil enhances its ability to hold water. And improving soil structure would let more rainfall sink into the ground, where it can better sustain crops—especially during drought-stressed years—and help reduce flooding downstream. In addition to benefiting the climate, less fertilizer use will reduce off-farm water pollution.Regenerative practices that focus on soil building bring other benefits too. For example, one 2006 study surveyed low-input, resource-conserving agricultural practices in 286 development projects across Latin America, Africa and Asia that employed cover crops for nitrogen fixation and erosion control and integrated livestock back into farming systems. It found that for a wide variety of systems and crops, yields increased an average of almost 80 percent. Results like these indicate that investing in soil-building practices would help feed a warming world.When President John F. Kennedy called for a national effort to go to the Moon, the U.S. managed to do the unthinkable in under a decade. I believe it’s time now for a global “soilshot” to heal the land. Rebuilding healthy fertile soil on the world’s agricultural lands would require fundamental changes to agriculture, and a new agricultural philosophy. But consider who stands to lose from such a shift: corporate interests that profit from modern agrochemical-intensive farming and factory-farm livestock production. Who stands to gain? Everyone else.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
08/15/2019 - 04:46 AM
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