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The eruption from Fissure 8 on Kīlauea, seen on June 21, 2018. USGS/HVO.

Rocky Planet

Just How Big is the Kīlauea Eruption?

By Erik Klemetti | June 22, 2018 9:46 am

The eruption that started in Leilani Estates on the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea is rapidly approaching the end of its second month, and right now, there are no signs the eruption will be ending soon. For many of us, this eruption seems unprecedented: How often do volcanoes erupt lava like this for months at a time? It turns out that it isn’t that uncommon, although in terms of the recent history of Kīlauea, this is a big event for the Hawaiian shield volcano.

So, just how big? I …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Parrot 'Laughter' is Contagious

By Seriously Science | June 22, 2018 6:00 am


Instead of parroting the author’s own words (below), we will leave you with a video showing the contagious laughter-like vocalization of Kea parrots. We hope it doesn’t ruffle any feathers.

Positive emotional contagion in a New Zealand parrot.

“Positive emotional contagions are outwardly emotive actions that spread from one individual to another, such as glee in preschool children or laughter in humans of all ages. The play vocalizations of some animals may also act …


New Species of Gibbon Unearthed in Chinese Tomb

By Charles Choi | June 21, 2018 4:04 pm

In what may be the tomb of the grandmother of the first emperor of China, scientists unexpectedly discovered the bones of an extinct and hitherto unknown species of gibbon, a new study reveals. These findings suggest there was a higher level of ape diversity after the last ice age than previously thought, and that the number of primate extinctions due to humans has likely been underestimated.

In 2004, researchers excavated a tomb in the city of Xi’an in China, once the ancient capital Chang’a …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World
MORE ABOUT: animals, archaeology


What Over 1 Million Genomes Tell Us About Psychiatric Disorders

By Lacy Schley | June 21, 2018 3:44 pm

The brain is an enormously complex thing. Trying to suss out the genetic overlap of the disorders that strike it is perhaps even more complicated. Still, the Brainstorm Consortium, a collaboration of researchers from Harvard, Stanford and MIT, is aiming to do just that. A new study put out by the group shows there are distinctions in how psychiatric and neurological disorders relate to each other; some personality traits may even be at play.

The study, led by Verneri Anttila, a brain  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain


China’s Done Recycling Our Plastics. Where Do We Put 250 Billion Pounds Of Waste?

By Eric Betz | June 21, 2018 1:56 pm

The world is truly awful at recycling. Less than 10 percent of all plastic ever produced has been recycled — the rest goes to landfills and litter.

And of that sliver of plastic that we do recycle, about half of it is shipped from wealthy nations to developing ones — especially China. Together with Hong Kong, China has imported nearly three-quarters of all global plastic waste in recent decades. And that’s how we ended up in this current mess.

End Of Recycling
Last year, China …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts


Einstein Proven Right Even In Other Galaxies

By Bill Andrews | June 21, 2018 1:53 pm

Albert Einstein’s name is synonymous with intelligence, but he’s more than earned his rep. The man revolutionized physics when he was in his 20s and 30s. He came up with a whole new way of understanding reality, not as a fixed grid against which events occur, but as fundamentally intertwined with time and perception. Trying to prove Einstein wrong, somehow, is a perennial goal of budding and experienced physicists alike.

Well, they’ll have to keep trying. A new study in Science tod …

MORE ABOUT: cosmology, Einstein, physics


This Video Game Lets You Explore Mars' Actual Surface

By Lauren Sigfusson | June 21, 2018 1:38 pm

Alan Chan grew up thinking humans would be living in space and exploring Mars by now. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Instead, he decided to explore space on his own by creating a video game that allows people to drive around the Red Planet’s actual terrain in a souped-up rover.

“Red Rover,” a new video game, recreates Mars’ surface using satellite and terrain data from NASA’s HiRISE Mars orbiter. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) has a lens that’s ph …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: hirise, mars

Dead Things

First Ancient Syphilis Genomes Reveal New History Of The Disease

By Gemma Tarlach | June 21, 2018 1:00 pm

The bacterium Treponema pallidum is a nasty critter. It can lead to a number of conditions, collectively called treponemal diseases, that you definitely don’t want to have. They include syphilis, a typically sexually transmitted disease that still infects millions annually. The origins of the disease have long been the subject of controversy, attempts to find its roots hampered by a lack of ancient genetic material.

Today, researchers announce the first successful reconstruction of a …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


Koko the Gorilla Dead at 46, Her Legacy Lives On

By Nathaniel Scharping | June 21, 2018 12:27 pm

Koko, a gorilla who was instrumental in expanding our knowledge of the inner lives and abilities of primates, has died at the age of 46.

The western lowland gorilla was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971 on the Fourth of July — her given name was Hanabi-ko, Japanese for “fireworks child” — and was trained in sign language from a young age. Koko proved to be an adept learner and would go on to learn over 1,000 signs for human words, letting her communicate thoughts, feelings and d …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Mind & Brain
Giraffes congregating in Kenya are caught on camera as part of Wildwatch Kenya’s citizen science project. Photo by Twiga Walinzi

Citizen Science Salon

A Global Effort to Protect Giraffes with Citizen Science

By Kristin Butler | June 21, 2018 12:11 pm

I read once that if you want to keep a giraffe in captivity you have to capture it when it is young because an adult giraffe will fight to the death to be free.

The story was in the book “Zarafa” by Michael Allin, and while I don’t think the statement is scientifically correct, I have always appreciated the inspiring imagery that it offers.

There is perhaps no other time in history when giraffes needed such strength of heart and indomitable spirits than now.

In March, the  …


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