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This is among the most appalling satellite images of a wildfire that I've ever seen

By Tom Yulsman | December 11, 2017 2:01 am

The obscuring smoke from the Thomas Fire — now 70 percent as large as L.A. — smothers a large swath of SoCal’s coast.

I’ve seen my share of satellite images of wildfires. And whether it has been the size, the intensity, or the massive spread of billowing smoke, quite a few have horrified me.

So when I saw the view above of the Thomas Fire blazing between Ventura and Santa Barbara, it wasn’t as if I had never encountered anything like it. Even so, when I first saw the thick smok …

Citizen Science Salon

Stay warm with winter projects from home!

By Sarah Newman | December 9, 2017 4:06 pm


This week we are highlighting projects that help advance research on penguins, seals, the Antarctica and more.

The SciStarter Team


Maria Stenzel

This one involves a little travel to an unexpected biodiversity “hot” spot: Antarctica. This project connects you with teams of scientists to study communities of phytoplankto …


Never Pop a Zit With Woodcarving Tools

By Carl Engelking | December 8, 2017 2:48 pm

Let’s preface this whole story with a disclaimer: It’s never really a good idea to pop a pimple. But, if you must, absolutely do not use a dirty woodworking blade.

How do we know? Because a 23-year-old man from Chicago did exactly that, and paid a gruesome price.

According to a case report published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine, doctors at the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County treated a construction worker who came to them with a crusty, bloody, bulbous, warty les …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts

The Crux

We Can Do Better Than Road Salt

By Jamie Summers and Robin Valleau, Queen's University, Ontario | December 8, 2017 12:05 pm

Marshes, streams and lakes lie alongside many of the roads and highways that zigzag across North America. Plants and animals inhabit these water bodies and can be exposed to many of the substances we put on those roads, including road salt.

Rock salt helps keep roads safe when winter storms hit, reducing winter road accidents. But it can also have serious, negative effects on aquatic ecosystems.

At high concentrations, salt can be fatal to some aquatic animals. Salt can also change …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: pollution


Why Does Gravity Travel at the Speed of Light?

By Eric Betz | December 8, 2017 12:04 pm

The dead cores of two stars collided 130 million years ago in a galaxy somewhat far away.

The collision was so extreme that it caused a wrinkle in space-time — a gravitational wave. That gravitational wave and the light from the stellar explosion traveled together across the cosmos. They arrived at Earth simultaneously at 6:41 a.m. Eastern on August 17.

The event prompted worldwide headlines as the dawn of “multimessenger astronomy.” Astronomers had waited a generation for this m …

Sure, this is supposed to be Isla Nublar, but I'm pretty sure this is a valley on the big island of Hawaii. A shot from the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer.

Rocky Planet

Let's Talk About the Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom Trailer

By Erik Klemetti | December 8, 2017 12:04 pm

First off, don’t get me wrong, I love crazy geo-related films. I’m not going to pull a Neil DeGrasse Tyson here and take all the fun out of a movie because it is horribly, fantastically wrong when it comes to the science … but maybe we need to have a few words about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The first trailer came out yesterday and more or less, we can sum the movie up thusly: Dinosaurs versus the Volcano. From what I can gather, the plot involves trying to rescue dinosaurs from I …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs


For Homo Sapiens, This Is as Good as It Gets

By Bill Andrews | December 8, 2017 11:40 am

Well, that’s it.

Pack it in, boys.

Show’s over for us as a species: We’ve peaked.

At least, we might have, according to a paper in Frontiers in Physiology. If anything, it looks like we might be going downhill, with climate change and other environmental effects taking our bodies away from their current idealized forms.

Fastest, Highest, Strongest

First, the findings themselves. In the paper, “Are We Reaching the Limits of Homo Sapiens?”, the authors looked at 120 ye …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: personal health


An animation of nighttime satellite images shows the start and breathtakingly rapid spread of the first SoCal wildfires

By Tom Yulsman | December 8, 2017 11:27 am

A second animation shows the giant smoke plume from the Thomas Fire illuminated by this week’s supermoon as it streams over the Pacific

Carl Engelking, Discover’s online editor, has put together a gallery of scarily dramatic images of the SoCal wildfires as seen from space. With that in mind, I thought I would take a somewhat different tack with this post.

Engelking’s gallery consists of images acquired during daytime from the International Space Station and two satellites. (Click …

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: The scientifically-proven method for getting your bartender’s attention.

By Seriously Science | December 8, 2017 6:00 am

We’ve all been there: waiting at the bar, dying for a drink, but unable to catch the bartender’s attention. It’s easy to assume that we are being served (or rather, ignored) by a crappy bartender. But maybe it’s us. Maybe we’re the ones not giving the right signals that say “Beer me! Now!”. This is actually the best-case scenario, because it’s fixable, and these German scientists are here to help (and, eventually, to build a bartending robot). To determine the best way to sig …



The Remarkable "Curvature Blindness" Illusion

By Neuroskeptic | December 8, 2017 2:54 am

A new optical illusion has been discovered, and it’s really quite striking. The strange effect is called the ‘curvature blindness’ illusion, and it’s described in a new paper from psychologist Kohske Takahashi of Chukyo University, Japan.

Here’s an example of the illusion:

A series of wavy horizontal lines are shown. All of the lines have exactly the same shape – a sine curve. However, half of the lines appear to have a much more triangular, “zig-zag” shape, when they are superimpose …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: papers, select, Top Posts

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