Latest Blog Posts


The People's Climate March

By Keith Kloor | September 21, 2014 8:09 pm

Everything you need to know about today’s climate march, in tweets.
Climate change march rolls through NYC and other events in 150 countries @npr #climatechange #climatemarch

— KQEDscience (@KQEDscience) September 21, 2014
  The NYC turnout was huge.

.@foxnews on #PeoplesClimate : “March attracts more than 310,000 people” — Eli Kintisch (@elikint) September 21, 2014


Amazing crowd shot of @Peoples_Climate March by @cynr …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, climate science


Warning: This Post Will Change Your Brain

By Neuroskeptic | September 21, 2014 6:21 am

Last week I gave a talk in Brazil called Why Is It So Hard To Think About The Brain?, Well, no sooner have I returned than a story appeared that illustrates my point all too well.

A neuroscience paper made headlines around the world on Friday. Here’s Time’s take:
One Dose of Antidepressant Changes the Brain, Study Finds

One dose of antidepressant is all it takes to change the brain, finds a small new study published in the journal Current Biology.

The study authors took brain scans of  …


To Score Quick, Cheap Points, Label Someone as Anti-Science

By Keith Kloor | September 19, 2014 5:26 pm

When I was interviewing Robert Kennedy Jr. for my recent Washington Post magazine profile, there was one charge leveled against him that he deeply resented. “I am not anti-science,” he insisted on numerous occasions, and my suggestion a year ago that he was anti-science perturbed him more than anything.

After all, Kennedy, like many greens, embraces what science says about climate change and other pressing environmental issues. So how could he be anti-science?

Similarly, GMO opponents hol …



And Here's Another Astounding View of Cali's #KingFire

By Tom Yulsman | September 19, 2014 1:24 pm

INCREDIBLE photo from #LakeTahoe last night of the #KingFire pyrocumulus!(via Steve Ellsworth)

— NWS Boise (@NWSBoise) September 18, 2014
No sooner had I hit ‘Publish’ on my earlier post than I found this mind boggling photograph of California’s King Fire. It’s so dramatic that I decided to share it with you in a separate post.

I found it on Twitter while searching on #KingFire. Head over there for more compelling photos of the blaze. And for stunning satellit …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, select, Top Posts, Wildfire


Stunning Satellite View of California's Massive King Fire. With Climate Change, We Should Expect More Such Views

By Tom Yulsman | September 19, 2014 1:04 pm

California’s King Fire continues to blaze out of control in heavy timber and steep terrain in Eldorado National Forest north of the community of Pollock Pines.

The fire ignited Saturday and spread with breathtaking speed through a landscape desiccated by hot temperatures and California’s profound and record-breaking drought. So far, the King Fire has scorched more than 70,000 acres, forcing nearly 2,800 people to evacuate their homes. As of this morning, 4,425 people were participating in …

Citizen Science Salon

Stewards of the Stream: When Citizen Science Meets Water Quality

By Ian Vorster | September 19, 2014 12:42 pm

Spencer Towle is a senior at Cate School in Carpinteria. As we walk down to a bioswale on the campus, this San Francisco native with a head of unruly brown hair describes his first year as a member of the Cate School Stream Team, “A senior took us through all the instruments and showed us how to work them, and what we were sampling for. That made Stream Team a lot more real for me. We weren’t just dipping instruments into the water and reading the numbers—I really learned the purpose beh …

MORE ABOUT: citizen science


Making Microscopic Stained Glass, From Algae

By Carl Engelking | September 19, 2014 11:42 am

During the height of the Victorian era, some of the finest works of art could only be viewed through a microscope. Their materials: The tiniest flotsam and jetsam of nature, and glue.

Starting in the 1830s, commercial demand for slides prepared with specimens such as insect scales, spines, and microscopic organisms skyrocketed as professionals and amateurs grew deeply interested in studying the microcosm. Diatoms, in particular, were a favored medium. These single-cell algae protected by  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: earth science, water


With Summer's Unequalled Warmth, 2014 is Likely to Finish as the Warmest Year on Record for the Home Planet

By Tom Yulsman | September 19, 2014 11:26 am

August and the summer of 2014 have both gone down in the books as the warmest such periods since modern record keeping began in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced.

And with a warmth-bringing El Niño probably emerging, the odds are very good that the rest of the year will be warmer than the long-term average — which means we’re likely on track for 2014 being declared the warmest year on record.

So you might be wondering: Why the photo above of …

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: A new biological weapon to fear: skunk spray.

By Seriously Science | September 19, 2014 6:00 am

This case report reads a bit like a comedy version of CSI. The laboratory involved was asked to identify the source of the biological weapon deployed at a politician’s office, home, and car. The foul-smelling compounds caused several staff members to become nauseous and vomit. The scientists got to work, using gas chromatography/mass-spectrometry (GC/MS) to identify the stinky molecules. Turns out it was skunk spray. Ewww!

GC/MS based identification of skunk spray maliciously deployed as  …


Coffee Drinkers Have Trouble Talking About Emotions?

By Neuroskeptic | September 18, 2014 3:09 pm

People who drink a lot of coffee – and other caffeinated beverages – find it more difficult to identify and describe their own emotions.

This is the claim of a new study, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, from Australian researchers Michael Lyvers and colleagues: Caffeine use and alexithymia in university students.

“Alexithymia” – Greek for “no words for feelings” – is the psychological terminology for an inability to put ones emotions into words. Lyvers et al did a surve …


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