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The Crux

The Case for Protecting the Apollo Landing Areas as Heritage Sites

By Michelle L.D. Hanlon, University of Mississippi | February 19, 2019 4:15 pm

Why did the hominin cross the plain? We may never know. But anthropologists are pretty sure that a smattering of bare footprints preserved in volcanic ash in Laetoli, Tanzania bear witness to an evolutionary milestone. These small steps, taken roughly 3.5 million years ago, mark an early successful attempt by our common human ancestor to stand upright and stride on two feet, instead of four.

Nearly 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong also took a few small steps. On the moon. His bootprints, al …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

The Crux

The Fight to Return An Iconic Skull to Zambia

By Michael Balter | February 19, 2019 12:24 pm

The town of Kabwe sits about 70 miles north of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, as the crow flies. Just over 200,000 people live in this major transportation crossroads. Like most of this south-central African nation, Kabwe is perched on a high and vast plateau, a land of red soils dotted with shrubby legumes and canopies of small, spindly miombo trees.

Kabwe’s story is defined in part by a mine that opened in the early 1900s after rich deposits of lead and zinc were discovered on the edge o …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts

The Crux

Why Do We Forget Things? It May Make The Mind More Efficient

By Tom Siegfried | February 18, 2019 2:15 pm

In the quest to fend off forgetfulness, some people build a palace of memory. It’s a method for memorizing invented in ancient times by (legend has it) the Greek poet Simonides of Ceos, more recently made popular by multiple best-selling books (and the “mind palace” of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes).

Memory palaces provide imaginary architectural repositories for storing and retrieving anything you would like to remember. Sixteen centuries ago, St. Augustine spoke of  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, Top Posts

The Crux

Think You Love Your Partner? It's Complicated

By Vivian Zayas and Yuichi Shoda | February 18, 2019 1:54 pm

Valentine cards are filled with expressions of unequivocal adoration and appreciation. That’s fitting for the holiday set aside to express love and reaffirm commitment to one’s romantic partner.

But what if there’s more going on below the surface of these adoring declarations? How might thoughts and feelings that people are not even aware of shape their romantic relationships?

We are two psychology researchers interested in how the mind works, and how it affects a variety of  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: psychology
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Citizen Science Salon

Citizen Science Day 2019: Add Real Scientific Research to Your Library Programming!

By cnickerson | February 14, 2019 2:18 pm

From the NIH/ National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Libraries are hubs for discovery and community engagement; imagine your library joining a real-time event with others around the world and contributing to real scientific research to speed up Alzheimer’s research! Citizen Science Day 2019 is Saturday, April 13. You and your library are invited to participate in the Stall Catchers Megathon, in which people all over the world will analyze real research data in a game format that wou …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: citizen science day, Event

ImaGeo

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the ocean and atmosphere have coupled — giving birth to a weakling El Niño

By Tom Yulsman | February 14, 2019 1:20 pm

It’s finally here.

This morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made it official: El Niño conditions are present in the tropical Pacific Ocean. There’s a 90 percent chance that they’ll continue through winter, and a 60 percent chance through spring.

True to predictions, this El Niño is a weakling.

Climate scientist Emily Becker summarized the situation at the ever-awesome ENSO blog:
After several months of flirting, the tropical Pacific ocean and atmosphere  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Climate, ENSO, select, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: climate, El Niño, ENSO, weather
Pictures of tools.

Citizen Science Salon

New citizen science tools database to discover and access the right instruments

By Julia Travers | February 14, 2019 12:55 pm

Citizen science (public participation in scientific research) often calls for tools you won’t find lying around the house, such as a rain gauge to record precipitation or an air quality sensor.

“I think a database of water quality monitoring tools is something that anyone who samples recreational water quality dreams of: the idea of a one-stop-shop for such information would be incredibly helpful and save a lot of time for the people and volunteers that run water quality monitorin …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: tools

Dead Things

Meet Mnyamawamtuka: The New Tanzanian Titanosaur

By Gemma Tarlach | February 13, 2019 1:00 pm

Hailing from East Africa, the newly described giant, plant-eating dinosaur Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia lived around 100-110 million years ago, during the middle of the Cretaceous. The animal, a member of the titanosaur lineage, is helping paleontologists understand how, where and when the mightiest of land animals evolved.

Sauropodomorphs are some of the most common and geographically diversely dinosaurs in the fossil record, and their shape — small head, long neck, big torso, elephant …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

The Crux

NASA's Opportunity Rover is Dead. We Asked Scientists to Write Eulogies For the Robot

By John Wenz | February 13, 2019 1:00 pm

After some 15 prolific years on the Martian surface, NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover has gone silent. And after an all out effort to re-establish contact, the space agency says it’s given up hopes of ever hearing back from the rover. We talked to the NASA engineers and scientists whose lives have been touched by the Opportunity rover about their experiences and what the craft meant to them. For some researchers, the mission has encompassed their entire career. For others, the spacecraft t …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: Mars
learning through

Citizen Science Salon

Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities By Design

By cnickerson | February 13, 2019 12:03 am

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,  “Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design” in now available in print.
“In the last twenty years, citizen science has blossomed as a way to engage a broad range of individuals in doing science. Citizen science projects focus on, but are not limited to, nonscientists participating in the processes of scientific research, with the intended goal of advancing and using scientific  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, In the News, Research
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