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Cassini Catches Two of Saturn's Moons Building a Cosmic Snowman

By Chelsea Gohd | December 17, 2018 4:46 pm

Floating out in the solar system, the Cassini spacecraft captured a curious image of two moons that seem to be stuck together.The image actually shows Saturn’s moons Dione and Rhea, but because of the angle that the image was taken at, they appear to be conjoined. Cassini snapped the image before NASA crashed the ship into Saturn last year.

The spacecraft took this image 683,508 miles (1.1 million km) away from Dione (top) and 994,193 miles (1.6 million km) away from Rhea (bottom). So, …


The Crux

Despite Concerns, Space Junk Continues to Clutter Earth Orbit

By Korey Haynes | December 17, 2018 4:32 pm

Humans have a tendency to litter wherever we go. Whether it’s the local park, a music festival, or Mt. Everest, we’re just not good at cleaning up after ourselves. And space is no exception.

Space is pretty big. Infinite, in fact. But the same can’t be said of low-Earth orbit (LEO) and, in particular, the most popular orbital lanes used by Earth-sensing and communications satellites. We’re launching more objects skyward every year and not, in many cases, cleaning up when we’re done with t …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: space trash

The Crux

It's Probably OK to Eat Raw Cookie Dough — As Long As You're Smart About It

By Brian Zikmund-Fisher, University of Michigan | December 17, 2018 2:21 pm

For many people, the holiday ritual of baking cookies isn’t complete without also eating some of the raw dough. In my family, questions like “Who gets to lick the beaters?” and “Can I grab a piece of dough?” were always part of the cookie-making experience.

Yet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly issued warnings about the dangers of consuming raw dough. Specific statements have included: “The bottom line for you and your kids is don’t eat raw dough,” “D …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Top Posts

Dead Things

Pterosaur Feathers Deepen Debate Over Their Evolution

By Gemma Tarlach | December 17, 2018 10:00 am

The discovery of novel filaments on two species of pterosaur suggests that the extinct flying reptiles had complex coats of “feathers” and fuzz, say the authors of a new study. The presence of these apparent pterosaur feathers may indicate that the ancestor of both pterosaurs and their cousins, dinosaurs, sported similar coverings — but that’s not the only hypothesis.

Like dinosaurs, pterosaurs are archosaurs. This group of reptiles, which also includes crocodilians, likely emerged …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


Predicting Suicide: The EDOR® Enigma (Part 3)

By Neuroskeptic | December 15, 2018 4:49 pm

This time last year I wrote(1,2) about a Swedish company called Emotra. Emotra make a device that is supposed to measure suicide risk in people with mental illness. The test is called EDOR® and according to Emotra’s website and materials, it has been shown to be highly effective. Last year, I explained why I disagree with that assessment.

Now, a year later, I’m revisting the EDOR® story, because there have been a number of developments that I find quite disturbing. It seems that EDOR®  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ethics, mental health, select, Top Posts, woo

Citizen Science Salon

Blue Water Task Force expands its reach by teaming up with Swim Guide

By Guest | December 15, 2018 11:39 am

The Surfrider Foundation is pleased to announce its participation in the first ever open data standard for the automated exchange of recreational water quality data.

Recreational waters at ocean and freshwater beaches, lakes and rivers are monitored for harmful bacteria and pathogens that can threaten human health. Agencies and volunteer organizations alike have always found it challenging, however, to get water quality information into the hands of the public. An estimated 90 million i …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservation, Environment

Vintage Space

Most Apollo Astronauts Had Tattoos

By Amy Shira Teitel | December 15, 2018 11:26 am

When we think of Apollo astronauts, we think of hot-shot pilots who dared to ride rockets to the Moon! But who, at their core, were straight-laced military men who followed the rules. So it might come as a surprise that most Apollo astronauts had tattoos. 

This wasn’t something I expected to find. It’s also something that I came across pretty recently. Which in itself was a shock — I’ve spent the better part of my adult life digging into every aspect of the Apollo era. I even nam …

MORE ABOUT: Apollo, NASA, Tattoos

My Science Shop

These New Europa Globes Let You Explore An Alien Moon

By Sponsored Content | December 14, 2018 6:35 pm

The custom-produced 12″ injection-molded desktop globe features images of Europa from the Galileo Solid-State Imaging instrument, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. There are 110 identified and labeled features, only one seam and a clear acrylic base. The realistic color view of the moon was assembled using images taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the 1990s.

You can buy the Europa globe for $99.95 at

CATEGORIZED UNDER: top posts, Uncategorized


In the Blink of an Eye, We're Turning Back the Climatic Clock by 50 Million Years

By Tom Yulsman | December 14, 2018 3:45 pm

Absent serious action on climate change, we’ll continue careening toward a climatic cliff. And modern civilization will be hard-pressed to survive the plunge.

This is the essential take-away from new research probing Earth’s climatic past to yield insights into our future. The research finds that if our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continue unabated, Earth’s climate will warm by the year 2150 to levels not seen since the largely ice-free Eocene Epoch about 50 …

Dead Things

Behold Thylacoleo, Australia's Extinct Giant Marsupial "Lion"

By Gemma Tarlach | December 12, 2018 1:00 pm

Multiple recently discovered specimens of Thylacoleo carnifex have allowed researchers to reconstruct the extinct animal’s entire skeleton for the first time, revising what we know about how Australia’s largest-ever carnivorous mammal moved. Spoiler alert: It appears that, despite weighing in excess of 200 pounds, the animal was an adept climber. Add that skill to the list of traits, including unique flesh-shearing teeth and a lethal thumb claw, that make Thylacoleo so fascinating.

Nickn …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

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