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D-brief

Scientists Discover Hawaiian 'Supercorals' Thriving In Warm, Acidic Water

By Roni Dengler | May 15, 2019 3:10 pm

Climate change is decimating coral reefs. As humans put greenhouse gasses into Earth’s atmosphere, they warm the planet before settling back down into the oceans and making the water more acidic. These combined factors have caused coral die-offs around the world. But now researchers have found a set of corals in Hawaii’s Kāne’ohe Bay that can already tolerate warmer temperatures and more acidic waters. Scientists are calling them “supercorals.” These corals even bounced back after sewag …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World, top posts

Rocky Planet

Two Massive Eruptions in the Americas Hiding in Plain Sight

By Erik Klemetti | May 15, 2019 8:16 am

I am always amazed how much we are still discovering about massive volcanic eruptions that happened as little as a few thousand years ago. Geologically speaking, that is something that happened yesterday, yet even that small slice of time can obscure some giant volcanic events whose effects could have spread across the globe.

Two recent studies have improved our understanding of two truly enormous eruptions that happened in Central and South America. One, only 1,500 years ago, may have pr …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs

Dead Things

Amber Preserves Rare Snapshot Of Coastal Life 99 Million Years Ago

By Gemma Tarlach | May 13, 2019 2:00 pm

Amber, being fossilized tree resin, usually preserves scenes from an ancient forest. The latest stunning find from Myanmar, however, is a souvenir from a day at the beach 99 million years ago, including the first ammonite, a marine animal, preserved in amber.

The piece of amber is small — about the size of a standard pair of dice, and less than a quarter of an ounce — but it’s jam-packed with animals that tell an intriguing story about its journey from tree trunk to fossil bed.

Th …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Vintage Space

Apollo 10, the Mission That Got So Close to Landing on the Moon

By Amy Shira Teitel | May 11, 2019 11:32 am

Apollo 10 doesn’t get much attention. On the rare occasion people talk about the mission right before the first lunar landing, it’s lumped into the “pre-Apollo 11” category and dismissed as one of the stepping stones on the bridge to the Moon. But it was far more interesting than just a mission that preceded Apollo 11. 

My latest appearance on CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks was all about Apollo 10, but first, a little background on the mission.

In October of 1968, Apollo 7 flew …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics

Neuroskeptic

Scarred Brains or Shiny Statistics: The Perils of CCA

By Neuroskeptic | May 11, 2019 5:42 am

A paper in PNAS got some attention on Twitter recently. It’s called Childhood trauma history is linked to abnormal brain connectivity in major depression and in it, the authors Yu et al. report finding (as per the Significance Statement)
A dramatic primary association of brain resting-state network (RSN) connectivity abnormalities with a history of childhood trauma in major depressive disorder (MDD).
The authors go on to note that even though “the brain imaging took place decades after trauma  …

The Crux

Prehistoric Medicine: How Archaic Humans Cured Themselves

By Bridget Alex | May 10, 2019 2:14 pm

Long before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, people were using antibiotics to combat infections.

In the late 1800s, French physician Ernest Duchesne observed Arab stable boys treating sores with mold growing on saddles. Duchesne took a sample of the fungus, identified it as Penicillium and used it to cure guinea pigs infected with typhoid. Earlier still, texts from ancient civilizations, including Rome, Egypt and China, discussed the healing powers of moldy bread applied t …

ImaGeo

From space, spring storminess looks like a boiling cauldron of atmospheric stew

By Tom Yulsman | May 9, 2019 6:48 pm

And the stew is now boiling more vigorously: Heavy precipitation events have grown stronger and more frequent over the long run

With big, boiling thunderstorms spewing hail and spawning tornadoes in the Southern Plains and beyond even as snow once again falls elsewhere, the weather sure does seem wild and weird this week.

Spring often brings a meteorological roller coaster ride, thanks to the tension between lingering cold and spreading warmth. And, in fact, severe weather is the …

Dead Things

Was Australopithecus Sediba Our Ancestor?

By Gemma Tarlach | May 8, 2019 1:00 pm

Remember Australopithecus sediba? The convention-challenging South African hominin, announced with much fanfare in 2010, has gotten lost in a torrent of other recent fossil finds from our family tree. A new study adds insult to injury, stacking the odds against A. sediba’s place in our distant evolutionary past.

The last decade or so has been a wild ride for researchers trying to figure out the story of human evolution. The family tree of hominins — humans and species more closely r …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

ImaGeo

New study reveals "extraordinary change" in El Niño possibly linked to climate change

By Tom Yulsman | May 7, 2019 8:04 pm

|Update: I posed some questions related to this story to Jason Furtado, a meteorologist at the University of Oklahoma. I’ve added them and Furtado’s responses to the end of the post. |

In a first, researchers have used chemical fingerprints locked within coral skeletons to build a season-by-season record of El Niño episodes dating back 400 years — a feat many experts regarded as impossible.

That record, presented in a new study appearing in the scientific journal Nature Geoscie …

Citizen Science Salon

#CitSciDay2019: Global Community

By cnickerson | May 7, 2019 4:46 pm

Citizen Science Day is an annual celebration presented by SciStarter and the Citizen Science Association in an effort to connect people to real research in need of their help.  It taps the curiosity and observations of people to contribute to significant scientific research efforts.

This year, the featured event of #CitSciDay2019 was the StallCatchers #Megathon, a gamified method of identifying stalls in blood flow in the brain, which is believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s. Because …

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