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Arctic sea ice trends near a record low for this time of year

By Tom Yulsman | October 18, 2016 11:05 am

After tying for second lowest extent in September, Arctic sea ice began expanding rapidly. But that has turned around dramatically in October.

Arctic sea ice has been been growing much more slowly than average during October. Its geographic extent is now in a rough tie with 2007 and 2012 for the lowest in the satellite record for this point in the year.

The chart at right compares the evolution of Arctic sea ice extent during 2007, 2012 and 2016. This year is plotted in red. Not …


The heat streak goes on: NASA finds that last month was the warmest September on record

By Tom Yulsman | October 17, 2016 11:33 am

With that in mind, I have an urgent request for Chris Wallace, moderator of the next debate: please ask Donald Trump about climate change

Although it is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity, climate change has barely figured in the past two presidential debates. Now, we have news that by all rights should finally prompt at least one question on the subject at the third and last debate, scheduled for this coming Wednesday:

This past month was the warmest September in a record da …

The Extremo Files

A New Way to Make Methane: Scientists Discover Novel Metabolism in Coal Bed Microbes

By Jeffrey Marlow | October 17, 2016 7:38 am

Natural gas is an increasingly important energy source, as vast reservoirs are being accessed through fracking, coal exploitation, and, in the not-too-distant future, subseafloor hydrate ice mining. But how exactly all of this fuel is being made deep underground is not very well known; figuring out will tell geologists how carbon moves through the planet and whether or not we should depend on natural gas reserves as a long term energy source.

Methane is the dominant ingredient of natural  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: environment, living world, top posts

Seriously, Science?

How to make a vortex of semen.

By Seriously Science | October 17, 2016 6:00 am

Ever want to make a whirpool-like vortex out of your semen? Well, according to this published study, it’s not too difficult:

Step 1: Concentrate the sperm in your semen.

Step 2: Put it into a annular-shaped container (a ring formed by two concentric circles).

Step 3: Stand back to admire the beauty that is your very own semen vortex.

Apparently, concentrating the sperm induces them to align and swim in the same direction around the ring, creating a vortex… a vortex of semen!



Is La Niña rising from the dead?

By Tom Yulsman | October 15, 2016 6:42 pm

Written off last month as all but a goner, La Niña — El Niño’s cool opposite — now seems to be stirring again in the Pacific, albeit weakly.

A month ago, forecasters were writing the obituary for La Niña. Still in gestation at the time, it looked like it was going to be stillborn.

Not any longer. The latest forecast from the Climate Prediction Center pegs the odds of La Niña coming to term at 70 percent during fall in the Northern Hemisphere.

When a La Niña does develop …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ENSO, select, Top Posts, Weather
MORE ABOUT: ENSO, La Niña, weather


Stunning satellite image shows the powerful Ides of October Storm lit up by moonlight and plowing toward land

By Tom Yulsman | October 15, 2016 4:40 pm

As I’m writing this on the afternoon of Saturday, October 15th, the powerful Ides of October Storm is bearing down on the Pacific Northwest, threatening strong winds, high seas, major storm surges, and coastal flooding, starting soon and continuing into the nighttime hours.

The image above, captured by the VIIRS instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite, shows the storm as it was plowing toward Oregon and Washington in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Seen in reflected moonlight, the c …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Extreme Weather, select, Top Posts, Weather


The 'Ides of October Storm' is gathering strength and charging toward the Pacific Northwest

By Tom Yulsman | October 14, 2016 12:53 pm

Even as a vigorous Pacific frontal system is moving through western Washington today, the remnants of Pacific Typhoon Songda are pulling together into an even stronger storm and charging headlong toward the region.

It has been dubbed the “Ides of October Storm.” And should it evolve on Saturday as forecast, Western Washington will “likely have its most significant windstorm since the Hanukkah Eve storm of December 2006, which left many people without power for several days,” according t …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Extreme Weather, select, Top Posts, Weather

The Crux

In Pursuit of the 'Cosmopolitan Chicken'

By Nathaniel Scharping | October 14, 2016 12:29 pm

Let us consider the humble chicken.

Or, rather, consider a world without them. Gone are breakfast burritos at Sunday morning brunch, wings at your next tailgate, half the menu at an Italian restaurant, your grandma’s precious soup recipe and nearly every fast-food chain out there. It’s a bleak world, to be sure. 

Given the extent to which we rely on the nameless, faceless birds that gift us so many culinary delights, perhaps it’s time we paid more attention to them. That’s the insigh …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: animals

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Having sex might help you pass a kidney stone.

By Seriously Science | October 14, 2016 6:00 am

Image: Flickr/erik gould

If you are looking for a (fun) way to pass a painful kidney stone, look no further! This study focused on whether having regular sex helps pass kidney stones lodged in the lower end of the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder). Over 80% of patients who were asked to have sex 3-4 times a week passed their stones, compared to about 35% of control patients. So it looks like urine luck!

Can Sexual Intercourse Be an Alternative Therapy for Distal …


Citizen Science Salon

Whenever, wherever, you and citizen science are meant to be together

By Eva Lewandowski | October 13, 2016 9:39 pm

If you can see this, you can advance scientific research right now!

Below, our editors highlight five, digital citizen science projects you can do online now!  Find more with the Scistarter Project Finder.

The SciStarter Team

Floating Forests 

Kelp forests are important underwater ecosystems and home to many species. With this project, you will identi …


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