Wicked Hot Boston: Urban Heat Island (UHI) Mapping

By Guest | August 9, 2019 4:26 pm

Want to map extreme heat in your community? Anyone, anywhere can take action with ISeeChange.

It’s not just in your head; Boston really is hotter in the summer. When urban areas are warmer than surrounding non-urban environments, we experience a phenomenon called the urban heat island (UHI) effect. 

Cities are filled with large amounts of artificial materials, such as concrete and asphalt, that absorb heat throughout the day and release heat at night. Living materials like trees, flowers, and grass tend to make areas feel cooler due to the shade they create and the water they release from their leaves, thus counteracting the UHI effect. Take a walk through the park or near the water on a hot summer day and you might just experience this for yourself!

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Manatee Chat: Uncovering Manatee Secrets

By Guest | August 6, 2019 1:49 pm

It has long been believed that the manatee is a solitary animal with a very simple communication system that primarily serves one purpose: to keep mom and a calf in contact. However, in recent years, these assumptions have been questioned, based on new research indicating that manatees may not be that solitary after all and that their communication system might be more complex than we previously realized. 

Manatees clearly cannot compete with other marine mammals in terms of vocal complexity—such as dolphins, for example—yet we still know surprisingly little about their vocal repertoire and how extensive it is, what individual variations their calls might have, and what the actual functions of manatee calls are, aside from simply helping them to keep in contact with one another.

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Behind the scenes of INVENTING TOMORROW with the WaterInsights™ Team

By cnickerson | July 29, 2019 2:39 pm

The documentary INVENTING TOMORROW follows several young scientists on their journey to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public, with projects that tackle complex environmental issues affecting water, air, and soil quality.

INVENTING TOMORROW Broadcast on July 29, 2019

You can catch this documentary tonight on POV Docs, television’s longest-running showcase for nonfiction films on PBS.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Education, Environment, Water

Five Fin-tastic projects for Shark Week

By lshell | July 27, 2019 10:47 am

The Discovery Channel’s popular Shark Week is July 28-August 4. Help scientists learn more about sharks through the projects we’ve tagged for you, below. This year, you can also help provide healthy ocean homes for sharks by joining the world’s largest volunteer effort for oceans: the International Coastal Cleanup.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Education

Diving into Citizen Science: The Origins of Ocean Sanctuaries

By Guest | July 26, 2019 8:26 am

Since 2000, I’ve been an avid scuba diver in Southern California.

When the Yukon, a 366 ft. long Canadian warship, sunk off the coast of San Diego in July of 2000, it became an artificial reef for divers to explore, piquing my interest in and igniting a lifelong passion for diving.

In late 2006, my dive buddy, Barbara Lloyd, and I found ourselves at a crossroads. Both of us had earned various diving certifications, up to and including Rescue Diver and Master Diver. We had logged over 500 dives and were unsure where to go next. What could we actually do with our diving experience that would be both fun and educational?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment, Water

Help scientists track extreme weather this week!

By cnickerson | July 17, 2019 6:35 pm

Tropical storms loom large over different parts of the globe, while extreme heat and droughts wreak havoc on other areas. Flash floods and landslides plague parts of India, as dust storms make it difficult to drive and breathe in the southwestern United States.

Extreme weather. We may feel powerless, but there are ways we can help scientists better predict these events and help provide warning systems. That’s empowering.

Stay safe.

The SciStarter Team

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Book Review: Reflecting on a Life of Citizen Science

By Guest | July 9, 2019 4:17 pm

Anne Innis Dagg, Smitten by Giraffe: My Life as a Citizen Scientist, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016. 256 pp. $34.95 hardcover. 

Image courtesy of McGill-Queen’s University Press

Smitten by Giraffe: My Life as a Citizen Scientist is a memoir by Anne Innis Dagg. In the text, she describes her pursuits as a citizen scientist, ranging from her first encounter with giraffe (the plural of giraffe used in Smitten By Giraffe is “giraffe”) as a child, through her studies at the University of Toronto in the 1950s, to her more recent projects. Dagg calls herself a citizen scientist, but like many other citizen scientists, she has in fact worn many hats in her long and exciting career: zoologist, assistant professor, author of non-fiction books on a variety of topics both scientific and otherwise, social activist, and more.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Book Review, Conservation, Environment
MORE ABOUT: canada, Giraffe

Take Action with the EarthEcho Water Challenge to Protect Local Waterways!

By Guest | July 7, 2019 4:11 pm

Take action with the EarthEcho Water Challenge to collect and share water quality data. Then, work to protect your local water resources.

About the EarthEcho Water Challenge

On March 22, this year’s EarthEcho Water Challenge kicked off, empowering young people and community members around the world to monitor and protect local water resources in their communities. Initiated in 2003 as the World Water Monitoring Challenge (in celebration of the U.S. Clean Water Act), this year-round, global program is designed to connect anyone, of any age, to their local water resources through water quality monitoring. Participants share their water quality data through the global EarthEcho Water Challenge online database, contributing to our understanding of the world’s water resources. Participants can also share on the database how they take action to restore and protect their local waterways.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservation, Environment, Water

Make a Splash with Citizen Science

By lshell | July 2, 2019 10:42 am

This summer, whether you’re at home, fishing on a lake, or walking along the beach, consider getting involved in one or more of the citizen science projects featured below. Each one empowers us to keep an eye on the health of our water sources.


The SciStarter Team

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Newsletter, Water
MORE ABOUT: newsletter, water

Wicked Hot Boston: How can you help beat extreme heat?

By Guest | June 28, 2019 9:55 am

Imagine a smoldering hot day in downtown Boston: temperatures have reached over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the sidewalks and streets are absorbing the strong heat from the sun and radiating it back into the air.  Days like this are becoming hotter and more frequent. This “silent storm” causes more deaths in the US than all other weather hazards combined. Heat impacts human health, infrastructure, and the environment.

The Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect

Urban areas trap heat inside of them, experiencing hotter temperatures than in surrounding suburban areas. Cities are built of concrete, asphalt, and dark surfaces that absorb the heat during the day and re-emit it back out at night. This means that urban areas are much hotter than suburban areas during the day and don’t cool back down at night.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment, Events

Citizen Science Salon

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Citizen Science Salon, brought to you by SciStarter, is where science enthusiasts can join forces with top researchers. We'll feature weekly collaborative, crowdsourced, and DIY research projects that relate to what you're reading about in Discover, so you can take science into your own hands. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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