Latest Blog Posts


Ceres Should Have More Craters. So What Wiped Them Away?

By Jordan Rice | July 26, 2016 12:37 pm

Most dwarf planets and solar system bodies similar to Ceres’ size possess many large impact craters from billions of years of being bashed into by other space debris during the formation of the solar system. But one place where this isn’t the case? Ceres, the largest object in a field full of formation debris.

In a new study published in Nature Communications, a team of researchers from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) found that Ceres lacks the size and distribution of large cra …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Ceres, solar system


Dolly's Clones Are Living Long, Healthy Lives

By Nathaniel Scharping | July 26, 2016 11:59 am

Twenty years ago, Dolly the sheep proved to the world that cloning was possible, but her poor health didn’t exactly engender much confidence in the process.

However, her siblings, cloned from the same cell line, are serving as living proof that cloning is perhaps a viable, safe technology. They’re the equivalent of sheep senior citizens, and they’re still in good health. These four sheep cloned from Dolly’s cell line, as well as nearly a dozen other clones, are part of an ongoing study a …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts


Close-up videos capture big, beautiful explosion on the Sun

By Tom Yulsman | July 25, 2016 5:45 pm

A buildup of intensely tangled magnetic energy on the Sun suddenly let go two days ago, unleashing a massive explosion of radiation and super-hot plasma.

The radiation explosion was the most powerful solar flare of 2016 so far.

You can watch all the action close up in the video above, based on data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, or SDO.

When the video starts, keep your eye on the bright active region toward the middle of the frame. It’s seething with energy. A …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Physics, select, Solar System, Sun, Top Posts


New Zealand Declares War on Rats, Weasels and Possums

By Nathaniel Scharping | July 25, 2016 3:07 pm

New Zealand today announced an ambitious plan to rid the island nation of all invasive predators by 2050.

The targeted creatures include rats, weasels, possums and ferrets, all introduced to the island by native settlers and Europeans. If successful, the proposal would eradicate every member of those species on the island in an attempt to restore a more natural ecosystem. It is estimated that some 25 million native birds are killed each year by invasive species, including New Zealand’s  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World, top posts

The Crux

Confessions of a Martian Rock

By Nina Lanza, Los Alamos National Laboratory | July 25, 2016 11:26 am

I look at rocks on Mars for a living—a lot of rocks. Because of this, I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing what to expect and what not to expect when analyzing the chemical make-up of a Martian rock. You expect to find lots of basalt, the building block of all planets.

What I didn’t expect were large amounts of manganese. So when my colleagues and I found exactly that on a Martian rock called “Caribou” back in 2013, we thought, “This has to be a mistake.”
Caribou Conundrum
T …

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

Seriously, Science?

Eggs from ancient poopy "toilet paper" prove parasites also traveled the Silk Road.

By Seriously Science | July 25, 2016 6:00 am

It has long been suspected that ancient trade routes facilitated the exchange of parasites as well as more savory goods, particularly along the famous “Silk Road” that connected Europe to East Asia. Here, scientists set out to test this idea by probing “personal hygiene sticks” (cloth-wrapped bum-scrapers) for parasite eggs. The sticks were unearthed at a relay station along the Silk Road in northwestern China and date from ~100 BC. And boy were they loaded with useful “data”: the scientists …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ha ha poop, old-skool, Scat-egory


The Sand Fire near L.A. has doubled in size, and with dry, gusty winds, extreme fire behavior is forecast today

By Tom Yulsman | July 24, 2016 1:29 pm

With temperatures up to 97 degrees, humidity down at just 10 percent, and winds gusting as high as 30 miles per hour, the weather forecast today is not what firefighters battling the Sand Fire near Los Angeles might have hoped for.

As the graphic above from the National Weather Service in L.A. shows, extremely dangerous fire behavior is in the offing today.

SEE ALSO: Amazing time-lapse video of the Sand Fire now blazing in northern Los Angeles County

Make sure to click on the link  …

Citizen Science Salon

National Moth Week is Back!

By Guest | July 24, 2016 8:54 am

by Nohra Murad

It’s that exciting time of year again: it’s National Moth Week!

But not just any National Moth Week. NMW 2016 marks the fifth year that the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission has run National Moth Week (NMW), a time for citizen scientists to go out moth-ing in their community. This year’s NMW will be run from July 23 to 31.

David Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty of the commission have been running Moth Nights in their local community since 2005. S …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Living World


Satellite images capture California's Sand Fire, blazing north of Los Angeles, and the Sobranes Fire near the Big Sur coast

By Tom Yulsman | July 23, 2016 9:50 pm

Update: As of Sunday morning, 7/24, the Sand Fire north of Los Angeles has scorched approximately 22,000 acres, a doubling in size since yesterday; it is just 10 percent contained. The Soberanes Fire on the California coast near Carmel has grown to 10,262 acres, up from 6,500 acres yesterday. It’s just 5 percent contained.

Hot, dry and windy weather is fanning the flames of two California wildfires this evening, one just north of Los Angeles and the other near Carmel.

The Sand Fir …


Amazing time-lapse video of the Sand Fire now blazing in northern Los Angeles County

By Tom Yulsman | July 23, 2016 2:34 pm

The Sand Fire started yesterday at about 2 p.m. near Santa Clarita, California and has since exploded to 11,000 acres in hot and dry conditions, according to the latest report on InciWeb.

Once some imagery of the area from the Terra and Aqua satellites is available, my plan now is to come back later with a new, more detailed post. For now, check out this absolutely stunning timelapse video of the blaze shot last night by Mo Sabawi  …


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