Roosters have built-in earplugs that shut off their ears when they crow. Because of course they do. Photo Credit: Little Perfect Stock/Shutterstock
If you’ve spent any time around roosters, you know that their “morning” crowing can be… loud. That distinctive cock-a-doodle-doo is piercing: if you happen to be standing near a rooster sounding off, you’re hit with a sound wave that’s about 100 decibels. That’s unpleasantly loud, like the whir of ...read more
An animation of nighttime images captured by the GOES-16 weather satellite on December 28, 2017. Long, parallel bands of cumulus clouds are seen streaming out over the Atlantic. (Images: RAMMB/SLIDER. GIF animation: Tom Yulsman)
Baby, it’s cold outside!
If you live pretty much anywhere in Canada, or in the United States east of the Rockies, that wonderful song from the 1940s pretty much sums up the conditions as 2017 draws to a close. And when revelers watch the b ...read more
The thermal infrared camera imagery taken by a drone operated by the Air Shepherd conservation group during a field demonstration. Credit: Air Shepherd
Poachers illegally hunting elephants and rhinoceroses under the supposed cover of darkness may soon find themselves being tracked by “Predator” vision drones armed with artificial intelligence. The new AI system that enables surveillance drones to automatically detect both humans and animals could help conse ...read more
A cast of the fossil at the Natural History Museum in London. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
We’re teetering on the brink of a new year, and in the spirit of fresh beginnings I’d like to introduce you to Attenborosaurus conybeari.
It’s an Attenborosaurus (yes, you can call it that) but we once called it a plesiosaur because it looked so similar to the ancient marine reptiles. A long neck, sharp teeth, four big flippers and a round body were all that it took t ...read more
Conceptual art for NASA’s Deep Space Gateway. Its fate is up in the air due to uncertain funding and mission changes. (Credit: NASA)
In my previous post I started a conversation with spaceflight entrepreneur Charles Miller, who shared his insights about how NASA’s human spaceflight program got been stuck in low-Earth orbit and how we could enter a new era of deep-space adventure. Part one of the interview focused on the role of private industry in radically lowering the cost of get ...read more
2017 is (finally) ending, and that can only mean one thing: the Seriously, Science? Top 10 of 2017, as voted on by you, our dear readers (and by “voted,” we mean “clicked”). Here are your top 10 favorite posts from 2017: apparently, y’all love sex, cute animals, and disgusting things… as do we! (Yes, these are exactly the same topics as 2015 and 2016–some things never change.) Happy New Year!
11. As the weather warms up, watch out for lime di ...read more
About 5.7 million years ago, on what’s now the Greek island of Crete, something went for a stroll.
Walking on two legs, its clawless feet left impressions. Instead of its first toe sticking out thumblike, as an ape’s would, this creature’s big toe was in line with the other four. This trait and other features preserved in the ancient prints are unique to hominins, primates more closely related to us than to apes or chimps.
And in an analysis published in August, researchers con ...read more
As Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath dumped rain on the Houston area in August, the staff at the National Weather Service (NWS) knew they were watching history. And as the rain totals were tallied, the agency added not one, but two new colors to its rainfall map: purple for 20 to 30 inches and light pink for over 30 inches. “It’s difficult to predict what has never happened,” says Greg Carbin, who leads the NWS Forecast Operations Branch in College Park, Maryland. “I hop ...read more
A gravitational wave and a flash of light open up a new field of astronomy.
For hundreds of millions of years, two city-sized stars — each outweighing our sun — circled one another in a fatal dance. They were neutron stars, the collapsed cores left behind after giant stars explode into supernovas. Then, 130 million years ago, the dance ended. Their collision was fast and violent, likely spawning a black hole. And a shudder — a gravitational wave — rippled across the ...read more
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