At 100, James Lovelock Has New Ideas About Gaia and Earth’s Future

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Our blue-marble planet, imaged by the DSCOVR spacecraft. Life maintains a stubborn balance here--but for how long? (Credit: NOAA/EPIC) James Lovelock has a lot to celebrate. The renowned British futurist and environmentalist just enjoyed a 100th birthday party with his wife and friends. Over his long career he has seen his once-controversial Gaia hypothesis steadily gain significant acceptance among his colleagues. And capping all that, he has just published Novacene, a book that predicts th ...read more

9 Ways to Instantly Cut Your Environmental Impact

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Buying clothes and other items second hand is a great way to cut your environmental impact. (Credit: Cabeca de Marmore/Shutterstock) Helping the environment might seem like an impossible task, especially when there are a couple billion other people out there, still doing their thing. But even just cutting your current environmental impact a little is better than doing nothing at all. So, here are a few ideas to get you started. Buy Stuff Second Hand What has less of an impact than buy ...read more

Hubble Sheds New Light on Lives of Star Clusters

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A new look at the Large Magellanic Cloud is helping astronomers better understand how groups of stars evolve. (Credit: ESA/NASA) NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has taken new observations of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small, neighboring galaxy to our Milky Way and found new insights into the star clusters that live there. Star clusters are quite common in the universe. If a galaxy is a cosmic metropolis, star clusters would be like a small town. They form as huge clouds of gas and ...read more

Insecticides May Be Giving Songbirds Anorexia and Delaying Their Migrations

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An experiment with white-crowned sparrows shows that insecticides may be impacting songbirds. (Credit: Phil Lowe/Shutterstock) Some migrating songbirds may be starving thanks to agricultural pesticides. Neonicotinoids are popular insecticides used in industrial agriculture across the U.S. But the chemicals' are controversial because of their detrimental impact on bees and other pollinators. Now, a group of researchers has added heat to the debate, showing that even small amounts of one pa ...read more

Adrenaline Doesn’t Actually Cause the Fight-or-Flight Response, New Study Says

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When you're overcome with fear, it's not adrenaline making you want to fight or flee. (Credit: Master1305/Shutterstock) A thrilling high when you’re faced with danger, a boost of energy when you’re going for an intense run – we tend to associate these rushes with adrenaline, a hormone synonymous with our fight-or-flight response. But it turns out adrenaline might not be what activates our brains' stress reaction after all. In fact, our bones might be doing more work than ...read more

Astronomers May Have Just Discovered an Interstellar Comet Visiting Our Solar System

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Astronomers first found Comet C/2019 Q4 on August 30. The past week of observations, including this image taken by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Hawaii's Big Island, have increased astronomers confidence that the comet started life in another solar system. (Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope) A newly discovered comet has astronomers excited. Formally named C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), the object appears to have come from outside our solar system. If confirmed, that would make it the seco ...read more

The dreaded “blob” may be back in the Pacific Ocean

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A gigantic area of super-warm water has formed again off the U.S. West Coast, threatening impacts on weather and wildlife A map of sea surface temperature anomalies shows a blob of very warm water off the West Coast of the North America. (Source: Climate Reanalyzer, University of Maine) Five years ago, a gigantic cauldron of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean wreaked havoc on marine ecosystems and contributed to drought along the western coast of North America. Dubbed "The Blob ...read more

We Ignore Expertise at Our Own Peril

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Hurricane Dorian seen from the MODIS imager on Terra, August 31, 2019. NASA. We seem to now live in an age where people are comfortable ignoring experts, especially those in the sciences. You may have noticed that Hurricane Dorian didn't hit Alabama. Depending on the circles in which you run, you might think it was a "close call" or a completely mistaken statement that Alabama was ever in any real danger from the hurricane. However, what is clear is that when experts in meteorology -- the ...read more

Many Cancer Drugs Don’t Work Like Scientists Say They Do, New Study Suggests

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(Credit: Shidlovski/Shutterstock) Cancer therapies often fail to work when tested in clinical trials. As a result, a startling 97 percent of drugs designed for specific cancer treatments do not receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Now researchers say they may have figured out part of the reason why.  In a new study out Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, scientists report many cancer drugs don't work the way their designers assumed the ...read more

A ‘Brown Tide’ of Seaweed is Choking the Caribbean and Worrying Scientists

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Dead seaweed chokes beaches across the Caribbean every year. (Credit: Playa del Carmen/Shutterstock) (Inside Science) -- In the summer of 2018, thousands of tons of a prolific seaweed called sargassum invaded the pristine beaches of the Caribbean. In Mexico, the turquoise waters and clear, smooth sand of the touristy Mayan Riviera turned into a brown mess. The sight of sargassum -- a type of brown algae -- and its smell scared tourists away, and local ecosystems started to suffer greatly. ...read more

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