Animals, Biology

Colugo (flying lemur): the most accomplished and cutest mammalian glider

colugo

It seems like us mammals were never meant to fly. Sure, bats can fly, but that’s kind of it. Even so, some mammals have learned alternative means of skipping at an altitude: gliding (feather-tailed possums, sifaka) or parachuting (cats). Yes, cats parachute, but enough of them. Chances have it you’ve seen on average 17 cats already since morning. Today’s post is about a gliding mammal that’s in much more need of attention: the adorable colugos. …

News, Renewable Energy

The two-in-one solar cell might harness energy cheaply and efficiently

Test sample of a monolithic perovskite-silicon multijunction solar cell produced by the MIT-Stanford University team. Image: Felice Frankel

A team at Stanford and MIT has devised a novel configuration that combines silicon – the leading solar cell semiconductor – and perovskite – a cheap mineral, only recently exploited for converting solar energy – to form two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material in order to harness energy across a wider spectrum. While performance at this stage is not impressive (it’s equally as good or bad as conventional single-layer silicon cells), researchers believe they have methods at their disposal that could double efficiency. If that were to happen, than these could be the cheap, but efficient solar cells we’ve all been waiting for….

Climate, Feature Post, Great Pics

Repeat Photography From the 1920s and Now Shows Incredible Glacier Retreat

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Repeat photography (or rephotography) is a technique in which photographs are taken repeatedly at a site to see how it evolves. It’s especially useful for glaciers, particularly because other remote ways of estimating glacial mass, depth, and rate of retreat are imperfect. These photos depict how this technique was used at a number of locations in Alaska. Here, we see…

Animals, News

Scientists find “punk” shape shifting frog

frog

For the first time, researchers have discovered a vertebrate able to change the texture of its skin from smooth to spiny. The new frog species was found in Ecuador in the plentiful moss surrounding the native forest.

News, Renewable Energy, Technology

New Tesla Battery Could Take Your Home Off The Grid

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Tesla Motors are out to change the world – and they’re doing it fast, and in style. Like many other of their projects, this one seemed to pop up out of nowhere: Tesla have designed a battery that can power your home and even larger utility buildings. In other words – it could take your house out of the grid.

News, Renewable Energy, Technology

Chinese scientists build first hydrogen-powered tram

Image: New China TV

China is the largest polluter in the world at the moment, and they’re also reaping what they sew. But you can’t accuse the Chinese for not trying to right their ways – at least some of them; in an effort to mitigate the ridiculous amounts of smog that clouds some of China’s cities, scientists have developed the first hydrogen-powered tram….

Animals, Great Pics, News

Cute bunny species observed for the first time in 20 years

It's extremely cute, and extremely endangered.

There’s good news, and bad news. The good news is that an extremely rare bunny has been observed for the first time in 20 years, but the bad news is that their numbers seem to have dwindled more than ever, and we may never see them again.

Environment, News

Science Museums asked to break ties with Koch Brothers

Koch Industries are among the main supporters of climate-change deniers. Image via Huff Post.

A group of leading scientists and non-profit organizations are urging museums of science and natural history to break their ties with the Koch brothers, climate-change deniers and industrialists. The two brothers of Koch Industries, the second largest privately-held company in the US, are funding misinformation campaigns regarding global warming and humanity’s impact on the planetary climate. “When some of the…

Animals, News

Chinese Park Ranger Finds Rare, Giant Salamander

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A park ranger in south China was surprised to find a giant salamander while he was out picking winkles. The giant amphibian measures 83 cm in length (2.5 feet) and weighs 5.5 kg (12 pounds). This amazing creature has remained relatively unchanged since the Jurassic and is widely regarded as a living fossil, but at the moment it is critically endangered. After…

Animals, Biology, News

Woolly mammoth and modern elephant DNA merged. Next, cloning

woolly mammoth

Cloning the woolly mammoth is a life long dream for many geneticists and biologists, but the challenges are numerous. Now, we’ve come a step closer after researchers replaced snips of elephant DNA with those from the woolly mammoth. The changes they’ve made so far are stable, and even though there’s still much work ahead, little by little scientists are building the mammoth’s genome one piece at a time. Next stop: actually cloning the mammoth, effectively resurrecting the species back from the dead….