Environment, Geology, News

Wastewater pumping from oil drilling and fracking caused Oklahoma seismicity to surge

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This year, Oklahoma already had over 230 earthquakes with a magnitude of over 3. In 2008, the average number was 1! It seems quite unlikely for such a dramatic change to happen naturally, especially without other geological indicators. Many geologists and seismologists suspected that this was connected with the recent oil explorations in the area, but they were unable to…

Animals, Anthropology, News, Research

Chimp gesture language translated – they’re the only ones besides humans to intentionally communicate

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If you’ve ever watched chimps during a nature program and became startled by your own empathy towards them, you’re not alone. It’s no secret that chimps are our closest relatives out of all primates, having 98% similar DNA. It goes further than genetics – it’s enough to look a chimp in the eye. The reflection is more than a physical mirror; there’s…

Environment, News, Renewable Energy, Science

New water-based battery that uses organic materials instead of toxic metals could solve renewable storage problem

Schematic of aqueous organic redox flow battery (ORBAT) (credit: Bo Yang et al./Journal of the Electrochemical Society)

Renewable energy is clean, getting cheaper by the day and in many respects becoming more efficient thanks to rapid advancements coming from the world’s top-notch labs. It has one major drawback – storage. Before people can find a clever and cost-effective way to store all of that excess energy from wind and solar farms, chances have it that very few…

Animals, Feature Post

Awesome Animals: The Piglet Squid

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The piglet squid measures only a few centimeters across, and it’s one of the cutest animals out there! It can be found in virtually all oceans in the deep water, over 100 meters deep. Due to its tiny size and deep water habitat, the piglet squid is actually not that well studied and understood.   They are known to be…

Climate

The Science Communicator Who Might End the War Between Climate Change Science and Religion

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Texas Professor Katharine Hayhoe is among the American Geophysical Union’s 2014 award-winners for science communication, announced on July 3. This is only the third time AGU has given an award for science communicaton, and they hope that she could help end – or at the very least quench – the war between religion and climate change science. “She’s someone who has…

Environmental Issues, Feature Post, Health & Medicine

China’s self-inflicting arsenic poisoning in pictures

Disused tanks at a closed realgar mining plant around Heshan. The plant was finally closed in 2011 following massive poisoning of the village.

China is the most rapidly developing country in the world. Thanks to the pioneering work and arduous efforts by the People’s Republic of China over the past 50 years, especially over the last 25 years or so since the beginning of reform and opening-up, the overall national strength and the living standards of the people have been improved in no small…

Animals

Some penguins commit suicide, walking away from the sea, alone, towards their demise

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Penguins are amazing creatures, living in some of the harshest conditions in the world. They have an extremely sociable behavior for birds, they have big egos, busy sex lives, and they also commit suicide. We don’t know why this happens. Sometimes, some penguins just head on to the middle of the icy desert, far away from the nourishing water and…

Animals, Feature Post

The Blanket Octopus: Using stolen venomous tentacles as weapons

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The blanket octopus is truly a remarkable creature. It exhibits extreme sexual dimorphism – while the males are only a few centimeters long, the females grow up to a whopping 2 meters! They are rarely seen and studied, so there are still some mysteries regarding the evolution of this dimorphism, but it’s known that males have a specially modified third right…

Animals, Biology, Research

Kangaroos use their tail as an extra leg when walking

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Professor Terry Dawson of the University of New South Wales and colleagues found that kangaroos use their tail as an extra leg when walking, actively participating with energy in the process, instead of using it like a strut as some literature would had us believe. The findings might prove to be important for robotics applications. Hoppity hop The kangaroo is  Australia’s trademark animal…

Animals, News, Research

New bug species discovered in world’s deepest cave

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A new species of ground beetle perfectly adapted to extreme environments has been discovered in the world’s deepest cave system, the Krubera-Voronja, in Russia. The insect is about a quarter of an inch long and blind. In fact, given there isn’t light whatsoever reaching it, the bug has evolved extended antennae and a body that has no pigment. The cave, known…