Animals, Biology, News

Arctic Foxes Put Eggs in “Cold Storage” for Lean Times

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Just like squirrels set aside some nuts for winter, so do arctic foxes – they hoard bird eggs and bury them in the Arctic permafrost for when they don’t have enough food.  “It appears as if cached eggs are used as a backup for unpredictable changes in lemming numbers,” lead study author Gustaf Samelius of Grimsö Wildlife Research Station in Riddarhyttan, Sweden told National Geographic. “This is a neat adaptation in an environment where food abundance changes dramatically both among seasons and years.” This is the first study to show carnivores setting some supplies away for longer periods. Carnivores have been known to set aside meat for a few days,…

Climate, Environment, News

Keystone XL pipeline could produce 4 times more emissions than previously thought

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President Obama said he will only allow the controversial Keystone XL pipeline’s construction if it doesn’t significantly increase carbon dioxide emissions. Now, a new study has concluded that it will – and by a lot. Keystone XL could cause greenhouse gas emissions four times worse than the U.S. government’s projections. In case you’re not aware of this project, The Keystone Pipeline System is an oil pipeline system in Canada and the United States, running from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the Steele City, Nebraska, Wood River and Patoka, Illinois and the Gulf Coast of Texas. There have been several environmental studies which highlighted the potential negative impacts of the Keystone XL project. The…

Animals, Biology, News, Pollution

Whales and sharks sightings increase around NY waters, in response to cleaner waters

Photo: Artie Raslich/Gotham Whale

After cleaning the Hudson River, which spills into New York harbor, marine biologists report increased sightings of whales and sharks around the Big Apple’s waters. The cleaner waters now harbor more fish and nutrients, which in turn has led to a surge in numbers. Dolphins and seals are also on the rise. The Hudson River used to be filled with pollution and garbage, but in the past five years the city’s public administration took dramatic action to curb water contamination. As a result, whales and sharks in the area have steadily risen in numbers, attracted by prosperous waters.  Gotham Whale, a wildlife tracking group, counted 29 whales, all humpbacks, in New York waters…

News, Pollution

Mercury content of upper oceans has tripled since Industrial Revolution

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Scientists have finished analyzing water samples taken from 12 oceanographic cruises from the past 8 years. Among other startling discoveries, they report that the mercury content in the upper oceans has tripled since the Industrial Revolution began. Interestingly enough, this is the first time we have an accurate, systematic global distribution of mercury in oceans. While mercury is a naturally occurring element both in waters and in the atmosphere, the high concentrations researchers report can only be attributed to burning coal. The mercury pollution was strongest in the deeper parts Northern Atlantic because surface waters sink to intermediate depths and beyond. Meanwhile, deep waters in the Northern Pacific remained relatively unpolluted, while…

News, Other, World Problems

15 years of research shows kids in Gaza are suffering from PTSD

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A study conducted by researchers from Leicester University shows how an entire generation of children in Gaza is traumatized by PTSD and anxiety. “Why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?” – Varys, A Game of Thrones War is almost never about soldiers fighting soldiers. Usually, war is about soldiers fighting soldiers and civilians; and nowadays, to be honest, it’s more about missiles and drones versus civilians. Imagine how it would be like growing up in such an area, where every day is a risk, where people you know are constantly threatened and killed, and where you don’t have the…

Animals, Biology, News

Sharks may confuse kitesurfers with birds and attack them

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A new study investigated the circumstances under which a 15-year-old kitesurfing male died after a tiger shark attacked him in the South Pacific. Their analysis suggests that attack took place mostly likely because the kitesurfer’s motion was confused by the shark with a bird overtaking the water. In light of other similar shark attack cases, the researchers advise any kitesurfing in waters known to harbor sharks should be made with extreme care. …

Animals, Biology, News, Physics

Scientists turn a brown butterfly purple – in just six generations

Image via Yale.

Scientists have managed to make the coloring of a butterfly species evolve from brown to purple in just six generations. This study shows that even complex coloring mechanisms can undergo fast rearrangements, potentially adapting quickly to outside stimuli….

News, Renewable Energy

Spray-coated solar cells bring solar power to every corner

An artist's impression of spray-coating glass with the polymer to create a solar cell. Image: Energy and Environmental Science

Researchers at University of Sheffield demonstrate a perovskite spray-on solar cell for the first time. Also, this is the first time rated efficiency for a spray-on solar cell tops two figures in efficiency, marking an important milestone and breakthrough in the field….