Environment, Green Living

“Hands off!”, Oil industry warns the US government

jack2-articleInline

Oil, oil, shale gas, oil, fracking, oil – this is pretty much all you hear all day, especially if you come from a geology background. But in the US, things really seem to be spiraling out of control. Jack Gerard, one of the most aggressive players in the game and chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute, said Tuesday that…

Animals, Research

Natural brightness: fireflies inspire LEDs with 55% more efficiency

Misfit scales found on the lantern of the Photuris firefly. (c) Optical Express

We’ve featured countless research here on ZME Science where important scientific and technological advancements were made after scientists sought inspiration from nature, be them  high-tech surfaces (butterfly) or robots (leaping lizard). Recently, researchers at Canada’s University of Sherbrooke managed to improve LED efficiency by 55% after they applied a coating etched with a profile similar to that of firefly scales. Fireflies emit…

Climate, Oceanography, Science, Studies

The El Niño turns out to be more chaotic than previously thought

cobb-kids

Why would the El Niño be important for the rest of us that don’t live in the western part of South America? Well because it also influences the climate in North America, Asia, Australia, Africa, even Europe perhaps.. so that basically means the whole world. The El Niño-the southern oscillation or ENSO is a sort of a heartbeat of the Earth’s climate,…

Environment, Environmental Issues

ISS astronaut snaps beautiful yet disturbing pictures of Australian wildfires

australian wildfire1

Chris Hadfield, the current commander of the International Space Station has taken a few pictures that capture the stunning amplitude of the blazing Australian wildfires. The bushfires have been going on for almost a week, fueled mainly by record temperatures – who would have guessed? The fires are also devastating Tasmania and New South Wales, consuming thousands of acres, leveling…

Environment, Environmental Issues

Oil sand exploitations leave toxic traces

oil sand alberta

Canada’s oil production has been blooming lately, mostly due to the oil sands in Alberta, who hold some of the world’s largest oil reserves. However, a new study shows that exctractions from these oil sands are associated with an increase of local water toxicity. The black gold curse Researchers from the Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada studied five lakes near…

Animals

Giant squids filmed by Japanese researchers – for the first time in their own habitat

giant squid

Scientists and broadcasters announced for the first time that they have captured footage of the extremely elusive giant squid in its own habitat. Japan’s National Science Museum succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature at a depth of more than half a kilometer, but so far, the footage hasn’t been made public. In order to accomplish this remarkable feat, they teamed…

Animals, Great Pics

Amazing wildlife crossings that go a long way

netherlands wildlife crossing

Just like we build crossings to enable us to pass natural obstacles, wildlife crossings allow animals to pass human-made barriers. They’re useful not just because they protect wildlife from being hit by cars, but also because they connect habitats fragmented by human activity. Wildlife crossings are not new practice in habitat conservation, but so far there aren’t nearly enough. Europe…

Animals

Amazing animal of the week: Leptocephalus

leptocephalus

The Leptocephalus (which means slim head) is actually a the flat and transparent larva of the eel, marine eels, and other members of the Superorder Elopomorpha. The group evolved in the Cretaceous, 140 million years ago, and they all have laterally compressed bodies that contain transparent jelly-like substances on the inside of the body and a thin layer of muscle…

Animals, Biology

Spider creates its own larger decoys

research center

Spiders are truly remarkable creatures, but some of them are absolutely unique! This time, biologists working in the Amazon have found a spider that builds elaborate replicas of himself from leaves, debris and insects to confuse predators. The art of deceit From afar, it could mislead even the most experienced eye, hanging in the center of a spider web along…

Animals, Biology

Why is Rudolph’s nose red? Scientists explain

reindeer-nose

Labelled as an outcast by the rest of Santa’s sleigh pulling reindeer, Rudolph the red-nose reindeer, though mocked off, is indispensable and without him Christmas might not make it to every house from all corners of the globe. With his very shiny nose, Rudolph guides Santa’s sleigh even through the harshest of weather, but exactly why is his nose so red?…