Discover Magazine: Latest Blog Posts, 27 Feb 2019

Welcome to a “Discover Magazine” science update from Hawaii Science Digest.

Views expressed in this science and technology news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Content provided by “Discover Magazine.”

Accessed on 27 February 2019, 1455 UTC.

Source:  http://blogs.discovermagazine.com

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LATEST BLOG POSTS

THE CRUX

Nuclear Technology Abandoned Decades Ago Might Give Us Safer, Smaller Reactors

By M. Mitchell Waldrop | February 26, 2019 4:38 pm

Troels Schönfeldt can trace his path to becoming a nuclear energy entrepreneur back to 2009, when he and other young physicists at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen started getting together for an occasional “beer and nuclear” meetup.

The beer was an India pale ale that they brewed themselves in an old, junk-filled lab space in the institute’s basement. The “nuclear” part was usually a bull session about their options for fighting two of humanity’s biggest problems: glob …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ENVIRONMENTTECHNOLOGYTOP POSTS
MORE ABOUT: ENERGYSUSTAINABILITY

D-BRIEF

This Is Fine: Humans Get Used to Extreme Weather Disturbingly Fast

By Amber Jorgenson | February 26, 2019 4:16 pm

If you find yourself getting used to strangely scorching or abnormally frigid temperatures, you might not be alone.

After combing through over two billion tweets about the weather, a team of researchers found that people seem to get used to abnormal weather pretty quickly. They found that users were less likely to post about unusually high or low temperatures if the same weather conditions had been seen in the past few years.  Peoples’ idea of “normal” weather is often pretty s …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ENVIRONMENTMIND & BRAINTOP POSTS
MORE ABOUT: CLIMATE CHANGEPSYCHOLOGY

D-BRIEF

Rising CO2 Levels Could Wipe Out Stratocumulus Clouds, Accelerating Climate Change

By Roni Dengler | February 26, 2019 4:00 pm

Stratocumulus clouds spread out like puffy cotton balls in orderly rows above the ocean in the sub-tropics. The low-hovering clouds provide the planet shade and help keep Earth cool. But in a new study published this week, researchers say that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could wipe out these clouds. The discovery means that, under “business as usual” emissions scenarios, Earth could heat up 14 degrees Fahrenheit within a century.

“We are perturbing a complex syste …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ENVIRONMENTTOP POSTS
MORE ABOUT: CLIMATE CHANGE

D-BRIEF

Human Food Might Be Making Bears Age Faster

By Megan Schmidt | February 26, 2019 3:26 pm

Bears with diets that are based largely on human food are hibernating less, which is causing them to age quicker biologically, according to a new study published in Nature Scientific Reports.

A research team tracked 30 black bears near Durango, Colo., between 2011 and 2015, paying close attention to their eating and hibernation habits. The researchers found that bears who foraged on human food hibernated less during the winters — sometimes, by as much as 50 days — than bears who ate …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: LIVING WORLDTOP POSTS
MORE ABOUT: ANIMALS
Figure 4: Selected air quality sensors at the ADEQ reference monitor site in South Phoenix.

CITIZEN SCIENCE SALON

SciStarter, researchers, regulators, and community residents collaborate to test air quality sensors

By Guest | February 26, 2019 3:11 pm

In early 2018, Scistarter and Arizona State University began the process of collaborating with a local community, Boulder Ridge, to measure the quality of its air. Boulder Ridge is a 55 and older retirement community in Phoenix. Over the past three years, Boulder Ridge residents began to notice increased blasting, crushing, and trucking out of rock and dirt from an open stone mine next door operated by Southwest Rock Products, LLC. On days when there were no blasts or trucks, the residents note …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: CITIZEN SCIENCETOOLS

D-BRIEF

SNAPSHOT: World’s Largest Bee Rediscovered in Indonesia

By Alison Mackey | February 26, 2019 11:51 am

What a bee! Lost to the science since 1981, the world’s largest bee (Megachile pluto) has been rediscovered on an island in Indonesia.

Its non-scientific name is Wallace’s giant bee, named for British entomologist Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection … and giant it is! With a 2.5 inch wingspan, this beast of a bee towers over its more familiar brethren. The female is pictured here — males of the species are smaller, something not unc …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: LIVING WORLDTOP POSTS
MORE ABOUT: ANIMALS

D-BRIEF

Scientists Get to the Genetic Roots of Why Citrus Fruits Taste Sour

By Charles Choi | February 26, 2019 11:01 am

(Inside Science) — Lemons are known for their face-puckering sour taste. Now scientists have uncovered the mysterious genes behind this acidity, new findings that could help farmers breed sweeter oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and other citrus fruit.

The oldest known reference to citruses dates back to roughly 2200 B.C., when tributes of mandarins and pomelos wrapped in ornamental silks were presented to the imperial court of Yu the Great in China. More citruses are now grown tha …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ENVIRONMENTLIVING WORLDTOP POSTS
MORE ABOUT: AGRICULTUREPLANTS

D-BRIEF

A Judge Asks: Is Forensic Science Really Science?

By Chris Gorski | February 25, 2019 5:15 pm

(Inside Science) — According to Senior U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, at the Southern District of New York, “Forensic science continues to be routinely admitted by the courts, both state and federal, even though considerable doubts have now been raised as to whether forensic science really is science at all, and whether it is reliable and valid.”

As part of the National Commission on Forensic Science, Rakoff contributed to a 2016 report noting some serious flaws in the way the justice …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: TECHNOLOGYTOP POSTS

THE CRUX

Human Generosity Study Shows Altruistic Societies Better Survive Hard Times

By Leah Shaffer | February 25, 2019 10:00 am

In January 2016, Cathryn Townsend set out to live among “the loveless people.” So named by anthropologist Colin Turnbull, the Ik are a tribe of some 11,600 hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers living in an arid and harsh mountainous region of Uganda.

Turnbull studied the Ik in the 1960s and famously characterized them as “inhospitable and generally mean” in his book The Mountain People. He documented how young children were abandoned to starve and how people would snatch food  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: LIVING WORLDTOP POSTS
MORE ABOUT: ANTHROPOLOGY
Damage from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the century's deadliest disaster so far. United Nations/Wikimedia Commons.

ROCKY PLANET

What Do We Do About the Next Massive Natural Disaster?

By Erik Klemetti | February 25, 2019 9:36 am

Few things in life are as unpredictable as natural disasters. Many times, they strike with little-to-no warning and even if there is advanced knowledge of an impending disaster, people are rarely fully prepared to deal with the event or potential consequences.

As populations rise and metropolitan areas grow, the risk associated with a massive natural disaster rises with them and that’s something that has investors worried. Last week, Warren Buffett discussed his concerns about how the eco …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ROCKY PLANETSCIENCESCIENCE BLOGS
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For the latest trends in science, technology, medicine, health, the environment, cyber security, and artificial intelligence (AI), please visit this blog daily.
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Until next time,
Russ Roberts
https://hawaiisciencedigest.net

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