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  • Plugged In

    The Essentials of Energy

    By Sheril Kirshenbaum | 20 hours ago |

    Watch this new must-see video by Joe Hanson of PBS Digitial Studio's It's Okay To Be Smart . He does a great job covering all sorts of energy topics. This video kicks off an excellent three part series (and I had a great time chatting energy with Joe while they were in production!)   Here at Plugged In, we'll be sure to post the next two videos as they're available. […]

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  • Mysterious Disease Threatens Australian Turtle with Immediate Extinction Extinction Countdown

    Mysterious Disease Threatens Australian Turtle with Immediate Extinction

    By John R. Platt | 21 hours ago |

    Three months. That’s all it took to wipe almost every member of a species of turtles off of the map. It all started in mid-February when canoeists paddling down the Bellinger River in New South Wales, Australia, came across several dead and dying turtles. […]

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  • Solar Start-Ups Focus on Soft-Costs at SunShot Catalyst Competition Plugged In

    Solar Start-Ups Focus on Soft-Costs at SunShot Catalyst Competition

    By Melissa C. Lott | May 27, 2015 |

    Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded prizes to five companies that focus on the soft-costs of solar power through the SunShot Initiative’s  Catalyst Prize . Since 2011, SunShot has  funded  more than 350 projects with focuses including solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), system integration, technology to market, and balance of systems costs (soft costs). According to the DOE, while solar hardware costs have been falling steeply, the balance-of-systems costs ("soft-costs") of solar projects have been slower to drop and can represent as much as  64%  of the total installed price of a new solar system. […]

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  • Name That Tune: What Parts of Our Brains Do We Use for Naming Songs? Frontiers for Young Minds

    Name That Tune: What Parts of Our Brains Do We Use for Naming Songs?

    By Amy M. Belfi and Daniel Tranel | May 26, 2015 |

    Proper nouns are names for unique persons, places, and things. One of these “things” can be songs. Songs have specific names, such as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” or “Jingle Bells.” When you hear a song, you often think of its name. […]

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  • The Richest Reef: Deep Diving into the Twilight Zone SA Expeditions

    The Richest Reef: Deep Diving into the Twilight Zone

    By Steven Bedard | May 26, 2015 |

    Editor’s Note: “The Richest Reef” follows members of a scientific dive team as they attempt to pinpoint the center of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystem in the world. Long considered our planet’s most species-rich piece of ocean real estate, the Western Pacific’s “Coral Triangle” is a continent-sized patchwork of habitats, populations, and communities. […]

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  • Crazy, Wonderful Spacecraft Orbits Life, Unbounded

    Crazy, Wonderful Spacecraft Orbits

    By Caleb A. Scharf | May 26, 2015 |

    Over the years humans have deployed spacecraft into some wild, wacky and extremely clever orbital configurations to better study the cosmos. From a really long way away, the gravitational field of our solar system -  due to the combined mass of a modest star and an assortment of planets and billions of small chunks - reduces to a near perfect symmetry. […]

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  • This Dog Bite MIND Dog Spies

    This Dog Bite "Fact" Could Get You In Trouble

    By Julie Hecht | May 26, 2015 |

    Mother’s Day, Father's Day, and Scurvy Awareness Day come only once a year, but I assume you don't neglect your mom and dad the other 364 days of the year, or that you stop appreciating oranges after May 2nd. The same can be said for Dog Bite Prevention Week ( #preventdogbites ), which arrives each May to promote safe interactions between dogs and people. […]

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  • Cross-Check

    "Infidelity Gene" Hyped in the News

    By John Horgan | May 25, 2015 |

    The New York Times "Sunday Review" section has anointed Richard Friedman its go-to guy for touting behavioral genetics--or "gene-whiz science," as I prefer to call it. In March, Friedman, professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, proclaimed that researchers had discovered a "feel-good gene," which "makes some people inherently less anxious, and more able to forget fearful and unpleasant experiences." As I pointed out on this blog , Friedman's claim—like virtually all reported linkages of complex human traits and disorders to specific genes (see Further Reading )--is based on flimsy, contradictory evidence. […]

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  • Memorializing the Wake Island Rail: An Extinction Caused by War Extinction Countdown

    Memorializing the Wake Island Rail: An Extinction Caused by War

    By John R. Platt | May 25, 2015 |

    There’s not much to the tiny Pacific atoll known as Wake. Located roughly half-way between Guam and Hawaii, Wake is a loose u-shaped grouping of an island, three smaller islets and a sand flat, all situated around a beautiful blue lagoon. There’s not much there; in fact, there can’t be. […]

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  • Illusions in the Formerly Blind MIND Illusion Chasers

    Illusions in the Formerly Blind

    By Susana Martinez-Conde | May 24, 2015 |

    Are illusions (the phenomena where subjective perception differs from objective reality) the exception or the rule in everyday vision? Do they represent visual processing errors or provide us with an evolutionary advantage? Are such misperceptions innate or something we learn? […]

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