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Bora’s Picks (July 13th, 2012)

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Climate Skepticism Could Wipe Out Whole Towns in Australia by Rachel Nuwer:

Still don’t believe in climate change? Stubborn climate skeptic hold-outs now face more than just the rest of the world’s scorn: Their towns might not be on the map in a few years. At least this was the conclusion drawn by a new report studying inland Australian townships reluctant to acknowledge or adapt to the threat of impending climate change….

Antarctica Surrounded by Threats by Douglas Main:

Antarctica and its surrounding waters are under pressure from a variety of forces that are already transforming the area, scientists warn. The most immediate threats are regional warming, ocean acidification and loss of sea ice, all linked to global levels of carbon dioxide. Sea ice cover, crucial to the survival of virtually every animal that lives on and near the continent, already has been reduced by warming, according to a new study published in the July 13 issue of the journal Science. Visits by tourists, researchers and other people also threaten to change Antarctica, as does the harvesting of animals like krill that are key to the Antarctic food chain.

A teen with a green thumb by Miriam Kramer:

It’s a sunny morning in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The local Little League is playing its first game of the season, trees are in bloom, and seven teenagers are gearing up to do some hard labor. Although those familiar with this Brooklyn neighborhood known for its high crime rate might have initially assumed otherwise, these high schoolers aren’t doing court-mandated community service. They have voluntarily given up the first nice Saturday of spring to help clean up their neighborhood….

Fukushima vs. Chernobyl: How Have Animals Fared? by Rachel Nuwer:

For a little bird, bee or butterfly trying to make it in the world, which is the worse place to land: Fukushima or Chernobyl? On the one hand, there’s the risk from the release of radioactive materials that occurred in Japan just over a year ago. On the other, there’s the threat of mutations from accumulated environmental contamination over the past quarter-century from the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine….

Technical Writing vs. Science Writing by Kristina Bjoran:

There are two things I can’t shut up about when I meet people or connect with old friends. One is my experience in MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing, which destroyed and rebuilt me as Kristina v.2.0. The other is my current job at a little company that focuses on making people’s lives better through technology. I’m a professional writer/storyteller, and I couldn’t be more excited about that….

Cats and Their Cute Genetic Anomalies (=^ェ^=) by Kate Kate:

Have you ever asked your pet, “why are you so cute?!” I do not know about you but I ask my cat this all the time. Obviously science asked this too, because they have discovered some really neat genetic anomalies that explain why some cats are so cute!…

Expect more weird weather, says NOAA by Douglas Main:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual report draws connections between the extreme weather events of 2011 and a warming climate….

Night diving by coral light: David Gruber studies glowing creatures and glowing proteins by Laura Geggel:

Glowing green and swimming off the corner of the picture, the eel looked unnatural, as if it had been Photoshopped with DayGlo colors. “That darn eel,” says David Gruber, led to a weeklong eel-catching expedition near the sandy beaches of Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas….

Should We Kill Man-Eating Alligators? by Rachel Nuwer:

Your arm just got bitten off by an alligator. After the initial screams and shock, your next reaction might be to hunt down the beast who de-armed you and kill it. But is this necessary a fair punishment to impose on an animal that was simply following its instincts? Or is this outlandish act beyond the realm of excusable instincts?…

This week in metaphors: Higgs-o-Rama: In case you missed it by Kathryn Doyle:

Here’s how I feel about the Higgs Boson: I could rattle off a basically acceptable textbook definition of what this thing is, because I’ve heard the definition so many times, especially recently. But do I actually understand it? Do I even know what I’m talking about?

No.





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