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@ScientificAmerican

Book Reviews: Smart Implants, Ultralight Aerogels and Other Innovations

aerogel

Here is a selection of book reviews from recent issues of Nature on scientific daring, entrepreneurial brio and finely tuned judgment of social need. Economists Leonid Gokhberg and Dirk Meissner compare studies on the troubled trajectories of innovation in Russia and the United States. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/501313a Historian Cyrus Mody reviews an epic account on the visionary [...]

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Dog Spies

Man’s Best Friend? The Mysterious Role of Oxytocin Revealed

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The World of Dog revolves around humans. If you’re a companion dog, who you socialize with, when you frolic in the park, and whether or not you procreate are often determined by someone with two legs. Even if you’re a feral or village dog — and can do pretty much what you want — you [...]

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Extinction Countdown

World’s Largest Owl Needs Equally Large Trees and Forests (But It’s More Complex Than That)

Blakiston's Fish owl

With a body the size of a small child and a wingspan of up to two meters, the Blakiston’s fish owl (Bubo blakistoni) is the largest owl in the world. It is also one of the rarest, shiest and least studied. But that didn’t stop a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), [...]

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Extinction Countdown

3rd Annual Antelope Die-Off in Kazakhstan—Was a Spacecraft to Blame?

This is getting a bit weird. In May 2010 at least 12,000 critically endangered saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica) were found dead in Kazakhstan. Exactly one year later a second mass die-off occurred, killing 450 of the rare animals. Now, once again almost exactly a year later, yet another round of deaths has struck Kazakhstan’s saiga [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Good News for Rare Amur Leopards and Tigers in Russia

amur leopard

This blog appears in the In-Depth Report Science at the Sochi Olympics Two of the world’s rarest and most vulnerable cat species have had some good news in the past few weeks. The best of the news items covers the critically endangered Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis), probably the rarest cat species on the planet, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Mystery Tiger Deaths Solved: Canine Distemper Plagues Siberian Tigers

In June 2010, an emaciated and disorientated female Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) named Galia wandered into the Russian town of Terney seeking any prey she was still strong enough to kill. Authorities were forced to put her down, a sad day for a subspecies that numbers maybe 250 to 300 animals in the wild. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Good News for 2 Rare Leopard Species [Video]

snow leopard

Conservation groups are reporting better than expected news on two rare leopard species, the critically endangered Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) in Russia and the endangered snow leopard (P. uncia) in Afghanistan. First up, the Amur leopard, of which there are fewer than 50 animals left in the wild. But those weak numbers might be [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Tiger, tiger, burning out: What is killing Russia’s critically endangered Amur tigers?

Amur tiger

It may not be long before we witness the extinction of one of the world’s six species of tigers, the Amur (or Siberian) tiger (Panthera tigris altaica). As we have previously reported, Amur tiger populations have dropped precipitously in recent years to around 250 animals, and the species faces a genetic bottleneck that puts it [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Rare Siberian tigers face potential genetic bottleneck

It’s been a long century for the Amur, or Siberian, tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), the largest of the six remaining tiger subspecies. Once hunted nearly to extinction, just 50 tigers remained when Russia protected the species in 1947. Despite that protection, illegal poaching soon dropped that number to as few as 20. But enforcement and [...]

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Observations

Ukraine’s Top Scientists Turn to Academic Unity in Call for Peace

Image: Alex Khristov/Wikimedia Commons

The political unrest reverberating throughout the Ukraine has prompted its top scientists to send out a plea for peace. Since the crisis escalated last week, after Russia moved to establish control over the largely Russian speaking Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine, it has fueled fears that the conflict will boil over into military action between [...]

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Observations

“Team Climate” Gets Sochi Athletes All Abuzz about Climate Change

Members of Team Climate pose with American Olympian Kyle Tress Credit: Courtesy Taylor Rees / Team Climate

This blog appears in the In-Depth Report Science at the Sochi Olympics Climate change poses a well-documented threat to ecosystems and human populations worldwide. But as the inexorable warming trend continues, it’s also endangering the future of winter sports. In a new report published in January by the University of Waterloo, researchers analyzed the suitability [...]

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Observations

The Bomb: A scary light show [Video]

Graphic artist Isao Hashimoto depicts the startling number of nuclear bombs that have gone off between 1945 and 1998, from the early U.S. and Soviet tests to the activities of Pakistan’s nuclear program. Each bomb emits a ping and a flash.

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Plugged In

Time For Energy Diplomacy

One-fourth of the world is breathing unsafe air. Courtesy of Hsu et al/The Atlantic

Russia’s intervention in Ukraine has unfolded into the most serious East-West crisis in a generation. These events have illustrated Europe’s energy insecurity, but also highlight how the United States and European Union now have a tremendous opportunity to advance mutual foreign policy goals. I’ve written more on what we can do over at GMF… The [...]

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Plugged In

Should the U.S. Export Natural Gas?

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 11.41.10 AM

The United States has a lot of natural gas (I’ve already outlined why here). In fact, natural gas will likely overtake petroleum as the leading fuel source in our energy mix in the next decade or two. Given the current situation in Ukraine, many are wondering whether we should export some as a kind of [...]

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Rosetta Stones

Building Sochi’s Olympic Village: An Olympian Task in a Geologically Risky Area

A beautiful image of Sochi with a pink sky and red-roofed white buildings, one of the charming ponds, and the mountains in the distance. Not bad! Image by Stefan Krasowski, Flickr, under a CC BY 2.0 license.

This blog appears in the In-Depth Report Science at the Sochi Olympics So, Sochi! The Olympics are about to start, you’re going to see all sorts of shiny new buildings and ski slopes, and you’ll be so excited by the events you may not pause to consider how they got there. You may have spent [...]

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The Countdown

The Countdown, Episode 16 – Supernova Space Rays, Liquid Lunar Mystery, Red Dwarf Exoplanets, Name Pluto’s Moons, Meteor Attack from Space

[The text below is a modified transcript of this video.] 5) Supernova Space Rays Here on Earth, we’re under constant attack from space. Charged particles, primarily protons, crash into our atmosphere at close to the speed of light. We call them cosmic rays and we’ve finally found out where they come from. In order to [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Why Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners

maroney

This blog appears in the In-Depth Report Science at the Sochi Olympics So we have the paradox of a man shamed to death because he is only the second pugilist or the second oarsman in the world. That he is able to beat the whole population of the globe minus one is nothing; he has [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Monday Pets: The Russian Fox Study

This post was chosen as an Editor

I’ve decided I want to cover some recent research on social cognition in domesticated dogs. But first, we need some background. So here’s a repost from the old blog. Today I want to tell you about one of my most favorite studies, ever, of animals. Are you ready? It’s a FIFTY YEAR LONG longitudinal study [...]

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