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December 18, 2014
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Act of Congress

Act of Congress

By Robert G. Kaiser
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Tag: Nature


Greed Is a Paywall Blocking Human Knowledge

Journals like Science and other paid subscription sources should make their content available to the public for free.

Posted on Dec 17, 2014 READ MORE


Apple Watch Out

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Posted on Sep 11, 2014 READ MORE



The Sixth Extinction

Many now-extinct species had traits that were advantageous for millions of years, until some change made them lethal. Mostly, Homo sapiens are that change.

Posted on Jul 25, 2014 READ MORE



AP/Victor R. Caivano

Of Baby Eagles and Human Prospects

Surely we don’t get to gaze upon the fate of our own species through the lens of the Prime Directive. On the contrary, surely it is our duty to intervene and to do so on an urgent basis.

Posted on Jun 25, 2014 READ MORE



Izumo and Juno: Sperm-Egg Secret Unscrambled

Scientists said this week that they had made the long-sought discovery of how sperm latches onto an egg in the very first spark of reproduction, the outcome of a near decade-long hunt.

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 READ MORE


The Naked Mole Rat Is Nature’s Most Hideous Superhero

When you feel no pain, resist cancer and show no signs of aging during your unusually long life, does it really matter that you look like an angry scrotum?

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 READ MORE


Wilderness Protection

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Posted on Mar 26, 2014 READ MORE


Watch a Herd of Wild Rabbits Chase a Woman With Treats

Apparently Japan has a place called Rabbit Island, and things like this happen there.

Posted on Feb 19, 2014 READ MORE


Blockhead: The Music Scene

A 2010 music video by the Manhattan-based electronic artist Blockhead evokes the sad majesty of a species losing an existential battle with its own creations.

Posted on Feb 7, 2014 READ MORE



AP/Themba Hadebe

Collapse of the Eighth Continent: Shangri-La Meets Global Capitalism

Madagascar’s graceful society and unique natural wonders developed over thousands of years; it has taken less than a decade to put it all on life support.

Posted on Dec 19, 2013 READ MORE



Counterpoint Press

On Extinction

As we live through another mass extinction, this one due to human behavior, we must, Melanie Challenger writes, “[reawaken] the sense that we live finite lives in a finite world.”

Posted on Sep 27, 2013 READ MORE


Prairie Dog Language Translated: They Think We’re Fat

Using a “Rosetta Stone” technique, Dr. Con Slobodchikoff and his students have deciphered the language of prairie dogs and discovered that they can say things like, “there’s a fat human coming and he’s wearing green.”

Posted on Jun 4, 2013 READ MORE



josh-n (CC BY 2.0)

Fish Migration Reveals Ocean Warming

Establishing what temperatures suit different species of fish has enabled scientists to find elusive evidence of what climate change is doing to oceans.

Posted on May 23, 2013 READ MORE



country_boy_shane (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Children Who Lose Contact With Nature Don’t Fight for It

“In one generation,” George Monbiot writes of a new kind of environmental crisis, “the proportion of children regularly playing in wild places in the UK has fallen from more than half to fewer than one in 10. In the US, in just six years (1997-2003) children with particular outdoor hobbies fell by half.”

Posted on Nov 20, 2012 READ MORE



AP / Benoit Photo

A Day at the Races

This is about horses and how they saved my family’s life, and how, one day, I would come to repay the favor.

Posted on Mar 6, 2012 READ MORE



Princeton University Press

A ‘Lack of Completely Selfish Societies’

One of the fundamental questions in modern economics is whether humans act out of self-interest or they’re motivated by something else. Two professionals in the field suggest that a cooperative drive has more to do with human behavior than Milton Friedman would have us believe.

Posted on Feb 25, 2012 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons / National Institutes of Health

Study: Men May Stick Around for More Than 5M Years

What a relief to know that men might not be an endangered species with a potential expiration date in only 5 million years, according to a new study published, appropriately (if heavy-handedly), in a journal called Nature. The issue boils down to a predicted, but now contested, process of genetic decay targeting the man-specific Y chromosome.

Posted on Feb 22, 2012 READ MORE



WWF Greater Mekong

Extinction: Another One Bites the Dust

A subspecies of rhino native to Southeast Asia has been wiped out. There are now just 50 members of its parent species, the Javan rhino, left in the world. It’s a reminder that the danger in endangered is real, and we can’t just sit back and hope conservationists can keep human beings from annihilating Earth’s biodiversity. (more)

Posted on Oct 24, 2011 READ MORE



Mr. Fish

Time After Time

One of the most obvious and deeply unsettling failings of our human character is our inability to accept just how much sway the lizard portions of our brains have over our behavior and just how short we continue to fall when attempting to achieve synchronicity with our highest ideals.

Posted on Sep 30, 2011 READ MORE    



bbc.co.uk

‘Rogue’ Planets Found Roaming Through Space

What happens when planetary bodies go rogue? Well, that’s one universal mystery that scientists didn’t actually know of until a team of Japanese researchers claimed to have found 10 such free-range roamers—and what’s more, they might be shockingly common in space.

Posted on May 18, 2011 READ MORE



guardian.co.uk

Bolivia Set to Pass ‘Law of Mother Earth’

In a political move that would make John Locke’s head explode, Bolivia is poised to pass a law that would grant nature equal rights with those afforded humans. The Law of Mother Earth is expected to usher in a radical new conservation policy against pollution and exploitation.

Posted on Apr 10, 2011 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Presenting: Sperm in a Test Tube

They’ve gone and done it, those crafty scientists: As reported by Nature (as in the publication), a team of Japanese researchers has successfully cultivated “fully developed sperm” from “immature mouse testicles.” And they’re not just showing off.

Posted on Mar 24, 2011 READ MORE



The Lopsided Law of Wall Street

The lopsided law of immigration vs. Wall Street, humans actually do make it rain, and Glenn Beck goes after Google. These discoveries and more after the jump.

Posted on Feb 20, 2011 READ MORE



Flickr / Frank Kovalchek (CC-BY)

Good News for the Places Where the Wild Things Are

Two years into the Obama administration, the Bureau of Land Management has decided to reverse a Bush-era policy and get back to the business of protecting wilderness on its 256 million acres of public land.

Posted on Dec 23, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / Clay Junell (CC-BY-SA)

Until We Meet Again: Giving Thanks to the American Cowboy

Once upon a time, a cowboy saved my life. I think of him in certain moments, at the sight of red rocks, for instance, or the hint of a desert storm. Now, the time has come to tell his story.

Posted on Nov 24, 2010 READ MORE



AP / RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, pool

These Tigers Brought to You by Vladimir Putin

The Russian outdoorsman-in-chief is hosting an international summit to save the tiger. In the last century, the world tiger population has dropped from 100,000 to 3,200, and continued demand for illicit tiger products threatens the survival of the species. Not on Putin’s watch.

Posted on Nov 22, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / Bruce McKay (CC-BY-SA)

Does a Bear Vote in the Woods?

Why Sarah Palin is no grizzly and how she and her sister travelers will wipe out the real thing.

Posted on Oct 28, 2010 READ MORE



Mark Lamonica

Reconstructing Los Angeles: A Journey to the Other Side of L.A.

There are certain places that are still empty enough to give us a second chance, even as the empire of Los Angeles moves ever onward, making a reverse exodus into the region’s last frontier.

Posted on Oct 4, 2010 READ MORE



NASA

R.I.P. Gulf Oil Well

It looks like the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is officially dead. The procedure to seal the well—or in oil industry terms, to “kill” it—has been pronounced a success, providing an unceremonious end to the spilling of millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf.

Posted on Sep 19, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Mohammad Sajjad

Pakistan’s Flood Misery Continues

The worst flooding in Pakistan in 80 years has killed more than 1,600 people and affected an unbelievable 12 million people. But there may be more misery to come as the country braces for yet more monsoon rains.

Posted on Aug 6, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Reed Saxon

We All Live on Turtle Island

When speaking of the natural world, for good reason we often turn to Native American myth. Turtle carries the world on its back is what many of these myths tell us; we are all citizens on turtle island.

Posted on Jul 22, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / BurningQuestion (CC-BY-ND)

Freedom in the Grace of the World

We are fooled by virtual mirages into mistaking the busy, corporate hives of human activity and the salacious images and gossip that clog our minds as real. The natural world, the real world, on which our life depends, is walled off from view as it is systematically slaughtered.

Posted on Jul 5, 2010 READ MORE


British Pelican

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Posted on Jun 9, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Troy Maben

The War Against the Horse

It is a sad fact of American life that horse killing is not an anomaly. In fact, such episodes have been playing out across our land for decades.

Posted on May 4, 2010 READ MORE


sniffing dog
Flickr / mikebaird

Study Says Fido’s Family Tree Has Arabian Roots

A research team out of UCLA thinks it may have traced the pedigree of domesticated dogs back to their earliest origins, and the paw prints apparently lead to the general vicinity of the Middle East, instead of the East Asian region they’d previously targeted.

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 READ MORE


Serial Killer Whale?

A marine conservationist from the American Museum of Natural History says of the SeaWorld orca that killed its trainer, “This was not an insane, uncontrollable act. This was premeditated and the whale, for whatever whale reasons, the whale did this ... intentionally.”

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / kimubert

Couple Stranded for 3 Days After GPS Misguides Them Into Wilderness

John and Starry Bush-Rhoads of Reno, Nev., made the biggest little blunder. Their GPS apparently directed the Rhoadses off the road they wanted to be on and into the Oregonian wilderness, where they were stuck for three days. Thanks to a more loyal GPS chip in one of their cell phones, they were eventually rescued.

Posted on Dec 29, 2009 READ MORE



Larry’s List: Gay Animals Edition

Today on the list: the power of same-sex liaisons, poetry in the Bible and more. Update

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 READ MORE


Kitten of the Sea

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently announced that they’ve gone insane. Of course, that isn’t exactly how they worded it. What they say on their Web site, www.peta.org, is that from now on we should all refer to fish as “sea kittens.”

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


invisibility cloak
shinyshiny.tv

The Power of Invisibility, Brought to You by the U.S. Military

The infiltration of American universities by the military is nothing new, but this is: Scientists at UC Berkeley are zeroing in on a way to render people and inanimate objects—which could include weapons and combat vehicles—invisible.

Posted on Aug 10, 2008 READ MORE


Ritalin
reversespins.com

Study: Scientists Taking Brain-Boosting Drugs

Call them the steroids of the scientific set: A British journal found that drugs like Ritalin and Provigil are popular among some scientists, mostly under 35, to enhance focus and ward off fatigue. A full 80 percent of the 1,258 respondents in the Nature survey believed “healthy humans” had the right to use performance-boosting drugs to give them an edge in their work.

Posted on Apr 10, 2008 READ MORE


Indonesian Earthquake Kills 70

The Indonesian island of Sumatra was slammed by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday, followed shortly by a 6.0 aftershock. The event was felt in Malaysia and Singapore, hundreds of miles away. Authorities were scrambling to cope with downed communication lines, overwhelmed hospitals and shattered buildings. A government official put the death toll at 70 so far.

Posted on Mar 6, 2007 READ MORE


Bush & Co. Blocked Hurricane Report, Says Journal

From the AP: “The Bush administration has blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday.”

  • As ThinkProgress points out, this is the third time in less than a week we’ve heard such accusations.

  • Posted on Sep 27, 2006 READ MORE


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