Our feature story comes from Showtime, via YouTube, and ultimately from the mind of James Cameron, et al:
It's the biggest story of our time. Hollywood's brightest stars and today's most respected journalists explore the issues of climate change and bring you intimate accounts of triumph and tragedy. YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY takes you directly to the heart of the matter in this awe-inspiring and cinematic documentary series event from Executive Producers James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
For more environmental news and other interesting items from this past week, follow me below the labyrinth of orange goodness.
From Fox News:
Bee fossils provide rare glimpse into Ice Age environment
By Joseph Castro
Published April 11, 2014
Bee fossils provide rare glimpse into Ice Age environmentom the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits in Southern California has provided valuable insight into the local environment during the last Ice Age.From livescience:
The La Brea Tar Pits, located in Los Angeles, contain the world's richest deposits of Ice Ace fossils, and are best known for their collection of saber-toothed cats and mammoths. In the new study, researchers used high-resolution micro-computed tomography scanners to analyze two fossils of leafcutter-bee nests excavated from the pits.
Kansas Grass Fires Seen from Space
By Stephanie Pappas
A new satellite image shows grass fires scattered like seeds across the Kansas prairie.From livescience:
And in fact, these fires are a bit like seeds, in that they are a crucial part of the prairie ecosystem.
"We can’t have prairie without fire," Jason Hartman of the Kansas Forest Service told NASA's Earth Observatory, which released the satellite image today (April 9).
Most Endangered Rivers in America: 2014
By Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer
Most of the United States' drinking water (65 percent) comes from rivers, which also nourish agriculture and ecosystems and provide recreational opportunities. But with so many demands on them, many of America's 250,000-plus rivers are threatened.From Cambridge News:
The nonprofit American Rivers highlights these dangers each year with its Most Endangered Rivers report. The report puts a spotlight on rivers that face important policy decisions that could make or break them in the next year. Threats range from excessive diversion of water to outdated dams to pollution.
Here are the 10 most endangered rivers the organization has identified in 2014 and what threats they face.
Thriplow Daffodil Festival brought forward by on average 26 days - thanks to climate change, says researcher
Written by ELEANOR DICKINSON
Climate change has pushed the Thriplow Daffodil Festival forward by nearly a month over the last 46 years, according a new study.Weather
Professor Tim Sparks, an environmental science expert at Coventry University, says that average temperature rises have caused the village’s spring flowers to bloom much earlier today than since the festival first started in 1969.
Raining Frogs & Fish: A Whirlwind of Theories
By Benjamin Radford, Live Science Contributor
For millennia, people have reported a rare and strange phenomenon: a sudden rain of frogs — or fish or worms — from the sky. You may be minding your own business walking in a park on a blustery day when a small frog hits you on the top of the head. As you peer down at the stunned animal, another one comes down, and another and another all around you, in a surreal rain of frogs in various states of trauma.From livescience:
Titanic Sunk During Average Iceberg Year
By Becky Oskin, Senior Writer
Old Coast Guard records are throwing cold water on a long-standing explanation for the loss of the Titanic: the suggestion that the fateful journey took place in waters bristling with icebergs, making 1912 an unlucky year to sail the North Atlantic.Animal News
Instead, more than a century of Atlantic iceberg counts reveals 1912 was an average year for dangerous floating ice. The findings also contradict a popular notion that the Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier on Greenland's west coast birthed the Titanic's deadly 'berg. Instead, a computer model suggests that one of the glaciers at Greenland's southern tip released the iceberg that hit the Titanic on April 14, 1912, drowning more than 1,500 people in the frigid ocean.
Into the Deep: Expedition Seeks Life in Ocean Trench
By Becky Oskin, Senior Writer
Scientists plan to explore one of Earth's coldest, deepest ocean trenches starting Saturday, the first stop in a three-year examination of the ocean's most mysterious depths.From The Guardian:
The Kermadec Trench dives 32,963 feet (10,047 meters) deep offshore of New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean. Waters flowing into the trench from Antarctica make the gorge one of the coldest ocean canyons on Earth, according to a statement from the National Science Foundation.
New tracking technology reveals birds' epic and amazing journeys
Smaller and lighter tracking devices are opening up whole new insights into behaviour, movements and migrationsFrom livescience:
Today sees the launch of the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science – and one of the most exciting areas of research the centre will be involved in is tracking birds and other animals as they migrate, forage and breed.
Last June, at the edge of a small loch on the island of Fetlar in Shetland, RSPB conservationists and members of the local bird-ringing group caught a red-necked phalarope, a dainty, sparrow-sized wading bird. They had caught it exactly one year earlier at the same nesting site, and fitted it with a small rucksack. This was a geolocator, made by the Swiss Ornithological Institute, an electronic tag that records light levels and the time.
Bank Hard! Flies Fly Like Fighter Jets to Evade Predators
By Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer
Catching a fly isn't easy , as anyone who's ever tried to swat one knows. Why are they so hard to catch? It could be because they maneuver like fighter jets, a new study shows.From livescience:
Using high-speed video cameras, a team of researchers captured the lightning-fast wing and body motion of fruit flies as the insects performed rapid, banked turns to avoid a looming threat. The team also used giant, robotic flies to understand how the sprightly pests performed these aerobatics.
Adorably Tiny Crayfish Discovered (and It's a Cannibal)
By Becky Oskin, Senior Writer
A new species of crayfish discovered in southeast Australia's coastal lakes and swamps is one of the world's smallest crayfish species, researchers report.From livescience:
The tiny, blue-black crustacean resembles its larger cousins that end up in cooking pots, such as lobsters and crawdads. But this species, which locals call a lake yabby, measures only 0.5 to 0.7 inches (12 to 18 millimeters) long. The biggest one found was just 0.8 inches (21 mm) long, and weighed 0.2 ounces (7 grams).
Texas 'Chupacabra' Turns Out to Be Imposter
By Benjamin Radford, LiveScience's Bad Science Columnist
A Texas couple has captured what is being called a baby chupacabra, the legendary animal said to roam the countryside in search of blood. The "Ratcliffe chupacabra," as it's been dubbed, was found Sunday in a tree on the couple's property in Ratcliffe, Texas. But upon closer examination, it becomes clear that the mysterious creature couldn't possibly be the legendary beast.From livescience:
The defining feature of the chupacabra is that it's a vampire: Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, named so because it is said to drain the blood from animals such as goats, chickens and other livestock.
Your awwwwww moment of the evening: Playful Pandas!
Tiny, Logical Robots Injected into Cockroaches
By Jesse Emspak, Live Science Contributor
Nanotechnology just got a little bit smarter.Health
At the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Israel's Bar-Ilan University, Ido Bachelet led a team of scientists in building tiny robots that can respond to chemical cues and operate inside a living animal. More than that, they can operate as logic gates, essentially acting as real computers.
From My San Antonio:
Texas scientist may have key in cancer war
By Todd Ackerman, Houston Chronicle : April 11, 2014
Decked out in black tie, Jim Allison stood on the red carpet in Silicon Valley.From Eureka Alert:
It was unfamiliar territory for the small-town boy from South Texas who had become a scientist and spent his research career on what many considered a lost cause: the study of the immune system's cancer-fighting potential.
But he always believed that's where the action would be, and now here was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying Allison's breakthrough “will change lives for generations to come.”
Obsessive-compulsive disorder may reflect a propensity for bad habits
Report new studies in Biological Psychiatry
Philadelphia, PA, April 10, 2014 – Two new studies published this week in Biological Psychiatry shed light on the propensity for habit formation in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These studies suggest that a tendency to develop habits, i.e., the compulsive component of the disorder, may be a core feature of the disorder rather than a consequence of irrational beliefs. In other words, instead of washing one's hands because of the belief that they are contaminated, some people may develop concerns about hand contamination as a consequence of a recurring urge to wash their hands.ARCHAEOLOGY
Neanderthals Were No Strangers To Good Parenting
April 10, 2014
Archaeologists at the University of York are challenging the traditional view that Neanderthal childhood was difficult, short and dangerous.From The Courier:
A research team from PALAEO (Centre for Human Palaeoecology and Evolutionary Origins) and the Department of Archaeology at York offer a new and distinctive perspective which suggests that Neanderthal children experienced strong emotional attachments with their immediate social group, used play to develop skills and played a significant role in their society.
Flint tools dated 14,000 years ago
By PRESS ASSOCIATION, 9 April 2014
Primitive tools dug up by archaeologists in South Lanarkshire have been dated at 14,000 years old - making them the earliest evidence of humans in Scotland.From The Irish Times:
The discovery follows a study of more than 5,000 flint artefacts recovered from fields at Howburn, near Biggar, from 2005 to 2009.
Log boat dating back 4,500 years found in Lough Corrib
Three Viking-style axes among artefacts recovered by Underwater Archaeology Unit
4,500-year-old log boat is among 12 early Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval craft that have been located in Lough Corrib, along with several Viking-style battle axes and other weapons.From Cambridge University:
The vessels were discovered by marine surveyor Capt Trevor Northage while mapping the western lake to update British admiralty charts.
From athletes to couch potatoes: humans through 6,000 years of farming
Research into lower limb bones shows that our early farming ancestors in Central Europe became less active as their tasks diversified and technology improved. At a conference today, Cambridge University anthropologist Alison Macintosh will show that this drop in mobility was particularly marked in men.From the BBC:
Chichester remains: Tests on 4,000-year-old Racton Man
Tests will be carried out on a 4,000-year-old skeleton that was found on farmland in West Sussex 25 years ago.From Al Ahram:
Experts believe the skeleton, which was found with an ornate dagger, could be from the Copper Age or Early Bronze Age - about 2,200-2,100 BC.
Archaeologist James Kenny, who led the dig near Chichester in the 1980s, said there were then no funds for tests but a £10,000 project would now begin.
Resurrection at Thebes?
Could the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III be returning to something like its original splendour after 3,200 years in ruins, asks Nevine El-ArefFrom Al Ahram:
At Wadi Al-Hittan on Luxor’s west bank, the two lonely Colossi of Memnon are seated, greeting visitors to the Theban necropolis. However, last week things were different from usual, as the temple that the monoliths once safeguarded is progressively re-emerging from oblivion for the first time since its collapse 3,200 years ago after a massive earthquake.
The originally awe-inspiring temple of the pharaoh Amenhotep III now appears as just slight elevations and depressions in the packed earth, with blocks, statues and fragments scattered across the surface. However, three of the temple’s original pylons can now be discerned, along with the statues and stelae that decorated its different courts.
Egyptian ministries working to get back stolen cartonnage
Artefact stolen at Saqqara during security breakdown after January 2011 revolution and eventually ended up in hands of French citizen, who now wants to give it back to EgyptFrom The Boston Globe:
Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 6 Apr 2014
No evidence of modern forgery in ancient text mentioning ‘Jesus’ wife’New tests show no evidence of forgery in ancient papyrus
By Lisa Wangsness
New scientific tests have turned up no evidence of modern forgery in a text written on ancient Egyptian papyrus that refers to Jesus as being married, according to a long-awaited article to be published Thursday in the Harvard Theological Review.From The Leicester Mercury:
The findings support the argument of Harvard professor Karen L. King that the controversial text, the first-known explicit reference to a married Jesus, is almost certainly an authentic document.
Leicester dig unearths Iron Age mint and Roman tile with dog paw prints
By Leicester Mercury
By Peter Warzynski
Archaeologists believe they might have stumbled across an Iron Age mint which produced gold and silver coins for the coveted Hallaton Treasure.Sensors and satellites deployed to save Pompeii
The dig at Blackfriars, in the city, unearthed coin mould fragments which, combined with evidence from previous excavations, seems to confirm the site was a 2,000-year-old Corieltauvi tribe mint.
Ground sensors and satellites will be deployed in a new bid to keep the ancient Roman city of Pompeii from crumbling following a series of recent collapses at the sprawling and long-neglected site near Naples.From phys.org:
Italian aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica on Thursday said it was donating the technology to the culture ministry in a 1.7 million euro ($2.3 million) project entitled "Pompeii: Give it a Future".
Exclusive photos of the stolen antiquities, Facts on Luxor Temple theft including a statement from Dr. Raymond Johnson
As Luxor Times stated that more information and details on the theft of Luxor Temple will be published.
According to the Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Police, 1 guard is supposed to be on duty at the area of the Open Air Museum at Luxor Temple and at the moment still the investigation is going on.From The Telegraph:
About 140 persons are being questioned. So far, the Police established that the theft happened on Tuesday between 12pm (noon) and 6pm.
Offa's Dyke may not have been his after all
New research suggests Offa's Dyke was built at least a century before the king generally accepted as its creator reached the throne
By Jasper Copping
It takes its name from the English king who is reputed to have built it to keep out his Welsh rivals.From the BBC:
But new research suggests that Offa’s Dyke was actually constructed at least a century before the reign of the king whose names it takes.
The earthwork, which follows roughly the modern border between England and Wales, is traditionally considered to have been built during the reign of King Offa. He was King of Mercia – the region which covered the Midlands – from 757 until 796.
Lampeter-based archaeologists reveal Qatar's historic sites
Experts from a Welsh university are helping a Gulf state reveal the secrets of its past through a major international project.From Science Daily:
A team led by Lampeter-based archaeologist Andrew Peterson has targeted Islamic period sites in Qatar.
The Wales Qatar Archaeological Project has so far unearthed two sites which given an insight into the country's rich history.
Skeletons found at mass burial site in Oxford could be 10th-century Viking raiders
Thirty-seven skeletons found in a mass burial site in the grounds of St John's College may not be who they initially seemed, according to Oxford researchers studying the remains.From livescience:
When the bodies were discovered in the grounds of the college in 2008 by Thames Valley Archaeological Services, archaeologists speculated that they could have been part of the St Brice's Day Massacre in Oxford -- a well documented event in 1002, in which King Aethelred the Unredy ordered the killing of 'all Danes living in England'.
Massive Turquoise Trade Network of Ancient Pueblos Revealed
By Joseph Castro, Live Science Contributor
About a millennium ago, the ancestral Pueblo Indians in the Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico obtained their precious turquoise using a large trade network spanning several states, new research reveals.From Western Digs:
In the new study, researchers traced Chaco Canyon turquoise artifacts back to resource areas in Colorado, Nevada and southeastern California. The results definitively show, for the first time, that the ancestral Puebloans — best known for their multistoried adobe houses — in the San Juan Basin area of New Mexico did not get all of their turquoise from a nearby mining site, as was previously believed.
‘Hidden Architecture’ of 1,000-Year-Old Village Discovered in New Mexico
For more than 40 years, archaeologists have been coaxing what they could from the traces of an ancient Puebloan settlement in New Mexico they call Blue J.From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Buried under a thousand years’ worth of eroded stone and wind-blown sand, Blue J has intrigued experts with what little it has revealed: the outlines of nearly 60 households, situated around a series of open plazas, the masonry and building styles dating their construction to the 11th century.
New tests confirm Lake Minnetonka canoe is 1,000 years old
• Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
A long-neglected American Indian dugout canoe is suddenly the main attraction at a Long Lake museum.From the AP:
New tests show that the old canoe, unearthed from Lake Minnetonka 80 years ago, is more valuable and rare than first thought — estimated to be nearly 1,000 years old, the oldest of its kind in Minnesota.
Archaeologists to resume digging at Native American site where prehistoric building found
• By KRISTI EATON Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY — Archaeologists will return to an ancient Native American site in eastern Oklahoma next month to resume excavation, after they discovered a prehistoric building there last October.From chroniclelive:
Few artifacts have been discovered near the formation — which measures just about 12 feet across — at Spiro Mounds making it difficult for researchers to determine the time period of the building, said Scott Hammerstedt, a researcher at the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey.
Archaeological dig at Durham Cathedral reveals Monks enjoyed a wide and varied diet
By Tony Henderson
Monks at Durham Cathedral as far back as the 14th Century had a wide and varied diet, an archaeological dig has found.From the Scotsman:
The investigation by Archaeological Services, Durham University, has been taking place in what was the Great Kitchen of the cathedral.
700-year-old coin found during Bannockburn dig
• by GEORGE MAIR
A 700-YEAR-OLD English coin has been found near the abbey where the victorious Robert the Bruce took booty from the Battle of Bannockburn.From the Dispatch:
The silver penny was discovered yards from Cambuskenneth Abbey, near Stirling, by archaeologists looking for artefacts from the time of the 1314 battle.
A single tooth can tell a lot about ancient people
What can you learn from a single tooth? Quite a lot, actually.From Discovery:
University of Toronto archaeologist Susan Pfeiffer and an international team of scholars are recovering DNA as well as chemical isotopes from ancient American Indian teeth to sort out what happened in the northern Iroquoian communities of southern Ontario between the 13th and 16th centuries.
Ancient Eskimo Artifacts Reveal Animal Connection: Photos
by Jennifer Viegas
From the BBC:
Norfolk WW1 practice trenches discovered
Landowner Nigel Day said: "It's got a character about it that just grips you."Space News
The remains of trenches believed to have been dug by soldiers preparing for the battlefields of World War One have been found on private land in Norfolk.
The trenches were discovered on the land at Bircham Newton, near King's Lynn.
Houston, We've Got an Auction: Apollo 13 Astronaut's Mementos to be Sold
Robert Z. Pearlman, collectSPACE.com
Apollo 13 mission memorabilia belonging to the late astronaut Jack Swigert is headed for auction 44 years after a last-minute change landed him aboard the ill-fated flight.From Space.com:
Swigert, who up until three days before the April 11, 1970 launch had been assigned to the mission's backup crew, replaced command module pilot Thomas "Ken" Mattingly, who was removed from the mission after being exposed to the German measles.
Astronaut Leroy Chiao
By Space.com Staff
Leroy Chiao is a former NASA astronaut and commander of the International Space Station. During his 15-year flying career, he performed six spacewalks. Chiao is the special adviser for human spaceflight to the Space Foundation, and holds appointments at Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University. Chiao contributed this Op-Ed to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed and Insights.From Space.com:
Weird 'UFO' Light on Mars May Just Be a Shiny Rock, NASA Says (Video)
By Mike Wall, Senior Writer
Scientists are throwing cold water on yet another purported "alien" sighting by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity.From Gizmondo:
Though UFO enthusiasts may beg to differ, mission team members say bright flashes of light visible in Mars photos taken by the Curiosity rover on April 2 and April 3 almost certainly have a perfectly ordinary explanation.
Astronauts will grow their own food (or weed?) for the first time ever
NASA is sending a really cool garden to the International Space Station on April 14, on board the SpaceX Dragon. For the first time in history, astronauts will grow their own food in space using this groovy disco box, an important step towards future long-term space travel and extraterrestrial colonies. Incidentally, this must be great to cultivate weed.Science Writing
From The Guardian:
The Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2014, in association with the Guardian and the Observer, is open for entries.
In parallel with the competition we're publishing a series of weekly "how to …" guides for budding science journalists
Ian Sample, science correspondent
Most journalists want to break exclusives, but a lot of what science journalists write is neccesarily based on the latest research findings, published for all the world to see in academic journals. Exclusive they are not. Nevertheless, it is perfectly possible to write a great news story that takes the contents of a research paper as its starting point. Here are some guidelines.From The Guardian:
Budding scientists get a taste of the life scientific at Canterbury conferenceYoung Scientists Journal, which gives 12 to 20-year-olds chance to see their work published, has hosted its first conference
Over the past couple of centuries we've got used to seeing the products of science all around us. You might not realise it but science communication is a vital part of our lives too. Without it, we would find it much harder to keep track of scientific developments, from pioneering medical treatments such as anaesthetics to our first manned mission to Mars. In fact, science communication is just as vital as science itself.
From Al Ahram:
Replica for TutankhamunA replica of Tutankhamun’s tomb will open soon at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, writes Nevine El-ArefA group of workers, archaeologists and architects is busy at work at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor, where the tombs of New Kingdom pharaohs and nobles are spread out within the surrounding mountains. They are constructing a new mud-brick structure containing panels for a full-scale facsimile of the burial chamber of the pharaoh Tutankhamun.
This will be the first replica tomb in the Middle East and one fit for a king. It is due to open to the public at the end of April near the rest house of the tomb’s discoverer, British Egyptologist Howard Carter.
From Live Science:
Drunken Monkeys: Does Alcoholism Have an Evolutionary Basis?
By Wynne Parry, Live Science Contributor
As the child of an alcoholic father, Robert Dudley long wondered what caused the destructive allure of alcohol. Then while working in the Panamanian forest as a biologist, Dudley saw monkeys eating ripe fruit, which likely contained small amounts of the stuff, and an answer occurred to him: Maybe alcoholism is an evolutionary hangover.From LiveScience:
A Real Corker: Message in a Bottle May Be World's Oldest
by LiveScience.com, staff
More than 100 years ago, a young German man named Richard Platz stuffed a message into a brown beer bottle, then tossed the bottle into the Baltic Sea during a nature hike.
Platz, the 20-year-old son of a baker, had no way of knowing that his message would survive two world wars, the Great Depression and the Cold War — not to mention more than a century of brutal winters and ocean storms.