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Blog Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

California’s Liquid Assets: Tracing the Water that Powers the World’s Sixth-Largest Economy

by Greg Miller on December 18th, 02018

This graphic from the California Water Atlas (1979) represents the water flows of major rivers in California. The yellow figures represent the actual flow measured in a single year, with the peak typically occurring in spring. The corresponding blue figures represent the estimated flow of that river in the absence of dams or other human modifications. California…  Read More

The Kilogram is Dead. Long Live the Kilogram!

by Ahmed Kabil on December 1st, 02018

Last month, the standard measure for mass was redefined. Yoked to a material object housed in a Parisian vault since 01889, the kilogram will now be defined by abstract concepts in nature. CONTEXT FROM THE ARCHIVES: Alex Mensing, “How Much Does a Kilogram Weigh?” (02011)  

A Journey to Siberia in Search of Woolly Mammoths

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on September 27th, 02018

Harvard geneticist George Church, who is leading efforts to de-extinct the woolly mammoth, explores a cave in Siberia. Photo by Brendan Hall. There will be three long flights across 15 time zones before I sleep in a bed, and we still won’t be there. Our destination is vastly closer to where we start than the path…  Read More

Nick Damiano Wins 10-Year Long Bet that The Large Hadron Collider Wouldn’t Destroy Earth

by Ahmed Kabil on August 3rd, 02018

10 years ago, Joe Keane placed a Long Bet that the Large Hadron Collider will destroy Earth by 02018. He was challenged by Nick Damiano. The stakes were $1,000. If Damiano won, the winnings would go to Save the Children. If Keane won, the world would end, and the winnings would (theoretically) go to. . .   Read More

Edge Question 02018

by Ahmed Kabil on February 7th, 02018

John Brockman. For the last twenty years, literary agent John Brockman has presented the members of his online salon Edge with a question that elicits discussion about some of the biggest intellectual and scientific issues of our time.(Previous prompts include “What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?” or “What should we be worried about?”). The essay responses — in…  Read More

Is the Bristlecone Pine in Peril? An Interview with Great Basin Scientist Scotty Strachan

by Ahmed Kabil on September 26th, 02017

Earlier this month, the bristlecone pine, one of the oldest and most isolated organisms on Earth, found itself in unfamiliar territory: in the headlines. News outlets such as the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post reported that the bristlecone pine was “in peril” and threatened by extinction due to a warming climate. The news came. . .   Read More

Cassini Ends, but the Search for Life in the Solar System Continues

by Ahmed Kabil on September 21st, 02017

On September 15 02017, the Cassini-Huygens probe, which spent the last 13 years of a 20-year space mission studying Saturn, plummeted as planned into the ringed planet’s atmosphere, catching fire and becoming a meteor.

Farewell Cassini, how far you’ve come. On this eve, in fiery death, Saturn & you are one. . .   Read More

Galloping, GIFs and Genes: Geneticists Store Moving Image in Living Bacteria

by Ahmed Kabil on August 22nd, 02017

In 01872, California Governor Leland Stanford hired the famed photographer Eadweard Muybridge to settle a question of popular debate—whether all four of a horse’s feet ever left the ground when it galloped. The resulting series of photographs, Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, showed without a doubt that horses do indeed go airborne at. . .   Read More

The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science

by Ahmed Kabil on July 6th, 02017

Billy Barr was just trying to get away from it all when he went to live at the base of Gothic Mountain in the Colorado wilderness in 1973. He wound up creating an invaluable historical record of climate change. His motivation for meticulously logging the changing temperatures, snow levels, weather, and wildlife sightings? Simple boredom. . .   Read More

Göbekli Tepe and the Worst Day in History

by Ahmed Kabil on May 24th, 02017

Technological advances are revolutionizing the field of archaeology, resulting in new discoveries that are upending our previous understanding of the birth of civilization. Many scholars believe that few will be as consequential as Göbekli Tepe.

The ruins of Göbekli Tepe. Photograph by Vincent J. Musi.

IN 01963, anthropologists from the University of Chicago. . .   Read More