This Iowa farm uses eco-friendly no-till practices to grow corn and soybeans. (Credit: Jason Johnson, USDA NRCS Iowa)

Organic farming could help feed the planet and protect it

February 10, 2016

Every day, it seems, there’s a new food trend. Low fat, gluten free, sugar free, organic. That last one probably conjures up images of a quaint country farm, with orderly rows of leafy vegetables and free-range...


Katherine Johnson (1918-), mathematician, at her desk with a "Celestial Training Device." (Credit: NASA)

Celebrating African Americans in STEM: Katherine Johnson

February 1, 2016

To celebrate National African American History Month, we applaud Katherine G. Johnson, a living legend in the fields of math, physics, and space science. A lifelong love affair with numbers brought Johnson from a small town...


A teacher and her audience at Acadia National Park, Maine. ©NPS

A natural beauty: American geoheritage

January 25, 2016

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) recently announced that the 2016 Earth Science Week theme is “Our Shared Geoheritage.” A somewhat new term for American ears, geoheritage is defined as … the collection of natural wonders, landforms,...




2015

Selected Science of 2015

December 30, 2015

With 2015 coming to a close, here’s a selection (and by no means a complete list) of some of the significant science stories of the year:   Homo naledi expands the Homo genus As Prof. Nathan H. Lents wrote...


(Credit: Huzzar of http://www.everafterimages.com via Wikimedia Commons)

Video of the Week: How hummingbirds stay cool

December 18, 2015

Ever watched a hummingbird feast on a flower or a feeder? Their wings beat so fast — up to 50 times per second — you can barely see them. Just like when a person works out,...


People wanted more white meat in their Thanksgiving turkeys. (Wikimedia Commons)

Turkey science: What’s on your plate?

November 25, 2015

The 45 million turkeys that end up on the Thanksgiving table are nothing like their wild ancestors. In fact, they are very different from the typical Thanksgiving turkeys of even half a century ago, according to...


Ocean temperature patterns shift atmospheric circulation during El Niño events. (Credit: Climate.gov)

What’s so monstrous about “Godzilla El Niño”?

November 6, 2015

This week, an early season storm hit the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, burying them under feet of snow. The blizzard allowed one ski area, Mammoth Mountain, to open for business yesterday, ahead of schedule. And...


Footfalls of large mammals, propagating along the surface of the earth as Rayleigh waves, are measurable in the ground at varying distances depending on the energy of the signal.  ©O’Connell-Rodwell, C.E. (2007). Keeping an "ear" to the ground: Seismic communication in elephants. Physiology, 22(4), 287-294.

Shake and quiver: Vibrational communication in animals

November 4, 2015

Living underground, moles experience a world very different from our own. The dark, subterranean environment lacks the usual cues for direction, distance, or time, forcing moles to use other methods to perceive their habitat. Using senses...