May 5, 2014

Understanding Diversity through Birding

Twitchers, birders, avian habitués of the Northern Hemisphere… It is that magical time of year, again: Spring migration. It’s a time of opportunity for adding to life-lists, for early morning sloshes in muddy wetlands and clambering...

April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014: Following the carbon footprint to the sea

Where are we now, 43 years after the first nationwide Earth Day was celebrated in the US? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a grim picture in its latest assessment report, AR5, announcing that...

April 10, 2014

Frequency Fingerprints

News of radio signals emanating from the bottom of the Indian Ocean provided a much-needed clue to the whereabouts of the missing Malaysian Airlines jet that disappeared from radar screens a little more than one month...

April 4, 2014

Tragedies in Science: The Terra Nova Expedition

On March 29, 1912, Captain Robert Falcon Scott made the final entry in his journal, which concluded: We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot...

March 17, 2014

New State of Matter Discovered

One of the foundations of physics and chemistry is the concept of states of matter. While many have been discovered, in reality we only tend to pay attention to the big three: solids, liquids, and gases. Plasma...

March 10, 2014

“What-if” Thinking and the Spirit of Invention: Garrett Morgan

From the first spark of an idea to concrete invention, the path of every great innovator is paved with “what-ifs.” A prime example of “what-if” thinking is seen in the life and achievements of Garrett A. Morgan,...

February 26, 2014

Putting Error Bars on Olympic Gold

This past weekend, the 22nd Olympic winter games drew to a close in Sochi, Russia, capping off 16 days of sweat, glory, and tears. Nearly 3,000 athletes from 88 countries competed in almost 100 different events,...

February 21, 2014

Reflections on the Arctic Climate

The world takes on a brilliant, luminous quality on a sunny snow-covered day. Light seems to emanate from every direction and it’s almost painful to be outside without sunglasses. That’s because snow reflects most of the...

Ivory-billed woodpecker

February 15, 2014

Science Searches for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

Ten years ago this week, the flap of feathered wings in a swampy woodland ignited scientific controversy and public fervor. On February 11, 2004, in an area known as the Big Woods of Arkansas, outdoorsman Gene...

February 6, 2014

West Virginia Chemical Spill; What Is MCHM?

Earlier in January, West Virginia experienced a large chemical spill in its capital city, Charleston. A large supply tank holding nearly 10,000 gallons of a chemical called 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) leaked into the Elk River, forcing a...