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  • Screentime

    Tracking fireballs for science

    Watching a meteor race across the night sky is a romantic experience. And now it can be a scientific one as well. The new Fireballs in the Sky app lets you track fiery objects and enter them into a research database.

    Scientists at Curtin University in Australia are tracking fireballs (meteors that are very large and bright) using cameras across Australia in a project called the Desert...

    01/14/2014 - 11:27 Science & Society, Astronomy
  • Science Visualized

    Bladderwort opens wide

    Under a microscope, the tiny trap of a carnivorous plant becomes an impressive gaping maw. Rootless and adrift in its wetland habitat, the humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba) preys on water fleas and other small invertebrates. Organisms that trip the plant’s sensory hairs are sucked inside bladderlike traps to be digested.

    Neurobiologist Igor Siwanowicz of the Howard Hughes Medical...

    01/12/2014 - 11:45 Plants
  • “Black holes” in space

    Space may be peppered with “black holes.” This was suggested at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Cleveland by astronomers and physicists who are experts on what are called degenerate stars…. Degenerate stars are made of densely packed electrons and nuclei, or cores of atoms…. Because a degenerate star is so dense, its gravitational field is very...
    01/11/2014 - 09:31 Astronomy
  • Feature

    The long and winding Colorado

    Standing on a mesa high above the town of Rifle, Colo., Andres Aslan is having a hard time staying quiet. The lanky geologist from nearby Colorado Mesa University normally speaks in a low-key professorial drone. But here, looking down at a sprawling river valley blazing with autumnal cottonwoods, his enthusiasm cranks up his volume. “This could be it,” says Aslan, gesticulating wildly. “This...

    01/10/2014 - 14:00 Earth, Planetary Science
  • Feature

    Tomorrow’s catch

    There’s something fishy going on with Pacific sardines. The pint-size swimmers, whose abundance sustained California’s famed Cannery Row for decades, all but disappeared from coastal waters in the 1950s. Numbers remained low until the late 1980s, when enough fish finally reappeared to make commercial harvesting worthwhile again. By then, sardines in the highly productive California Current...

    01/10/2014 - 14:00 Numbers, Conservation