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  • Wild Things

    Lazy sunfish are actually active predators

    If you spot an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) near the surface of the water, you might be amazed by its size. These are, after all, the biggest of all the teleost fish (the group of ray-finned fishes that includes many of the species we like to eat), and...

    05/01/2015 - 07:00 Animals, Oceans
  • News

    Explanation for G’s imprecision stumbles

    Tiny changes in Earth’s rotation rate could explain physicists’ inability to precisely measure a key fundamental constant of nature, a study in the April EPL proposes. Physicists say the idea would be extremely compelling — if not for some confusion with dates that probably derails the findings.

    A graph in the paper shows that the measured values of Newton’s gravitational...

    04/30/2015 - 16:23 Physics, Earth
  • News

    Cosmic rays illuminate lightning

    High-speed particles from space are helping to unravel a high-voltage mystery in the clouds.

    Astronomers have determined the strength of electric fields in thunderclouds by detecting the radio wave signature of cosmic ray particles striking the atmosphere. Reported April 24 in Physical Review Letters, the research...

    04/29/2015 - 12:00 Earth, Particle Physics
  • News

    Stronger quakes could strike other segments of Nepal fault

    The April 25 earthquake that devastated Nepal, killing thousands, isn’t the end of seismic hazards in the region. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake relieved pent-up stress along just one segment of the tectonic plate boundary between India and the rest of Asia. Even larger quakes could strike to the west and in nearby Bhutan to the east, scientists warn.

    Where and how intensely future...

    04/28/2015 - 12:07 Earth
  • Science Stats

    Just 1 percent of Amazon’s trees hold half of its carbon

    The Amazon rainforest holds more carbon than any other ecosystem, but only a handful of tree species do most of the work of keeping carbon out of the air. Surveying 530 areas throughout the rainforest, researchers found that roughly 1 percent of Amazonian tree species handle half of the forest’s carbon storage.

    The Amazon...

    04/28/2015 - 11:00 Ecology, Climate
  • News

    Hidden water found deep beneath Antarctica desert valley

    The underside of Antarctica’s dry valleys isn’t so dry after all.

    Researchers have discovered extensive saltwater basins more than 100 meters beneath the permafrost, glaciers and frozen lakes that cover one of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Scientists had previously believed this underground realm was hard, frozen earth. The newly discovered groundwater may have been sealed off for millions of...

    04/28/2015 - 11:00 Earth, Microbes
  • News

    Warming’s role in extreme weather quantified

    Scientists have long suspected that some surges in extreme weather — from devastating droughts to thrashing superstorms — are caused by global warming. And now scientists have numbers to support that idea.

    About 75 percent of extreme heat spikes and 18 percent of extreme precipitation over land worldwide can be blamed on this largely human-driven climate change, researchers...

    04/27/2015 - 11:00 Climate
  • News in Brief

    Massive magma pool found deep below Yellowstone

    View the video

    Every day, the supervolcano lurking under Yellowstone National Park belches up 45,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide — much more than could be produced by the known magma chamber that lies just below the surface. Now, scientists have spotted a source of the excess gas, and it’s a doozy. They’ve discovered a magma pool containing enough hot rock to fill...

    04/23/2015 - 14:00 Earth
  • News

    Bees may like neonicotinoids, but some may be harmed

    Bees don’t have the mouthpart sensitivity to taste — and thus can’t avoid — nectar tainted with neonicotinoid pesticides, new lab tests indicate. And the charm of nicotine may even seduce bees into favoring pesticide-spiked nectar.

    Outdoor tests also show that neonicotinoid exposure for some wild bees can be worrisome, a second paper reports. Together, the studies renew questions about...

    04/22/2015 - 13:00 Animals, Conservation, Toxicology
  • Science Ticker

    Only three wolves left on Michigan island

    The longest running study in history on predator-prey interactions may be at an end, say Michigan Technological University researchers. The reason: nearly all the predators have died.

    Only three wolves remain on Isle Royale, a wilderness island in northern Michigan and the site of a 57-year-old...

    04/22/2015 - 11:02 Animals, Ecosystems