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  • News in Brief

    Volume of fracking fluid pumped underground tied to Canada quakes

    Fracking wells should not go to 11. Instead, turning down the volume — that is, of water pumped underground to help retrieve oil and gas — may reduce the number of earthquakes related to hydraulic fracturing.

    The amount of water pumped into fracking wells is the No. 1 factor related to earthquake occurrence at Fox Creek, a large oil and gas production site in central Canada, researchers...

    01/18/2018 - 14:16 Earth
  • News

    The mystery of vanishing honeybees is still not definitively solved

    It was one of the flashiest mysteries in the news about a decade ago — honeybee workers were vanishing fast for no clear reason. To this day, that puzzle has never been entirely solved, researchers acknowledge.

    And maybe it never will be. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, as the sudden mass honeybee losses were called, has faded in recent years as mysteriously as it began. It’s possible...

    01/17/2018 - 13:42 Animals, Agriculture, Science & Society
  • News

    Pollution is endangering the future of astronomy

    OXON HILL, Md. — Even as technological advances allow astronomers to peer more deeply into the cosmos than ever before, new technologies also have the potential to create blinding pollution.

    Three sources of pollution — space debris, radio interference and light pollution — already are particularly worrisome. And the situation is getting worse. In the next two decades, as many as 20,000...

    01/12/2018 - 13:27 Astronomy, Pollution, Technology
  • News

    Rising CO2 in lakes could keep water fleas from raising their spiky defenses

    Rising carbon dioxide levels could leave some tiny lake dwellers defenseless. Like the oceans, some lakes are experiencing increasing levels of the greenhouse gas, a new study shows. And too much CO2 in the water may leave water fleas, an important part of many lake food webs, too sleepy to fend off predators.

    Detailed observations of lake chemistry over long periods of time are rare....

    01/11/2018 - 16:29 Climate, Ecology
  • Editor's Note

    We’ll be watching the skies, plus a lot more, this year

    If this issue is any clue, 2018 may be the Year of Space. Our pages are packed with a surprising wealth of content for astronomy lovers, and anyone who dreams of otherworldly encounters.

    In our cover story, astronomy writer Lisa Grossman reports on the race to Mars. SpaceX announced last year that it plans to get people to the Red Planet by 2024, but the battle over what humans’...

    01/10/2018 - 12:32 Science & Society, Astronomy, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Warming ocean water is turning 99 percent of these sea turtles female

    Warming waters are turning some sea turtle populations female — to the extreme. More than 99 percent of young green turtles born on beaches along the northern Great Barrier Reef are female, researchers report January 8 in Current Biology. If that imbalance in sex continues, the overall population could shrink.

    Green sea turtle embryos develop as male or female depending on the...

    01/08/2018 - 19:30 Climate, Animals, Oceans
  • Science Ticker

    NASA is headed to Earth’s outermost edge

    NASA is going for the gold. Its GOLD mission — short for Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk mission — is slated for launch January 25, the agency announced January 4. GOLD will study the zone where Earth’s atmosphere meets outer space. Its goal is to better understand how both solar and terrestrial storms affect the ionosphere, an upper atmosphere region crucial for radio...

    01/04/2018 - 18:03 Planetary Science, Earth
  • News in Brief

    Corals are severely bleaching five times as often as in 1980

    Corals are in hot water.

    Severe bleaching events are hitting coral reefs five times as often as in 1980, researchers report in the Jan. 5 Science.

    Scientists surveyed 100 coral reef locations in tropical zones around the world, tracking each spot’s fate from 1980 to 2016. At first, only a few of the locations had experienced bleaching. But by 2016, all had been hit by at least one...

    01/04/2018 - 14:00 Oceans, Climate, Animals
  • News

    A sinking, melting ancient tectonic plate may fuel Yellowstone’s supervolcano

    The driving force behind Yellowstone’s long and explosive volcanic history may not be as deep as once thought. A new study suggests that instead of a plume of hot mantle that extends down to Earth’s core, the real culprit is a subducting tectonic plate that began sinking beneath North America hundreds of millions of years ago.

    Computer simulations show that movement of broken-up remnants...

    01/02/2018 - 07:00 Earth
  • Year in Review

    How science and society crossed paths in 2017

    Science came out of the lab and touched people’s lives in some awe-inspiring and alarming ways in 2017. Science enthusiasts gathered to celebrate a total solar eclipse, but also to march on behalf of evidence-based policy making. Meanwhile, deadly natural disasters revealed the strengths and limitations of science. Here’s a closer look at some of the top science events of the year.

    Great...
    12/19/2017 - 07:00 Science & Society, Climate