Border Disputes Threaten Climate Science in the Himalayas

Molden recalls how bad blood almost thwarted a key program involving the sharing of water data. In that instance, he says, an international team of scientists had gathered in Nepal, at ICIMOD headquarters, when one scientist claimed—without evidence—that data sharing would create a national security threat. Molden says he worried that the scientist would press […]

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When the Grid Goes Down, Can a Fleet of Batteries Replace It?

Last week, as millions of his fellow Texans were plunged into unrelenting darkness and cold, Nicholas Littlejohn considered himself lucky. In the area outside Austin where he lives, the power first went out early Monday morning, and then flickered on and off, all week long, for 20 minutes at a time. Littlejohn decided to make […]

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What a 1900s Wildlife Survey Reveals About Climate Change

“I don’t think there’s anybody today that could hold a candle to what those guys could do, both physically and in terms of deep thinking about what they were seeing,” Patton says. “We’re too keyed to our mechanical, digital devices to actually look at things.” While Grinnell collected and surveyed specimens by shotgun and deadly […]

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Scientists Find Strange Critters Under a Half Mile of Ice

But because the researchers couldn’t collect specimens, they can’t yet say what exactly these sponges and other critters could be eating. Some sponges filter organic detritus from the water, whereas others are carnivorous, feasting on tiny animals. “That would be sort of your headline of the year,” says Christopher Mah, a marine biologist at the […]

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Scientists Can Literally Become Allergic to Their Research

This story originally appeared on Undark and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Bryan Fry’s heart was pounding as he stepped back from the snake enclosure and examined the bite marks on his hand. He had just been bitten by a death adder, one of Australia’s most venomous snakes. Its neurotoxin-laced bite could cause […]

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How Steel Might Finally Kick Its Coal Habit

This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Coal’s grip on the global electricity sector is loosening as more utilities and companies invest in renewable energy. But one major coal consumer—the steel industry—is finding it harder to kick its habit. Steel companies make nearly 2 billion tons of high-strength […]

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Stunning Images of Starlings in Flight

Photographer Søren Solkær describes early autumn in Denmark as eternal. When the sky grows darker around sunset, time stops. But this imperishable moment is sometimes caused by a phenomenon slightly rarer than a setting sun: hundreds of thousands of starlings gathering to accentuate the inevitable darkness of nightfall in a flying formation called a murmuration. […]

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How to Make a Fitbit for an Elephant

Understanding energy expenditure can help scientists understand how well animals are doing and whether they are going to be able to hunt, reproduce, and survive. By now, Wilson has used accelerometers to study all sorts of animals including sea turtles, sheep, bats, hawks, and penguins. He combines the accelerometer data with inputs from other sensors […]

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So, Jeff Bezos, You Really Want to Fix the Planet?

But scientists have already developed more powerful tools for cataloging CO2 admissions, at least: A project called Vulcan has grown so comprehensive that it can model emissions block by block in Los Angeles. Vulcan’s developer has also used the tool to show that on average, American cities are actually underreporting their greenhouse gas emissions by […]

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US Cities Are Way Underreporting Their Carbon Footprints

Having each city build an individual SRI is like developing a national weather forecasting system by asking each county to characterize their local weather, then gathering up all those systems into one cohesive model. “Well, that wouldn’t make any sense when you’re doing weather forecasting,” says Gurney. “In the same way, a greenhouse gas emissions […]

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The Lion, the Polygamist, and the Biofuel Scam

According to Leon, Dermen said, “You’re being too flashy. You’re looking for too much attention.” He pointed at Jacob. “Do you appreciate what this man has done for you? Do you care about him?” “Yes,” said Leon, fear rising in him. “Would you do anything for this man?” “Sure.” “Would you be willing to leave […]

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The Lion, the Polygamist, and the Biofuel Scam

According to Leon, Dermen said, “You’re being too flashy. You’re looking for too much attention.” He pointed at Jacob. “Do you appreciate what this man has done for you? Do you care about him?” “Yes,” said Leon, fear rising in him. “Would you do anything for this man?” “Sure.” “Would you be willing to leave […]

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The Lion, the Polygamist, and the Biofuel Scam

According to Leon, Dermen said, “You’re being too flashy. You’re looking for too much attention.” He pointed at Jacob. “Do you appreciate what this man has done for you? Do you care about him?” “Yes,” said Leon, fear rising in him. “Would you do anything for this man?” “Sure.” “Would you be willing to leave […]

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Dozens of Egyptian Tombs Will Be Unearthed at Saqqara Necropolis

Archaeologists in Egypt are preparing to open a 3,000-year-old burial shaft at the Saqqara necropolis, south of Cairo, in the coming week. The unexplored tomb is one of 52 burial shafts clustered near the much older pyramid of the Pharaoh Teti. Workers at the site found the entrance to the latest shaft earlier this week […]

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A Quarter of Known Bee Species Haven’t Been Seen Since 1990

This story originally appeared in The Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The number of wild bee species recorded by an international database of life on earth has declined by a quarter since 1990, according to a global analysis of bee declines. Researchers analyzed bee records from museums, universities and citizen scientists […]

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Sun-Loving Bacteria May Be Accelerating Glacial Melting

Photograph: Sasha Leidman Mixed in with this grit and melted ice are the cyanobacteria, which run on sunlight. As a cryoconite hole gets deeper, its bottom moves out of direct sunlight, meaning there’s less energy available for the cyanobacteria living within it. But, Leidman says, “when it rains, or there’s a heavy melt event, the […]

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