Humans Have Broken a Fundamental Law of the Ocean

Humans Have Broken a Fundamental Law of the Ocean

To find out, Sheldon and his colleagues hauled buckets of seawater up to the Hudson’s laboratory and used a plankton-counting machine to total up the size and number of creatures they found.

Deforestation Is Killing Workers in Tropical Countries

Deforestation Is Killing Workers in Tropical Countries

“You can think of cutting down the forest as 100 years of global warming happening instantly,” says Nicholas Wolff , a climate scientist at The Nature Conservancy and lead author on the research.

Oh Good, Now There's an Outbreak of Wildfire Thunderclouds

Oh Good, Now There's an Outbreak of Wildfire Thunderclouds

Last week, the US Naval Research Laboratory held a very 2021 press conference, in which scientists reported a very 2021 outbreak of “smoke thunderclouds.” Catastrophic wildfires, exacerbated by catastrophic climate change , had produced a rash of pyrocumulonimbus plumes over the western United States and Canada, known in the scientific vernacular as pyroCb.

What Is ‘Fire Weather,’ and Why Is It Getting Worse?

What Is ‘Fire Weather,’ and Why Is It Getting Worse?

But if you’re wondering why we don’t often hear about catastrophic fires in the plains states, like we do in California, Oregon, and Colorado, that’s because “fire weather” just means the conditions are right for a blaze—it doesn’t mean they necessarily happen.

The Artful Escape Is Psychedelic Perfection

The Artful Escape Is Psychedelic Perfection

Never have I played a game like the intro to a Parliament record: Partying on the mothership / I am the mothership connection / Gettin' down in 3-D / Light year groovin'.Funk isn’t a perfect comparison for The Artful Escape, a game specifically about rock ‘n’ roll and a young prodigy’s journey to guitar stardom.

Computer Scientists Find a Key Research Algorithm's Limits

Computer Scientists Find a Key Research Algorithm's Limits

You know you can find an answer, because there are more people than houses, but it may take some looking (especially if they don’t share a last name).This question belongs to a complexity class called TFNP, short for “total function nondeterministic polynomial.” It is the collection of all computational problems that are guaranteed to have solutions and whose solutions can be checked for correctness quickly.

Wildfires Used to Be Helpful. How Did They Get So Hellish?

Wildfires Used to Be Helpful. How Did They Get So Hellish?

A wildfire that would once chew through a few dozen acres of underbrush, making way for new plant growth, now burns with extreme ferocity, producing so much heat and smoke that it can generate its own thunderclouds , which light more fires.

The Humble Shrub That’s Predicting a Terrible Fire Season

The Humble Shrub That’s Predicting a Terrible Fire Season

“It's a really pretty and kind of understated shrub,” says Bryant Baker, conservation director of the Los Padres ForestWatch, which advocates for the protection of California’s habitats.

Linking Birds, Farmer Attitudes and Conservation

Linking Birds, Farmer Attitudes and Conservation

“Ornithologists and conservationists assume birds provide ecological services, and that farmers want them on their farms,” says Olivia Smith, lead author of the paper.

Hotspot Watch 26 February 2021

Hotspot Watch 26 February 2021

The New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) map below shows that meteorological drought is in place in a portion of East Cape, while widespread dry-to-extremely dry soils are in place across most of the rest of the North Island.

Giving Wildlife Room to Roam in the Face of Climate Change

Giving Wildlife Room to Roam in the Face of Climate Change

A decade-long effort by 150 scientists has mapped microhabitats like this across the United States, using such data to identify the most resilient landscapes in the face of climate change.

Did QuantumScape Just Solve a 40-Year-Old Battery Problem?

Did QuantumScape Just Solve a 40-Year-Old Battery Problem?

Like the liquid electrolyte that sits between the electrodes in a conventional cell, its main function is to ferry lithium ions from one terminal to the other when the battery charges and discharges.

Hotspot Watch 22 October 2020

Hotspot Watch 22 October 2020

However, most locations in the upper and central North Island will likely see either little change or small decreases in soil moisture levels during the next week.

In 'Hades,' the Underworld Is Your Playground

In 'Hades,' the Underworld Is Your Playground

I play games for the story, and while I enjoy some aspects of fighting, I’m more interested in whatever’s inside my foe’s inventory.Each time you perish, you emerge from the Pool of Styx, and you can start your escape attempt all over again.

Climate Grief Is Burning Across the American West

Climate Grief Is Burning Across the American West

It’s grief over the thousands of structures and at least 33 lives lost so far; grief over another villain conspiring with Covid-19 to lock people indoors; grief that the orange-hued dystopia of Blade Runner is now a reality in smoky San Francisco ; grief over losing any sense of normalcy, or indeed a clear future.

Frog Eats Beetle. Beetle Crawls Through Guts to Escape

Frog Eats Beetle. Beetle Crawls Through Guts to Escape

The problematic thing about being a frog is that you don’t have to chew your food, which means that if you’ve happened to nab the aquatic beetle Regimbartia attenuata, your food might come out the other end in an undesirable fashion: alive and literally kicking.attenuata can escape from the frog vent,” Sugiura writes in an email to WIRED.

Laser-Shooting Planes Uncover the Horror and Humanity of World War I

Laser-Shooting Planes Uncover the Horror and Humanity of World War I

During World War I, this stretch of pastoral landscape, which the generals (and now historians) called the Ypres Salient, was one of the most heavily trenched, mined, mortared, bombed, gassed, pillaged, burned, and bullet-riddled places along the Western Front.

How a ‘Heat Dome’ Forms—and Why This One Is So Perilous

How a ‘Heat Dome’ Forms—and Why This One Is So Perilous

A heat dome “is really just sort of a colloquial term for a persistent and/or strong high-pressure system that occurs during the warm season, with the end result being a lot of heat,” says climate scientist Daniel Swain of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Rough, Rugged and Remote: Going the Distance to Save Cape Town’s Water

Rough, Rugged and Remote: Going the Distance to Save Cape Town’s Water

I, the photographer, would be spending three days on the mountain documenting the work of the high-elevation team, a group of trained abseilers who were tasked to scale the high cliffs to cut down water-thirsty invasive pine trees.

Archaeologists Discover the Largest, Oldest Maya Monument Yet

Archaeologists Discover the Largest, Oldest Maya Monument Yet

According to radiocarbon dates of charcoal fragments mixed in with the layers of dirt that make up the platform, people started building Aguada Fenix by around 1000 BCE (although Inomata and his colleagues can’t rule out the idea that construction started even earlier).

Hungry Animals Can Change How Severely a Landscape Burns

Hungry Animals Can Change How Severely a Landscape Burns

The grazers might also prefer grasses to shrubs, which changes the vertical structure of the vegetation, further increasing the fire risk.So while the grazers are doing a helpful job of eating up some potential tinder, they’re leaving behind vegetation that is extra-flammable—which is a mixed bag, in terms of wildfire prevention.

New Research Shows Healthy Agriculture Means Healthier Birds

New Research Shows Healthy Agriculture Means Healthier Birds

Latimer / TNC A new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology finds that birds were generally less stressed and in better condition on more locally-diverse farms and on farms embedded in more natural landscapes .

The Arctic Is Getting Greener. That's Bad News for All of Us

The Arctic Is Getting Greener. That's Bad News for All of Us

Lightning—a phenomenon more suited to places like Florida—is now striking within 100 miles of the North Pole .All the while, researchers are racing to quantify how the plant species of the Arctic are coping with a much, much warmer world.

Permafrost Is Thawing So Fast, It’s Gouging Holes in the Arctic

Permafrost Is Thawing So Fast, It’s Gouging Holes in the Arctic

“Where permafrost tends to be lake sediment or organic soils, the type of Earth material that can hold a lot of water, these are like sponges on the landscape,” says Turetsky.

Cats Are Making Australia's Bushfire Tragedy Even Worse

Cats Are Making Australia's Bushfire Tragedy Even Worse

Yet another study found feral cats are highly attracted to areas that burned recently and tend to avoid ones three months or older, perhaps because vegetation has begun to grow back by that time, or they’ve simply obliterated the prey species there.

A Feral Cat Infestation, Swarms of Snake Emoji, and More News

A Feral Cat Infestation, Swarms of Snake Emoji, and More News

Cats are in the rubble and snakes are causing trouble, but first: a cartoon about the internet frontier .Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less.

Novels for Nature Lovers

Novels for Nature Lovers

But there are fictions writers out there who write well, and passionately, about the natural world.Many of them are written by novelists who are also scientists or science writers, and they all get the details of wildlife and wild places right.

The Former CEO of Nissan Was Likely Smuggled Out of Japan

The Former CEO of Nissan Was Likely Smuggled Out of Japan

On New Year's Eve, Ghosn issued a statement from Lebanon saying that he would "no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan's legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold.".

Space Photos of the Week: Postcards From a Martian Winter

Space Photos of the Week: Postcards From a Martian Winter

Photograph: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of ArizonaThe scale of this photo makes it’s hard to tell how massive these sand dunes are.Photograph: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of ArizonaThis image looks like something seen through a microscope, but no, this is a large swath of Martian terrain.

An Astronomer Explains Black Holes at 5 Levels of Difficulty

An Astronomer Explains Black Holes at 5 Levels of Difficulty

Perhaps you even know about things like event horizons, the boundary outside of which escape becomes possible, and gravitational waves , the ripples that black holes generate in the cosmic fabric when they collide.