Far, far, far away is a great place to be — if you want to stay marvelous. There is a plant, called Welwitschia mirabilis (mirabilis being Latin for marvelous), found only one place on Earth. You can get there, as artist/photographer Rachel Sussman did, by driving through the vast emptiness of the Namibian desert, the Namib Naukluft, in Africa.
From the shoreline at North Avenue Beach in Chicago, the blue water of Lake Michigan stretches as far as the eye can see. But beneath that pristine image, there's a barely visible threat, says Jennifer Caddick of the Alliance for the Great Lakes: microbeads.
These tiny bits of plastic, small scrubbing components used in hundreds of personal care products like skin exfoliants and soap, can slip through most water treatment systems when they wash down the drain.
Last week, scientists warned that a massive chunk of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet will eventually drift into the sea and melt, raising sea levels at least 10 feet higher than previous predictions.
Even before the announcement, scientists at the nonprofit research organization Climate Central predicted that surging seas could put the homes of nearly 5 million Americans underwater by the end of this century.
On May 20, 1964, two astronomers working at a New Jersey laboratory turned a giant microwave antenna toward what they thought would be a quiet part of the Milky Way. They weren't searching for anything; they were trying to make adjustments to their instrument before looking at more interesting things in the sky.
Worldwide temperatures were once again above normal last month, tying the record for the hottest April set back in 2010.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday said the average global temperature for land and sea was 56.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 1.39 degrees warmer than the 20th century average.
"The last below-average April was April 1976, and the last average or below-average temperature for any month was February 1985," according to NOAA.
The bones are believed to be from a new species of the aptly named titanosaur, a massive herbivore from the late Cretaceous period, officials from the Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio told BBC News.
The titanosaur was a sauropod, like the apatosaurus or brachiosaurus, that roamed the forests of Patagonia 95 million years ago.
The Federal Communications Commission announced last month that it would propose new rules. In a blog post, Chairman Tom Wheeler insists that the open Internet rules will help maintain what's called network neutrality. That is, making certain that your Internet provider doesn't give a faster connection to a service that can pay more.
The Kansas Board of Regents gave final approval Wednesday to a strict new policy on what employees may say on social media. Critics say the policy violates both the First Amendment and academic freedom, but school officials say providing faculty with more specific guidelines will actually bolster academic freedom on campus.
The controversial policy was triggered by an equally controversial tweet posted last September by David Guth, an associate journalism professor. Reacting to a lone gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., he wrote:
It's a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into. Last week the National Climate Assessment report was released detailing the toll climate change is already taking on the United States in terms of droughts, floods, heat waves and changes in agriculture.
Scientists have long worried about climate change-induced melting of the huge West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now they say that not only is the disintegration of the ice already underway, but that it's likely unstoppable.
That means that in the coming centuries, global sea levels will rise by anywhere from 4 to 12 feet. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports, that's a larger increase than the United Nations expert panel noted last year. But it would occur over a longer time frame — centuries instead of decades.
Harry Potter and The Hunger Games haven't been big hits for nothing. Lots of teens and adolescents still read quite a lot.
But a roundup of studies, put together by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, shows a clear decline over time. Nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year — if that.
On a plaza outside a hotel in Culver City, Calif., four people are stalking each other with PlayStation Move controllers. The devices look a bit like microphones, with glowing orbs on top lit up in pink, yellow and blue.
Video game designer Douglas Wilson is holding a portable speaker, blasting Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.
From afar, this looks like some sort of public performance art. But it is actually a high-tech combination of tag and musical chairs, called Johann Sebastian Joust.
In the spring of 2013, poachers looking for elephant ivory took advantage of the chaos of a civil war raging in the Central African Republic, and massacred 26 rare forest elephants at a special place called the "Dzanga bai."
The government released the latest national test scores on Wednesday, and the news isn't good: 12th-graders are headed toward graduation, but many don't have the skills they need to succeed in college or work.
When you think of bird flu, you may conjure up images of chickens being slaughtered to stem an outbreak, or of migrating ducks, which can carry flu viruses from one continent to the next. Well, it's time to add penguins to your list of mental images.
Yes, Adelie penguins, which breed in huge colonies on the rocky Antarctic Peninsula, also harbor a version of the avian influenza virus, according to a study published in the journal, mBio.
Remember that famous line in the movie Jerry Maguire where Renee Zellweger says to Tom Cruise, "You had me at 'hello' "? Well it turns out there is some scientific evidence to back this up. People use voices to instantly judge people, researchers say.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:10 pm
Opening Disclaimer 1: Although there may be more than one universe, as per the hypothetical multiverse, we will humbly submit to our own bubble of information, the sphere with a radius equal to the distance light has traveled since the beginning of time some 13.8 billion years ago. Factoring in the expansion of the universe, this radius is about 46 billion light years.