Originally published on Smithsonian.com, January 19, 2016 Taylor Myers thinks he has a green solution for America, one that advocates say can lower the average householdâ€™s carbon footprint of some 50 tons per year by three to four tons. A wood stove, lowering a person’s carbon footprint? The idea is befuddling. A wood stove provides … Continue Reading
Rebel, Rebel: Neil Turok Builds a Career on Investigating the â€œUnpopularâ€
Originally published in SPS Observer, summer 2016 Neil Turok, to hear him tell it, has always been a rebel. As a student in primary school in Tanzania, Turok says he had teachers who encouraged learning by doing, “going outside as much as possible, making electric motors, taking apart cars.” So when he moved to London … Continue Reading
Drones Could Provide Earlier Tornado Warnings
Originally published in Inside Unmanned Systems, May 2016 Cloud-Map, a joint project of four Midwestern universities supported by the National Science Foundation, aims to triple the warning time for tornadoesâ€”as well as generally improve weather predictions nationwideâ€”with a network of drones that measure temperature, pressure and humidity in the hard-to-study air directly above the Earthâ€™s … Continue Reading
Mysterious Balls of Goo Are Rolling Onto American Beaches
Originally published in National Geographic News, July 22, 2015 Stranded jellyfish are common sights along beaches around the world. Some places can see up to a billion animals coating the sand. But beachgoers along the U.S. East Coast are running across a surprising sight this summer: thousands of knuckle-size, gelatinous blobs washing up from the … Continue Reading
A timeline of future foods that weren’t
Originally published in the Washington Post, April 17, 2015 Science fiction isnâ€™t the only source of comically weird predictions about what weâ€™ll be eating in the future. Great (and not-so-great) minds in journalism and science have also spent a century forecasting the demise of meat and vegetables and the rise of foods in a pill … Continue Reading
How The Twin Cities Are Battling An Old Sewer Villain
Originally published in Next City, March 12, 2015 In the Twin Cities in Minnesota, the local wastewater utility is spending $100 million a year â€” and plans to do so for the next 10 to 20 years â€” to replace 600 miles of aging sewer pipes. In one neighborhood a sinkhole that opened last … Continue Reading
Closer Inspection: Swell Time
(Click this to hit up Washingtonpost.com for the full version.)
Bug With “Singing” Penis Among World’s Loudest Animals
Engineers and evolutionary biologists in Scotland and France recorded the boatmanâ€”which is roughly the size of a grain of riceâ€””singing” in a tank. The aquatic insect’s songs peaked at 105 decibels, roughly equivalent to the volume of a pounding jackhammer within arm’s reach.
3-D printers launch small businesses
Andreas, an IT guy in Austria who didn’t want his last name used for this article, started out as a hobbyist. He customizes Lego ”minifigs” — the plastic characters that come with a Lego toy set — to create historically accurate dioramas, or three-dimensional models.
Lego had stopped making a specific hat that made his Napoleonic figures accurate. With no experience in product design and no access to a factory, he designed a new hat and had it 3-D printed.
Fire Ant Swarms Form Living Life Rafts
When a city floods, humans stack sandbags and raise levees. When a fire ant colony floods, the ants link up to form a literal life raft, such as the one pictured. Now, new research shows exactly how the ants manage this feat. Engineering professor David Hu and graduate student Nathan J. Mlot at Georgia Institute … Continue Reading