Science
Saturday, April 13, 2024

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  purple octopus

Octopuses have three hearts, parrot-like beaks, venomous bites, and eight semi-autonomous arms that can taste the world. They squirt ink, contort through the tiniest of spaces, and melt into the world by changing both color and texture. They are incredibly intelligent, capable of wielding tools, solving problems, and sabotaging equipment. As Sy Montgomery once wrote, “no sci-fi alien is so startlingly strange” as an octopus. But their disarming otherness doesn’t end with their bodies. Their genes are also really weird.

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 Aerial Ian before impoact 2

There are several characteristics of the changing climate that are helping to increase the risks of damage from Hurricanes, even though global warming is not directly causing such a storm to spin up.  Katharine Hayhoe, a climate researcher at Texas Tech, put the relationship between climate change and storms such as Florence as follows: "Hurricanes are absolutely being affected by our changing climate, in many ways. As the world warms, the rainfall associated with hurricanes is becoming more intense; they are getting stronger, on average; they are intensifying faster; they are moving more slowly; and, as sea level rises, the storm surge from these events can be more damaging."

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Autism and the Israeli Army

Six years ago, three former Mossad agents launched an experimental Israeli Army program to recruit those on the autism spectrum, harnessing their unique aptitudes—their "superpowers," as one soldier puts it. The name of this big military success? Roim Rachok, Hebrew for "seeing into the future," and it may bring neurodiversity to the broader workforce. They’re part of an innovative military program called Roim Rachok, Hebrew for “seeing into the future.” The elite group consists entirely of members of a burgeoning but underserved and overlooked population with powers as special as their needs: autistic teens.

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u.s. capitol building insurrection

When Donald Trump stood before his followers on Jan. 6, 2021 and urged them to march on the United States Capitol, he was doing what he had always done. He never took electoral democracy seriously nor accepted the legitimacy of its American version. Even when he won, in 2016, he insisted that the election was fraudulent — that millions of false votes were cast for his opponent. In 2020, in the knowledge that he was trailing Joseph R. Biden in the polls, he spent months claiming that the presidential election would be rigged and signaling that he would not accept the results if they did not favor him. He wrongly claimed on Election Day that he had won and then steadily hardened his rhetoric: With time, his victory became a historic landslide and the various conspiracies that denied it ever more sophisticated and implausible.

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 Misticism

The Seven Wonders of the Natural World may have been named too quickly. Wonders like The Grand Canyon and Victoria Falls are certainly big, and anyone who sees them will surely be impressed—but sheer size isn’t enough to truly leave a person in awe. There are other places in this world, though, that are far stranger. Places that seem almost alien, as if they could only exist on a planet that evolved separately from our own. These are places that scientists have had to struggle just to understand how they ever could have been formed. Places that will truly make you wonder—not just because they’re beautiful, but because they seem to follow scientific laws that don’t exist anywhere else on earth.