Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 1:49 pm
By Marcelo Gleiser
Credit Y.Beletsky / ESO
Would you like to see yourself in the future? If you found a magic mirror capable of showing your image one, two or three decades away, would you look? I imagine opinions would be split on the wisdom of gazing into this special reflector.
"It's a jungle if you're an eagle right now on the Chesapeake Bay," says Bryan Watts, a conservation biologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. "You have to watch your back."
Americans have long imagined their national symbol as a solitary, noble bird soaring on majestic wings. The birds are indeed gorgeous and still soar, but the notion that they are loners is outdated, Watts and other conservationists are finding.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 1:25 pm
Credit Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images
From gross to gourmet. That pretty much sums up civet poop coffee.
The beans are literally harvested from the feces of the tree-dwelling civet cat in Indonesia. The idea is that a trip through the animal's digestive tract partially ferments the beans and imparts a much-sought-after flavor to the coffee.
The Space Fence is down. That's the message we get from the SatWatch site, following up on our report last month that the U.S. Air Force was poised to shut down the radar system that tracks thousands of objects orbiting Earth. It had been in operation since 1961.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 4:03 pm
By Adam Frank
Credit SOHO/ESA / NASA
Today I'll walk into a classroom of advanced undergraduate physics students and begin teaching them about the stars. It will take 13 weeks, beginning with the basic principles of astrophysics and ending with the structure of the Milky Way. I will chart that path, as I do every year, by kickin' it old school with chalk on a blackboard. And today, as I do every year, I'll wonder if I'm doing the right thing.
In a world of PowerPoint, YouTube, automated homework and massive open online courses, what the hell am I doing with a stick of chalk in my hand?