The White House has approved NASA's call for four more years for the International Space Station, ensuring that the orbiting science laboratory will keep going for another decade, according to documents obtained by The Orlando Sentinel.
A few years ago, physicist Brian Skinnerasked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it's something everybody asks. When I can't wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thing — and what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Even mysterious.
Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:24 pm
If the icy blast of polar air that's descended upon much of the U.S. over the last couple of days has you reaching for the cookie jar for comfort — and ready to give up on those New Year's resolutions — then seriously? It's time to toughen up. Just think: At least you're not in the Antarctic.
Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 7:20 pm
By Adam Frank
We have taken on the issue of science and politics a lot in this blog. As a culture saturated with science, one of the most pressing issues we face is how to evaluate research when its conclusions challenge our world-views. This is certainly the issue with climate change, where Al Gore's championing the case for climate action galvanized many against it.
And with much of the nation is in the middle of this brutal cold snap, let's take a moment to hear from scientists who study other planets or even the chilliest places on Earth. Those researchers commonly encounter temperatures that make this news-making cold seem downright balmy. We asked NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel to find out just how low it can go.
GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: I caught up with researcher Paul Mayewski yesterday just as he was headed out of town.
All right. Here are the voices of some meteorologists around the country. This was in Indianapolis.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is the coldest wind chill I've ever reported in on the Weather Channel. It's 41 below zero. The air temperature is 13. In fact, it has dropped eight degrees in four hours this morning, as that wind just eats right through you.
GREENE: And no surprise, it is also cold in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Britain's southwest coast is getting slammed by a winter storm, with high winds driving waves as high as 27 feet ashore in an unusual event that meteorologists say is likely linked to the bone-chilling "polar vortex" gripping much of the U.S.
European scientists were alarmed in 2008 when they discovered streams of methane bubbles erupting from the seafloor in Norway's high Arctic. This gas, which contributes to global warming, was apparently coming from methane ice on the seafloor. A follow-up study finds that methane bubble plumes at this location have probably been forming for a few thousand years, so they are not the result of human-induced climate change. But continued warming of ocean water can trigger more methane releases in the Arctic, with potentially serious consequences to the climate.