Science Wednesdays

 

Short, interesting and informative stories about a wide variety of subjects meant to be educational and engaging for the general public and aimed at furthering everyone’s understanding and enjoyment of science and its methods.

Dust Plumes – July 1, 2020

Dust Plumes – July 1, 2020   In the last week, the skies have been noticeably hazier across the Caribbean and the Gulf and East Coasts of the US. It’s not due to wildfires or increasing pollution from traffic. In fact, it is due to dust coming from 5,000...

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Very “Gneiss” Rock – June 24, 2020

Very “Gneiss” Rock – June 24, 2020   Last weekend, Ricardo and I ventured to the south of Colorado to climb Culebra Peak (14,047 ft.) and Red Mountain (13,908 ft.) for the Summits, Songs and Science project. Culebra is the southernmost 14er...

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Dexamethasone – June 17, 2020

Dexamethasone – June 17, 2020   In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, some good news is emerging. The steroid – dexamethasone – is part of the world’s biggest trial testing of existing treatments to see if they can work on the coronavirus. Thus far,...

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Viral Persistence – June 10, 2020

Viral Persistence – June 10, 2020   We’ve all heard of the term persistence. But what does it mean in the context of a virus? With acute viral infections (think norovirus), people develop symptoms quickly and then fully recover within days. Other viruses...

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One Species – June 3, 2020

One Species – June 3, 2020   We live in trying and challenging times. Over the last decade, there had been glimmers of hope that the US had become a post-racial society, free of prejudice and discrimination. However, recent tragic events reveal that race...

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Return to Flight – May 27, 2020

Return to Flight – May 27, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday – and today is a historic day in spaceflight! For the first time in nearly a decade, US astronauts are launching from US soil again. Not only that, this is the first-ever manned launch for SpaceX in...

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Irrationality and Science – May 13, 2020

Irrationality and Science – May 13, 2020   “In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old...

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Following the Science – May 6, 2020

Following the Science – May 6, 2020   For this Science Wednesday, we’re sharing 10 key facts on SARS-CoV2, the virus, and COVID-19, the disease it causes, as written by Dr. Alan Townsend*, PhD in biological sciences (Stanford University), provost of...

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Corona and Climate – April 29, 2020

Corona and Climate – April 29, 2020   The COVID-19 pandemic has led to economies worldwide shutting down these last few months and stay-at-home orders going into place, clearing our cities and streets. Pollution levels in the air have dropped drastically,...

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Happy Earth Day! – April 22, 2020

Happy Earth Day! – April 22, 2020   Happy Earth Day! In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are celebrating our planet this week! The COVID-19 pandemic is showing us just how fragile and beautiful life is and that we cannot take our health or the...

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World Health Organization – April 15, 2020

World Health Organization – April 15, 2020   For today’s Science Wednesday, we want to address the importance of the World Health Organization. The W.H.O. is a specialized agency of the United Nations, responsible for international public health. Its...

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Air Pollution – April 8, 2020

Air Pollution – April 8, 2020   In today’s Science Wednesday, we’d like to discuss air pollution and COVID-19. A new study put out by researchers at Harvard called, “Exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in the United States”, investigates...

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Kings of the (Polar) World – April 1, 2020

Kings of the (Polar) World – April 1, 2020   To brighten up your day, we’re going to talk about kings of the (polar) world – also known as penguins! Pictured are two species found in Antarctica: the emperor (largest) and king (second largest). While...

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COVID-19 – March 25, 2020

COVID-19 – March 25, 2020   For this week’s Science Wednesday, we’d like to direct your attention to the Center for Inquiry for information on the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The link provided below contains a collection of the most...

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Immune System Boost – March 18, 2020

Immune System Boost – March 18, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday! With all the talk about the coronavirus, this post is about boosting your immune system – namely in the form of exercise. If you still have the option to get outside and go for a walk, hike or...

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Krill – March 11, 2020

Krill – March 11, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday! Today’s topic is pretty small – centimeters long in fact. We’re talking about krill, small crustaceans that form a crucial part of the food web in Antarctic waters. But the problem we’re talking about is big:...

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Nature’s Graffiti – March 4, 2020

Nature’s Graffiti – March 4, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday! Two weeks ago, we visited Horseshoe Island in the Antarctica Peninsula, below the Antarctic Circle. It was discovered and named by the British Graham Land Expedition under John Rymill,...

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Planetary Climate Change – February 26, 2020

Planetary Climate Change – February 26, 2020   In a time when climate change is often on people’s minds, let’s talk about it – starting with our home. Here on planet Earth, the root cause of recent climate change is us – humans and all our activity on...

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The Drake – February 19, 2020

The Drake – February 19, 2020   By the time this Science Wednesday posts, I will have crossed the Drake Passage three times, working aboard the Greg Mortimer polar class expedition cruise vessel with Aurora Expeditions. The Drake Passage is a treacherous...

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Publish or Perish – February 12, 2020

Publish or Perish – February 12, 2020   In the academic world, there is a “publish or perish” culture. Peer-reviewed publications remain a key metric of success. As more PhDs are granted and the availability of permanent (tenured) full-time academic jobs...

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Carved by Ice – February 5, 2020

Carved by Ice – February 5, 2020   For this week’s Science Wednesday, check out the new Uly’s Science Shorts film made for the “Summits, Songs and Science” project! This one covers some of the geological past of Wisconsin, which has a highpoint, Timms...

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Earthquake! – January 29, 2020

Earthquake! – January 29, 2020   Yesterday, January 28, 2020, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit between Jamaica and Cuba. It was so powerful that shaking was felt nearly 500 miles away, in Miami, Florida! The epicenter was at a shallow 6 miles below the...

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Interconnected Pathways – January 22, 2020

Interconnected Pathways – January 22, 2020   For this week’s Science Wednesday, we’re joined by Dr. Daniel Zietlow, a scientist-turned-filmmaker at Provare Media (a production company he co-founded with his film partner Ryan Vachon), the National Center for...

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Volcanic Tsunamis – January 15, 2020

Volcanic Tsunamis – January 15, 2020   Just a few days ago, on January 12, 2020, the Taal volcano erupted, sending ash 9 miles into the sky and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The steam-driven...

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Alive! – January 8, 2020

Alive! – January 8, 2020     We’re currently on expedition in the Andes with Alpine Expeditions, visiting the site of the plane crash made famous in the book and movie, Alive! On Friday, October 13, 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the...

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Discoveries of the Decade – January 1, 2020

Discoveries of the Decade – January 1, 2020   Wishing everyone a happy New Year! As we enter a new decade, we take a look back at some of the biggest scientific accomplishments/discoveries of the last 10 years for this week’s Science Wednesday. Scientists...

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Penguins! – December 25, 2019

Penguins! – December 25, 2019   For all of you celebrating around the world, we wish you very happy holidays! For this Science Wednesday, we’re talking about penguins. Did you know that all penguin species live in the Southern Hemisphere? Indeed, they...

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Secrets in the Ice – December 18, 2019

Secrets in the Ice – December 18, 2019   In this week’s Science Wednesday, we’re joined by Dr. Mike MacFerrin, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado who specializes in the ways Greenland meltwater is affecting the ice sheet and global sea level rise....

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White Island – December 11, 2019

White Island – December 11, 2019   What happened on Whakaari/White Island, New Zealand on Monday is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to those who lost their lives in the eruption. There is no doubt we live on a dynamic and changing planet. With that comes a...

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Lost Continents – December 4, 2019

Lost Continents – December 4, 2019 Today’s topic is on lost continents. Sure, you’ve probably heard the myths. Atlantis? But what is scientific research telling us about new landmasses? How are we finding them? And what does it mean? In the past few...

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“Functionally Extinct” – November 27, 2019

“Functionally Extinct” – November 27, 2019   The last few weeks have taken a toll in Australia, as fires have ravaged the land. You may have seen articles in the news that went viral recently – stating that koalas have become “functionally...

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Tardigrades! – November 20, 2019

Tardigrades! – November 20, 2019 Did you know that there are thousands of tardigrades stranded on our Moon? First off, what is a tardigrade? Also known as “water bears,” they are near-microscopic (0.15 to 1.2 millimeters long) animals with 8 legs and long plump...

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Smoke Hole Cavern – November 13, 2019

Smoke Hole Cavern – November 13, 2019 For the past few days, I’ve been on the east coast of the US, doing the state highpoints of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia for the Summits, Songs and Science project. As Ricardo has already completed these (and is...

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Bird Migration – November 6, 2019

Bird Migration – November 6, 2019 Given a lot of recent avian activity by Canadian geese here in Colorado as the temperatures drop and the snow arrives, today’s topic is on bird migration. The timing of bird migrations is an intriguing phenomenon in nature and...

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Wildfire – October 30, 2019

Wildfire – October 30, 2019 Today’s topic is wildfires – specifically, California wildfires. Since early October, millions of people across the state of California have had their electricity shut off to prevent downed power lines from setting off...

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The Royal Arch – October 23, 2019

The Royal Arch – October 23, 2019 Earlier today, Ricardo and I did a 10k (6.22 mile) trail run in the Flatirons region of Boulder, Colorado. Total elevation gain was nearly 1,800 ft. (550 meters) up to a geologic formation called the Royal Arch, pictured here....

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Wind Machines! – October 16, 2019

Wind Machines! – October 16, 2019 Today we are hosting a post by Chris Tomer, meteorologist on both KDVR FOX-31 and KWGN CW-2 in Denver, Colorado. Chris currently forecasts weather on KWGN’s “Daybreak” from 5 – 9 AM, M-F, and makes...

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Volcano or Not? – October 9, 2019

Volcano or Not? October 9, 2019 We’ve just recently returned from hiking Maine’s highpoint (Katahdin) for the Summits, Songs and Science project. What’s next on the horizon? With enough participants, an expedition to the highest mountain in the...

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Mars-quakes – October 2, 2019

Mars-quakes – October 2, 2019 NASA’s Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission launched from Earth on May 5, 2018. It successfully landed on a region of Mars called Elysium Planitia 6 months later, on...

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Life-Friendly Venus? – September 25, 2019

Life-Friendly Venus? – September 25, 2019 Today, we’re going to talk about a neighboring planet in our solar system: Venus. Venus and Earth are similar in size and mass, but that’s where the resemblance ends. Venus’ surface temperatures are an...

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Ice Lake – September 18, 2019

Ice Lake – September 18, 2019 Over the last week, we’ve been climbing peaks in the Elk Mountains and San Juan Mountains of Colorado for the Summits, Songs and Science project. Crisp mountain air and spectacular mountain vistas greeted us. Perhaps the most...

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Coral Bleaching – September 11, 2019

Coral Bleaching – September 11, 2019 After the Science in the Wild Kilimanjaro expedition, it was off to explore Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago off the coast of eastern Africa. This region is known for its gorgeous water and coral reefs. Mnemba Atoll,...

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Dendrosenecios – September 4, 2019

Dendrosenecios – September 4, 2019 For the last week, we’ve been on Kilimanjaro and have seen different vegetation zones of the volcano. My favorite? Seeing the dendrosenecios, giant groundsels that evolved about 1 million years ago. They are well adapted...

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Ol Doinyo Lengai – August 28, 2019

Ol Doinyo Lengai – August 28, 2019 If Dr. Seuss designed a volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai would be it! From navigating mazes of 5-foot tall volcanic ash flows, to scooting along “cookies and cream” layers of volcanic flows, to hopping over volcanic...

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Kilimanjaro – August 21, 2019

Kilimanjaro – August 21, 2019 It’s Science Wednesday and we’re gearing up for our Kilimanjaro expedition! Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft./5895 m) is considered a dormant stratovolcano in the East African Rift and is the highest dormant volcano outside of...

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Granite Peak – August 14, 2019

Granite Peak – August 14, 2019 It’s Science Wednesday! Ricardo and I are on Granite Peak in Montana this week for the Summits, Songs and Science Project. By the time this post goes up, ideally we’ll be making our way to the summit! Granite Peak is...

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Arctic Mirages – August 7, 2019

Arctic Mirages – August 7, 2019 Today’s Science Wednesday is about Arctic mirages. I took this photo from the bridge of the Polar Pioneer, a 70-meter long ship with reinforced hull for ice breaking. The image shows a “fata morgana” of the...

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Importance of Science – July 31, 2019

Importance of Science – July 31, 2019 This week’s Science Wednesday comes courtesy of guest blogger, Ricardo Peña, who talks about the importance of science and rational thinking in this modern world. Check out the video on our Facebook...

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Warming Arctic – July 24, 2019

Warming Arctic – July 24, 2019 I’ve been aboard the Polar Pioneer ship, circumnavigating the Svalbard archipelago, close to the North Pole with Aurora Expeditions this last week. Svalbard is built on permanently frozen ground called permafrost. For years,...

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