Why NASA monitors Penguin Poop (and Other NASA Stuff You Didn’t Know)

Yes, they really doo-doo. Sorry. Yes, they really do. Back in 1966 NASA launched the Landsat program – a bunch of satellites which orbit the earth recording images at various wavelengths (blue, green, red, infra-red, etc.) The latest satellite – Landsat 8 – scans 11 different wavelengths at a resolution of 30 meters. Since Adélie penguins are mostly a lot smaller than 30 meters across, they can’t be seen individually. But where there's a will,…

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Time to Let the Kids Lead – and Follow Them!

Image by Goran Horvat from PixabayBy Claire EamerIn 2001, I went to work for the Northern Climate ExChange at Yukon College in Whitehorse. I was the Yukon coordinator of the now-defunct Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN). My job was to help climate change researchers communicate and work with each other across disciplines and geographic barriers.(Most scientists are not too good at talking to scientists in other fields, let alone to people outside…

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Why You Should Be Following #Fieldworkfail

by L. E. CarmichaelIt's #FF (Follow Friday) over on Ye Olde Twitters, and if you're not already following #Fieldworkfail you should really get over there and get on that. Like right now.When scientists write journal articles, they make it sound like they knew what they were doing every step of the way. #Fieldworkfail reveals the truth - they're making it up as they go along, pretty much like the rest of us.Just with more bears.While…

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Secrets of the Credit River – guest post!

Secrets of the Credit Riverguest post by Nina Munteanu  I began my limnology career teasing out the secrets of stream life as a grad student at Concordia University, Quebec. My master’s research focused on several rural and urban streams in the Eastern Townships, not far from where I grew up.Later, as a limnologist for various environmental consulting companies in British Columbia, I used stream macro-benthos communities—the critters that live on the stream bottom—as indicators of…

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The Surprising Truth About a 100-Year Flood

The surprising thing about 100-year events is that they can happen year after year, not just once every 100 years. That's because the term 100-year event is about chance (probability), not a schedule. It’s a statistical term that means a 100-year event has a 1 in 100 chance of happening each year.It's One in a Hundred, Every YearThink about flipping a coin. There's a 50/50 chance of getting heads each time you flip the coin.…

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Dressing for Science

The usual picture of a scientist shows someone in a long white coat, working in a lab. And indeed, that's a very practical idea for science clothing - for some scientists. For other scientists working in the field, it might be more appropriate to wear insulated coveralls in cold weather, or a neoprene wetsuit when diving under water. And what about when scientists are presenting their research at a university or conference? Some scientists dress…

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"Snowflake" Bentley and the Sound of Snow

We’ve just had the coldest, snowiest winter in a long time. A great opportunity to look at some of the science (and beauty) of snow. We’ve all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. The discoverer of this factoid was an unlikely candidate. Wilson Bentley, “The Snowflake Man”, was a self-educated farmer who adapted a microscope to a camera and pioneered microphotography. His photographs of snow crystals attracted world-wide attention. He photographed over 5,000 snowflakes –…

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Black Hole Photo!

There's a phenomenal image going round the Internet, and it's called the first-ever photograph of a black hole.Well, it's not exactly a photograph, not like if you pointed your cell phone camera at the moon as I did last month. A word to the wise: it's easy for a full moon to be sooooooo bright it washes out the image to be nothing more than a white circle in a black sky, instead of what…

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Black Hole Photo!

There's a phenomenal image going round the Internet, and it's called the first-ever photograph of a black hole.Well, it's not exactly a photograph, not like if you pointed your cell phone camera at the moon as I did last month. A word to the wise: it's easy for a full moon to be sooooooo bright it washes out the image to be nothing more than a white circle in a black sky, instead of what…

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Happy Birthday to Us… Almost

By Claire EamerLast week, I was delving around in old Sci/Why blog posts, looking for a dinosaur photo to illustrate L. E. Carmichael's post on the enormous Tyrannosaurus rex unearthed in southern Saskatchewan, Move Over SUE, There's a New T. rex in Town. A few years ago, I had visited the fossil's home museum in Eastend, a small town set among the low, rolling hills of southwestern Saskatchewan's shortgrass prairie. I knew I had written a…

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