Science & Environment

Science & Environment
11:48 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Did Neanderthals Make Music?

J. Atema's collection of bone flutes
J. J.

Interview with Jelle Atema

Music has been called the universal language and noted as one of the things that make humans distinct. But when did we first make music?

Read more
The Point with Mindy Todd
1:46 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction

passenger pigeon
Credit Creative Commons

One hundred years ago, the last passenger pigeon, named Martha, died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo. Not long before Martha died, passenger pigeons flew in packs so large over the U.S. and Canada they could block out the sun for days. Mindy Todd talks with author and naturalist Joel Greenberg about what lead to the extinction of the passenger pigeon and what it teaches us about the importance of conservation.

Read more
Science & Environment
11:22 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Seven Things to Know About Our Universe

The Andromeda galaxy is our largest galactic neighbor, measuring 260,000 light-years across.
Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech

Conversation with author Alan Lightman

We’ve long thought of our universe as all-encompassing, the only one. But modern physics suggests ours may be just one of many.

Read more
Science & Environment
10:33 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Innovative Ideas for Resilient Coastal Communities

The Big U is a proposed flood protection system for Manhattan that aims to incorporate environmental benefits and recreation.
Credit BIG TEAM / Rebuild by Design

Conversation about Rebuild by Design

Today, finalists in the Rebuild by Design competition present their ideas for rebuilding Sandy-affected communities. Organizers hope it is the start of a new conversation about coastal resilience.

Read more
Science & Environment
12:28 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Deep Sea Search and Recovery a Challenge Under Best of Circumstances

An engine from Air France flight 447, as photographed on the sea floor.
Credit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA)

Searching the vast ocean

The crash of Air France flight 447 was a best-case scenario for a deep sea search. The missing Malaysian Airlines flight is anything but.

Read more
Science & Environment
10:50 am
Fri March 28, 2014

What Failed Robots Teach Us

A RoboLobster designed to navigate using chemical cues.
Credit Boston University

We tend to think of animal-inspired robots as the culmination of a research project, but failed robots can highlight what we don't yet know.

Read more
Weekly Bird Report
5:51 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Winged Harbingers of Spring Arrive: Ospreys, Oystercatchers, & Swallow-tailed Kite

A Swallow-tailed Kite was seen by separate observers on March 12th in Orleans and Brewster.
Credit cuatrok77 / flickr

Ospreys, “the Cape and Islands harbinger of spring” returned on Saturday afternoon, March 15th, in at least 5 places almost simultaneously. This is very early and all these reports and careful, excited observers were accompanied by photos indicating they knew what a big deal this is. Ospreys were reported from Orleans, Dennis, Falmouth, West Barnstable and Nantucket from 2:30-4 P.M. on March 15th, which is really early. Just knowing these birds are back brings a smile to not only my face but to all happy to see that the winter is finally going to come to an end.

Read more
Science & Environment
4:49 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Eight Historic New England March Snowstorms

Think we have it bad? This photo from a 1966 March blizzard in North Dakota was jokingly captioned: I believe there is a train under here somewhere!
Credit Bill Koch / North Dakota State Highway Dept

March came in like a lion and seems poised to go out the same way. Is this a month for the history books?

Read more
Science & Environment
1:49 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Three Ways to Learn More about the Eco-History of Guano

The depletion of Peru's guano islands lay at the heart of the War of the Pacific.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

It enabled the industrialization of agriculture, led to the discovery of El Nino, helped spawn the modern environmental movement, and lay at the heart of the War of the Pacific. What is it?

Guano, the excrement of South American seabirds.

Guano isn't just any bird poop. (Actually, the word has come to refer to feces of any flying animal, including bats.) Along with mineral nitrates found in the Atacama Desert, the South American seabird variety of guano is the richest source of nitrogen on the planet.

Read more
Science & Environment
1:59 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Minke Sounds Like No Whale You've Ever Heard

Mouth of a minke whale with distinct grooves in its throat.
Credit Denise Risch / NEFSC/NOAA

Humans speak thousands of languages. Why not whales?

Read more

Pages