Science & Environment

Weekly Bird Report
5:52 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Christmas Bird Counts Underway and Already Yielding Great Surprises

A Yellow-throated Warbler was spotted in this year's Christmas Bird Counts.
Credit Paul Hurtado / flickr

The week just passed had a remarkable assemblage of birds found on the Cape and Islands from across the taxonomic realm of birds found in New England. The first Christmas Bird Counts were conducted with the Outer Cape Count being conducted on December 14. Also on this day was the Newport R.I./Westport, MA. CBC and the Greater Boston Count. All counts enjoyed spectacular weather. The winds were light and variable with periods of sun and partial overcast-ideal and rare conditions for a Christmas Bird Count!

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Science & Environment
12:33 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Designing Games That Are Educational Works of Art

Designed by a sculptor and a doctor, Ani-Gram-It teaches biological concepts with an artistic touch.

Artist and designer Alex Wolf believes games can and should be works of art that bring science to life for children.

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Power Source: Part 9
7:40 am
Mon December 15, 2014

State Faces Pipeline Quandry as Electricty Costs Spike

About 100 members of the group Mothers Out Front rallied in front of the Massachusetts State House in November to urge officials to invest in renewable energy instead of building new natural gas pipelines.
Credit Rupa Shenoy

On a cold but sunny day last month, about a hundred people rallied in front of the Massachusetts State House, hoisting signs that read “Green the grid,” “Clean energy now” and “No future with fossil fuels.”

“We’re talking about our children’s future,” shouted Kelsey Wirth into a megaphone. Wirth is founder of the group Mothers Out Front, which has one goal:  “To ensure that Massachusetts is making the right energy choices for the sake of our children’s future,” she said, “and that means choosing clean and renewable energy every time there’s a choice to be made.”

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Weekly Bird Report
3:17 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

December Brings Birders (and Bird Counters) into Streets and Backyards

Taxonomists have recently divided the familiar Canada Goose into two species - now known as Canada Goose and Cackling Goose - a decision that has caused controversy among birders.
Credit Magnus Ekhall / Wikimedia Commons

The weather has resembled a roller coaster ride over the past six weeks. After an all-too-early chilly snap pre-Thanksgiving that made us realize that winter was arriving very early, things warmed up a little. The following milder spell has, however, now skipped off south and we are seeing a return to chillier conditions. After a rain-drenched day yesterday, following brutal weather this past weekend-hopes and wishes, the prospects have dimmed for the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts, which start this weekend on December 14 with the Outer Cape CBC and proceed thru Jan 5. 2015.

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Science & Environment
11:46 am
Tue December 9, 2014

The Nation's First Research Ship, Seen from the Crew's Perspective


A new book provides a glimpse of what life was like for the sailors, rather than scientists, aboard an ocean-going research ship in the mid-twentieth century.

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Power Source: Part 8
7:45 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Edgartown Explores Tides As Potential Future Renewable Energy Source

Red shaded area shows Muskeget Channel just off Edgartown's coastline.
Credit NOAA/Alecia Orsini

Many homeowners install renewable energy technologies like solar panels in an effort to become less dependent on conventional energy sources. But could an entire island eventually achieve that goal? Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard is taking the first steps to harness the strong tides that flow just off its eastern shore. It’s new technology, and there are many financial and regulatory hurdles still in the way. But the hope is that one day the ocean will supply a significant portion of the Vineyard’s energy needs.  

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Weekly Bird Report
1:57 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Sightings of Kittiwakes a Rare Seasonal Treat for Birders

Black-legged Kittiwake
Credit Vern Laux

There is a medium-sized gull that spends the winter in considerable numbers along the edges of the Continental shelf well over a hundred miles out to sea. Occasionally they occur in near-shore waters and they are occasionally abundant in winter in Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound. This pelagic gull is very long-winged and flies differently than its inshore relatives. It is quite at home on the storm-roiled waters of the North Atlantic in mid-winter, unlike so many other creatures, particularly anyone reading this. 

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Science & Environment
11:48 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Father of Computer Science Also Left a Mark on Biology

Alan Turing, 1951
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Alan Turing is best known for inventing the modern computer and breaking the German Enigma code during World War II. He also left a lasting legacy in the field of biology.

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Power Source: Part 7
7:44 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Improving Energy Efficiency, One House and One Business at a Time

Not only does the newly-constructed Falmouth Ice Arena have 3,300 solar panels on its roof and two car ports, it also is the most energy efficient building of its kind ever built.
Credit Courtesy photo

When it comes to energy hogs and inefficiency, ice rinks rank among the worst. But not the new one in Falmouth. Not only is this eco-friendly ice arena making its own electricity, it's using that electricity as efficiently as any building of its kind in the world.

"You don't see a lot of rinks like this, obviously," said Paul Moore of Falmouth Youth Hockey. "And rinks are utility monsters, they eat up a lot, a lot of electricity."

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Weekly Bird Report
5:59 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

Overwintering Birds Provide a Spectacle for Cape and Islands Birdwatchers

Bonaparte's Gull
Credit Alan Vernon / flickr

The end of November is an exciting time of year on the Cape and Islands. From a birding perspective, the birding is exceptional - better than anywhere else in New England at this season. The possibility of some extralimital vagrant, the sheer numbers of birds still around that over winter here, and the lovely light and scenery of late autumn, all combine to make being on the Cape and Islands for Thanksgiving something to be truly grateful for.

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