Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
When you find yourself wanting to re-read a book that you just finished, you gotta recommend it to others.
We had so much fun talking about Les Paul on the show.
From the Silk Road to your front porch, moths are everywhere, coming in a variety of shapes and sizes.
A new study suggests that a bevy of bacteria and other life could be dwelling in Lake Vostok.
Recently we were sent a book on hoverflies to review. And it was epic.
Bill Nye and I were on a panel discussing how to tell stories about science.
Visible With the Naked Eye
Beat the February blues and jumpstart the creative process by writing photo-inspired haikus!
Science Friday invites Chairman Lamar Smith to discuss technology that will track objects such as asteroids that threaten Earth.
War of the Currents Redux: Fuel Cells vs Batteries
This week, I'm focusing on some really geeky -- I should say Benjie* -- research that caught my eye. Be ready for some gorgeous graphics and hi-tech talk.
Once more, lots of intriguing stories making the news this week. Here are a few of my favorites.
A 24-hour species identification challenge in an Oregon city park shows citizen scientists the diversity of urban wildlife.
During our visit to Costa Rica in March, we came across an arachnid with unexpected companions.
Does hurricane Sandy make you any more inclined to buy an electric vehicle?
Are Katrina and Sandy linked to climate change?
Can you legally break Einstein's speed limit?
Depending where you live, you may have recently started to see an influx of orange and black winged visitors. The monarch butterflies have begun their fall migration.
Students, NASA needs your help to find the perfect name for a near-Earth asteroid that will be visited by spacecraft later this decade.
Curiosity Lander: Excitement Recalls Viking
What does a single atom look like?
Everyone was so impressed seeing the space shuttle flying atop that 747. Why not keep one in the air?
In July of 2009, entomologist Christine Goforth and a friend arrived at a lake to collect water samples. They had worked at the lake many times, but noticed that something was different that day: several hundred dragonflies were flying over the grass."We often saw dragonflies, but there were 50 times the usual number and they weren’t in their usual places," explains Christine. "We knew something exciting was happening, so we jotted down notes."Then they were gone.
Plants have a lot going on as autumn temperatures cool. Some leaves turn bright yellow or red and fall from trees. Fruits grow large and ripe. Grasses become brittle and brown. Some flowers, like California poppies, bloom in the autumn too.Project BudBurst is looking for volunteers to take note of what plants are doing as the seasons change. During the “Fall into Phenology” event volunteers around the country will be heading outside between September 17 and 26 to collect data about how plants respond to changes in their environment.
Daniel Smith and his colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory are looking for volunteers who are about to move to a different house to join the Home Microbiome Study. They will be asked to collect samples every other day for six weeks to monitor how microbiomes of themselves and their house change in response to one another. This data will provide valuable information on how stable our microbiomes are, and whether our microbiomes colonize our house… or our house’s microbiome colonizes us!
Are you in the Philadelphia area? If so, you'll want to know about the new citizen science project: MyHeartMap Challenge! The project, a contest, is getting the public involved to make the first-of-its-kind map of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Philadelphia. (And it's almost Valentine's Day so perhaps hearts are on your mind!)
From searching for invertebrates to measuring wind speed, everyone can gain new knowledge and skills and play their part in protecting the natural environment. This is the philosophy of Open Air Laboratories (OPAL), a project based in England that encourages the public to explore their surroundings, record their findings, and submit their results to the OPAL national database making their contribution available to scientists and others involved in environmental science and policy.
Make sure you’re on Santa’s “nice list” this year. Consider helping researchers help the planet this holiday season. Here are a dozen opportunities to get involved in real science research during the 12 days of Christmas! On the first day of Christmas, Missouri gave to me…an opportunity to help stem the threat of invasive pear trees in Missouri’s urban forest and in other parts of the U.S.
Help keep an eye on the health and abundance of wild turkeys prior to breeding by observing and counting young turkeys in New York state. Or, join biologists in New Hampshire studying the impact of winter on New Hampshire turkeys by reporting any sightings of female turkeys and their young.
During Insect Discovery Tours -- part of the BioBlitz event -- elementary, middle and high school students, scientists, chaperones, and naturalists roamed areas of Saguaro National Park in small groups to hunt for insects. The scientists and naturalists worked with the students to identify the insects they found. To get a closer look, insects were sometimes coaxed into small magnifying boxes.
There should be more animated movies about citizen science, don’t you think? Thankfully, the people at a weather-focused citizen science project called the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow project (known by the funny acronym CoCoRaHS) have made this video! It tells the story of how the project started and explains how people all over the country are getting involved. Watch and find out how you can become a CoCoRaHS volunteer too!
As summer comes to a close, a young person’s fancy may turn to fretting at the thought of being cooped up in a classroom. But for fans of science and nature—and by that we mean kids who like to watch clouds, hunt mushrooms, prowl around graveyards, and check out what gets squashed on the side of the road—fall need not signal the end of fun. To keep entertained and enlightened this fall, try the following back-to-school projects for student citizen scientists. Teachers and parents, please note: Many of these programs provide materials around which you can build lessons. To search for more science projects that are looking for volunteers, visit the Science for Citizens Project Finder.
How do you know if water is clean enough to drink? How do you know if it's clean enough to for swimming or safe for animals? On September 18, 2011 people around the world will be taking a closer look at their local waterways during World Water Monitoring Day. Join in the project and help figure out whether the freshwater near you is clean.
On June 1, 2011 at 11:51 PM, a group of people assembled on the beach in Northpoint, New York. There was no moon shining that night, not even a sliver. The people carried flashlights or wore headlamps. They held clipboards and paper. Their mission: to report where horseshoe crabs were spotted along the beach.
Changing Currents, a project originating in Toronto, Canada, familiarizes middle- and high-school students with local watersheds and teaches them how to conduct water quality analyses. This is a great way for students to become environmental scientists for a day! After heading out to a local stream and donning hip waders, students collect water samples and analyze their data. Through this program, students get out in nature for a while and learn about the importance of healthy aquatic ecosystems.
During the last Ice Age, mammoths and mastodons roamed Florida. Today, fossil hunters like James Kennedy of Vero Beach, Florida find their bones. “I'm not a scientist,” said James in a recent interview for National Public Radio. “I just go out and dig up bones good. I'm good at finding them." But I’d contend that James is a scientist – a citizen scientist. Many people collect fossils. I like to think of these fossil hunters as “citizen paleontologists” and they can play important roles in scientific discovery.
Did you take a photo of white paper on the ground June 21 for the Albedo Project? Whether or not you participated, you can now take a look at the data at the Albedo Project website. Locations of all the photos are shown on a Google Map. Zoom in to find your data point. And if you’d like to peruse the photos of white paper, you can find them in Flickr. Photos were sent in from over 30 US states and 11 countries, pointing out that projects like this would not happen without participation by photo-snapping volunteers!
The Firefly Watch project gets the public involved collecting data about where fireflies are found. If you live east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and have ten minutes a week to look for fireflies in the evening, consider signing up as a volunteer.
It is becoming more apparent that people of all ages want to learn more than just the facts about climate change—they want to know what they can DO to address this problem.
Participating in PhillyTreeMap, one of the newest projects in the Science for Citizens Project Finder, is almost as simple as fetching the morning paper from the front “stoop,” as we say here in Philly. This morning, I opened my front door, walked 10 feet to the nearest tree (pictured here), wrapped a measuring tape around its trunk, snapped this picture, and simply uploaded the picture and trunk width online. THAT’s how simple it was to help the City of Philadelphia take an inventory of trees.
For three years Dr. Kathleen Gorski and her high school students at Wilbraham and Monson Academy near Springfield, MA have been snapping pictures of white paper and using them to measure albedo by comparing the white paper to the surrounding ground surface. Now they are opening the project up to anyone who would like to participate!
Scientific American has been bringing science to people for over 160 years. Now the magazine is bringing people to science through a new online listing of citizen science opportunities. Early this month, Scientific American Online launched a Citizen Science section of the web site. This is part of a larger Education effort, which includes a number of science activities called Bring Science Home.
It seems strange to mark the location of a fish, doesn’t it? They can swim and move away from the marker, right? I wonder while standing on a dock waiting for the boat that will take about ten of us out to a reef. There, we will scuba dive for fun and also mark the locations of lionfish, an invasive species in the Caribbean. Volunteer divers on the Dutch island of Bonaire are helping Bonaire National Marine Park eliminate invasive lionfish from its coral reefs by marking the locations where the fish are found. A diver who spots a lionfish is instructed to attach a small flag, provided by the park, to a rock near the fish.
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), a citizen science project that gets people all over the country reporting the amount of precipitation that falls where they live, offered a unique on-the-ground perspective about the devastating thunderstorms and tornadoes that struck the southeast United States on April 27 and the morning of April 28, 2011.
When the explosion happened at the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, we didn’t know exactly how much oil would eventually leak into the ocean and that, a year after the spill, there are still so many questions about how to restore the region. While there are many different perspectives on the effects of the spill to Gulf Coast residents, the marine ecosystem, and coastal wildlife, it is clear that it is going to take a long time for the area to recover fully. While there is a lot to make us feel blue about the situation in the Gulf, there are also thousands of people who are making a positive difference, people who, over the past year, have volunteered their time to help.
The apple tree in my backyard has been under surveillance for several weeks. In March it was an unassuming mass of brown twigs amidst late winter snow. Then those twigs started to have swollen buds. More recently, green leaves appeared. Now, as evidenced by this photo, there are tightly huddled pink petals amidst the leaves. Any day, I suspect flowers. My apple tree isn’t the only one under surveillance. It’s in good company -- one of thousands of plants around the United States that are monitored through the seasons with Project BudBurst.
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