Ocean Bees

Yes, you read that correctly. There are bees. In the ocean.

Well, sort of. Similar to land plants, sea grasses need pollinating. But it’s long been assumed that pollination is facilitated by the current, and the pollen just floats from one plant to the next.

But it turns out that some crustaceans are actually pollinating the grass. Making them the bees of the ocean.

Read about it here!

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The Terrifying London Fog

In December 1952, a dense fog fell over London that lasted 4 days. This “Great Smog” lead to the death of roughly 12,000 people.

What the heck happened. Now, more than 60 years later, an international team of researchers have figured it out. While researching China’s modern air pollution issues, they determined that people were breathing in the fog equivalent of acid rain.

Read about it (and our potential future!) over at Science Alert! 

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The Spike-Toothed Salmon

“Back in 1972 paleontologists T. Cavender and R.R. Miller named a huge fossil fish from the Pliocene deposits of Oregon. They called it Smilodonichthys rastrosus – the “knife fish.” The fish’s impressive teeth were thought to stick straight down, like those of a sabertooth cat, and so it became known as the sabertooth salmon.”

Curious? You should be! Read all about this fearsome salmon and it’s history over at Scientific American!

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If the children are the future, the future might be very ill-informed

A new study out of Stanford evaluated students ability to assess information sources and described the results with words ranging from “dismaying” to “bleak”

Middle school, high school and college students were asked to evaluate the information presented in tweets, comments and articles. They were consistently unable to effectively evaluate the credibility of that information.

In fact, most middle school students couldn’t even distinguish ads from articles.

As I’ve spoken about before, I refuse to believe that we live in a fact-free world, or post fact world, or any of that non-sense. But this kind of study is disheartening.

But I’m choosing to think that knowing this information should be a call to educators (like me) to redouble our efforts rather than give up! I’m also open to suggestions about how to combat this alarming trend.

Read about it here! 

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How one turtle’s tale helps promote ocean conservation

Sea turtles are in trouble. They are notorious for swallowing things they shouldn’t and given the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean this is unlikely to stop anytime soon.

But the baby sea turtle at aquariums, like the one at Monterey Bay, are helping people see the importance of protecting these curious little eaters.

Read about it over at Scientific American!

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What plague doctors can teach us about doing science

The bird mask wearing plague doctor.

They stuffed the beaks of their masks with aromatic flowers, spices, and perfume to ward off disease carrying miasmas.

Their lenses were darkened to avoid the evil eye which could have allowed an evil spirit to enter their bodies and give them the plague.

They practiced bloodletting and turned to barbers to do surgeries on their patients.

By today’s standards their methods were wrong. But that’s not really the whole story. We have the benefit of years of experience and science to be able to say we know better.

And ultimately understanding how they came to the above conclusions allows us to look at science in general, and the scientific method in particular.

Read about it here! 

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The Remarkable Comeback of the Przewalski’s Horse

Finally some good news! The only truly wild horse in existence (other horses that are thought of as wild are actually only feral) has been teetering on the edge of extinction for a long time now. There was a point where it went entirely extinct in the wild.

But due to a vigorous captive breeding program, and successful reintroductions, this slightly stocky but ultimately adorable horse population is on the upswing!

Read about their history and resurgence over at Smithsonian! 

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The Altered Arctic Food Chain

Food chains are complicated. That simple idea of a direct line from primary producer, to primary consumer, to top of the food chain is just that, overly simplified.

And given the complexity of these interactions (who eats who) it’s hard to predict what happens when the menu suddenly changes.

Which is what is happening right now in the Arctic, due to the effects of climate change.

Read about it over at the NYTimes!

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