Snowflakes still hold mystery

This post contributed by Nadine Lymn, ESA Director of Public Affairs Their silent, shimmery beauty has long stirred human aesthetic appreciation and for centuries individuals have sought to unravel the secrets of snowflakes.  Why are there so many varieties?  Why do all snowflakes have six “arms”?  And why does each flake appear unique, no matter how many fall from the sky? We know the answers to these questions as described on the...

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In ecology news– land-walking octopi, turtle locomotion, Pebble Mine science, fracking, Neanderthal love

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer An unusual crowd converged at the recent meeting of the Arctic Division of the American Association for Science in Dillingham, AK. Over 150 locals joined the 75 meeting attendants to discuss technical and scientific questions about development of a very large copper mine in the area. The fight over the proposed Pebble Mine has been under way for much of the last decade,...

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New report highlights mercury pollution impacts on ecosystems

Earlier this week, the Ecological Society of America, in partnership with the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), the Great Lakes Commission and the Northeast-Midwest Institute, cosponsored a Congressional briefing entitled: “Mercury and Air Pollution Impacts on Ecosystems: Policy-Relevant Highlights from New Scientific Studies.” The briefing sought to highlight the findings of a recent report from BRI highlighting mercury...

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Imagining a smarter water future in World’s Water 7

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA Communications Officer Unequal wealth. Worldmapper.org contorts the shapes of world territories to reflect the relative proportions of the world’s freshwater resources found within their bounds. © Copyright SASI Group (University of Sheffield) and Mark Newman (University of Michigan).   How much water do humans use? And how much water do ecosystems need? At the heart of water management...

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ESA Policy News: July 22

Here are some highlights from the latest Policy News by Science Policy Analyst Terence Houston. NATIONAL DEBT-CEILING DEBATE: CONSENSUS IN SIGHT, SPECIFIC PLAN REMAINS ELUSIVE House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and President Obama are unanimous in agreeing the federal deficit has to be raised before the projected August 2 deadline to avoid U.S. default on its debt. When, how and under what conditions...

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Floods and foods, dogs protecting cats and microbial munchers

This post contributed by Molly Taylor, ESA Science Writing Intern. Tiny critters: Though all smaller than a millimeter in size, four critters highlighted by Neatorama are much larger in effectiveness. When there is no oxygen around to speak of (or to breathe in), shewanella inhales the likes of uranium and chromium. The bacterium exhales the toxic metals with a few extra electrons, which prevents the toxins from moving through ground...

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Weighing potential costs of hydraulic fracturing

The recent expansion of hydraulic fracturing across the nation has set off a debate among oil and gas industry officials and conservationists and environmental scientists. During a recent House Space, Science and Technology Committee hearing, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) outlined the points of contention: “You have one group that’s got long experience with hydraulic fracturing [contending] it’s very safe” and “you have another...

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Unseen and unforeseen: measuring nanomaterials in the environment

International interest and investment in nanotechnology is growing—said panelists in this morning’s public forum in Washington, D.C. hosted by RTI International—and development and commercialization of this technology need to meet societal expectations. That is, explained moderator Jim Trainham of RTI, the public is concerned with understanding and controlling nanotechnology since, if it cannot be controlled, the technology is not...

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