Archive for April, 2009

Earth Day Pictures: Quirky Ways to Mark the Day

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 20, 2009   View Article

Earth Day is celebrated worldwide each year on April 22, prompting environmental groups and businesses to pull off a host of sometimes unusual stunts to draw attention to their causes and green initiatives. Check out eight of them.

Significant Warming Unavoidable, Study Says

Publication: By John Roach   Date: April 18, 2009   View Article

“We can no longer avoid significant warming during this century,” Warren Washington, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, said in a news release Tuesday announcing a new analysis of future climate scenarios churned out by supercomputers.

Left unchecked, global greenhouse gases are on track to reach concentrations of 750 parts per million in the atmosphere by 2100. This would push sea levels up 8.7 inches from thermal expansion; melt nearly all the Arctic sea ice; raise global temperature at least 4 degrees Fahrenheit; and cause dramatic shifts in rainfall patterns around the world, according to the analysis.

The good news is if nations cut greenhouse gases by 70 percent this century “we could stabilize the threat of climate change and avoid catastrophe,” Washington said. Sea levels, not counting melting ice sheets and glaciers, would rise just 5.5 inches; the Arctic ice would shrink another quarter but no more; temperature would rise a degree above current levels, and the worldwide precipitation changes would be half as severe.

The research will be published next week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. (more…)

Great Turtle Race Mixes Competition, Conservation

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 16, 2009   View Article

Eleven leatherback sea turtles virtually splashed into the chilly waters off Canada’s Atlantic coast today to start a grueling, more-than-3,700-mile (6,000-kilometer) race to the Caribbean.

The competitors are taking part in the Great Turtle Race, essentially a sped-up online replay of the actual migration, which ended in March.

Ancient Egyptians Drank Medicinal Wines

Publication: By John Roach   Date: April 15, 2009   View Article

“Doctor’s orders,” the pharaohs may have said with a wink as they took swigs of wine.

At least 5,000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians had begun a long-standing tradition of infusing their libations with medicinal herbs, according to a new chemical analysis of residues on wine jugs.

The earliest written evidence for the practice comes from Egyptian papyri that date to 1850 B.C. The new find pushes archaeological evidence for medicinal wines back to 3150 B.C., the beginning of Egyptian history. The wine jar was found in the tomb of Scorpion I, one of the first pharaohs.

“It makes sense that it is part of this ongoing tradition that eventually starts to get recorded around 1850 B.C.,” Patrick McGovern, an archaeochemist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, told me.

McGovern is an expert on the origins and history of drinks that give a buzz. His new book, Uncorking the Past, is due out this fall.


Seven amazing finds from America’s past

Publication:   Date: April 14, 2009   View Article

Learn about seven archaeological finds from early U.S. history, including artifacts from Jamestown, the bones of lost Irish immigrants, and a pre-Civil War mummy.

Doing DaVinci: A timeline of da Vinci’s life and work

Publication: SwitchYard Media/Discovery Channel   Date: April 9, 2009   View Article

Leonardo da Vinci, the artist, scientist, inventor, engineer, and well, the intellectual and cultural genius who many scholars consider the archetypical Renaissance man, was born on April 15, 1452. Check out a timeline of his life and work.

Lightning Warns of Hurricanes’ Most Intense Moments?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 6, 2009   View Article

Lightning may help improve hurricane forecasts by signaling when the storms are about to reach peak intensity, according to a new study.

Current satellite and radar technologies can fairly accurately predict a storm’s path, but when and how much a storm will intensify are harder to pin down.

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