1. Why Should You Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count?

    This weekend (February 15-17) marks the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)! 

    The GBBC is a joint partnership between Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, with Bird Studies Canada as the official Canadian partner. It is open to birders of all ages and abilities, and helps provide researchers with citizen science data about where birds are each February.

    Last year’s unseasonably warm weather and lack of snow and ice in some regions led to more than two million Snow Geese being reported in two counts at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri. In Ruskin, Florida, participants reported more than one million Tree Swallows, vaulting the species to the GBBC top-ten list of the most numerous birds for the first time ever. 

    Scientists use the GBBC information to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like what kinds of population shifts and changes can be expected from future climate change.

    Please visit www.ebird.org for more information or to download a checklist and participate! Also, make sure to snap some great photos to upload for the National Audubon Society website to be entered for some great prizes!

     
  2. The 16th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be held Friday, February 15 through Monday, February 18. 
It’s fun, free, easy, and every checklist submitted helps ornithologists at Cornell University and the National Audubon Society learn more about birds and the environment.
If you’d like to participate, please visit BirdSource, where you can download a checklist to use, view results from past counts, and print a free poster with images of commonly seen birds of North America!

    The 16th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be held Friday, February 15 through Monday, February 18

    It’s fun, free, easy, and every checklist submitted helps ornithologists at Cornell University and the National Audubon Society learn more about birds and the environment.

    If you’d like to participate, please visit BirdSource, where you can download a checklist to use, view results from past counts, and print a free poster with images of commonly seen birds of North America!

     
  3. Prisons may seem to be an unorthodox location for conservation work, but Carri LeRoy, project co-director of the SPP, says: “There’s a lot of clean, controlled space, and people with time on their hands, looking to do something valuable and change their lives.”

    “Most people are in the prison yard talking about who did them wrong,” says Aubrey. “Then, all of a sudden, guards will tell us they hear people saying, ‘Hey did you see how that moss was growing?’ ”

    The women in the checkerspot project have already reintroduced more than 800 of the butterflies into the wild, and raised more than 3,600 caterpillars for next year’s release. The Taylor’s checkerspot is found in just four small populations in Washington and Oregon, and it now lays its eggs on plantain, an introduced species. No one knew what the butterfly’s original host plants were. The inmates found out by allowing the adults to choose between three candidates and showed that they prefer to lay eggs on two native species — the harsh paintbrush and golden paintbrush — rather than the exotic plantain.

    The golden paintbrush might be the butterfly’s original host, but it is also threatened. With the information from the inmates’ project, efforts to conserve both the plant and the butterfly could be combined. “That would eliminate the need to plant the exotic plantain at reintroduction sites,” says Aubrey. When the results are finally published, the inmates will be contributing authors on the paper.

    Of the 238 prisoners who attended a single lecture and were later released, only two returned to prison within a year — a rate of 0.8%, compared to the usual average of 10.4%. Of the 78 prisoners who took part in actual conservation work, 18 have been released, none have re-offended and one-third are employed.

     
  4. Neat Nature Facts

     
  5. Science is the elegant truth in the messy stramash of history. Folklore and bias are all reflected in the science of each culture. How science is applied tells us about our mores and priorities. Every year, in groups of twenty, my students pick apart the fabric of their living world and discover that they are critical cogs in a wonderful ecological machine. Over and over, I get to see my students marvel at the tiny workings of their cells and be horrified by the biological bombs that are exotic species. I accept their dissonance and skepticism, and I repay them with evidence and data.
     
  6. image: Download

    jtotheizzoe:

The Red Flags of Quackery v2.0
Don’t make me raise the flag on you.
(via sci-ence.org)

    jtotheizzoe:

    The Red Flags of Quackery v2.0

    Don’t make me raise the flag on you.

    (via sci-ence.org)

     
  7. Do you realize that the… bank bailout — that sum of money is greater than the entire 50-year running budget of NASA. And so when someone says ‘We don’t have enough money for this space program,’ I’m (saying) ‘No, it’s not that you don’t have enough money. It’s that the distribution of money that you’re spending is warped in some way, that you are removing the only thing that gives people something to dream about tomorrow.’

    …In the 60’s and 70’s, you didn’t have to go more than a week before there was an article in Life magazine — ‘The Home Of Tomorrow.’ ‘The City Of Tomorrow.’ ‘The Transportation Of Tomorrow.’ All that ended in the 1970’s after we stopped going to the Moon. It all ended. We stopped dreaming.

    And so I worry that the decisions the Congress makes doesn’t factor in the consequences of those decisions on tomorrow. Tomorrow is gone — metaphoric tomorrow, not the literal tomorrow.

    (Politicians) are playing for the quarterly report; they’re playing for the next election cycle. And that is mortgaging the actual future of this nation. The rest of the world just passes by.

    — Dr. NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON, reacting to space programs such as the James Webb Space Telescope — the successor to the Hubble — falling to budget cuts, on Real Time (via inothernews)
     
  8. 02:52 13th Jun 2011

    Notes: 168

    Reblogged from vruz

    Tags: james clerk maxwellsciencetech

    image: Download

    vruz:

How James Clerk Maxwell changed the world.
The Economist
2011 is awash with anniversaries of notable events from the annals of the physical sciences. […] Worthy intellectual accomplishments, all. Yet they pale in comparison  with Maxwell’s. This is not just because, unlike a lot of subsequent  theoretical advances, his insight has already yielded a century’s worth  of tangible results, from radio to mobile phones. (Only a century  because it took scientists several decades before they grasped the  theory’s full significance and put it into practice.) Nor is it because  he championed the abstract idea of fields, a fecund notion that  underpins much of modern physics.
No, Maxwell’s greatness lies elsewhere  still. He showed that nature ought not to be taken at face value, and  that she can be cajoled into revealing her hidden charms so long as the  entreaties are whispered in mathematical verse. In doing so he paved the  way for the pursuit of physicists’ holy grail: the grand unified  theory, a set of equations which would explain all there is to know  about physical reality. As tends to be the case with grails, this one,  too, may prove unattainable.
Unless there are inherent limits on human  understanding—itself an unfathomable premise—there will always be more  apparently disparate phenomena to explain at one fell swoop.
Maxwell  remains the great unsung hero of human progress, the physicists’  physicist whose name means little to those without a scientific bent.  His life’s work, which also includes remarkable contributions to thermodynamics (not  to mention taking the world’s first colour photograph, also 150 years  ago) is among the most enduring scientific legacies of all time, on a  par with those of his more widely acclaimed peers, Isaac Newton and  Albert Einstein.
It deserves to be trumpeted.

So much love for Maxwell. 

    vruz:

    How James Clerk Maxwell changed the world.

    The Economist

    2011 is awash with anniversaries of notable events from the annals of the physical sciences. […] Worthy intellectual accomplishments, all. Yet they pale in comparison with Maxwell’s. This is not just because, unlike a lot of subsequent theoretical advances, his insight has already yielded a century’s worth of tangible results, from radio to mobile phones. (Only a century because it took scientists several decades before they grasped the theory’s full significance and put it into practice.) Nor is it because he championed the abstract idea of fields, a fecund notion that underpins much of modern physics.

    No, Maxwell’s greatness lies elsewhere still. He showed that nature ought not to be taken at face value, and that she can be cajoled into revealing her hidden charms so long as the entreaties are whispered in mathematical verse. In doing so he paved the way for the pursuit of physicists’ holy grail: the grand unified theory, a set of equations which would explain all there is to know about physical reality. As tends to be the case with grails, this one, too, may prove unattainable.

    Unless there are inherent limits on human understanding—itself an unfathomable premise—there will always be more apparently disparate phenomena to explain at one fell swoop.

    Maxwell remains the great unsung hero of human progress, the physicists’ physicist whose name means little to those without a scientific bent. His life’s work, which also includes remarkable contributions to thermodynamics (not to mention taking the world’s first colour photograph, also 150 years ago) is among the most enduring scientific legacies of all time, on a par with those of his more widely acclaimed peers, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

    It deserves to be trumpeted.

    So much love for Maxwell. 

     
  9. image: Download

    f-ckyeahheadlines:

Scientists hope to illuminate universe’s dark side
     
  10. image: Download

     
  11. ohscience:

blue dorid nudibranch

    ohscience:

    blue dorid nudibranch

     
  12. You will die but the carbon will not; its career does not end with you. It will return to the soil, and there a plant may take it up again in time, sending it once more on a cycle of plant and animal life.
    — Jacob Bronowski  (via usgroovykids)
     
  13. 17:04 8th May 2011

    Notes: 55

    Reblogged from scipsy

    Tags: sciencepseudoscience

    image: Download

    scipsy:

Some of the results of

A survey of the science knowledge and attitudes toward science of nearly  10000 undergraduates at a large public university over a 20-year period  included several questions addressing student beliefs in astrology and  other forms of pseudoscience.

There’s something terribly wrong. (via Rangle:’Non è vero ma ci credo’)

You’ve got to be kidding.

    scipsy:

    Some of the results of

    A survey of the science knowledge and attitudes toward science of nearly 10000 undergraduates at a large public university over a 20-year period included several questions addressing student beliefs in astrology and other forms of pseudoscience.

    There’s something terribly wrong. (via Rangle:’Non è vero ma ci credo’)

    You’ve got to be kidding.

     
  14. 03:36

    Notes: 131

    Reblogged from afro-dominicano

    Tags: ScienceNatureStargaze

    image: Download

    
Stargazing over The Geyser
Starry night above the World Heritage Site, Yellow Stone National Park, Wyoming, USA. The yellow patch in the foreground is an eruption of Old Faithful Geyser, a strong cone geyser that can shoot 14000–32000 liters of boiling water to a height of 30–55 meters.
Copyright: Wally Pacholka

One of the things I was most pissed off about when we went to Yellowstone was that it was still spring there and snowing so the sky was all cloudy and we couldn’t star gaze. At least I got to see a buffalo born in the middle of the road. There was placenta EVERYWHERE

    Stargazing over The Geyser

    Starry night above the World Heritage Site, Yellow Stone National Park, Wyoming, USA. The yellow patch in the foreground is an eruption of Old Faithful Geyser, a strong cone geyser that can shoot 14000–32000 liters of boiling water to a height of 30–55 meters.

    Copyright: Wally Pacholka

    One of the things I was most pissed off about when we went to Yellowstone was that it was still spring there and snowing so the sky was all cloudy and we couldn’t star gaze. At least I got to see a buffalo born in the middle of the road. There was placenta EVERYWHERE