VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
P4 and P5? Surely you can come up with better names for Pluto’s newly-discovered moons. Astronomers at the SETI Institute are asking for your help.
What’s the trick to making a truly satisfying hot chocolate? It may be less about the ingredients you use and more about which mug you use to drink it.
Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, East Coast residents have been seeing a number of unusual guests at their bird feeders during the last two weeks. The hurricane disrupted migration routes for some birds, and others simply got blown off course by the violent winds. Factor in the winter storm, the two weather events have brought together a very peculiar group of birds.
Residents on Alaska’s Kodiak Island were haunted last week — not by Halloween ghosts, but by the remnants of a long-ago volcanic eruption. Ash dating back to the 1912 eruption of Novarupta was stirred up by strong winds and dry conditions along the Alaskan coast. The ash rose as high as 4,000 feet and prompted aviation warnings. People said it looked like smog.
Oh, to be counted among the nimbus and the stratus! That’s what the fans of the undulatus aspertus want. The undulatus cloud, which resembles agitated waves, was first discovered in 1951, but has not yet been declared an official cloud type. Now members of the Cloud Appreciation Society are developing an app that they hope will help their beloved cloud the earn the recognition it deserves.
Houses and buildings weren’t the only things damaged by last month’s hurricane. One of the Gulf Coast’s most notorious invasive species got slammed by Isaac. Almost 20,000 nutria, or copyu, were drowned and washed up on the Mississippi coast following the storm.
Why would a bird fly into a hurricane? It seems that some migratory birds fly in so they can be slingshot out the other side.
Usually it doesn’t rain when the temperature gets over 100°. But last week in Needles, California a thunderstorm rolled in on a hot afternoon (115°). Most of the rain didn’t get to the ground, but it briefly made the area feel like a sauna.
How does one make a sand castle that is strong enough for those extra crenellations? By using the correct mix of sand and water. Researchers at the Amsterdam University found that a mixture of sand and one percent water is the ideal for making sand castles.
What is the smell clinging to an astronaut after a spacewalk? Some have described it as an acrid aroma — others say it reminds them of seared steak.
Scientists studying moss beds in East Antarctica have found that the moss there is growing on the site of an ancient penguin colony. The colony is believed to date back some 3,000 to 8,000 years ago. No penguins live there now, but their droppings have been preserved, thanks to Antarctica’s constant cold temperatures.