Scienceline Staff Picks

Frack rap, chrono-baseball, and (hold your breath!) penguins

Our favorites from the week

May 13, 2011

From Madeleine Johnson:

After winning only 17 of 81 games on the road last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates recently hired a circadian rhythm consulting company. Professional chronobiologists think the boys of summer suffer some of the same problems as shift workers.

Climate wonks and Catholic monks, together at last. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which reports to the Pope, examined the evidence and concluded anthropogenic climate change is affecting mountain glaciers, imperiling drinking water for millions.

If you like “long form journalism,” and beautiful writing, this piece by John McPhee is for you. Published in The New Yorker in 1987 (back when we wrote on dead trees), it originally took up over 30 magazine pages. This story helps situate the current flooding in a broader historic context of Mississippi River issues.


From Lena Groeger:

“What the frack is going on?!” Investigative reporting has never sounded so good. A music-video explainer on hydraulic fracturing, created by NYU Studio 20 students. It’ll be stuck in your head all day!

Have twins, live longer? Well, it’s not that simple, but a new study found that twin-bearing women raised more children and lived longer than women who never had twins.

Illusions are cool. Even more cool are rotating circular rainbow colored illusions! This one just won “Best Illusion of the Year” for 2011.


From Mary Beth Griggs:

The boys are back in town. Richard Leakey and Donald Johansen were reunited again at the American Museum of Natural History last week, after a 30 year hiatus from being together onstage. Here is the New York Times take on the event, which sold out the Imax theatre there.

Researchers have figured out how penguins can hold their breath during long dives into icy waters. They apparently switch between two modes of oxygen intake.

This slideshow of the sun combines art and science. The incredibly high-def pictures were taken by NASA, but they are being displayed in a town called Preston in England as an outdoor art installation.


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