environment

Extinction of your favorite animal more real than you realize

Extinction of your favorite animal more real than you realize

This week a study published in Science Advances has suggested that the extinction of some of the world's most beloved animals is a clear and present danger. Fourty-four of the 74 largest terrestrial herbivores are now threatened with extinction, 12 of them "critically endangered" or extinct in the wild. Many of the species in decline, suggests the study, "are poorly known scientifically, and [are] badly in need of basic ecological research." Not only will they die unless we do something, we'll never know what they are all about in the first place.

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Climate change could cause 16% of species to become extinct

Climate change could cause 16% of species to become extinct

Humans have had a big effect on the climate, and all species on Earth will suffer because of it. In a new paper published in Science recently, Mark Urban, an ecologist with the University of Connecticut, has said that climate change could cause 16-percent of all known species on our planet to become extinct…if we don’t do something about it now, that is. Such extinctions would then also have a serious effect on the planet and all that remain in it, though some regions would be hit harder than others.

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Lake Michigan’s oddly clear water reveals old shipwrecks

Lake Michigan’s oddly clear water reveals old shipwrecks

Those of us around the Great Lakes were hit with a bitter cold winter this year, but it has turned out to have a beautiful effect on Lake Michigan in particular. The lake’s water has turned oddly clear in the transitioning period between having an icy shell and being muddied up with algae blooms and sediment, and with that clarity comes shipwrecks. Many shipwrecks. Images of old shipwrecks being spotted in the crystal clear water have surfaced via the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, and they lend a fascinating look at what lies below the typically dark water.

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Philips introduces new 60W LED lightbulb under $5

Philips introduces new 60W LED lightbulb under $5

Philips is releasing what could soon be the cheapest 60 watt equivalent LED lightbulb on the market. There are a plethora of reasons people might want to stick with incandescents over LED lightbulbs, but Philips' newest LED bulb just voided the majority of consumers' biggest concern: cost. At only $4.97 USD, the price of these bulbs is low enough to sway those consumers who have been looking to lower their monthly electric bill but still haven't been convinced by previous LED bulbs on the market.

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Researchers: Antarctic ice shelves melting spiked in the last decade

Researchers: Antarctic ice shelves melting spiked in the last decade

Some researchers have undertaken a big effort to monitor the rate of Antarctic ice selves melting, and what they've found again shows that the ice is melting faster than ever before, particularly in the last decade when a spike in the rate was observed. Such information comes from a recent study detailing work done by a research team headed by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. According to the newly published study, the rate of ice shelf melting in some areas has increased by 18-percent over the past nearly 20 years, and there's no signs of that slowing down.

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Endangered “Magic Rabbit” caught on camera in China after 20 years

Endangered “Magic Rabbit” caught on camera in China after 20 years

The endangered Ili pika ("Magic Rabbit"), a small rabbit with mouse-like ears, has been caught on camera in China for the first time in two decades. The images were published by National Geographic last week, giving a glimpse at the decidedly adorable little mammal as it perched on rocks in the Tianshan Mountains in China. The mammal is commonly described as resembling a teddy bear, due to its rounded ears, and it was first discovered back in 1983 entirely by accident.

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Researchers find shape-shifting frogs in the Andes

Researchers find shape-shifting frogs in the Andes

Researchers have discovered shape-shifting frogs in the Ecuadorian Andes, it has been announced. The frogs are able to change the look of their skin within the span of a few minutes to imitate a surface they are sitting upon, making them what is thought to be the first amphibian discovered with such an ability. The species is called Pristimantis mutabilis, which means "mutable rainfrog", and its shape-shifting revolves around the texture of its skin, which can go from mostly smooth to "high tubercular".

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The Eiffel Tower just installed wind turbines for renewable energy

The Eiffel Tower just installed wind turbines for renewable energy

Paris just made a bold step in reducing its carbon footprint. A New York design company, UGE, just installed a pair of wind turbines in the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous historic landmarks in the world, and now it's capable of harnessing clean energy. The quiet twin turbines are nestled above the second level of the tower. Their brushed metal matches the rest of the tower, and they don't obstruct the architecture.

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Gerbils replace rats as historical plague spreaders

Gerbils replace rats as historical plague spreaders

It would appear that our hatred of rats for the past several hundred years may be due to a bit of mistaken identity. Scientists this week have published a paper which suggests that it wasn't so much rats that spread the bubonic plague across the planet, but gerbils. Your best buddy, the gerbil - the one you've got in a plastic tube cage sitting in your living room right now. He may have been guilty this whole time! All these hundreds of years, keeping silent for his ancestors, the real-deal spreaders of plague.

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Animals grow as they evolve: so says science

Animals grow as they evolve: so says science

This week a paper has been published in the journal Science which suggests that the mean size of marine mammals has increased 150-fold in the last 542 million years. It's a massive jump, suggests postdoctoral researcher and co-author of this paper, Noel Heim, suggesting that though it may not seem like a lot when seen between one animal and its closest cousin, it's quite significant. This discovery includes word that increase in body size isn't always due to animal lineages growing bigger, but to the diversification of groups of organisms that are larger, and grow larger than their predecessors early in their line's history.

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