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Bryan Walsh

Fracked: The Debate Over Shale Gas Deepens

Is shale gas good for us or not? Most of that argument has been over the potential risks that hydrofracking for shale gas might pose to water supplies… risks that were highlighted again this week when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came to Dimock, PA, to test groundwater in the area. You might know Dimock from the anti-fracking film Gasland,a group of residents have claimed for years that fracking poisoned their water supply, and federal involvement indicates there may be more at stake. But…

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5 years ago
Bryan Walsh

Under the Weather: How La Niña May Influence the Outbreak of Flu Pandemics

There are two things you can be certain about when it comes to flu pandemics: they’re inevitable and you never know when one will strike. That unpredictability makes it difficult to prepare for a pandemic—some 40 years passed between the pandemic of 1968 and 2009, yet only  a little more than a decade passed between the pandemic of 1957 and 1968. Scientists know that wild migratory birds are the primary reservoir for human flu, and that a pandemic ignites when a new flu virus makes its way into the human…

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5 years ago
Bryan Walsh

Virological Trade: Screening Imported Wildlife for Emerging Microbes

Border customs agents are on the look out for many things: illegal drugs, stolen goods, smuggled liquor and sometimes even people. Add one more target: animal-borne viruses. In a new study published on Tuesday in the journal PLoS One, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the EcoHealth Alliance, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other institutions reported on the first effort to identify new viruses in wildlife products that had been smuggled illegally into the U.S. And it turns…

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5 years ago
aviatrixkim

Great Ideas: Earthquake-Safe(r) Buildings

Two years ago, a powerful earthquake struck Haiti, crushing untold thousands of people who were trapped inside collapsed buildings. Death toll estimates vary widely—from in the tens of thousands to more than 300,000—as homes, apartment buildings, schools, prisons, and even hospitals pancaked into rubble, leaving Port-au-Prince a post-apocalyptic ruin. The next day, President…

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5 years ago
Bryan Walsh

Zom-bees: How Parasitic Flies Are Turning Honeybees into the Buzzing Undead

From the Nature Is Scary file: researchers from San Francisco State University announced this week in a new study that honeybees are being turned into “zombies” by parasite flies. The fly—known as Apocephalus borealis—deposits its eggs inside the abdomen of a bee. The action is fatal for the bee, as fly larvae eventually hatch and push their way out between the bee’s head and thorax. But that’s not the really gross part. Before the flies pop out, Alien-style, the bees start acting strangely, abandoning…

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5 years ago
Lauren Wheeler 5 years ago
Barry Lehrman 5 years ago
Bryan Walsh

Oily: How a San Francisco Oil Spill Took Its Toll on Fish

How quickly have Americans forgotten about the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill? Fast enough that that last week BP launched an advertising blitz aimed at giving a “progress report” on the company’s cleanup efforts. It’s nothing new for the company—BP started bombarding the country with its widely derided “BP Cares” ads while the oil spill was still ongoing last year—and it hardly means BP is done fighting the government on responsibility for the spill. The Interior Department has slapped BP with…

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5 years ago
Matylda Czarnecka

Could ‘Spider-Worm’ Silk Be The Next Supermaterial?

Spiderman might soon lose his dominance in harnessing spider silk superpowers. Scientists from the University of Wyoming, the University of Notre Dame and Zhejiang University in China have managed to genetically modify silkworms to spin stronger silk using spider genes. The new material could be used for everything from bulletproof vests to replacing tough plastics. Researchers have long been fascinated with spider silk, a natural material that is stronger than steel. Harvesting the stuff can be tricky,…

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5 years ago
asladirt

How to Integrate Design

Living systems, including green infrastructure systems like green roofs, are infinitely complex. ”They mimic nature so will grow and thrive. Designing these systems, though, requires an integrated design process,” said David Yocca, FASLA, Conservation Design Forum, at the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities conference in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Landscape architects, architects, and green roof product manufacturers discussed the challenges in making an integrated design…

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5 years ago