Archive for May, 2003

Finding Nemo Spotlights Dark Side of Pet-Fish Trade

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 30, 2003   View Article

As a young clownfish named Nemo enchants moviegoers with his epic adventure from the ocean to a fish tank and beyond, the actor whose voice brings the animated character to life is urging protection for tropical fish and coral reefs.

“Practically the whole world depends on coral reefs, so if the coral reefs get all killed, then the ocean will start going out of whack, and if the ocean goes out of whack something might happen on land,” said Alexander Gould, the nine-year-old actor who is the voice of the namesake character in the movie.

Video Games Boost Visual Skills, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 28, 2003   View Article

Spending hours in front of the computer trying to single-handedly win World War II in the shoot-’em-up action video game Medal of Honor may serve more purpose than killing time.

According to a pair of researchers at the University of Rochester in New York, such action video games train the brain to better process certain visual information.

Heat Waves, Hurricanes Predicted for Summer in U.S.

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 22, 2003   View Article

As the season of long days and short nights, barbecues and cold drinks, and lakeshore and beachfront retreats is kicked off this Memorial Day weekend, forecasters train their gaze on charts and graphs as they attempt to predict the fickle summer weather.

“In summer we are not dealing primarily with a jet stream,” said Mike Halpert, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland. “It typically shifts northward into Canada.”

Robots May Be Built as Companions, Expert Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 19, 2003   View Article

A long time from now, in a house right next door, a robot that is at least as well cobbled together as the android C-3PO of Star Wars fame may be playing a game of cribbage with an elderly widow.

“I have felt for years that the first ‘killer application’ of personal robots will be companionship, especially for the elderly,” said Roger Brockett, a professor of computer science and engineering at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Robots are potentially much smarter than dogs and they will not require the same level of upkeep.”

Big Trouble for Asia’s Giant Catfish

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 15, 2003   View Article

This time of year, fishers along the banks of the Mekong River in the village of Chiang Khong in northern Thailand wait expectant, as they have for hundreds of years, for the arrival and harvest of giant catfish. But this year the catfish may never come.

“No fish have been captured in Thailand since 2001 and the giant catfish is in danger of disappearing from Thailand completely,” said Zeb Hogan, a fisheries biologist at the University of California at Davis.

World’s Heaviest Bony Fish Discovered?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 13, 2003   View Article

In fishing circles, talk of the big ones always garners an audience. The bigger the fish, the more awe it inspires. A crowd may soon gather around Tierney Thys, a marine biologist with the Monterey, California-based Sea Studios Foundation, and Chuck Farwell from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

As part of Thys’s study of the little-known ocean sunfish (Mola mola), a behemoth that can grow more than 4.2 meters (14 feet) long from dorsal fin tip to anal fin tip and 3 meters (10 feet) in horizontal length, she has uncovered a fish that may be a new record setter for the world’s heaviest bony fish.

Sky-Watchers Await Total Lunar Eclipse on Thursday

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 12, 2003   View Article

On the night of May 15 the full moon will slip into Earth’s shadow and darken to an orange-reddish glow during the first of four total lunar eclipses to occur over the course of the next 17 months.

The celestial show promises to capture the attention of both amateur and professional astronomers and remind them of Earth’s place within the cosmos.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach