Weird

Birds in trouble? Yes … here’s why

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 7, 2011   View Article

Birds are indeed in trouble. But this trouble has nothing to do with freakish events such as the thousands of blackbirds that fell from the sky in Arkansas on New Year’s Eve. Rather, experts say birds are falling prey to a laundry list of long-term threats ranging from pollution and habitat loss to climate change.

‘Weird life’ reveals science at work

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 29, 2010   View Article

The continuing controversy surrounding the announcement of strange bacteria deep in a California lake that can apparently survive on arsenic and even incorporate the element into its DNA is being held up as a shining example for how the scientific process works.

The latest to point this out are the folks at Real Climate, a blog on climate science — a discipline that is no stranger to controversy.

Top ten species of 2009 named

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: July 15, 2010   View Article

This bomb-dropping worm, Swima bombiviridis, is among the top 10 species discovered in 2009, according to the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University. The annual roundup winnows down a list of about 20,000 species described each year to just a few mind-benders.

“It is a great way of getting the public involved in biodiversity,” says Mary Liz Jameson, a biodiversity scientist at Wichita State University and chair of this year’s selection committee. While the criteria for selection include scientific significance, Jameson admits that “the cool factor” also plays a part.

For example, the bomb-dropping worm found off the coast of California “has these green gills it can kind of throw off, and the predator will follow the gill instead of following the [worm], so it is tripping up the predator,” Jameson said. “It’s really cool.”

Check out the other cool species on the top-10 list.

Photos: Huge Containment “Domes” for Gulf Oil Spill

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 4, 2010   View Article

Welders in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, scurry on Monday to finish a 93-ton, four-story-tall oil-containment “dome.” The giant box is the key component of one of three “subsea oil recovery systems” intended to be lowered onto three seafloor leaks spilling an estimated 210,000 gallons (795,000 liters) of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

Geeking Out and About

Publication: MSN/SwitchYard Media   Date: April 20, 2010   View Article

Why hide your dorky self behind a bland exterior of cool when there are so many interesting places where weirdos (and we mean that in the best sense) roam free?

Tech nerds who need a transistor fix flock to the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. News junkies visit the Newseum in the nation’s capital, where they rifle through archives and watch old clips. And grown men who play with dolls? Well, there’s a place for them at the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, Okla.

Whether you’re a closet disco dweeb, a Vulcan-eared Trekkie or just have an obsession with all things Bond James Bond, there’s a museum somewhere in this vast land with your name on it. We surveyed a few of the strange, exciting places you should visit.

New Proof Unknown “Structure” Tug at Our Universe

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 22, 2010   View Article

“Dark flow” is no fluke, suggests a new study that strengthens the case for unknown, unseen “structures” lurking on the outskirts of creation.

In 2008 scientists reported the discovery of hundreds of galaxy clusters streaming in the same direction at more than 2.2 million miles (3.6 million kilometers) an hour.

This mysterious motion can’t be explained by current models for distribution of mass in the universe. So the researchers made the controversial suggestion that the clusters are being tugged on by the gravity of matter outside the known universe.

7 ghoulish archaeological discoveries

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: October 30, 2009   View Article

Remember the haunted house in grade school where your hand was guided into a bowlful of “brains”? Those skinned grapes have nothing on what happened to Rachel Cubitt of the York Archaeological Trust in England.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach