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Exploring the Science Behind
Australia's Hot-Pink Lake

Have you ever seen a pink lake? There is a lake at a park in Melbourne, Australia that turns hot-pink every year. It turns pink because the lake contains salt-loving, single-celled germs that make pigments called carotenoids.

Carotenoids are a class of plant chemicals found in the cells of a large variety of plants, algae, and bacteria. Carotenoids are responsible for the bright red, yellow, and orange shades of many fruits and vegetables. For example, carotenoids are found in oranges, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, mangoes, watermelons, yams, and—of course—carrots. These pigments play a very important role for plant health; specifically, carotenoids help plants absorb light energy to use in photosynthesis. [Read More]

Is “De-Extinction” a Good Idea?

What does it mean to be “extinct?” For years, most people assumed the answer is simple: once a species no longer lives, it is extinct, and cannot exist going forward. Think of the Woolly Mammoth, or the Passenger Pigeon for example. However, a fascinating new technology could possibly revive extinct species.

If scientists resurrect extinct species, there could be benefits. One such benefit would be filling missing or broken links in ecosystems that cannot be satisfied by other species. [Read More]

Birds Evolved From Dinosaurs

Birds alive today share many characteristics of early dinosaurs. This fascinating discovery came to light in the late 1800’s when Thomas Henry Huxley, a biologist, noticed some similarities. Interested in comparing the body structures of different animals, Huxley became the first person to notice that dinosaurs and birds appeared related.

Huxley’s controversial idea arose while examining a well- preserved fossil, the Archaepteryx. His examination of the Archeopteryx, particularly of its skeletal structure, revealed evidence of the similarity between the modern birds and the dinosaurs. [Read More]

Copernicus Sparked a Scientific Revolution

Everyone knows that the Earth revolves around the Sun, right? It seems like it should be obvious. But Nicolas Copernicus lived in a time when this very thought was ridiculed by the majority of people.

The son of a merchant, Copernicus was born February 19, 1473, in Torun, Poland. He earned degrees in classical antiquity, math, and astronomy at the University of Krakow, medicine at the University of Padua, law and astronomy again at the University of Bologna, and a doctorate in canon law from the University of Ferrara. [Read More]

New Laser Technology Will Help Planes Avoid Danger in the Sky

Nothing is as frightening on a plane as turbulence. It is estimated that in early 2018, a Boeing 777 will fly with a laser coming out of its nose; the laser is part of a new system that Boeing hopes could detect rough turbulence.

Today, modern passenger aircraft can resist the bumpiest rides, but the flight can still be dangerous for the passengers inside. According to the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), a total of 44 passengers were severely injured by turbulence in 2016. This doesn't include all the less important things, like spilled drinks, or throwing up. [Read More]

When it Comes to the Lynx, Looks Can Kill

From housecats to deadly striped tigers, cats are everywhere. But most cats can’t hear like a Lynx can. The fluff on the tip of this animal's ears serves as a megaphone that amplifies the sound of its prey in the distance.

Every cat has killer instincts—its own superpower, so to speak. The forest-dwelling lynx can hear its prey from 250 feet away. These silent killers tend not to make much noise as they approach their prey. [Read More]

Oceanographers Sound Global Warming Alarm

Since the 1800’s, temperatures have increased in abnormal ways, thus spurring global warming.

“Global warming” refers to the heating up of the Earth’s surface that most scientists concur is taking place. Researchers first began to study global warming in the late 1800’s, and recent studies suggest that in the last century, average temperatures have increased by 0.8 degrees Celsius. The same studies indicate that temperatures are estimated to increase by 1.1 to 6.4 degrees Celsius in the next century.

While these few degrees may not seem like much, many scientists and climate specialists suggest otherwise. [Read More]