October 26, 2012
By Juliette Kayyem The conviction of seven Italian geological and disaster experts for failing to predict the 6.3-magnitude Aquila earthquake in 2009 has shocked the scientific community. Many are wondering whether the Dark Ages have returned to Italy. Galileo rarely trends on Twitter, but this week's verdict had many alluding to his 1633 heresy conviction for questioning whether the sun actually circled the Earth. The Earth is not the center of God's universe, and neither are scientists.
September 28, 1986 |
Every day, in countries many Americans couldn't find on a map, millions of peasants trying to scratch out a living are contributing to one of the greatest environmental disasters of our age: the destruction of the world's tropical forests. In Borneo, Nepal, Brazil, Rwanda and other countries, the world's poor are mowing down the forest so they can heat their homes, graze their cattle and grow their crops. Tropical forests, home to more than half of the living things on Earth, are disappearing at a dizzying rate.
July 25, 1997 |
Should people try to play God with the planet? We have no choice, say 20 top environmental scientists. In today's issue of the journal Science, the experts marshal 31 pages of evidence to show that people have profoundly altered Earth's landscape, its atmosphere, its balance of plant and animal life, and even its basic chemistry. The scientists go beyond earlier doom-saying, said ecologist Jane Lubchenco, one of the authors, because they have proved the existence of problems that others have only suspected.
December 21, 1986 |
Dozens of red-winged blackbirds and starlings flap their wings and squawk as they fly back and forth inside their cages in the basement of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in West Philadelphia. Seemingly harmless here, these birds have become major pests in the Midwest, where they destroy millions of dollars of crops each year and feast on grain stored at swine and cattle feedlots. "In some areas of Kentucky and Tennessee two to three million starlings will roost in trees in a one-square-mile area," said Russell Mason, a Monell scientist.
October 26, 1990 |
A team of scientists, including a Haverford College astronomer, says it has determined that a galaxy discovered in the 1950s may be the largest ever found in the universe. The scientists say the galaxy is 60 times larger in diameter than our own Milky Way galaxy. The newly examined galaxy, located 1.3 billion light-years from Earth, is about 6 million light-years in diameter. A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year, or about six trillion miles. "We don't know of any other galaxy ever found that is bigger," said Stephen P. Boughn, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Haverford College, who helped determine the galaxy's size.
January 20, 1992 |
Whether it's a Rolodex full of dog-eared cards or a neatly data-based roster tucked away in the entrails of a computer, the source list is the journalist's most important tool. It answers in a blink that timeless question that pops up when you start on a story: "Who you gonna call?" Actually, the question is not quite that simple. It really is: "Who you gonna call and who you gonna trust?" Scientists first and business executives least, say some environmental journalists surveyed by the Business News Reporter, which bills itself as a newsletter that gives "the inside story on America's most influential journalists.
August 1, 1986 |
As a child, Steven Spielberg grew up with the Walt Disney classics, and he still wants to remake Peter Pan, which the studio filmed in 1953. While the world's most successful director mulls over Peter Pan and his many other projects, Disney has been busy remaking Spielberg films. Last year, Disney tried Baby, a fantasy about a threatened young dinosaur whose resemblance to a certain famous alien was not a conincidence. Truth in packaging argued that Baby should have been called E.T., B.C. and the film failed to catch on with kids.
December 12, 1999
University of Pennsylvania doctors were raked over the coals last week amid charges that they violated procedures in an experimental gene-therapy treatment in which an Arizona teenager died. The Food and Drug Administration said that Penn scientists had not reported some side-effects in the trial and that they treated the teenager when ammonia levels in his blood were high. That finding might have stopped the trial if the agency had been kept informed. Jesse Gelsinger of Tucson died Sept.
January 13, 2003
The speed of gravity is not to be taken lightly. True, it's weird to think that gravity has a speed. Gravity's something that's just there. If we think of it at all, it's more as a condition of our reality, from the moment we swing our feet out of bed to the moment we dive back in at night. Then again, gravity must have a speed. Earth is this gigantic pear-shaped hunk of rock that throws a gravitational lasso around the moon to keep it faithfully orbiting. Gravity is made of waves, which (although invisible to us)
February 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - With scant snowfall and barren ski slopes in parts of the Midwest and Northeast the last couple of years, some scientists have pointed to global warming as the culprit. Then, when a whopper of a blizzard smacked the Northeast with more than two feet of snow in some places earlier this month, some of the same people again blamed global warming. How can that be? It's been a joke among skeptics, pointing to what seems to be a brazen contradiction. But the answer lies in atmospheric physics.