A capsized oil tanker is releasing invisible toxins into the sea

A capsized oil tanker is releasing invisible toxins into the sea

The stricken oil tanker Sanchi has leaked oil condensate into the East China SeaTransport Ministry of China handout/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock By Andy Coghlan At least crude oil is visible. Not so the toxic liquid leaking from a capsized oil tanker in the East China Sea. This invisible substance is a lethal threat to marine life. On 6 January, […]

Explaining how snakes can crawl in a straight line

Explaining how snakes can crawl in a straight line

Top Story Snakes are known for their iconic S-shaped movements. But they have a less noticeable skill that gives them a unique superpower. Snakes can crawl in a straight line. Researchers are studying the mechanics of snake movement to understand exactly how they can propel themselves forward like a train through a tunnel. Snakes typically […]

Tiny individual decisions really could help avert climate chaos

Tiny individual decisions really could help avert climate chaos

It takes teamwork to change the worldFabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty By Adam Corner Climate scientists are in no doubt that global warming is almost entirely the result of human activity. Which makes it odd that attempts to predict how things will pan out have paid lip service to human behaviour, one of the key factors determining whether […]

Even a small cut in global warming will help slow sea level rise

Even a small cut in global warming will help slow sea level rise

Prairie Pictures/Getty When it comes to avoiding dangerous rises in sea level, every little bit of global warming we can avoid will make a difference. In Paris in December 2015, world leaders agreed to try to limit warming to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, and if possible keep it within 1.5 °C. While a 2 […]

Deadly heat: How to survive the world’s new temperature extremes

Deadly heat: How to survive the world’s new temperature extremes

The sun sets in a market in Thailand, but the heat doesn’t always let upSirichai raksue/Alamy Stock Photo By John Pickrell EVEN by Australian standards, last summer was a scorcher. January 2017 was the hottest ever recorded in Sydney and Brisbane, and great swathes of the south-east endured temperatures that often exceeded 40°C for weeks on […]

UK’s plastic bag ban is a pitiful attempt at a greener future

UK’s plastic bag ban is a pitiful attempt at a greener future

Tough on plastic bags, but it’s not enoughDaniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty By Michael Le Page Prime Minister Theresa May today unveiled the UK government’s long-awaited 25-year plan for improving the environment. It contains much talk about protecting wildlife, making the country cleaner and greener, and so on. It all sounds wonderful, but it is mostly waffle. “The […]

Storm waves can move boulders heavier than the Statue of Liberty

Storm waves can move boulders heavier than the Statue of Liberty

Rogue waves can move rocks weighing hundreds of tonnesrock on coast Noel Moore/Alamy Stock Photo By Lucas Joel MONSTROUS oceanic waves are able to transport boulders weighing hundreds of tonnes. The finding helps explain how huge rocks end up atop high cliffs. It also implies that storm waves, and other rogue waves, can be more […]

Creating an augmented-reality sandbox for astrophysics

Creating an augmented-reality sandbox for astrophysics

Top Story Undergraduate students designed and built a sandbox where users can mold their own universe with sand and watch how gravity affects an object — a spacecraft or a comet, for example — as it travels through the imagined environment. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the augmented-reality sandbox, dubbed “Gravbox,” […]

If the sea floor is sinking, are we safe from sea level rise?

If the sea floor is sinking, are we safe from sea level rise?

Meltwater adds to sea level riseIra Block/National Geographic/Getty By Michael Le Page “We’ve measured sea level rise wrong for 20 years – and it’s higher than previously thought.” Well, no, not really. This is just one of the misleading headlines about the first study to try to work out how much the ocean floor is […]

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