Taxonomy term

april 2015

Comment: When scientists come under legal attack

When scientific findings contradict some groups’ ideologies or business interests, they resort to legal tactics to stymie research. Here’s what scientists can do if it happens to them.
18 Apr 2015

Down the Earth With: Clive Oppenheimer

North Korea is perhaps the most isolated country in the world, with a people, culture and landscape largely veiled from outside observation, which rarely hosts few Westerners. However, in recent years a smattering of western scientists have visited the country, including volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer from the University of Cambridge in England. In 2011, Oppenheimer was invited by North Korean scientists who were concerned about a sleeping giant of a volcano on the northern border with China that had shown signs of restlessness. A few weeks later, he found himself on the imposing but beautiful mountain, known as Paektu-san to the Koreans (or Changbaishan in China), with a small team trying to unravel the volcano’s past and potential future activity. He has returned to North Korea twice since, and is looking to extend the rare collaboration further.

17 Apr 2015

Geomedia: Books: Breaking New Ground

Agricultural scientist Lester Brown ponders the global future of agriculture, but his roots as a tomato farmer make him keenly aware of the local challenges of feeding a growing population. A 1986 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship for his pioneering interdisciplinary work in the field of sustainable development, and the founder of the Worldwatch Institute, Brown reflects on his life and career in his autobiography, “Breaking New Ground: A Personal History.”

16 Apr 2015

Ice (Re) Cap: April 2015

From Antarctica to the Arctic; from polar caps, permafrost and glaciers to ocean-rafted sea ice; and from burly bears to cold-loving microbes, fascinating science is found in every nook and crevasse of Earth’s cryosphere, and new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.


    15 Apr 2015

    Getting there and getting around Nepal

    Flights: The only international airport in Nepal is Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. There are a handful of other airports throughout Nepal, but these are much smaller and offer only domestic flights. There are a few direct flights from the U.S., but these are quite expensive. Most itineraries require at least one stop, for example, in the Middle East, such as in Qatar or Abu Dhabi, or in China or Thailand. Many flight options also offer layovers in India, although Indian itineraries require a transit visa that must be procured before traveling.

    15 Apr 2015

    A front-row seat at a fire-and-ice show

    Many of the world’s volcanoes are high enough and cold enough to sport seasonal snow, and some even boast year-round glaciers. But what happens when those volcanoes erupt and molten lava hits snow and ice? Observing such extreme interactions of hot and cold is often dangerous in the field, but a slow-moving basaltic eruption in Russia in 2012 provided the right conditions to give scientists a close-up view on one fire-meets-ice display.

    13 Apr 2015

    Rome's hidden water trade led to glory, maybe ruin

    Crumbling aqueducts crisscross the lands that once belonged to Rome, relics of a water system that sustained an empire. But now, research suggests that much of the water that flowed into Roman cities did not come gurgling down a conduit — it came in copious quantities of grain, imported to feed a growing population.

    12 Apr 2015

    Benchmarks: April 12, 1934: Record winds buffet Mount Washington

    When Jeff Masters was 5 years old, a brutish gust of wind knocked him flat. The incident transpired on top of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, a place that has long fascinated Masters — now a meteorologist and the founder of the popular forecasting site Weather Underground.

    12 Apr 2015

    Peak's appeal - and hazard - endures today

    Despite the bad weather, or perhaps because of it, more than 250,000 visitors flock to Mount Washington each year. It has been a popular tourist destination since the 1850s, when hotels first sprung up on the summit (with their roofs chained to the ground). Some also claim the footpath to the top — the Crawford Path — is the oldest hiking trail in the country.

    12 Apr 2015

    Fire-driven clouds and swirling winds whipped up record-setting New Mexico blaze

    At about 1 p.m. on June 26, 2011, a wind-downed power line sparked a blaze in the Las Conchas area of Santa Fe National Forest. It would become the largest fire in New Mexico’s history at the time. Within hours, the flames spread to cover more than 160 square kilometers, threatening the town of Los Alamos, home of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which develops nuclear fuels and safeguards nuclear weapons, among other activities. Now, a new study identifies why the fire spread so far so fast, and the results may have implications for fire management practices in other mountainous regions.

    12 Apr 2015