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march 2019

Benchmarks: March 31, 1933: The Civilian Conservation Corps is established

On Jan. 25, 1938, a heavy winter snowstorm struck Wisconsin, blocking the road connecting Blackwell to the nearest hospital 10 kilometers away in Laona. The storm left Blackwell resident Stella Simonis, an expectant mother who was hours away from delivering her child, snowed in with no way to get to the hospital, according to an Associated Press article that ran in several Wisconsin papers the next day.

31 Mar 2019

Red Planet Roundup: March 2019

With two rovers and a lander on the surface of Mars, six spacecraft orbiting above it, and scientists here on Earth studying the Red Planet from afar, new findings are announced often.

28 Mar 2019

Grounding Asian jumping worms

To tell the difference between a regular earthworm and an Asian jumping worm, pick it up. An earthworm will likely just lay there, perhaps curling gently around a finger, but a jumping worm will thrash around violently until it jumps out of your grasp. Researchers are looking at how this invasive species is altering soil in Wisconsin, where the worms have been found in growing numbers since 2013.

26 Mar 2019

Down to Earth With: Paleoanthropologist and underground astronaut Lindsay Hunter

In 2013, Lindsay Hunter found herself at a personal and professional crossroads. She had gone through a divorce, left the paleoanthropology doctoral program at the University of Iowa, where she had received her master’s in 2004, and moved, along with her three dogs and two cats, to live with her parents on a farm outside Austin, Texas.

25 Mar 2019

Frogs fill in post-Gondwana picture

The positions of landmasses after the breakup of Gondwana during the late Mesozoic and early Paleogene are highly debated, especially the configurations of the Indian and Australian plates around the newly opening Indian Ocean. In a new study, the paleogeographic and genetic distributions of a group of frogs called Natatanurans were used to test the various post-breakup models — and the results bring additional clarity to the post-Gondwana puzzle.

22 Mar 2019

Geomedia: Books: A witty look at "The Ends of the World"

Our planet has been through some harrowing episodes, particularly in the form of mass extinctions since the advent of multicellular life. How organisms came to perish in these events should interest all conscious, intelligent forms of multicellular life lucky enough to still be alive — you and I included. A great way to satisfy that interest is with “The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions” by Peter Brannen, a well-paced, well-sourced and well-written guide to mass extinctions.

21 Mar 2019

Geomedia: Books: "How the Rock Connects Us" shares copper country geoheritage

There is extensive literature on Michigan’s “Copper Country,” but most existing publications on the subject are either technical reports or anecdotal recountings of exploration, mining and life in the “wilderness.” A recent book, “How the Rock Connects Us: A Geoheritage Guide to Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale” — written by Bill Rose and Erika Vye, both of Michigan Tech University, with Valerie Martin, a longtime Isle Royale interpretive ranger — fills a long-standing need for a readable, user-friendly explanation of how familiar Keweenaw landscapes and recent mining history are related to the area’s underlying geology. It is an eye-opener.

21 Mar 2019

Abiotic amino acid found in subseafloor rocks

In 2000, scientists discovered a new type of deep-sea hydrothermal vent site in the North Atlantic about 20 kilometers west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which they named Lost City. Nearly two decades later, researchers have discovered that an amino acid detected in rocks beneath the site is produced by a geochemical process, rather than a biological one. The find reveals conditions that might have kick-started life on Earth.

20 Mar 2019

Neanderthals and humans suffered similar levels of head injuries

Paleolithic Neanderthals have traditionally been depicted as more aggressive than Homo sapiens, and reliant on inferior hunting techniques with close-range weapons that would have put them at greater risk of suffering gruesome injuries and shortened life spans. A seemingly high incidence of Neanderthal remains bearing evidence of traumatic injuries has helped shape the narrative that they lived harder, more violent lives and died younger than their modern human neighbors. But a new study in Nature looking at skull injuries in Eurasian hominids casts doubt on this brutish stereotype.

19 Mar 2019

How to become a cave diver

While snorkeling the spring pools is cool (no pun intended), a more in-depth way to experience Florida’s freshwater springs is to scuba dive in them. However, entering the caves requires you to get a cave diving certification. That’s because cave diving has inherent challenges distinct from scuba diving’s own challenges. Even after you’re familiar with buoyancy control, breathing control and how to work your gear (all part of getting scuba certified), there’s much to learn about the specifics of cave diving.

18 Mar 2019

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