By the 1940s, North American hunters and developers had driven whooping cranes to near extinction. Though they rebounded, changing weather threatens them anew. Cranes nest in Arctic wetlands, surrounded by natural moats. Persistent warmth shrivels these defenses, exposing chicks to predators. But intense storms can drown hatchlings. Annual migrations to Texas bring other challenges: Dry watering spots along the way force them to fly farther between rest stops.
Continue reading Meet eight species living on the brink, thanks to weather and climate change →
Sony was late to the vinyl resurgence with a new turntable of its own, and it’s going to be later yet with its effort to jump back into pressing records. Nikkei reports that thanks to demand, the perpetually tardy tech company will first start putting Japanese music (and some modern hits) to wax, with production starting next March. In fact, the company has already outfitted a recording studio with a press so it can produce masters in situ. If there’s a roadblock, it’s that Sony is apparently having a hard time finding engineers to help guide the pressing process.
Continue reading Sony plans to revive its vinyl record production →
The US military’s experiments shooting lasers from vehicles continue with another important milestone: Laser-equipped attack helicopter fired at targets for the first time. The US Army keeps getting better at nailing UAV targets with ground-based truck lasers, but it’s harder to fire accurately from helicopters. Not only does their position fluctuate with airborne conditions, but their whole frame vibrates as their rotors spin fast enough to keep the whole vehicle aloft. Hitting a target almost a mile away from the air, as the Army just accomplished in a New Mexico tests series, is a big deal.
Continue reading The Army is flight testing helicopter-mounted laser weapons →
The imminent release of Jay Z’s surprise album/movie/whatever-the-hell-it-is 4:44 on Friday has the music world in a frenzy. But why? How is it that a rapper half a year shy of turning 48 is dominating an ostensibly youth-based culture like hip-hop?
Continue reading How Jay Z Stayed Relevant for 20 Years and Counting →
A family of tourists in Canada’s Steveston Harbor recently got a treat when a friendly-looking sea lion sidled up to them in the water. The adorable animal came up to the edge of the wharf, and the family started feeding it. One young girl sat down to get a better look. That’s when the treat became a shock: the sea lion lunged upward and, in one fluid motion, grabbed a mouthful of the girl’s dress and yanked her down into the water.
Continue reading How Do Sea Lions Swim, Glide and Sometimes Even Nab Humans? →
You think our galaxy is special? Ha. Our boring pinwheel of gas and dark matter might be a nice hangout for humans. But 750 or so million light years away, there’s an elliptical galaxy, Galaxy 0402+379, whose two supermassive black holes are orbiting each other from a distance of only 24 or so light years. Their combined mass is around 15 billion times that of our Sun.
Continue reading Incredible New Observation Shows Supermassive Black Holes Orbiting Each Other →