SAN DIEGO — Kurt looks and acts like any other young horse. He scampers and strides on springy legs, testing their strength. When it’s time to recharge, he nuzzles up to his mother for some nourishing milk.But Kurt is no ordinary horse. Kurt is a clone.The 2-month-old colt is a Przewalski’s horse, a species native to central Asia that once went extinct in the wild and is still critically endangered, with only about 2,000 remaining.San Diego Zoo Global researchers have high hopes that Kurt can help turn things around for his species. He was cloned from skin cells taken from a stallion in 1980 a...
MIAMI — As the tail end of one of the most active hurricane seasons in history nears, Miami-Dade County appears once again poised to emerge unscathed. The region dodged hurricanes and tropical storms that posed a potential threat to South Florida. But what will happen when that luck runs out?Housing advocates have long feared that the city is one storm away from disaster; nearly a third of all housing structures in Miami-Dade County built before 1990 are at risk of wind damage, mold contamination and even complete devastation from a hurricane.According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, nearly 1 m...
DETROIT — It’s a mystery. Invasive sea lamprey, the Great Lakes’ biggest predator, primarily feed on lake trout, one of the lakes’ most prized sports fish. When trout populations are high, researchers expect to see fewer lamprey-wounded fish, and more of those wounds when lamprey populations are spiking.But that’s not always what scientists are finding.New research into what may be behind the discrepancies holds promise to improve how sea lampreys are controlled in the Great Lakes, protecting a $7 billion fishery. It could allow lamprey managers to examine whether they have switched to other f...
Climate scientists insist in a recent report that fundamental changes in how energy is consumed and supplied are urgently required to avoid serious damage to life and property from rising temperatures, rising sea levels and greater frequency of extreme weather events (hurricanes, drought-induced wildfires, etc.).
This year, I served on the judging panel for The Royal Statistical Society’s International Statistic of the Year.
On the afternoon of July 23, a tire on a recreational trailer blew apart on the pavement of State Route 299 about 15 miles northwest of Redding, California. The couple towing the Grey Wolf Select trailer couldn’t immediately pull it out of traffic. As they dragged it to a safe turnout, sparks arced from the tire’s steel rim. Three reached the nearby grass and shrubs; two along the highway’s south shoulder, the third on the north. Each of the sparks ignited what at first seemed like commonplace brush fires.
Like a brain, an ant colony operates without central control. Each is a set of interacting individuals, either neurons or ants, using simple chemical interactions that in the aggregate generate their behaviour. People use their brains to remember. Can ant colonies do that? This question leads to another question: what is memory? For people, memory is the capacity to recall something that happened in the past. We also ask computers to reproduce past actions – the blending of the idea of the computer as brain and brain as computer has led us to take ‘memory’ to mean something like the information stored on a hard drive. We know that our memory relies on changes in how much a set of linked neurons stimulate each other; that it is reinforced somehow during sleep; and that recent and long-term memory involve different circuits of connected neurons. But there is much we still don’t know about how those neural events come together, whether there are stored representations that we use to talk about something that happened in the past, or how we can keep performing a previously learned task such as reading or riding a bicycle.
Just over three years ago, I was clinging to a rock in 20 meters of water, trying to stop the current from pulling me out to sea. I peered out into the gloom of the Pacific. Suddenly, three big dark shapes came into view, moving in a jerky, yet somehow smooth and majestic manner. I looked directly into the left eyes of hammerhead sharks as they swam past, maybe 10 meters from me. I could see the gill slits, the brown skin. But most of all, what struck me was just how big these animals are—far from the biggest sharks in the seas, but incredibly powerfully built and solid. These are truly magnificent creatures.
On October 3, the U.S. Senate passed a law to create an agency called the International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), to replace the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) set up in 1969. The IDFC will invest up to $60 billion in developing countries and, unlike OPIC, is empowered to make equity investments. It is designed to counter what some in Washington describe as China’s “economic warfare” of indebting developing countries and garnering diplomatic influence and support, largely through infrastructure projects such as the Belt & Road Initiative.
Trump's funding restrictions are preventing scientists from figuring out what's fouling America's first national river
Our nation’s first national river, the Buffalo River in Arkansas, was befouled last summer by algae that sickened people, but the U.S. Geological Survey under Trump can’t decide if a nearby pig farm and more than 3 million gallons of pig waste each year are to blame.
The fiery street protests challenging French President Emmanuel Macron over his proposed higher taxes on gasoline and the young climate activists of the Sunrise Movement who sat in at prospective House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office might seem like antagonists – one resisting, the other seeking, faster and more ambitious movement away from fossil fuels. I’m not so sure about that, though. Some deep currents connect the two movements, currents that raise a fundamental challenge for the climate movement – how to shed the issue’s historic framing as a question of austerity and sacrifice.