Suzan Eaton

  Update The official balloting is over. The unofficial results — the winners are Vulcan and Cerberus. For all the results check out plutorocks.com. Thanks for voting! ———– P4 and P5? Surely you can come up with better names for Pluto’s newly-discovered moons. Astronomers at the SETI Institute are asking for your help. You can…

Changing Planet

What’s the trick to making a truly satisfying hot chocolate?  It may be less about the ingredients you use and more about which mug you use to drink it.  Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford conducted a study, asking people to try out several cups of hot chocolate and…

Human Journey

  I was surprised to recently spot gnatcatchers in my neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia.  These birds are not a typical sight in urban areas, but this is just one example of the unusual guests East Coast residents have been seeing at their feeders during the last two weeks, thanks to Sandy.  The hurricane disrupted migration…

Wildlife

  Why would a bird deliberately fly into a hurricane? It seems that some migratory birds fly in so they can get a huge push coming out the other side. Researchers at the Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg, Virginia have been tracking migrating whimbrels. Before a storm last year, scientists attached a satellite transmitter…

Wildlife

Usually it doesn’t rain when the temperature gets over 100°. But last week in Needles, California a thunderstorm rolled in on a hot afternoon (115°). Most of the rain didn’t get to the ground, but it briefly made the area feel like a sauna. According to weather researcher Maximiliano Herrer, Needles sets a new world…

Human Journey

  How does one make a sand castle that is strong enough for those extra crenellations? By using the correct mix of sand and water. Researchers at the Amsterdam University found that a mixture of sand and one percent water is the ideal for making sand castles. Daniel Bonn, a physicist, believes with this mixture…

Human Journey

  What is the smell clinging to an astronaut after a spacewalk? Some have described it as an acrid aroma — others say it reminds them of seared steak.  After a 2003 mission, astronaut Don Pettit attempted to be a little more precise: The best description I can come up with is metallic; a rather…

Human Journey