When you're used to seeing it in processed form, wrapped around old heating pipes or pressed into floor tiles, it's easy to forget that good old, cancer causing asbestos is actually a natural mineral. What's more, the natural form can cause the same kind of lung damage and illness associated with factory production. New efforts are underway to map places where fibrous asbestos is a part of the natural landscape, though it's unclear what you can really do about it if it turns out that your subdivision was built on top of an asbestos deposit. Deborah Blum has the story at The New York Times.
Meet the leaf-nosed snake, a peculiar Madagascan species with a gift for crypsis. Reading about it I found my way to Envenomation by the Malagasy colubrid snake Langaha madagascariensis, which turns out to be "This God Damned Snake Bit Me!" written up as a formal scientific paper. To avoid harming the snake and to prevent… READ THE REST
In Violet magazine, writer Sasha Sagan, author of the must-read For Small Creatures Such As We, is interviewing a series of inspiring and diverse female scientists. First up is evolutionary biologist Dr. Michelle Trautwein, "curator of flies" at the California Academy of Sciences. followed by South African chemist/nanotechnologist Dr. Tebello Nyokong of Rhodes University, and… READ THE REST
Spatial memory is the cognitive process for remembering and recalling the location of objects in relation to yourself and other objects. Turns out, our spatial memory also evolved to more easily remember where chocolate brownies than cherry tomatoes. Makes sense to me. According to researchers at Wageningen University & Research, this is because our evolutionary… READ THE REST
Unless you're an essential worker, there's a good chance your work from home, stay at home lifestyle will be continuing, at least through the winter months. That's more than a little depressing, but it doesn't have to mean you've just given up. Instead of just surfing the web or watching TV, maybe you can even… READ THE REST
Shopify got started by a trio of Canadians back in 2004 when they got frustrated trying to sell snowboarding equipment online. More than 15 years later, Shopify is one of the biggest names in e-commerce, the engine behind nearly 1 million different digital storefronts that have generated nearly $1 billion in sales worldwide. Shopify's power… READ THE REST
Back in the early 1800's, Russian physicist Emil Lenz noted an interesting phenomenon. When he dropped a magnet through a pipe, the magnet's magnetic field created counter-rotating currents in the copper or aluminum pipe. To the naked eye, that dropped magnetic ball falls a whole lot slower when it's inside the pipe than outside. It… READ THE REST