By Christopher MimsPosted 06.11.2009 at 3:34 am 9 Comments
Yes, but probably not anytime soon. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that the planet's average air temperature could warm by as much as 11.5°F by the end of the century. As a result, the world could be warmer than it was 55 million years ago, says Mark Lynas, author of Six Degrees, an analysis of hundreds of climate studies that reads like a nonfiction version of The Day after Tomorrow. Back then, the Canadian Arctic was as balmy as Florida and lousy with crocodile-like animals called champsosaurs.
Question submitted by Ward Danekas of Franklin Grove, Ill.
The answer appears to be no. A bird will spend hours tossing a pebble in the air, but it's nearly impossible to discern if it's goofing around or honing its talon-eye coordination. Gordon Burghardt, an expert on animal behavior at the University of Tennessee, defines play as behavior that doesn't seem to have a survival purpose, is rewarding in and of itself, and is performed when an animal is fully fed and stress-free.
It's not that they can't. They just don't need to, says Mike Murray, a veterinarian at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Birds have the anatomical and physical ability to pass gas, he explains, "but if I saw gas in a bird's gastrointestinal tract on an x-ray, I'd suspect that something abnormal was going on in there."
By Danny FreedmanPosted 05.11.2009 at 12:10 pm 0 Comments
No need to don a hard hat just yet. The odds that one of the millions of pieces of trash orbiting Earth will fall and hit you are about one in a trillion, says Bill Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies.
The risk that someone will get hit can run far higher, though, says Nicholas Johnson, NASA's chief scientist for orbital debris. NASA and other space agencies aim to keep the risk of injury from falling objects lower than one in 10,000. The risks typically run higher with large objects. For example, there's a one-in-1,000 shot that the Hubble Space Telescope could hit someone if it falls from orbit once it's decommissioned, so NASA will preemptively steer it into the ocean.
Amy wonders: "I have at least one packet of Splenda a day, usually more like 3 or 4. And their new spray Splenda goes in my iced tea, at like 3 spritzes per glass. I am sort of addicted to it. Is it slowly killing me?
It all has to do with where the cow was milked. "Organic milk often has to travel thousands of miles to reach distribution points," says Dean Sommer, a cheese and food technologist at the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin. To survive the journey and leave time to spare in the fridge, farmers pasteurize organic milk at higher temperatures than conventional milk.
After a trip to the Amazon jungle, President Teddy Roosevelt famously reported seeing a pack of piranhas devour a cow in a few minutes. It must have been a very large school of fish—-or a very small cow. According to Ray Owczarzak, assistant curator of fishes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, it would probably take 300 to 500 piranhas five minutes to strip the flesh off a 180-pound human. But would this attack even happen?
Let's take a look at the ingredients in a typical can of cat food: meat by-products, chicken by-product meal, turkey by-product meal, ash, taurine. Nothing too horrible, but in general, these things don't constitute a healthy human diet, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian with the American Dietetic Association. "That said, I'm fully confident that your body can handle kitty chow."
By Jonathan CoultonPosted 02.02.2009 at 12:42 pm 5 Comments
Chances are you've got a more advanced recording studio in your laptop than the Beatles had when they made Sgt. Pepper's, so record your music yourself. Then build an Internet home that can grow with your entourage. Skip the cookie-cutter MySpace stuff and get a full-fledged content-management system like WordPress or Drupal, which will allow you to build your empire as you go: a blog, forums, photos, videos -- all in one place that you control. And make sure it can support a digital music store so you can sell your own MP3s.