Considered a “fundamental human goal” by the United Nations, the organization has released an annual WHR since 2012. The United Arab Emirates even has a minister of state for happiness. In fact, the happiest countries, the WHR consistently finds, don’t perfectly line up with the wealthiest ones.
Everyone makes mistakes, but when scientists do, the remedy goes far beyond saying you're sorry. Two fresh examples show how some journals and universities react when the need arises to set the record straight.
The German government acknowledged Wednesday that it will miss a 2020 target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but vowed to catch up "as quickly as possible". Rather than cutting emissions of the greenhouse gas by 40 percent compared with 1990 levels, Europe's largest economy will manage reductions of just 32 percent, said the annual climate report for 2017 signed off by Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet. The shortfall of eight percentage points translates into around 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) pumped into the air annually.
Psychedelic drugs are able to prompt brain cells in rats and flies to grow and better connect with one another. This finding further upholds the drugs’ potential use in treating a number of mental health conditions such as depression and addiction, according to a new study. The study, published online Tuesday in Cell Reports, studied the effects of psychedelic drugs on animal brain cells both in test tubes and in live models.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sexual harassment is rampant in academic science, and colleges and universities that train new scientists need a system-wide culture change so women won't be bullied out of the field, a national advisory group said Tuesday.
The Justice Department exists to enforce constitutional protections — none more than the right to free expression. And too many college presidents seem to have forgotten that they exist to teach students the value (and sometimes the cost) of those protections.
Cambodia, “hero rats” are helping with mine clearance. Years of civil strife left Cambodia one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. The rats, trained to detect explosives by scent, can work far more quickly than humans with metal detectors and are so small that they are unlikely to trigger an explosion.
Earth-orbiting satellites are watching Antarctica thaw. Eighty scientists from over 40 earth sciences agencies, including NASA and the European Space Agency, used satellite data from between 1992 to 2017 to find that Antarctica has lost three trillion tons of ice to the oceans over this 25-year period. Their research, published Wednesday in the journal
Nature, confirms a troubling trend, as much of the world's fresh water is frozen away in Antarctica. It's accelerating melt will likely play a primary role in swelling Earth's oceans two or three feet higher this century, or perhaps as much as six feet. SEE ALSO: Arctic sea ice is loaded with plastic litter from cigarettes and paint The most vulnerable masses of ice are in West Antartica, where NASA has already witnessed an accelerating melt. "They're melting like gangbusters," Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in an April interview. "These are massive rivers of ice that are dumping just huge amounts of ice into the oceans." Image: imbie/Planetary VisionsPerhaps most worrying, said Willis, is that this melting is unprecedented. Scientists are watching this thawing for the first time. They can see the melt is already accelerating — and it's unknown what's exactly to come. "We have long suspected that changes in Earth’s climate will affect the polar ice sheets," Andrew Shepherd, a climate scientist and one of the study's lead authors, said in a statement. "Thanks to the satellites our space agencies have launched, we can now track their ice losses and global sea level contribution with confidence," said Shepherd. "According to our analysis, there has been a steep increase in ice losses from Antarctica during the past decade, and the continent is causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years." Over this 25-year period, scientists measured around 7 and a half millimeters of sea level rise from the ice-clad continent. This might not seem like a lot, Robin Bell, a marine geologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said over email. But, the more recent rapid loses in Antarctic ice "indicates Antarctica can change faster than we thought," said Bell. In fact, 40 percent of the total rise, or about 3 millimeters, came in the last 5 years. That's when things really started to change. Until 2012, the study's researchers found that Antarctica had been shedding 84 billion tons of ice into the sea each year, incrementally boosting sea levels by around 0.2 millimeters annually. But beginning in 2012, Antarctica began to lose nearly 240 billion tons per year, largely from two giant West Antarctic glaciers, Pine Island and Thwaites. The West Antarctic ice is particularly vulnerable because these massive ice sheets sit over the ocean, and even slightly warmer ocean waters can eat away at them from the bottom. The locations of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, which alone have enough ice to raise sea levels by 4 feet, says NASA.Image: Nasa"The largest mass loss is observed where relatively warm ocean waters are melting floating ice shelves from below," Steve Rintoul, a study coauthor and physical oceanographer from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center, in Australia, said in a statement. These masses of ice, which sit on the edge of the continent, act as a plug, holding the continent's thick sheets of heavy ice back. "As the ice shelves thin and weaken, they provide less resistance to ice flow from the continent to the sea," explained Rintoul. "This increases the rate of mass loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet and therefore the rate of sea level rise." This leads to a foreboding future. Once these melting ice sheets on the coast go, nothing is left to hold West Antartica's ice back. And as the authors note, "The ice sheets of Antarctica hold enough water to raise global sea level by 58 meters." Certainly, no one is suggesting this will all dump into ocean — not nearly. But only an insignificant amount needs to melt into the sea for coastal dwellers, where billions reside and many more are expected to live, to be impacted by rising seas, flooding, and surges of stormwater. Around 40 percent of Americans, for example, live directly on the shoreline. To better grasp exactly how much ice is lost each year — and more critically, how fast these losses are accelerating — space agencies will continue to peer onto the thawing continent. And down on Earth, scientists will even depend on seals, fitted with data-collecting devices, to dive under this melting ice. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?
The Antarctic may have lost nearly 3 trillion metric tons (tonnes) of ice since the early 1990s, according to a landmark study published in the journal Nature. The new findings are the result of the most complete satellite survey of Antarctic ice sheet change to date, involving 84 scientists from 44 international organizations (including NASA and the European Space Agency). The researchers estimated that ice loss in the period between 1992 and 2017 could be as high as 2,720 billion metric tons.
NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Research suggests the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that rocked California wine country in 2014 may have been caused by an expansion of Earth's crust because of seasonally receding groundwater under the Napa and Sonoma valleys.
A demoralized workforce watching as its agency is dismantled by the very people charged to lead it: That is the grim state of affairs depicted by John J. O’Grady, a longtime employee in the Chicago field office of the Environmental Protection Agency, which is tasked with protecting the nation’s air and water, while preventing the exposure of citizens to harmful chemicals. The agency is doing none of that, in O’Grady’s telling, with career officials watching in dismay as EPA administrator Scott Pruitt seemingly lurches from one scandal to another while doing the bidding of oil barons and the chemical lobby. “Morale is not good,” O’Grady said of the agency’s 14,000 employees.
Californians will face a choice this November of whether to divide the nation's most populous state into three, an effort that would radically shake up not only the West Coast, but the entire nation. The "Cal 3" initiative is driven by venture capitalist Tim Draper, who has tried and failed in the past to place an effort to break up California on the ballot, including a bid in 2016 to create six separate states. Backers of the measure argue California has become "ungovernable" because of its economic and geographic diversity as well as its population approaching 40 million people.
Operations in the ancient Incan world would sometimes involve scraping and drilling holes in the skull, a surgery researchers now know was so refined in ancient Peru that survival rates during the Incan empire were relatively high—about twice that of the American Civil War for similar cranial operations, according to one study. It’s a technique called trepanation that was practiced around the world for thousands of years, primarily to treat head trauma, but possibly to treat headaches, seizures, mental illnesses or even to expel perceived evil spirits. The Incas seemed especially skilled at this technique.
Embedded in the lava still spewing some 130 feet into the air from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano are green crystals. Called olivine, these minerals can turn Hawaiian beaches green, and it appears some of the green gems are raining down upon homes near the eruption or popping up near lava flows. "Yes, the lava that is erupting now is very crystal-rich and it is quite possible that residents might be finding olivine," Cheryl Gansecki, a geologist at the University of Hawaii-Hilo that studies the composition of Kilauea's lava, said over email. SEE ALSO: Lava transforms a Hawaiian bay into a blackened peninsula "It can be carried in the pumice [rapidly cooled lava] pieces that have been rained all over the area," she noted, or left behind when weaker lava rocks are crushed by cars or foot traffic. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Wendy Stovall, who was out studying Kilauea last week, also confirmed that recent lava samples do contain olivine, though she didn't happen upon any separated green crystals herself. Other folks in the area, however, appear to be collecting the tiny green gems as they see them: Friends of mine live in Hawaii, right next to the area impacted by the most recent lava flows. In the midst of the destruction nearby & stress of the unknown, they woke up to this - tiny pieces of olivine all over the ground. It is literally raining gems. Nature is truly amazing. pic.twitter.com/inJWxOp66t — Erin Jordan (@ErinJordan_WX) June 11, 2018 Some olivines that popped out of an a'a flow. Kilauea's little gems. #hawaii #kilauea #olivine #lovevolcanoes https://t.co/1X2ACcWu7n pic.twitter.com/8UaA1IrKEd — GEOetc (@GEOetc2) June 10, 2018 It's certainly not unusual to find olivine crystals in most any Hawaiian lava rock, both new and ancient. "It's pretty common," Stovall said in an interview. "There’s often olivine in rocks all over Hawaii." And this olivine can become completely separated from lava rocks in a variety of ways. Sometimes the crystals can be simply weathered out from old lava rocks. Or, in the case of green-tinged Hawaiian beaches, lava can erupt through ocean water in steamy, explosive events, breaking the lava into smaller pieces and fast-tracking the separation process, said Stovall. Small green olivine crystals on a Big Island beach.Image: Stanley MertzmanBut in the case of this olivine presumably falling down on property near the eruption, the crystals "just kind of fall out" as lava is spewed into the air, said Stovall. "The olivine crystals folks are finding on the ground scattered about are from violently ejected basalt [a type of lava] blobs wherein the embedded, earlier-formed olivine crystals are freed from their surrounding pahoehoe [syrupy lava] basalt liquid," Stanley Mertzman, a volcanologist at Franklin and Marshall College, said over email. Both violent ejections on land and from lava flowing into the ocean can "produce freed individual olivine crystals that people can pick up any time," said Mertzman. Olivine crystals embedded in a Hawaiian lava rock.Image: Stanley MertzmanThe crystals may be flying through the air from exploded bits of lava, but it's unlikely they're also coming from the volcano's summit, where there's been a large plume of steam and ash erupting from the crater — and at times rare, explosive eruptions. "One thing I can say is that olivine is not raining out of the plume," Michael Poland, a USGS volcanologist, said over email. Poland added that olivine is common on the ground regardless, because roads in Hawaii are made up of ground up olivine-rich lava rock. A June 6 plume from Kilauea's crater, Halema‘uma‘u.Image: usgsThe little crystals, however, are not being created during the eruption. They've been formed deep underground long ago, brewing in the molten rock. "It really is one of the first things to form," said Stovall. And olivine might not be the only crystal falling down inside the nearby neighborhood. "It's possible that other crystals are being found," said Stovall, adding that a USGS rock specialist said olivine is difficult to tell apart from another common crystal, called clinopyroxene. It's also quite possible nearby islanders will continue to find semi-translucent crystals on the ground. The eruption, over a month old now, shows no signs of relenting, and could very well last months — or longer.
Update 6/12/18 at 8 p.m. EST: This story was updated to include comments from geologist Cheryl Gansecki. WATCH: These trees have lived for 2,500 years. Now they're suddenly dying
A fossil of a vicious clawed sea monster dating from around 500 million years ago has become the smallest complete example of a particularly deadly creature found to date. The 360-degree mouth of the juvenile Lyrarapax unguispinus was bursting with serrated teeth and its head was crowned with two spiky claw-shaped appendages. Animal diversity was booming at an unprecedented rate, and the arthropod was king of the hill.
'Fortnite' has become a cultural phenomenon and mega-hit for video game developer Epic Games, boasting 125 million players around the world. What is it that makes this game so immensely popular, and how did it come to be?
The baobab tree is one of the most iconic symbols of the African landscape. With its gnarly, root-like branches, it is often described as the “upside-down” tree, and its impressive height and width has inspired folktales, photographs, and iconography. The trees can live for more than 2,500 years, and have been beloved for centuries by…
In South Carolina, the candidate who loved President Trump best, state Rep. Katie Arrington, defeated incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford, who voted with Trump a mere 89 percent of the time and accused him of incompetence and promoting bigotry.
The morning after Corey Stewart’s victory in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Virginia, party officials assessed how their candidate might affect House races in November. They didn’t like what they saw.
When Kenyan feminist blogger Peps was growing up in Nairobi in the first years of the 2000s, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people didn’t exist. Now, however, Peps, who asked that she be identified by her nickname, lives in a different world. In February, Kenya’s high court heard arguments in a case challenging the country’s colonial-era anti-homosexuality law, which prohibits “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” – or put more simply, gay sex – as a felony punishable with up to 14 years in prison.
Tom Steyer takes the stage to the strains of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are a-Changin’ ” – surely an intentional choice, as we are in Minnesota – Dylan country. Mr. Steyer, a San Francisco billionaire, is in the middle of a 30-city, self-funded “Need To Impeach” tour aimed at activating anti-Trump forces. Such talk divides the country even further, and risks dividing Democrats.