sciencealert.com
Giraffes Are Heading Towards a "Silent Extinction", as Populations Plummet
Almost 40% have disappeared in 30 years.
By Peter Dockrill

The tallest animal in the world has been brought tragically low, with new research revealing that the global giraffe population has plummeted by up to 40 percent over the last 30 years.

This means the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is now officially listed as “Vulnerable” on the Red List of Threatened Species.

The Red List, which is maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), only currently recognises a single species of giraffe (G. camelopardalis), although researchers recently identified four distinct species of the animal.

While the IUCN is waiting more data before confirming that reclassification, the overall picture for giraffes looks bleak, with numbers dropping from approximately 151,702–163,452 individuals in 1985 to 97,562 in 2015.

That’s a 36–40 percent decline, depending on which 1985 estimate you start with, and the resulting change in Red List status is something to be concerned about.

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5

Fun Fact Friday: How Do You Survive in the Big Empty? These Lagomorphs Use Superpower Adaptations, of Course.

By Nancy Patterson, Public Affairs Specialist, Greater Sage-Grouse Rocky Mountain Region

It’s wide open in the Big Empty of sagebrush country. For the more than 350 species that live here, hiding spots are few and horizons are long. When you’re a favorite food of lots of predators you need special adaptations to survive. Lagomorphs are adaptation champs in this ecosystem. The term lagomorph describes mammals in the order of lagomorpha, better known as hares, rabbits, and pikas. In sagebrush country, some lagomorphs you might see are jackrabbits, cottontails, and pygmy rabbits.

Rabbits and hares have big eyes set on the sides of their heads. This gives them a wide viewpoint to look around for threats. Their large ears act like giant microphones to capture the slightest sound. And their long back feet act as a speedy superpower. With them they can spring into the air and dart quickly in a jig-jag pattern to escape predators. Jackrabbits can run at speeds of 40 miles per hour and their powerful hind legs can propel them in 10-foot leaps with each bound. Imagine trying to keep up with one of these athletic racers!

But, it’s tough to survive on big feet, eyes, and ears alone. It also helps to have superpower hiding adaptations. And rabbits and hares have some that act just like invisibility cloaks.

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 –Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, from the Introduction

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seeker.com
'Star in a Jar’ Fusion Reactor Works and Promises Infinite Energy
New tests verify that Germany's Wendelstein 7-X fusion energy device is on track to safely suspend plasma in magnetic fields.
By Glenn McDonald

For several decades now, scientists from around the world have been pursuing a ridiculously ambitious goal: They hope to develop a nuclear fusion reactor that would generate energy in the same manner as the sun and other stars, but down here on Earth.

Incorporated into terrestrial power plants, this “star in a jar” technology would essentially provide Earth with limitless clean energy, forever. And according to new reports out of Europe this week, we just took another big step toward making it happen.

In a study published in the latest edition of the journal Nature Communications, researchers confirmed that Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) fusion energy device is on track and working as planned. The space-age system, known as a stellerator, generated its first batch of hydrogen plasma when it was first fired up earlier this year. The new tests basically give scientists the green light to proceed to the next stage of the process.

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Study in front of the fireplace for a change of scenery? Don’t mind if I do. 📚✏📖☕

Side note: I have started dreaming about differential equations. The other night I dreamt I was scaling a mountain and cackling gremlins were chucking linear DEs at me like grenades, and if I didn’t solve them quickly they exploded. 💣

I get so many messages where people tell me they want to pursue science, but they aren’t good at math & it makes me really sad. Math is a skill, and it just needs to be worked at. Bad teachers make it hard, but with extra resources and extra practice you can do. Feeling “bad” at math is often caused by low self-confidence early on, and can stick through life. Math is difficult, but its also beautiful and extremely useful. 

Anyone who feel like they are too bad at math to pursue their dreams, please message me and I will send you all the love and support you need. I can even help with math problems. Just don’t give up. 

sciencealert.com
NASA Might Have Just Solved One of the Sun's Oldest Mysteries
Why the atmosphere is hotter than the surface.
By David Nield

Pictures beamed back from a NASA space observatory are helping to solve a mystery that’s puzzled scientists since the 1940s: why the outer atmosphere of the Sun, its corona, is hotter than the visible surface.

And we’re not talking about a minor temperature discrepancy, either. At the visible surface of the Sun, you can expect a toasty temperature of about 5,500 degrees Celsius (or 9,932 degrees Fahrenheit), but up in the corona, the temperature is around 200 to 500 times hotter.

Now, based on observations from the IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) mission, NASA researchers think the corona is partly heated by ‘heat bombs’ going off, caused by blasts of energy from magnetic fields criss-crossing and realigning in the corona.

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i’m the kind of person who loves pretty much all subjects but if there’s one area of study i really enjoy, it’s stem! so here are a bunch of resources for all things stem related!!

general

science

technology + engineering

mathematics

more masterposts!!

i hope this was helpful! keep shining like the star you are and remember to be awesome today!!

- Aza

popsci.com
The planet is heating up faster than species can migrate
A new study finds evidence of many local extinctions

Visitors to the Santa Catalina Mountains just outside Tucson, Arizona encounter a very disturbing sight: patches of dead alligator junipers scattered across hillsides at the base of the range. Wildfires did not destroy these trees — climate change did.

The trees can’t survive where it’s hot, so many have moved to higher elevations, where it is cooler. But if the heat keeps rising, they will die there too, and eventually cease to exist entirely.

“They can’t cope with the conditions,” says John J. Wiens, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. “They simply can’t change fast enough.”

What is far worse, however, is that this is no isolated example.

The plight of the alligator juniper is but one obvious piece of a frightening pattern of local extinction currently underway “everywhere, all over the planet,” Wiens says, “It is happening among birds, plants, animals, in the ocean and in the freshwater environment.”

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🔹PRO TIP🔹 for Medblrs, Nurblrs, Health Care workers, lab researchers, and other people with long hair.

If you accidentally forget your hair tie and rubber bands/elastics aren’t available to you, use a glove to make a hair tie in a pinch! Just cut off the part around the wrist and use as you normally would, as depicted above.

Speaking from experience, it’s actually gentler on your hair than an rubber band, while not quite as sturdy as a real hair tie/scrunchie. The latex or nitrile glove hair tie is best for keeping a braid or low ponytail together and a high bun can be possible if gravity is on your side.