Thursday, March 15, 2018

Leo Varadkar honours US-based Irish scientists

Leading physicist Prof Margaret Murnane was awarded the Science Foundation Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day Science Medal. Photograph: John Harrington

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has presented Science Foundation Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day Science Medal to Prof Margaret Murnane, a world leader in development of fast-pulsed lasers, and to David McCourt, an innovation and technology pioneer.
At an event at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said he was delighted to recognise two inspiring leaders who were contributing significantly to research and innovation but also members of the Irish diaspora.

A Vast, Growing Web of Cracked Ice Is Sucking Greenland's Lakes Dry

Visit Greenland on the right summer day, and you could see a 12-billion-gallon lake disappear before your very eyes.
Glaciologists saw this happen for the first time in 2006, when a 2.2-square-mile (5.6 square kilometers) lake of melted ice drained away into nothing in less than 2 hours. Researchers now see such events as a regular part of Greenland's increasingly hot summer routine; every year, thousands of temporary lakes pop up on Greenland's surface as the surrounding ice melts, sit around for a few weeks or months, and then suddenly drain away through cracks in the ice sheet underneath. [Images of Melt: Earth's Vanishing Ice]
On a recent expedition, however, researchers saw an alarming new pattern behind Greenland's mysterious disappearing lakes: They're starting to drain farther and farther inland. According to a new paper published today (March 14) in the journal Nature Communications, that's because the summer lakes of Greenland drain in a "cascading" chain reaction enabled by a vast, interconnected web of cracks below the ice — and as temperatures climb, the web is getting wider.
Read More at Livescience

Stephen Hawking Dies at 76; His Mind Roamed the Cosmos

Stephen W. Hawking, the Cambridge University physicist and best-selling author who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity, died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76.
A university spokesman confirmed the death.
“Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world,” Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, said in an interview.
Dr. Hawking did that largely through his book “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” published in 1988. It has sold more than 10 million copies and inspired a documentary film by Errol Morris. His own story was the basis of an award-winning 2014 feature film, “The Theory of Everything.” (Eddie Redmayne played Dr. Hawking and won an Academy Award.)

Read more from the New York Times

Stephen Hawking, a man synonymous with the mysteries of the cosmos, is dead at 76

You had his book on your bookshelf, even if you never read it.
You knew he was a genius whose mind grappled with cosmological conundrums as massive as black holes and the existence of the Universe.
Stephen Hawking entered this world on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death, and died today 139 years after the birth of Albert Einstein, fitting bookends for a physicist standing on the shoulders of those giants.
He lived for decades longer than his doctors expected when they first diagnosed him with the motor neuron disease ALS in 1963, astounding the medical community. He earned his doctorate, and by the time he appeared in Popular Science at the age of 38 he was already an acclaimed physicist

Monday, January 15, 2018

'I'm 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life' - Woman's inspirational letter posted hours after her death is the most powerful thing you'll read today

A young woman’s inspiring letter of life advice has been published online by her family – hours after she died of cancer.
Holly Butcher (27) wrote a letter of advice to the world which outlined how people should never sweat the small stuff.
The Australian died last Thursday after her battle with Ewing's sarcoma, a cancer in and around the bones.
Her inspirational letter which her family posted on Facebook has now gone viral.
She asked people not to obsess about their body shapes, to nourish their bodies with fresh foods, and not to complain about the small things that can go wrong in life.
Holly advised people to spend their money on experiences, not things. To enjoy nature. To "eat the cake" with "zero guilt". To listen to music, to cuddle the dog.
"Far out, I will miss that," she wrote.
You can read her beautiful letter in full here

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Ocean Is Suffocating, and It's Our Fault

Ocean "dead zones" — regions of the sea where oxygen is severely or entirely depleted and most forms of life can't survive — are becoming more numerous, and scientists warn that they will continue to increase unless we curb the factors driving global climate change, which is fueling this alarming shift in ocean chemistry.
Even outside these near-lifeless ocean regions, rising global temperatures and influxes of nutrient pollution are throttling oxygen levels in the open ocean and in coastal areas, threatening communities of sea life around the world.
This sobering view of the "suffocating" ocean was described in a new study, published online today (Jan. 4) in the journal Science. The study is the first to present such a comprehensive evaluation of ocean oxygen depletion and its causes. And less oxygen in the ocean doesn't just spell trouble for marine plants and animals — it could carry serious repercussions for life on land as well, the researchers cautioned.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

To address hunger effectively, first check the weather, says new study

Too little rain, or too much, is often a driver of poverty and hunger, leading to poor nutrition and food insecurity among vulnerable populations. According to a new study, rainfall patterns also provide clues on how to most effectively alleviate food insecurity.
The study, to be published November 24 in Scientific Reports, is the first to analyze on a large scale the relationship between food insecurity among smallholder farms in Africa and Asia, rainfall patterns and a range of interventions - from agricultural inputs to agricultural practices to financial supports - designed address the issue.
Smallholder farms are small farms with limited resources that depend on the family for labor and on the operation's crops for food or income. There are an estimated 460 to 500 million smallholder farms in the world, who grow 80 percent of the food consumed in low income countries.

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