Environment

New Analysis Suggests Earth's Magnetic Field Is Destabilizing

Photo credit: US Department of Energy

Earth’s magnetic field is generated by an interaction between rotation in the planet’s core and electrical currents. The field then creates the magnetosphere, which acts sort of like a force field, protecting the planet from the brunt of the sun's solar wind. This field has both a North and South pole, which can be used for navigational purposes, and they are not static. Variations in the electric current have caused the poles to migrate as much as 16 km (10 miles) per year.

Environment

This Is What Happens When You Turn A Water Sprinkler On At -34°C

Photo credit: Screen capture from Al Paul video.

A family in Winnipeg, Canada decided to hook up their sprinkler to the hot water tank and turn it on during a particularly frigid day. It was March 1st, 2014, and the temperature was -34°C or -29°F. With wind chill, it felt more like -48°C (-54°F). Watch the sprinkler spray a winter wonderland below:

 

 

Plants and Animals

Cute But Not So Innocent: Seals Blamed For Porpoise Massacre

Photo credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo, via Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

For the past decade, scientists have been trying to solve a curious mass murder mystery case in the North Sea. The victims: hundreds of harbor porpoises, washing up along Dutch coastlines with gruesome, fatal mutilations. The suspects: fishermen, boats, or some large, apex predator. So whodunit? After several years of CSI-style detective work, scientists have finally gathered enough evidence to point the finger at the killer, and it’s not aimed at sharp boat propellers, but those big-eyed, cuddly-looking gray seals.

Plants and Animals

Watch An Octopus Hide Itself In A Coconut

Photo credit: Screen capture from BBC One's 'Life Story' clip.

The BBC has captured incredible underwater footage of an octopus collecting the halves of a coconut shell in Indonesia to use as protection at a later date. 

In the clip, a flounder is following the veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) as it scuttles to find the second half of a coconut shell. Although the video seems to suggest the flounder is about to stir up trouble, it is more likely trailing the octopus for a very different reason. 

Health and Medicine

Contraceptive Pill Associated With Changes In Brain Structure

Photo credit: Annabelle Shemer, via Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Since its advent 50 years ago, the pill has helped revolutionize contraception and transform women’s lives. The pill is so popular today that over 100 million women worldwide currently use this method of contraception, and the majority of users report high levels of satisfaction.

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