Science Links of the Week » Explorersweb
A passion for the natural world drives many of our adventures. When I’m not outside, I love exploring discoveries about the places I live and travel to. Here are some of the best natural history links I found this week.
Making renewable batteries from crab and lobster shells: Chemicals such as lithium currently used in batteries can take thousands of years to decompose. Crustacean shells contain chitin, which makes them hard. Restaurants around the world throw away crab and lobster shells, but scientists have discovered that discarded shells have potential uses.
Addition of acetic acid to chitin results in the formation of a gel film that can produce electrolytes for batteries. Such batteries are safer and more sustainable.
“Both the material’s biodegradability and battery performance are important for potential commercial products,” explained materials scientist Liangbing Hu.
chasing a cyclone
Climate scientists track arctic storms: Scientists are flying a small aircraft over an arctic depression in northern Norway to study how storms interact with sea ice.
Cyclones affect sea ice, but ice temperature, roughness and movement also affect storms. “This interaction is perhaps the weakest link in predictive models of Arctic weather and climate,” says meteorologist John Methven.
The ice is too thin to support weather stations, but increased human activity in the region calls for more accurate forecasts. Collecting data requires flying less than 100 meters above sea ice.
A cougar is killing a wild donkey in Death Valley: Herds of wild donkeys forage for water in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. As they wander, they trample vegetation upon which other species depend. This has resulted in dramatic changes in local plant life.
The National Park Service has declared donkeys an invasive species, but camera footage has been shown showing cougars chasing and killing donkeys in the wetlands of Death Valley. (Yes, Death Valley has wet areas.)
Scientists studied predator-prey interactions in 14 different wetlands and observed cougars killing donkeys in eight of them. Other donkeys avoided these areas after the kill.
Fossils could be rare complete dinosaurs: A dinosaur fossil found in Canada may be a complete skeleton. Fossils jut out from a hillside in Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta.
Bone belongs to the Hadrosaurus, a species of large, plant-eating duck-billed duck. The visible part is intact, even including fossilized skin. The way it sits in the rock suggests an entire skeleton may be underneath it.
Whole skeletons are extremely rare. This he will be found in 2021. The size of the fossil suggests it is young, and is even rarer. Fossils of adult hadrosaurs are much more common. Fossilized skin also gives us a good idea of what a dinosaur might look like.
A cure for blues?
A visit to the canals and rivers will lift your spirits. A new study found that going to a river or canal when you’re feeling down can make you feel better. Combining blue and green spaces with wildlife has a greater effect than green spaces alone.
It has long been known that being outdoors is good for mental health, but this study suggests that being near water can also help mental health. and were retained across a range of mental health conditions.
Penguins get custom-made outfits: San Diego Zoo keepers made orthopedic boots for penguins. Lucas the African Penguin is Bumblefoot.
Bumblefoot causes redness and inflammation in a bird’s feet. Lucas developed the condition following a spinal infection three years ago. This weakened my leg muscles and made it impossible for me to stand properly. He sits on his ankles instead of standing on his toes. This caused a lot of pain in his feet and legs.
“The boots are cushioned and secured with Velcro. It helps to show behavior that is more typical of