Sea Change


The Arctic Ocean is beginning to look and act more like the Atlantic. It’s a shift that threatens to upend an entire food web built on frigid waters.

On a cool morning in late July, the Oceania, a blue and white, three-masted research vessel, maneuvers through the dark waters of a fjord on the west coast of the Arctic island of Spitsbergen. Craggy peaks streaked with snow rise sharply out of the water. Expansive sweeps of glacial ice plow between mountains and into the fjord, ending abruptly in towering turquoise walls. Chunks of ice drift by, sizzling and popping like sheets of bubble wrap as they melt and release air captured ages ago.

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Greenland: A Tale of Fire and Ice


Are wildfires melting Greenland’s glaciers?

During the summer of 2012, fires exploded across the drought-stricken Colorado Front Range—a heavily populated area where the Great Plains meets the Rockies. One evening in early June, lightning struck a tree in the foothills west of Fort Collins. It ignited a fire that burned quietly for a few days and then rocketed downslope, fueled

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Dept. of Household Sciences

The Last Word on Nothing Division of Rubbing and Scrubbing On a recent quiet Sunday morning, I resolved to clean the caked-on grime on my stove. A roiling pot of pasta had overflowed one night, and in the rush to get plate to table and food to four-year-old’s mouth, the cloudy starchy water had cured onto the enamel around the burner and now refused to budge. Two earlier attempts to remove the gunk with run-of-the-mill household cleansers had been a waste … Read more…

Lady of the Lakes


Diane Orihel set her PhD aside to lead a massive protest when Canada tried to shut down its unique Experimental Lakes Area.

It was an ominous way to start the day. When she arrived at work on the morning of 17 May 2012, Diane Orihel ran into distraught colleagues. Staff from Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area had just been called to an emergency meeting at the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg. “It can’t be good,” said one.

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Broken Bones Stir Debate

Sapiens A controversial new study places our human ancestors on the North American continent 130,000 years ago—far, far earlier than previously thought In the fall of 1992, a construction crew made an unusual discovery during a freeway expansion in a coastal area of San Diego County. Buried deep within the silty soil were the bones, tusks, and molars of a mastodon, an elephant-like mammal that once lived in North America. When archaeologists took a closer look, they found signs that … Read more…