How cities can beat the heat


Rising temperatures are threatening urban areas, but efforts to cool them may not work as planned.

The greenhouses that sprawl across the coastline of southeastern Spain are so bright that they gleam in satellite photos. Since the 1970s, farmers have been expanding this patchwork of buildings in Almería province to grow produce such as tomatoes, peppers and watermelons for export. To keep the plants from overheating in the summer, … Read the rest


Be prepared


When a key member of a team is lost, the work does not have to come to an end

When Michael Pisaric was two years into his PhD, he travelled to Watson Lake in Canada with his supervisor, Julian Szeicz, and graduate student Tammy Karst-Riddoch, to collect sediment from several lakes in Yukon and in northern British Columbia. Szeicz was a geographer at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, who … Read the rest

Male human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis.

Technical settings : 
- focus stack of 57 images
- microscope objective (Nikon achromatic 10x 160/0.25) directly on the body (with adapter ~30 mm)

The new lice wars


Despite evidence that it’s time to abandon the no-nit rule requiring kids be sent home, schools have yet to get the message

When her three-year-old daughter was in daycare, Lisa got her first lice-alert telephone call. There were a slew of calls during senior kindergarten and more in Grade 1. The message was the same each time: Her daughter had nits in her hair and needed to be picked … Read the rest


A root of change

Bracing for Impact

The harvest of wild American ginseng root has been a part of North American culture for 300 years, but this tradition is in peril. Is it possible to save both a species and a pastime?

An aged photograph, archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, shows the memorabilia once on display at the Sundial Tavern, near Naoma, W.Va. Photos of babies, teenaged girls … Read the rest

Arthur Rothstein [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dust Bowl Unrivaled


Atmospheric conditions and human actions combined to drive the 1930s megadrought

Farms failed and livestock starved in the central United States during the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s. The event was not just the region’s worst dry spell in modern memory — it was the worst in North America over the past millennium, researchers report in Geophysical Research Letters.

“Not only did 1934 [the first year of … Read the rest