This is one of those super-depressing "oh my god the world is ending" things that’s easy to joke about because it involves shrinking polar bear penises. And let’s face it, shrinking polar bear penises are just funny, the way rubber chickens or people falling down are just funny.
Coral reefs are fragile. Their biggest enemies: storms and bottom-fishing. Their new best friend? Tiny robots.
Yes, robots are now good for more than speaking in a monotone and repeating the same non-sequitur every time you ask them a question. Researchers at Heriot-Watt University are developing swarms of underwater robots that can repair busted coral reefs. The “coralbots" will gather broken pieces of coral from the sea floor (they will be “trained” to differenciate coral from other things in the sea like rocks or shells or Spongebob Squarepants), and they will then affix these pieces to the remaining reef.
You know that human breast milk is very important for babies’ development. (If you don't know this, go ostentatiously bottle-feed a baby doll near a farmers market! It will be fun, I promise.) But for various reasons, sometimes new moms can't breastfeed -- they need medication that shows up in breast milk, for instance, or they just don't produce enough. And this is where genetically engineered goats, uh … butt in.
New York legalized beekeeping in 2010, but that does not mean that it was cool with city officials when they discovered that a guy in Queens named Yi Gin Chen had 45 beehives in his yard, containing 3 million bees. That's more bees than there are people who live in Queens.
Unlike most games that let you control a monster that terrorizes a city eating people's heads, Maneater doesn't require a console, or even electricity. All it needs is a sticker of a monster with big googly eyes and an open mouth, and a window on a moving tram or bus (the moving part is very important). The goal: Move your head so that the monster eats the heads of people (or dogs) that you pass.
This is a pretty complicated Sophie's Choice-esque eco-problem brewing in the Columbia River at the base of the Bonneville Dam, in the Pacific Northwest. California sea lions are protected. But they eat Chinook salmon and steelhead, which are also protected. So, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has given the states of Washington and Oregon permission to kill the sea lions. Which is really sad, especially when you look at the picture of the thing and it’s so darn cute.
The good news: Some Danish architects teamed up with some British digital fabrication people to create a 1,250-square-foot house produced in a rapid prototyping machine. (A rapid prototyping machine uses computer modeling to quickly produce scale models of physical parts.) The bad news is, for a house made of Tinkertoy, it cost a bundle to build: $300,000, enough to get you a pretty decent house that would be much harder for a wolf to blow down.
Scientists and garden-variety animal lovers who want specifics about where to find particular species have reason to rejoice: A new online database called The Map of Life provides cutting-edge accuracy about the whereabouts of some 25,000 species, and it's adding more all the time.
Yeah, manatees are really cute. I think we can all agree on that. They're just so cuddly, like what a TempurPedic mattress would look like if it came to life. Even cuter: baby manatee. Even cuter than that: baby manatee with a sad story that has a happy ending.