Wed, 01/17/2018 - 9:11pm

NC Science Now Reporter's blog

So Go the Trees, So Go the Carolina Chickadees

I hate to sing the blues about our nation’s songbirds, but after reporting the story about the concerns for the future of the Carolina Chickadee, I think I should. 

That’s because scientists say that since the end of World War II, there has been a decline in the songbird population over much of the eastern United States. And that includes the Carolina Chickadee. 

It’s not an even decline, which makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. 

Firefly Light Shows could become a Thing of the Past

Seeing fireflies appear all at once in your own backyard, as if a sparkling cloud hovering above the grass, is pretty cool—almost magical. It’s as if a Disney movie is coming to life right in front of you. 

Researchers know fireflies glow as part of the adult mating ritual. What’s not known, is how long fireflies will continue to light the night. Scientists all agree that fireflies are disappearing from forests, fields and marshes all over the country. In fact, fireflies may eventually fade forever, all over the world. 

One Man's Nobel Idea

Winning a Nobel Prize is definitely a life-changing experience. But the way Nobel laureates find out the good news is pretty unassuming. 

Dr. Aziz Sancar’s experience is typical for a Nobel Prize recipient. Someone from Stockholm, Sweden, where the awards are announced, called him on the telephone. And since the awards are announced during the day in Sweden, it was the middle of the night in North Carolina. 

A Torn ACL and a Long Recovery

I take serious interest in every science story I report on, but I must admit I had a special interest in this story due to personal experience. I tore my ACL a couple years ago. Ironically, I didn’t injure my ACL playing football or basketball or skiing; I tore it while hiking. I was stepping down onto a lower trail and my leg gave out. The doctor told me that many ACL injuries he treats stem from fairly routine activities like what I was doing. This didn’t make me feel any better. 

The Price of Biofuels

Before we talk about future fuels, it’s important to spell out some definitions. 

A biofuel is a fuel that is produced through contemporary biological processes. I know that’s quite a mouthful for a definition, but it takes in agriculture, plants growing wild in the forest, field crops like corn, ocean grasses, and even anaerobic digestion.  In fact, biofuels can be derived directly from plants, or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial waste.

Make your own Diamond

Scientists are still figuring out just how diamonds were formed in the Earth roughly one-to-three billion years ago. But while the research continues, if you wanted to give creating diamonds a try, maybe because you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship or you're looking for an investment, here’s a rough recipe. 

First, it’s important to know that diamonds are made out of carbon. 

So, start by burying carbon dioxide about 100-150 miles deep in the Earth’s mantle.