David L. Barbeau, Jr.

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Look What You've Done, North America!

This is the story of two continents doing battle, North America versus South America. It is also a biological mystery.<p>For a very long time, North America and South America were separate land masses. The Pacific Ocean slipped between them, flowing into the Caribbean. The Isthmus of Panama was there, …

What's It Take To Become A Polar Explorer?

<i>Part 1 of the</i> TED Radio Hour <i>episode</i> To The Edge.<p><b>About Ben Saunders' TED Talk</b><p>Explorer Ben Saunders wants you to go outside. Not because it's always pleasant and happy, but because that's where the meat of life is, "the juice that we can suck out of our hours and days." In 2004, Saunders skied solo …

FYI: Could I Have Prevented My Nearsightedness If I'd Just Spent More Time Outside As A Kid?

Yes, you could have, you little bookworm.<p>My parents were right!! A spate of studies over the past decade has found that kids who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop near-sightedness. Outdoor time seems to protect kids even if they do a lot of "near work" (e.g., reading Goosebumps …

How the Earth’s temperature has varied over the past millenni…

How the Earth’s temperature has varied over the past millennium or two has long been a key question in climate research and massive amounts of work have gone into individual temperature reconstructions. The PAGES 2k Consortium brought together and reanalysed over 400 records of past temperature variability, broken down to the scale of continents, and published the results in Nature Geoscience on 21 April.<p>Download the paper (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1797 ; free for registered users until 10 …

BeerSci: How Beer Gets Its Color

Meet the two chemical reactions that most influence the malt character and color of your brew.<p>Before you read this column, I urge you to pop open a belated birthday beer. Pour that beer into a clear glass (pint or tulip, your choice), hold it up to the light, and take a good look at the color.<p>Two …