Recent infrared observations of a star that once showed a pattern of weird dimming have turned up no anomalous readings, astronomers say – and that supports the view that a comet blitz rather than the construction of an alien megastructure was behind the earlier observations. The latest evidence, laid out in a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal…

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We’re all used to citizen science projects that aim at education, or at producing scientific value, but the combination – especially involving groups of young children – remains incredibly difficult to pull off. The ‘Blackawton Bees’ study is a touchstone for much of my thinking, but hasn’t been replicated in the UK and required a…

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Forgotten trees from long lost orchards and 20th-century city landscaping are being rediscovered in urban areas, and their fruits are proving not only largely free of urban pollutants, but more nutritious than their retail counterparts. Scientists at Wellesley College have joined forces with the League of Urban Canners (LUrC), based in Cambridge/Somerville and greater Boston…

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A new project called EyesOnHives has beekeepers buzzing. Developed by Santa Barbara–based Keltronix, Inc., the technology uses video to monitor hive activity in order to keep track of its health. A rapid decline in the insects’ population in recent years has concerned and at times baffled scientists and bee enthusiasts. EyesOnHives trains a camera-like device on…

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Climate change threatens more than one-fifth of the world’s birds, according to a new report published in collaboration today by BirdLife International and Audubon. Titled The Messengers, the report draws on 92 studies and reviews—including Audubon’s own Birds and Climate Change Report—to show how birds from all seven continents will be affected by global warming. It’s tough…

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Citizen science has become a firm feature of established research. The University of Zurich has joined forces with ETH Zurich and the University of Geneva in a call for universally binding guidelines and principles for citizen science. There are laypeople counting birds, characterizing galaxies, identifying invasive plants, and taking measurements of their own bodies. The…

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“I appreciate your evidence-based approach.” I said recently, in a heated discussion about washing nappies, “But while the NHS recommends using non-bio detergents on baby clothes, you aren’t likely to convince the whole country to change its view.” “Yeah,” said a colleague, “getting the NHS to change their views on anything is like trying to…

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This interview is with Shah Selbe. Shah is a National Geographic Explorer and, with colleagues at Nat Geo and elsewhere, is helping to shape the fields of open ecology and open conservation. As he says, he’s an engineer developing technologies to help with our greatest conservation challenges. In this interview, Adam Terlson and I interview Shah…

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