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Critically Endangered Ocean Giant is Reproducing Without Sex in the Wild
June 1, 2015 03:13 PM - Stony Brook University

Are males truly essential for reproduction? Female birds, reptiles and sharks living in captivity have sometimes surprised their keepers by giving birth even though, as far as anyone can remember, they have never been housed with a male. Scientists used DNA analysis to solve this mystery some time ago, showing that these offspring were produced by asexual reproduction, a process called parthenogenesis, or “virgin birth.” Although these events have captured tremendous public interest, it was unknown if this ever occurred in wild populations of these animals.

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Switzerland Promotes Neighborhood Exchange Boxes
June 1, 2015 08:49 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2

If someone were to set up a telephone booth sized box on your street filled with unwanted items — such as books, toys and small knick knacks, perhaps — and then topped it off with a “Free” sign, what do you think would happen? If Switzerland is any indication, passersby turned salvagers and recyclers would appear out of nowhere, sifting their way through other people’s unwanted discards, thinking up ways to put their newfound discoveries to good (re)use. Some would even add their own unwanted items to the box. Neighborhood exchange boxes have helped Geneva, Switzerland reuse 32 tons of goods thus far thanks to a program called BOÎTES D’ÉCHANGE ENTRE VOISINS–A box for exchange between neighbors. But can it work in other cities?

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SPOTLIGHT

Prehistoric climate changes still detectable deep underground

Vanderbilt University

It turns out that the steady dripping of water deep underground can reveal a surprising amount of information about the constantly changing cycles of heat and cold, precipitation and drought in the turbulent atmosphere above. As water seeps down through the ground it picks up minerals, most commonly calcium carbonate. When this mineral-rich water drips into caves, it leaves mineral deposits behind that form layers which grow during wet periods and form dusty skins when the water dries up. Today, scientists can date these layers with extreme precision based on the radioactive decay of uranium into its daughter product thorium. Variations in the thickness of the layers is determined by a combination of the amount of water seeping into the cave and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the cave’s atmosphere so, when conditions are right, they can provide a measure of how the amount of precipitation above the cave varies over time. By analyzing the ratios of heavy to light isotopes of oxygen present in the layers, the researchers can track changes in the temperature at which the water originally condensed into droplets in the atmosphere changes and whether the rainfall’s point of origin was local or if traveled a long way before falling to the ground.

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Once Lawn’s Ally, Clover Rebranded as Unwelcome Invader

May 21st, 2015
With winter’s grudging departure, the season when many homeowners quest for the perfect, uniform, green lawn -- their own shimmering Holy Grail – has finally arrived! But what makes for a perfect lawn? What is it about grass that merits such reverence, such tender nurturing, such expense! And what makes a weed, a weed, and thus deserving of the ultimate punishment?
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The NASA Guide to Air-filtering Houseplants

May 19th, 2015
With so much time being spent indoors, it's important to ensure clean air. With the addition of some regular houseplants, indoor greenery can help filter harmful toxins and pollutants from the air. Find out what's in our air and some indoor plant suggestions here!
To read the full post and comment, visit the ENN Community Blog

8 of the Strangest Allergy Cures

May 13th, 2015
While nothing compares to the beauty of mother nature in full spring bloom, for those of us that suffer from seasonal allergies, we cannot wait for spring to move on. To help combat your allergies this season, check out these 8 strange cures from around the world.
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