Category Archives: Science

“Humpback Whales May Have a Secret Hideout”

The humpback whales that summer in Russia’s Far East are among the least studied of their species. Now, new research that uses photo ID to track the locations of individual whales has added significantly to what’s known about this remote population. The research has also led to renewed interest in the curious hypothesis that there is a secret, undiscovered humpback whale mating ground somewhere in the North Pacific.

Read the rest of my story for Hakai Magazine here.

Also posted in Latest Articles, Oceans

NASA sensor to study space junk too small to be seen from Earth

The film Gravity dramatized the risks of space junk. But although flyaway wrenches and broken-off rocket parts may pose the deadliest threat to spacecraft, most orbital debris is actually much smaller—think flecks of paint and the splinters of shattered satellites. Now, NASA hopes to learn more about the dust-size microdebris orbiting Earth with the Space Debris Sensor (SDS), set to be attached to the International Space Station (ISS) following a 4 December cargo launch by SpaceX.

Read more of my story for Science here.

Also posted in Space

“Mystery Quakes May Be Among World’s Longest-Lived Aftershocks”

Central Washington State isn’t known for being very seismically active, especially compared with the western part of the state, where earthquakes are fairly common. But the town of Entiat, about 3 hours east of Seattle, is an exception: The area recorded hundreds of earthquakes over the past century. A group of scientists investigating this unusual and long-lasting activity recently reported that the quakes may actually be aftershocks of a larger earthquake, one that occurred 145 years ago.

Read the rest of my story for Eos here.

Also posted in Earth Science, Latest Articles

“Under Antarctic ice, microbes gobble up greenhouse gas”

Trapped beneath blankets of ice in Antarctica are huge amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Scientists have long feared that climate change will melt these ice sheets and release the climate-altering gas. But a new study suggests the threat might not be as bad as it seemed. That’s thanks to some microscopic helpers: bacteria.

Read the rest of my story for Science News for Students here.

Also posted in Environment, For Kids Tagged , , |

“Giant Antarctic sea spiders breathe really strangely”

Sea spiders just got weirder. The ocean arthropods pump blood with their guts, new research shows. It’s the first time this kind of circulatory system has been seen in nature.

Read more of my story for Science News for Students here.

Also posted in Biology, For Kids, Latest Articles

Solving the Mystery of How Sunspots are Formed

Sunspots Sure, the sun’s light and heat make life possible on Earth, and its gravity holds our entire solar system together. But our nearest star remains surprisingly enigmatic.

Scientists still don’t know, for example, why its magnetic activity fluctuates in an 11-year solar cycle. Or how powerful solar flares can knock out satellites, disrupt GPS systems, and fry electrical grids here on Earth.

What they do know is that sunspots—those randomly-spaced dark blotches on the sun’s surface—are a critical part of that puzzle. In September, an international team of scientists was able to show, for the first time, how magnetic activity in the sun’s interior leads a sunspot to form. And it revealed how that energy is later released in plasma jets and explosions, phenomena similar to powerful solar flares.

Read the rest of my story for Popular Science here.

Also posted in Publications Tagged , |

For Science: “Telescope clash deeply rooted in Hawaii’s past”

For the latest issue of Science magazine, I cover Native Hawaiian opposition to the Thirty-Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Download a PDF of the story here.

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Also posted in Environmental, Hawaii, Latest Articles

For Hakai: Five Aquarium Fish Best Left in the Ocean

For the new online science magazine Hakai, I cover five of the species most threatened by aquarium collecting. Read the story here.


Also posted in Environmental, Hawaii, Latest Articles

Read me at: Science News for Students

What do the world’s fastest runners have in common? Symmetrical knees! I cover the latest study proving the importance of bilateral symmetry for Science News for Students. Read more here.


Also posted in Latest Articles

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Is it a comet or an asteroid? In my first story for, I cover the discovery of two mysterious objects making a flyby of Earth from the distant Oort cloud. Read more here.



Also posted in Latest Articles