Science

Environment
9:39 am
Fri June 28, 2013

South Florida Wildlife Center: Cute Baby Animals And Lessons On Respecting Nature

A gray fox kit at the South Florida Wildlife Center
SFWC Courtesy Photo

Imagine this scene: You're preparing to go for a morning jog in your Fort Lauderdale neighborhood when you spy an opossum sifting through a pile of overripe mangoes beneath a tree in the backyard. Or perhaps on the course of that morning jog, you spot a brown baby bird hopping on the ground beneath a cocoplum. It's pumping its wings but not gaining much altitude.

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Environment
6:00 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

What To Expect During This Weekend's Supermoon, King Tide

SUPERMOON Photographer John Spade got this shot of the last supermoon on May 5, 2012. It shines on an Atlantic Ocean pier north of Fort Lauderdale.
Credit John Spade/Flickr

The sun, the Earth and the moon will align this weekend to leave a supermoon shining on a king tide.

But it’s all a little less spectacular than it sounds. At least, now it is. A few years down the road -- if the climate change people are right -- the king tide may be something to dread. But, right now, it’s just an incremental enhancement of an ordinary event.

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Climate Change
10:31 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Watch South Beach Disappear Under Sea Level Rise In Hypnotic New GIFs

Ocean Drive on Miami Beach would be submerged under five feet of water.
Credit Nickolay Lamm / StorageFront.com

Current climate change and sea level rise models indicate a very grim -- and water-logged -- future for South Florida and Miami in particular. But new imagery from researcher/artist Nickolay Lamm paints an almost hypnotic picture of these proposed realties for American cities like Miami, Boston, Washington D.C., and New York.

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Environment
7:38 am
Thu June 20, 2013

How Igor The Amazonian Pacu Fish Found A Place Called Home

Igor the Pacu fish has two sets of pectoral fins and a deformed face but he is still a favorite for many visitors at the Loxahatchee River Center in Jupiter.
Credit Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

In the piranha- infested waters of the Amazon, a baby Black Pacu, the vegetarian cousin of the flesh-eating fish survives capture.  If it had nine lives, its next one was in a tropical aquarium in a Boca Raton seafood restaurant.

Weighing nearly one pound, the non-native Pacu was growing too big, too fast. Once again, the fish needed another home. The restaurant, The Ports of Call, was dismantling their aquariums so the Pacu was returned to its original owner.

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Forensics
8:54 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Animal CSI: Inside The Smithsonian's Feather Forensics Lab

The ornithologist works through the feathers of the stuffed birds to find one that matches her sample.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:40 am

Carla Dove smiles as she tears open a small, flat cardboard box. She is sitting at a lab bench in her office at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

"It's kind of like Christmas for me because I never know what's going to be in the packages," she says.

Inside the box are a bunch of sealed sandwich-size bags. Dove counts the bags.

"Eight samples today," she notes. Each sample consists of grayish pieces of feathers, and sometimes bones, all from inside the stomachs and intestines of Burmese pythons.

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Environment
6:31 am
Mon June 10, 2013

A Florida Scrub Jay 'Rebound' In Palm Beach County? Don't Get Your Hopes Up

An unbanded Florida scrub jay recently spotted in Jupiter Ridge Natural Area.
Credit Sabrina Olson Carle / WLRN

The future remains uncertain for the struggling Florida scrub jay, an endemic state species that is increasingly difficult -- but not impossible -- to find in Palm Beach County. Statewide efforts to study and document the birds' population and habitat use may help to turn the tide for this gregarious bird.

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Weather
7:38 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Like It Or Not, Hurricane Season Starts This Weekend

Forecasters at Miami's National Hurricane Center have changed their thinking about storm surge predictions after Superstorm Sandy, pictured here.
Credit FlickR/NASA Goddard Photo and Video

The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season officially begins this weekend and forecasters are predicting another active season.

But while storm predictions may be improving, they remain an inexact science.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the Atlantic basin can likely expect 13 to 20 named storms this year--about half of them to become hurricanes.

But National Hurricane Center director Rick Knabb says the cone of uncertainty in a storm’s path remains so...

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Community Contributor
11:36 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Five Reasons To Hack For Change In Wynwood On Saturday

On Saturday and Sunday, The LAB Miami will host the first-annual Hack for Change: Miami as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking. The event endeavors to bring together citizens in the spirit of collaboration to develop new technological solutions for some our country’s oldest problems. Or, as the national website puts it, “to do what is most quintessentially American: roll up our sleeves, get involved, and work together to improve our society.”

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Environment
6:01 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Add 'Crazy Ants' To Growing List Of Florida Invasive Species

The fire ant is getting burned by yet another new invasive in Florida.
Credit AZRainman / Flickr Creative Commons

The giant African land snail has competition in the "strange and destructive little invasive species" department. A report released last month by University of Texas scientists shows that "crazy ants" are "invading the southeastern United States and Texas" -- including Florida. 

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Environment
6:30 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Florida's State Bird Shouldn't Be The Mockingbird (Or The Flamingo)

Northern mockingbirds are usually about ten inches in length, with a fifteen-inch wingspan, grayish upper portions, white undersides, and white patches on the tail and wings. The female has slightly less whiteness in its feathers than the male.
Credit flheritage.com

In a "bird-rich" state like Florida, does the commonplace northern mockingbird deserve to reign as the official state bird? The Birdist's Nicholas Lund thinks not.

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Biking
6:02 am
Thu May 23, 2013

The Environmental Cost Of South Florida's Car Culture Could Be Negated By Bikes

Bicycling and the environment have a close relationship in South Florida.
Credit Daniel Oines / Flickr Creative Commons

In a state that is noted for its dedicated car culture, it seems a given that residents and tourists would benefit from any measurable decrease in road congestion, car exhaust, and air pollution. As National Bike Month winds down and South Florida, communities make moves to become more bike friendly, it pays to talk about the potential environmental impact of having more bicycles and less cars on Florida's roads. 

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Invasive Species
7:22 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Man Wrestles, Kills Record-Size Python In Florida City

A state wildlife worker lies next to the body of a 18-foot Burmese python captured by Jason Leon of Palmetto Bay.
Credit Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Jason Leon said he has two regrets about slicing the head off the longest Burmese python recorded in Florida:

He wishes he didn’t have to slay the beast, and he wishes his bedroom walls were big enough to mount the snake’s skin.

“I’m actually really mad I had to kill it,” Leon, 23, said Monday.

“But at one point it coiled around both of my legs and my waist, and I wasn’t going to take a chance on letting that thing get to my neck.”

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Botany
7:14 am
Tue May 21, 2013

How Plants Tell The Story Of Florida's Immigrant History

A moringa tree, native to India, is one of several Indian plants cultivated by Laura Mani originally from Kerala.
Mihail Halatchev

Immigrants have had a profound effect on South Florida. We all know about the influences on culture, food and language. But they changed the region's horticulture too.

Many of South Florida's plants have been brought here to improve the surrounds, provide food and shelter. Indeed, most of the plants that we consider iconic to South Florida are not native but transplants from elsewhere. Bougainvillea? It's a native of Mexico. Mangoes are originally from India. Even that most Floridian of fruits, oranges, are originally from China.

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Science
6:01 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Defense Department Funds Miami Project To Thwart Cyberattacks

Six FIU students were selected to participate in cyberspace internships at Point Mugu Naval Base in Southern California and Georgia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta. From left to right, Himanshu Upadhyay, ARC IT program lead, Christopher Lopez, Jon Carvajal, Tiffany Arrazola, Steven Lopez, Michael Garcia and Dr. Leonel Lagos, director of research for ARC.

In the next few months, Florida International University researchers will be doing their part to prevent the kind of high-tech cyberattacks that could cripple financial institutions, disable major infrastructure or threaten national security.

  The Department of Defense plans to provide seed funding of $150,000 to FIU’s Applied Research Center (ARC) to launch a cybersecurity test technology program. The project’s goal is to develop new technology to help thwart cyberattacks and cyberterrorism.

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Environment
4:13 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

South Florida's New Science Center And Aquarium

The South Florida Science Museum before its makeover.
Credit Courtesy photo / South Florida Science Museum

What's in a name change? Plenty, when the new moniker also signals an "emotional change," as is the case with the soon-to-be-unveiled South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. The entity is a rebranding of the popular South Florida Science Museum. The longtime Palm Beach County institution hasn't received a makeover since its completion in 1969 (which represents an eternity in a region that is eager to "spruce up appearances" on the regular.) 

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