Science

Image: André Karwath

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes?

A new study answers a question people have long asked themselves about the animal kingdom: Why do zebras have stripes?

If you want to try guessing the answer, stop reading now.

Have you guessed? OK, start reading again.

According to a new study, a zebra’s stripes most likely help to keep annoying, biting flies off them.

Scientists have thought that might be the reason.

However, they also had other theories: that the stripes provide camouflage to help them hide from enemies; to confuse their enemies; to help them stay cool; or for a social reason such as to attract a mate.

by · April 9, 2014 · Animals, Science
Image of the solar system. Image: NASA

Scientists Detect Light Patterns From First Moments Of Universe

A team of researchers announced March 17 that they have detected light patterns in space that could be relics of the earliest moments of the universe.

by · April 6, 2014 · News, Science
Paper Log House, 2001, Bhuj, India. Image: Kartikeya Shodhan

Prize-Winning Architect Builds Shelters From Cardboard

One of architecture’s most important prizes has gone to a man who builds low-cost, recyclable buildings and structures.

Shigeru Ban is the winner of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

For more than 20 years, Ban has been travelling to parts of the world where buildings have been destroyed by war or natural disasters like hurricanes.

by · April 2, 2014 · Environment, News
Atom diagram. Image: Fastfission

Scientists One Step Closer To Harnessing Energy From “Nuclear Fusion”

A group of scientists in the United States has come one step closer to harnessing a source of energy that would be clean, safe and nearly unlimited.

The scientists, who work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, are trying to find a way to generate energy efficiently using a process called nuclear fusion.

by · March 19, 2014 · News, Science
The chandelier that was created out of the Maple Tree Forever Project. Image: BROTHERS DRESSLER

This Famous Maple Tree Will Live… Forever

In 1867 when Canada was created, a towering Silver Maple tree standing in front of Alexander Muir’s house in Toronto gave him an idea.

He would write a poem and a song about the majestic tree, so common in Canada and so symbolic, to celebrate Canada’s confederation.

His song was called The Maple Leaf Forever and it has been the unofficial Canadian anthem to this day.

by · March 18, 2014 · Arts, Environment, News
A map od the Great Lakes. Image: brian0918

Great Lakes Almost Frozen Over This Year

The Great Lakes were almost completely frozen over by March 2, with 90.5 per cent of their total surface covered in ice.

The five connected lakes are located on the border between Canada and the United States, in northeastern North America.

Although some sections of the lakes freeze each winter, usually only about 50 per cent of the water is covered with ice.

In 2012-2013, only about 38 per cent of the lakes was frozen over, and just 13 per cent was covered with ice in the winter of 2011-2012.

by · March 5, 2014 · Environment, News, Science
Mt. Everest. Image: CC-BY-2.0.

Cleaning Up The World’s Tallest Garbage Dump

Imagine climbing all the way to the top of Mount Everest—the tallest mountain in the world—and when you get there, the summit is littered with garbage.

Over the years, exhausted climbers have left things like empty oxygen tanks, tent poles and food containers at the summit.

There are even parts from a helicopter that crashed on the mountain in 1974.

Experts say there are about 50 tons of garbage on the mountain.

by · March 4, 2014 · Environment, News
Image: John Valley

Oldest Thing On Earth Is A 4.4-Billion-Year-Old Gem

Scientists have found the oldest known piece of our planet.

A blue zircon crystal, found on a sheep ranch in Australia, is about 4.4 billion years old.

The gem is about twice the width of a human hair.

by · February 26, 2014 · News, Science
Stephen Hawking. Image: NASA

Stephen Hawking Says “Black Holes” May Actually Be “Grey”

Stephen Hawking is a physicist, an expert in the science called physics, and generally regarded as a genius for his work in helping us better understand the universe.

by · February 17, 2014 · News, Science
Microplactics produced by toothpaste. Image: Dantor

Microplastics Threaten Marine Life In The Great Lakes

Tiny pieces of plastic – each about the size of a grain of sand – are posing a huge threat to marine life in the Great Lakes.

For the past two summers, researchers from an organization called 5 Gyres have been collecting water samples from the Great Lakes.

They used fine-mesh nets to skim the surface of the water.

When they looked at what they had collected, they found thousands of tiny plastic beads, each less than a millimetre.

At first the scientists didn’t know where these “microbeads” came from. Then they used an electron microscope to compare them to products such as face and body washes or toothpaste that people use to help scrub and polish our skin and teeth.

by · February 4, 2014 · Environment, News, Science