Science

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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Environment
7:03 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Feds Do About-Face, Step In To Help Endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

The clock is ticking for the Florida grasshopper sparrow.
Credit MyFWC.com / Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The clock is ticking for the highly-endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow, but a new project recently green-lit by a federal agency may offer some hope for avoiding extinction. Scientists believe there are roughly 200 of the tiny birds remaining in the wild. Two years ago, scientists found the lowest count of the birds in history: last year's numbers dipped even lower. 

      

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Climate Change
6:03 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Sea Level Rise May Happen Too Quick For Shore Birds To React

Shore birds in South Florida are facing down the threat of rising sea levels.
Credit Hunter-Desportes / Flickr Creative Commons

Humans aren't the only species facing an uncertain future in South Florida should current sea level rise predictions prove accurate. Migratory and resident shore birds also would feel the pinch of encroaching salt water, beach erosion, and shore line and habitat loss. 

When examining current land modeling and other scientific data, in addition to physical evidence, "It becomes clear what a substantial threat sea level rise will be," said Julie Wraithmell, director of Wildlife Conservation, Florida, for the National Audubon Society. 

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Everglades National Park
7:00 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Read About New Boating Guidelines For The Everglades

The public is asked to weigh in on proposed changes to boating regulations inside Everglades National Park.
Credit Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

Proposed changes at Everglades National Park have put anglers at odds with environmental groups. The park's draft general management plan, which includes several variations (or "alternatives"), is currently up for public comment. This Sunday is the deadline to weigh in on proposed measures, which include prohibiting traditional boating in about one-third of Florida Bay. 

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Earth Day
1:53 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Al Gore: How Six Trends Will Impact Florida, The World

Al Gore
Credit twitter.com/algore

Today is Earth Day. 

And here in low-lying, hurricane prone Florida, the day has special meaning.

Sea-level rise is no longer something so incremental that we don't notice.

It's real and visible, and planning for a future of rising oceans has become a top priority for local towns, cities and counties across the state.

For some perspective, WLRN turned to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who has become one of world's foremost thinkers on the consequences of global warming and climate change.

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Medicine
8:00 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Cancer Patients Turn To Scorpion Venom From Cuba

A doctor applies a mild electric shock to a blue scorpion to extract its venom.
Credit Noah Friedman-Rudovsky

The following is a brief excerpt from a new feature article written by Jean Friedman-Rudovsky. The article appears today in the three South Florida county editions of the New Times. The excerpt below is reprinted with permission. Read the entire article by picking up the current issue at a local newsstand or by clicking on the link to the New Times website at the end of the excerpt.

                            * * *

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Science
7:01 am
Tue April 16, 2013

2 Million Floridians Threatened By Sea Level Rise, But New Study Says It Can Be Slowed

Parts of Miami will be under water if sea level rise projections are correct.
Credit maxstrz / Flickr Creative Commons

If sea level rise continues unabated, sections of South Florida -- and Miami in particular -- will be under water in a matter of decades. But a new study suggests that swift reductions in "short-lived climate pollutants" and carbon dioxide levels could help to slow the rise.  

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