Figure Five: Forum participants choosing where to allocate resources. Image Credit: Museum of Science, Boston Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog Climate Environment 

Boston is Wicked Hot: Here’s What They’re Doing About It

Want to learn more about this initiative? Check out the Wicked Hot Boston series, Parts One and Two. Want to address climate hazards in your community? Head over to SciStarter.org/NOAA to find a citizen science project. Wicked Hot Boston It’s true: the world is getting hotter, and Boston is becoming WICKED hot.  This past summer, the Museum of Science, Boston (MOS) team and local citizen scientists began to measure extreme temperatures. They used sensors provided by CAPA Strategies to make an ambient air temperature map of Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline,…

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Biota Project Opinion 

Data Literacy in South Asia: From Outsourced to a Lead in Tech

Opinion By Sabah Ul-Hasan (@sabahzero) on behalf of The Biota Project Blog (@thebiotaproject) What is outsourcing? Reverberating effects from British colonization of South Asia and the ‘modern’ world I live in the United States, and I was recently in a room full of scientists when someone made a wonderfully distasteful joke about receiving a call from customer support and that the person on the other end of the phone line had a “funny accent.”  If you’re unfamiliar with the term “outsourcing,” fear not. There’s an entire NBC television series about…

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mass extinction events Environment 

Anthropocene mass extinction: are we there yet?

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) In the last few decades, scientific observations have highlighted that we are now facing a mass extinction, caused in major part by human activity: habitat fragmentation, invasive species, spread of pathogens and diseases, climate changes leading to global warming, and, of course, direct killing of endangered species. However, this is still a debated topic among scientists. Some say that we are not in a mass extinction event, and that if we were, conservation biology and all the efforts we have been putting into conserving animal species…

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Hurricane Patricia Biota Project Climate Environment 

Community Perspectives Strengthen Hurricane Preparedness

By Helen Cheng (@ms_helenc / @thebiotaproject) For those who live along the United States East Coast, October is the height of the hurricane season. According to the National Hurricane Center, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The peak of the season is mid-August to late October, as shown in the graph below, with the number of storms increasing during this time of year. However, deadly hurricanes can occur anytime in the hurricane season. Understanding communities’ past experiences of hurricanes and how they perceive forecasts for…

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mass extinction events Environment Oceanography Paleontology 

The Forgotten Mass Extinction

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Yes, we are in a mass extinction event Recent research has spotted a new major mass extinction, termed the “end-Guadalupian (259.8 Ma),” according to a scientific paper in the journal Historical Biology. Previously, scientists knew of only five mass extinctions in the history of Earth: the end-Ordovician (443.8 Ma), the Late Devonian (372.2 Ma), the end-Permian (251.9 Ma), the end-Triassic (201.4 Ma), and the end-Cretaceous (66 Ma). Our current biodiversity crisis has been called the sixth mass extinction, but with these new findings it will probably…

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A red crane sits idle at the SWRP mine next to Boulder Ridge. A chain link fence separates the two properties. Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog Environment Health 

Researchers, regulators, and residents collaborate to test air quality sensors

This article was originally published by SciStarter on February 4, 2019. By Margaret Hinrichs In early 2018, Scistarter and Arizona State University began the process of collaborating with a local community, Boulder Ridge, to measure the quality of its air. Boulder Ridge is a 55 and older retirement community in Phoenix. Over the past three years, Boulder Ridge residents began to notice increased blasting, crushing, and trucking out of rock and dirt from an open stone mine next door operated by Southwest Rock Products, LLC. On days when there were no…

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Biota Project Environment Health 

Air Pollution: Breathing in Biofuels

By Jessica Monterrosa Think of the last time you were at a bonfire. Maybe you were at the beach, or a camping site. At sunset, everyone huddles around a fire pit. You lean toward the fire to get cozy and cook your hot dogs and s’mores. You wait in anticipation for your perfectly roasted marshmallow, enduring itchy eyes and a sore throat while breathing in the thick smoke. Even though you only spend a few hours next to the fire, you know that your car, your room, and even your…

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Environment Science Debate Science Policy 

Plastic Waste Necessitates Policies for Producers

By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) This article is part of a series about key science policy issues. Please use these articles to become an informed voter, ask political candidates about the issues, and put every candidate on record about science. Countries around the world, both developed and developing, have been grappling with growing piles of plastic waste from overuse of packaging materials, such as those for food and beverages, and single-use plastic tableware. In 2015, 42 percent of all plastic produced was used for packaging, much of which is used only…

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Environment 

Microplastics Contaminate Snow from Alps to Arctic

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that pollute the environment and can range from 0.05 to 5 millimeters in length. Bigger plastic items can be fragmented by the action of light, temperature fluctuations, ocean waves, or mechanical abrasion into smaller pieces that are widely dispersed, persistent in the environment, and sometimes accompanied by microorganisms. A recent article by Bergmann et al., published in the periodical Science Advances, assessed quantities of microplastics in the snow from the Alps and other northern European sites to the Arctic and…

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Environment 

Mapping the Urban Heat Island Effect with Wicked Hot Boston

by Emily Hostetler, Sara Benson, and Roxanne Lee It’s not just in your head; Boston really is hotter in the summer. When urban areas are warmer than surrounding non-urban environments, we experience a phenomenon called the urban heat island (UHI) effect.  Cities are filled with large amounts of artificial materials, such as concrete and asphalt, that absorb heat throughout the day and release heat at night. Living materials like trees, flowers, and grass tend to make areas feel cooler due to the shade they create and the water they release…

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