Archives for March, 2011

Mongolian Death Worm

A mysterious giant worm creature called Olgoi-Khorkhoi, which reportedly lives in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and is said to be two to five feet long, sounds like a miniature version of the immense sandworms that characters rode for transportation on the Planet Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 science fiction novel Dune and its literary progeny. But even…

The Guantanamo Dilemma

When President Obama recently signed an executive order formally establishing a periodic review system for inmates at the Pentagon’s detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, critics and human rights activists accused him of backing away from his previously announced intention of closing the offshore prison for terrorism suspects, which has housed close to 800…

Egret Feathers

In the early 1900s, the great egret’s snowy-white plumage was in high demand to adorn women’s hats and other fashions. As a result, North American populations were decimated by feather hunting – some groups by 95 percent. But over the last century, great egrets have been under legal protection and their populations are recovering. According…

America’s Nuclear Disaster

Millions of Americans are watching on TV the burgeoning crisis at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, where technicians are desperately struggling to control multiple nuclear reactors that have gone haywire in the wake of a cataclysmic 9.0 earthquake.  But those of us who are old enough can remember a strikingly similar moment almost exactly 32…

Precognition Brouhaha

You know that research is really provocative when it arouses a storm of contention and rebuttals before it is even published. That has been the case with a study by Darryl J. Bem, the retired Cornell University social psychologist best known for developing the theory of self-perception, which holds that people infer attitudes from their own behavior.…

Hippo Net

The African hippo is an enormous mammal of raw, charging power. And with a bite force of 1800 pounds, capturing this dangerous beast is the ultimate challenge. What’s it take for wildlife experts to catch and relocate a 3,000-pound bull hippo? Mastering a way to sedate and capture a hippo might offer a solution to…

Cadborosaurus: Sea Serpent of the North

The waters off the Pacific Northwest coast of North America are said to be the home of the Cadborosaurus, a snakelike sea creature that reportedly has been sighted from Oregon to Alaska. But most of the glimpses of “Caddy,” as the monster is affectionately called by cryptozoology buffs, have occurred in the inland waters near…

The Search for Jack the Ripper

London, 1888. The ‘Autumn of Terror.’ Over a three month period, five women were brutally mutilated by a killer known only as “Jack the Ripper.” It was a name birthed from a letter sent to the “Boss” of Central News Agency of that year – allegedly from the killer himself. It detailed his “grand work”…

Tap Into Your Inner Explorer

Dash Masland is a Marine Biologist and National Geographic Young Explorer Grantee, whose passion has been marine mammal conservation for practically her entire life.  Do you know where I fell in love with seals?  In my backyard.  Okay, well not literally, because obviously seals live in the ocean.  (Although, there are stories of little seal pups…

An Ode to Parks and People

Trevor Frost is an explorer, field biologist, photographer, and conservationist. He has spent the last 5 years working with scientists and conservation groups to save endangered wildlife and wild places. I spent everyday of every summer for nine years on the James River in Richmond, Virginia and it was on the James River in the James…