Great New Science Stories


Venezuela’s climbing catfish!

“…”The fish was so strange in morphology that it did not fit into any taxonomic category that we were aware of,” recalls Schaefer, a curator in the Division of Vertebrate Zoology at the Museum. “But it looked like it was run over by a truck. We needed better specimens.”
It took years to pin down where the fish was found, but the team collected L. wahari after several trips further and further into the headwaters of the Río Cuao, a tributary of the Río Orinoco. They literally picked 84 specimens off of rocks.
The new samples of L. wahari confirmed that the species is a member of a group that bridges two catfish families. Bony plates on both its head and tail, plus other features, link the species to the Loricariidae, a widespread and successful family of fully armored catfishes. But L. wahari also has a specialized pelvic fin that decouples from its body and moves backward and forward independently. This feature—used in combination with a grasping mouth to move like an inchworm up rocks—is otherwise found only in a family of climbing catfish restricted to the Andes, the Astroblepidae….”

Another fish story

Ever heard of the Astronaut Hall of Fame?

A newly discovered fault near Little Rock could bring about a massive quake.

What would happen if a scientist discovered the “truth” about the global warming sunspot connection?  Nah, it would never happen.

“…The theory that sunspot activity, rather than the burning of fossil fuels, drives global climate change could have major implications not only on individual ranches and farmers, but on the world’s food supply, Sides said.

Unless alternative fuels become readily available and affordable, he contends, fossil fuels will remain vital to the world’s ability to feed its ever-growing population, particularly in developing regions.

The standing-room-only crowd at the Blue Mountain Conference Center erupted into cheers when Sides said he believes that evidence supporting the sunspot theory of global warming and cooling is winning over scientists around the world.

“In August 2008 there were zero sunspots on the sun,” Sides said. “That’s the first time that’s happened in 300 years, and we had a mini ice age (then).”

“There was no human activity that caused the mini ice age,” Sides said.

He displayed graphs which show no correlation between peaks and valleys in greenhouse gases and global warming and cooling periods over the years. Other graphs show that sunspot activity rose and fell along with global temperature changes.

The last mini ice age forced farmers in the United Kingdom to switch from growing wine grapes to grains, which is one reason inhabitants of England, Scotland Wales and Ireland are beer drinkers, Sides said.

That’s just one example of agricultural changes that resulted from the last mini ice age, Sides said. He suggested that farmers and others consider the potential for colder weather when choosing what to plant this spring.

He pointed to temperatures 10 to 20 degrees below normal in many regions this winter, and to snow and sub-freezing weather that hit as late as June 11 last spring in Oregon and other western states as an indication that global cooling stemming from declines in sunspot activity has already begun.

If projections of a possible mini ice age come to pass, Sides said ranchers will have to figure out how to keep their calf crop from freezing and how to keep their cows healthy so their birth rates don’t fall as low as they are in the mountains of Peru, where the weather is so harsh cows have a calf every two or three years….”

Texas UFO caught on Tape?

Another Texas UFO?