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Thick smoke clouds southern Portugal beaches as fires rage
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Smoke from raging wildfires billowed above popular tourist beaches in Portugal's Algarve Thursday after authorities ordered a fresh wave of urgent evacuations as the flames drew closer to a historic town in the region. Ferocious fires have blazed for a week in southern Portugal stoked by sweltering temperatures and strong winds, injuring dozens and leaving a blackened trail of seared forest, charred homes and incinerated cars, despite the efforts of hundreds of firefighters and soldiers. Aircraft scooped water from the sea to drop onto the creeping blaze Thursday, as firefighters continued their struggle to douse the flames, which have already consumed some 21,000 hectares (52,000 acres) of forest.
Germany Set to Release Man Convicted of Helping 9/11 Pilots
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
He'll be deported to his native Morocco
Escudo térmico permite a sonda mayor aproximación al Sol
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
CABO CAÑAVERAL, Florida, EE.UU. (AP) — Un viaje al Sol nos acercará más que nunca a nuestra estrella. La sonda solar Parker de la NASA será la primera nave espacial que “roza” el Sol, atravesando la atmósfera hirviente para llegar a 6 millones de kilómetros (3,8 millones de millas) de la superficie.
The Last Major TV Factory in the U.S. Is Shutting Down Because of President Trump's Tariffs
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
South Carolina's governor is calling on Trump to exempt parts used by the plant
Officials of North Korea and South Korea Will Meet Ahead of Leaders' Summit
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It is the third such meeting between the leaders in recent months
That Sleepover on the Great Wall of China Is Not Going to Be a Thing After All
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
You'll have to rent an Airbnb near the Great Wall instead
Trump Is Piling Sanctions on Iran. Here's How the Tactic Could Backfire
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The U.S. remains an economic superpower, but there are now many more countries with the strength and resilience to shrug off U.S. pressure.
Look Up! You Might Be Able to See a Green Comet Tonight
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
It's being called the "Incredible Hulk comet."
Charlottesville photographer would return Pulitzer if he could save Heather Heyer
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
“It’s hard to just take joy in something like a Pulitzer when you know that it came because of such a tragic event.”
Former Virginia governor remembers troopers who died in Charlottesville
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
“It was very painful. I cannot tell you how close we were. These folks live with you all day, 24/7. It was like losing a family member.”
Missy Elliott praises woman's karaoke version of 'Work It'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
WEST WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island woman's karaoke version of Missy Elliott's hit song "Work It" has become an internet sensation, even drawing praise from Elliott.
School demolition crews unearth 124
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, odd news
SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. (AP) — Construction crews tearing down a former middle school in Massachusetts have found a 124-year-old time capsule.
California Wildfires Are Causing Billions in Damage. Who Will Pay?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The law hasn't caught up to the scientific reality when it comes time to to recoup the billions in damage caused by the fire.
Saudi Arabia Says It Wants to Modernize—But Criticism Still Strikes a Nerve
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A spat between Saudi Arabia and Canada escalated after the Canadian Foreign Minister called for the release of women’s-rights activists
Amateur fossil hunter finds rare teeth from ancient mega
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A rare set of teeth from a giant prehistoric mega-shark twice the size of the great white have been found on an Australian beach by a keen-eyed amateur enthusiast, scientists said on Thursday. Philip Mullaly was strolling along an area known as a fossil hotspot at Jan Juc, on the country's famous Great Ocean Road some 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Melbourne, when he made the find. "I was walking along the beach looking for fossils, turned and saw this shining glint in a boulder and saw a quarter of the tooth exposed," he said. "I was immediately excited, it was just perfect and I knew it was an important find that needed to be shared with people." He told Museums Victoria, and Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate palaeontology, confirmed the seven centimetre-long (2.7 inch) teeth were from an extinct species of predator known as the great jagged narrow-toothed shark (Carcharocles angustidens). The shark, which stalked Australia's oceans around 25 million years ago, feasting on small whales and penguins, could grow more than nine metres long, almost twice the length of today's great white shark. Fossil enthusiast Philip Mullaly holds a giant shark tooth Credit: WILLIAM WEST/AFP "These teeth are of international significance, as they represent one of just three associated groupings of Carcharocles angustidens teeth in the world, and the very first set to ever be discovered in Australia," Mr Fitzgerald said. He explained that almost all fossils of sharks worldwide were just single teeth, and it was extremely rare to find multiple associated teeth from the same shark. This is because sharks, who have the ability to regrow teeth, lose up to a tooth a day and cartilage, the material a shark skeleton is made of, does not readily fossilise. Mr Fitzgerald suspected they came from one individual shark and there might be more entombed in the rock. So he led a team of palaeontologists, volunteers, and Mr Mullaly on two expeditions earlier this year to excavate the site, collecting more than 40 teeth in total. Most came from the mega-shark, but several smaller teeth were also found from the sixgill shark (Hexanchus), which still exists today. Museums Victoria palaeontologist Tim Ziegler said the sixgill teeth were from several different individuals and would have become dislodged as they scavenged on the carcass of the Carcharocles angustidens after it died. "The stench of blood and decaying flesh would have drawn scavengers from far around," he said. "Sixgill sharks still exist off the Victorian coast today, where they live off the remains of whales and other animals. This find suggests they have performed that lifestyle here for tens of millions of years."
Dog DNA Parties Becoming New Trend for Owners Looking to Discover Pets’ Heritage
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Just like human DNA kits, all you need to do is get a swab of your dog's saliva.
Climate becomes major Swedish election issue after wildfires
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Sweden's wildfires and drought have caused the environment to become the second most important issue after immigration for Swedes before the September 9 general election, a poll showed Thursday. The heatwave and drought triggered dozens of wildfires, from the south up to the Arctic Circle as the country registered the hottest month of July in two centuries, with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). The Nordic nation, where summer temperatures are usually closer to 23 Celsius, is not equipped to deal with this kind of natural catastrophe and asked for help from Italy, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Poland and France.
Engineering Earth's climate might quell global warming, but it could come with a cost
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
When Mount Pinatubo violently erupted in 1991, the volcano blasted millions of tons of gas well over 20 miles into Earth's atmosphere. After condensing into little droplets, the particles reflected sunlight back into space and cooled the planet by about 1 degree Fahrenheit for over a year.  Nearly three decades later, some scientists wonder if humans could effectively do the same thing — by using blimps, rockets, or planes — in the name of combating the increasingly ruinous consequences of global warming. This geoengineering concept, however, may carry some unintended consequences — particularly when it comes to the world's future food supply.  SEE ALSO: California's Mendocino Complex fire just became the largest wildfire in state history In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers examined how massive volcanic eruptions like Pinatubo's affected the growth of crops. The scientists found that while edible plants grow much better when it's cooler, the diminished sunlight stymied the growth of wheat, rice, corn, and soy. In short, artificially cooling the planet might not save vast croplands imperiled by accelerating, human-caused climate change.     "If we think of geoengineering as an experimental surgery, our findings suggest that the side effects of the treatment are just as bad as the original disease," Jonathan Proctor, a study coauthor who researches the potential impacts of geoengineering on agriculture at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a press call.  Mount Pinatubo's ash cloud, in 1991.Image: usgsThere are different ideas of how to geoengineer, or intervene in, Earth's climate. And one of the most studied concepts is solar geoengineering. That idea hinges on reflecting sunlight into space, keeping the Earth cooler.  The most realistic way to accomplish this is to try to mimic the effects of volcanoes and repeatedly send reflective particles, or gases that become reflective particles, into the high atmosphere. However, the science around solar geoengineering — and how it might affect the planet — is not nearly settled.  Engineering our climate is a largely conceptual, almost science fiction-like idea, at least for now.  "Different people have talked about this technology as if it's something of a last resort," Solomon Hsiang, also a study coauthor, said in an interview. "I think we really don’t know how risky it might be." To better understand the risk of intentionally reflecting sunlight back into space — which reduces the amount of heat that enters Earth — Hsiang's team looked at wheat, rice, maize, and soy production in over 100 countries between 1979 and 2009. Then, they used satellite measurements of the reflective particles spewed from volcanoes, known as sulfate aerosols, to determine that the blocked sunlight canceled out any benefits crops receive from growing in cooler conditions.  That said, the way volcanoes cool the planet are quite different than how human-engineered cooling would likely impact the climate, said David Keith, a physicist at Harvard University's Solar Geoengineering Research Program. "Yet, this study implies in its introduction and conclusion that volcanic eruptions are more or less synonymous with geoengineering. That's false," said Keith, who wasn't involved with the new study.  An animation of aerosol particles from Mount Pinatubo shrouding portions of Earth between June 1991 and September 1993.Image: Jonathan Proctor and Solomon HsiangFor one, unlike a volcanic eruption, geoengineering would involve a continuous loading of aerosols into the atmosphere, which will have substantially different climatic consequences, Keith added. Volcanoes cool the land much more quickly than the oceans, leading to a global temperature imbalance that has significant effects on rainfall. Secondly, volcanic eruptions like Pinatubo's often don't spread reflective particles evenly around the globe, so the dimming might be concentrated in one hemisphere, which brings other shifts to global weather and rainfall.  "Bottom line: Solar geoengineering will produce a different climate response than a volcano making it difficult to use this volcanic data to directly assess the agricultural impacts of possible solar geoengineering," said Keith.  Hsiang makes clear that they're not in support of or opposed to geoengineering, but that they're attempting to reveal the realities of sending clouds of reflective particles into the upper atmosphere.  Geoengineering, emphasized Hsiang, is by no means the best, nor easiest, solution to combating a global disruption of Earth's climate, which has been stoked by human emissions of potent greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  "The surest way to deal with that [climate change] is to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions — that's a matter of simple science," said Hsiang. Geoengineered sulfate particles would be loaded miles up in the atmosphere, well above the clouds.Image: nasaThis largely means generating electricity with renewables, like solar, wind, and geothermal energy, rather than fossil fuels, and driving vehicles that don't run on gasoline.  "I would say these results suggest that both warming and geoengineering pose risks to the global food supply," Nathan Mueller, an assistant professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine who had no role in the study, said in an interview.  "I would say that the best way to ensure a food secure future is to invest in reducing emissions and supporting farmers as they adapt to a warming climate."  The climate is already loaded with the highest concentration of carbon dioxide than at any time in the last 800,000 years, meaning that Earth's climate is already locked in for future warming, well beyond this century.  This is why solar geoengineering might one day be seriously considered by governments, even as renewables become more prevalent, and solar panels are fitted on millions of rooftops.  "The intuition we think about is that it [geoengineering] is a parachute," said Hsiang, referencing geoengineering as a last-resort option. "You want to understand that you have a parachute, and know you can use it." WATCH: This "horror" was spotted off the coast of the Carolinas
'We Are Dreaming of Justice.' Bangladeshi Students Demand Change After Traffic Deaths
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
What began as a road safety protest quickly coalesced into a wider movement against incompetent governance and corruption
Brock Turner Loses Appeal to Overturn His Sexual Assault Convictions
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting an intoxicated and unconscious woman
Vets ready for rare efforts to save ailing endangered orca
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
SEATTLE (AP) — Experts are preparing rare emergency efforts to administer antibiotics or feed live salmon to try to save a young emaciated orca that's part of a critically endangered pod of killer whales.
Pregnant Woman and Child Killed as Israel and Gaza Exchange Fire
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Israeli warplanes struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip and three people were reported killed there, while Palestinian militants from the territory fired scores of rockets into Israel in a fierce burst of violence overnight and into August 9.
Thailand Grants Citizenship to Stateless Boys and Their Coach Rescued From a Cave
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Three soccer players and their coach, who were rescued with teammates after three weeks in a flooded cave, were granted Thai citizenship
The Death Toll After Indonesia's Lombok Earthquake Has Risen to 319, Official Says
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The Indonesian island of Lombok was shaken by a third big earthquake in little more than a week Thursday as an official said the death toll from an earlier quake had topped 310.
Running against Bernie in 2020: It's easier than you think
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Right now, at a time when Democrats are frantically searching for the anti-Trump, Bernie is starting to look strangely like a reverse image of the president, instead.
Meanwhile in ... Australia, there’s talk about putting rhinos in the outback
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It may sound strange but in some ways it makes perfect sense. According to the Australian Rhino Project, since 2010, “6,925 rhinos have been poached in South Africa. Iraq, a growing number of women are believed to be divorcing their Islamic State (ISIS) husbands.
Tory Balderson Leads In Closely Contested Ohio Special Elections
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Republican Troy Balderson may have narrowly eked out a win in Ohio’s 12th congressional district over Danny O’Connor, but the victory came at a steep price.
U.S.' Mattis throws support behind new space
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday threw his support behind the idea of creating a space-focused military command but stopped short of promising the new "Space Force" branch of service that President Donald Trump has touted. Trump called for the creation of a sixth branch of the military, for space, a move critics said could harm the Air Force and which U.S. officials say would require an act of Congress.
This Is What a California Wildfire Looks Like From 30,000 Feet
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Many wildfires are sweeping across California, and photos and videos have captured the devastation
Childhood bullying can cause lifelong psychological damage – here's how to spot the signs and move on
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Bullying isn't just linked to depression and anxiety, it can also lead to more subtle effects such as problems with trust and self-esteem.
Mollie Tibbetts' Father Says He Believes His Daughter Is Being Held Captive by Someone She Knows
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The father of missing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts says he believes his daughter is alive and being held captive by someone she knows.
U.S. to Impose Sanctions on Russia Over U.K. Nerve Agent Attack
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The sanctions will be imposed on Russia because it used a chemical weapon
California's Mendocino Complex fire just became the largest wildfire in state history
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
For the second time in less than eight months, California broke its record for the largest fire in the state's history.  Tuesday morning, the Golden State's fire protection agency, Cal Fire, reported that the Mendocino Complex fire had now burned over 290,000 acres — over nine times the size of San Francisco — surpassing the previous record of 281,893 set in December by the destructive Thomas Fire.   SEE ALSO: A NASA prototype could save the lives of firefighters as blazes erupt in western U.S. The Mendocino Complex, which is comprised of two massive fires whose edges are as close as three miles apart, is not nearly finished. The larger of the two fires, at some 240,000 acres, is just 20 percent contained. #RanchFire #MendocinoComplex [update] off Highway 20 near Potter Valley, northeast of Ukiah (Mendocino/Lake/Colusa Counties) is now 241,772 acres and 20% contained. Evacuations and road closures in place. Unified Command: @CALFIRE_MEU and @MendocinoNF https://t.co/uhlH8hb9e4 pic.twitter.com/J17CMk8ItI — CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) August 7, 2018 Other major wildfires are also burning across the state, including the 94,000-acre Ferguson Fire which has closed down Yosemite National Park indefinitely, and the 167,000-acre Carr Fire — the twelfth largest in state history — which last week produced a towering fire tornado.  Though climate change itself, specifically extreme and recording-breaking heat, doesn't create fires, it enhances them.  As fire experts pointed out earlier in the season, hot temperatures and heat waves have parched much of Northern California's vegetation to near-record levels of dryness — turning the land to fire-ready kindling.  What the heck is going on with California wildfire situation? Vegetation moisture in many areas now at/near record low levels. Why? Persistently hotter than avg. temperatures, plus dry winter. Map via NW Clim. Toolbox: https://t.co/cbOMwqHBiy #CAwx #CAfire #CarrFire #RiverFire pic.twitter.com/mD2muQKL4f — Dr. Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) July 29, 2018 California's large-scale fires are creating seriously polluted air over vast portions of the West.  As climatologist Robert Rohde noted on Twitter Monday, "the worst particulate air pollution anywhere in the world that we have data is in southern #Oregon due to the smoke from the #wildfires." This is a growing, and troubling, trend. As air quality continues to improve around most of the U.S., wildfires are tainting the air across a large swathe of the West. The reason is simple. Twice as much U.S. land burns today than in the 1980s, filling the air with more tiny bits of particulate matter.  #CarrFire now covers more than 160,000 acres and is 43 percent contained. The costs of this fire have now exceeded $60 million. pic.twitter.com/rZzBcDYQ4J — U.S. Forest Service (@forestservice) August 6, 2018 Since 2000, California has seen seven of its top 10 largest-ever recorded fires.  What's more, over the same period, the state has experienced eight of its 10 most destructive fires in history.  The U.S. Forest Service is in its highest level of fire response, with 29,500 firefighters battling blazes around the nation. Most, however, are combating fires in the super-parched West, where the record-breaking Mendocino Complex promises to spread even more. WATCH: This "horror" was spotted off the coast of the Carolinas  
Exercise Is Good For Your Mental Health—But Only To A Point
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
You may not need as much as you think
Republicans Spent Big to Win a Special Election. Now They're Worried
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Republican Troy Balderson may have narrowly eked out a win over Danny O’Connor, but the victory came at a steep price.
Nasa's daring mission to 'touch the sun' explained
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Nasa is preparing to embark on a daring mission to "touch the sun" on Saturday,  aiming to go closer than any other spacecraft has ventured. The Parker Solar Probe will endure wicked heat while zooming through the solar corona to study this outermost part of the stellar atmosphere that gives rise to the solar wind. The launch is currently targeted for August 11 at 3:33 a.m. EDT (8.33am BST), with an extended launch window through to August 23. "To send a probe where you haven't been before is ambitious. To send it into such brutal conditions is highly ambitious," Nicola Fox, a project scientist from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said. The mission The project, with a $1.5 billion price tag, is the first major mission under Nasa's Living With a Star programme. Nasa is hoping to use the data collected from the probe to help astronomers predict solar storms and explain some of the deepest mysteries surrounding our source of light and heat. According to a statement from Nasa, the probe is due to orbit within 4 million miles of the sun's "surface," where the probe will "[face] heat and radiation unlike any spacecraft in history". The probe, named after American solar astrophysicist Eugene Newman Parker, is set to use seven Venus flybys over nearly seven years to steadily reduce its orbit around the Sun, using instruments designed to image the solar wind and study electric and magnetic fields, coronal plasma and energetic particles. Nasa aims to collect data about the inner workings of the highly magnetized corona. The risk Although 4 million miles sounds like a long way by our tiny standards here on Earth, being that close to the sun is likely to be a risk for the spacecraft. For example, by orbiting the sun at a distance of between 28 and 43 million miles, Mercury's surface and atmosphere have been completely changed by the constant stream of radiation and particles from the sun. It has been outfitted with a heat shield designed to keep its instruments at a tolerable 29 degrees Celsius even as the spacecraft faces temperatures reaching nearly 1,370 degrees Celsius at its closest pass. Previous missions The closest a spacecraft has been before is when Helios 2 came within 27 million miles of the sun in 1976.  By way of comparison, the average distance from the Sun for Earth is 93 million miles. Technicians and engineers perform light bar testing on NASA's Parker Solar Probe at the Astrotech processing facility in Titusville Credit: AFP How it will help us The information collected from the probe is likely to help future generations of humans, who may one day live outside the Earth's atmosphere. Our world has since grown ever more dependent on a network of technology – both in orbit and on our planet's surface – that's vulnerable to a threat we barely understand. These people will need the knowledge to protect themselves from severe winds of charged particles and radiation. "[Solar Probe Plus] will explore the sun's outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of how stars work," the statement  from Nasa said. "The resulting data will improve forecasts of major space-weather events that impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space." Alex Young, a solar scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, said it was "of fundamental importance for us to be able to predict this space weather, much like we predict weather here on Earth". "In the most extreme cases of these space weather events, it can actually affect our power grids here on Earth," he added. Space exploration | Recent exciting discoveries  
Here's What to Know About Avicenna, Great Medical Mind of the Islamic Golden Age
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The father of early modern medicine was born 1,038 years ago
25 million
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The rare set of 7cm teeth are from a prehistoric shark that was more than twice the size of a great white.
GOP congressman from New York charged with insider trading
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Republican U.S. Rep. Christopher Collins of New York was arrested Wednesday on charges he fed inside information he gleaned from sitting on the board of a biotechnology corporation to his son, helping family and friends dodge hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses when one of the company's drugs failed in a medical trial. Collins, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump who was among the first sitting members of Congress to endorse his candidacy for the White House, pleaded not guilty to an indictment unsealed at a court in Manhattan. Speaking to reporters in Buffalo hours after his release on bail, Collins, 68, professed his innocence and said he would remain on the ballot for re-election this fall.
Firefighters make progress in California but weather not promising
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Thousands of firefighters, backed by US troops and crews from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, made progress Wednesday in their battle with California's biggest wildfire on record -- but the weather forecast for the rest of the week is not promising, officials said. The wildfires have left at least nine people dead, including four firefighters, and forced tens of thousands of residents to abandon their homes. "It's scary, it's nerve-wracking," said Jay Michael, who was resting in a van in a parking lot in Clearlake Oaks with Gretchen Fritsch after they fled their home.
Sen. Rand Paul Delivers Letter from President Trump for Putin
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Paul has been visiting Russia with a delegation for several days
Hothouse Earth: Humanity just ‘decades away’ from runaway climate change meltdown
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
In a Hothouse Earth, dramatic temperature increases and rising sea levels will make much of the planet uninhabitable.
The Sixth Day of Paul Manafort's Trial Was Indirectly About Donald Trump
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Prosecutors and witnesses indirectly referenced President Donald Trump in subtle ways Tuesday at the trial of Paul Manafort.
Sen. Rand Paul Meets Russian Delegation In Moscow
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has delivered a letter from President Donald Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader’s spokesman said Wednesday.
Man Trained Children Held at New Mexico Compound to Commit School Shootings, Prosecutors Say
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The 11 children, held in filthy conditions, were learning to use assault rifles
The U.S. Is Bracing for Possible Cyberattacks After Iran Sanctions
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Concern over that cyber threat has been rising since May
How to see the Perseid meteor shower peak this weekend
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
One of the best meteor showers of the year peaks this weekend, and with any luck, you should be able to catch at least a few of the shooting stars for yourself.  The Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak the night of August 12, into the wee hours of the morning on August 13.  If you happen to be in a light-pollution-free area with nice weather, you'll probably be able to see about 60 or 70 meteors streaking through the moonless sky, according to NASA estimates.  SEE ALSO: The best places to stargaze around the world "The Perseids appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, visible in the northern sky soon after sunset this time of year. Observers in mid-northern latitudes will have the best views. You should be able to see some meteors from July 17 to August 24, with the rates increasing during the weeks before August 12 and decreasing after the 13th," NASA said in a skywatching video. "Remember, you don't have to look directly at the constellation to see them. You can look anywhere you want to — even directly overhead." The best time to see those meteors is at around 11 p.m. ET until dawn the next morning.  You won't need any special equipment to catch the shower, either. Just make sure you have a clear view of a large swathe of the sky and be patient. Half of watching a meteor shower is waiting around for them to appear. “Relax, be patient, and let your eyes adapt to the darkness,” Kelly Beatty, Sky & Telescope senior editor said in a statement. "The Perseids will put on a great show." While you'll get the best meteor rates in a rural area, far from light pollution, you still might be able to see some meteors from a city or suburb.  If you are in a city, try to get somewhere at least somewhat sheltered from lights, maybe a park or backyard. Your meteor rates will be lower, but it's possible to see at least a few of the brightest meteors over the course of a few hours.  The Perseids happen each year as Earth passes through the trail of dust left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which makes a full orbit of the sun every 133 years.  Those bits of cosmic dust fall into our atmosphere, creating the bright streaks we see as meteors in the night sky.  If you're unable to see the Perseids this year in person, you can always watch them online. The Slooh observatory will host a livestream of the shower starting at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.  WATCH: Wait, who owns the moon? We found out
Portuguese wildfires encircle Algarve resort town
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Hundreds of Portuguese firefighters and soldiers battled ferocious forest fires that threatened to engulf an Algarve resort town Tuesday as meteorologists warned of "significant winds" to come. Fire crews struggled to extinguish wildfires around the mountain town of Monchique of 6,000 inhabitants that have left 30 people injured, one seriously. Images released by the European Space Agency appear to show the fires are visible from the International Space Station.
The HALO Shirt Promises to Reduce Concussions in Football Players
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
The HALO Shirt Promises to Reduce Concussions in Football Players
Despair as crippling drought hammers Australian farmers
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A crippling drought is ravaging vast tracts of Australia's pastoral heartlands, decimating herds and putting desperate farmers under intense financial and emotional strain, with little relief in sight. While the country is no stranger to "big drys" and its people have long had a reputation as resilient, the extreme conditions across swathes of Australia's east are the worst in more than 50 years. With no feed, farmers have been forced to ship in grain or hay from other parts of the country to keep sheep and cattle alive, spending thousands of extra dollars a week just to stay afloat.