Global Heat Records Set for Month and Season by


The globe smashed more heat records last month, including earth’s hottest August and summer, federal meteorologists said.

Published: September 19, 2014 at 12:00AM

For Trees Under Threat, Flight May Be Best Response by CARL ZIMMER


A refuge won’t save the threatened whitebark pine from climate change, so scientists are pondering a radical idea: moving the trees to where they will be more comfortable.

Published: September 23, 2014 at 12:00AM

At Chernobyl, Hints of Nature’s Adaptation by HENRY FOUNTAIN


A study of the Chernobyl fallout area has found that some bird species have adapted to the radioactive environment by producing more protective antioxidants, with correspondingly less genetic damage.

Published: May 6, 2014 at 12:00AM

Solving a Riddle of Primes by KENNETH CHANG


Mathematicians have long believed that there are an infinite number of twin primes. A new paper gets closer to an answer.

Published: May 21, 2013 at 12:00AM

City Mountain Biking Is Now a Thing

When people think of mountain biking they always think of the same sorts of things: mountains, trees, dirt trails, rock formations, and sunshine. A city in Virginia is looking to change the way people think about mountain biking as well as how inaccessible it can be to those who don’t have the time or the means to venture out into the woods. Richmond, Virginia had a field that was sitting there doing nothing and two groups of cyclists that needed a place to practice. The field, between the Fairfield Court Elementary School and the Fairfield Court public housing complex (the 4th largest in the city) will be a place for both the cycling teams and the community to gather and connect in new ways. The elementary school is known as a hotspot for drug deals and so the field is also being used as an outreach program so that kids don’t engage in harmful behavior.

Along with an actual cycling course, the new field also offers hills, obstacles, and dirt embankments to imitate real life mountain biking conditions and terrain. The project is estimated to cost about $25,000 and the funds have been provided by the nonprofit Richmond Cycling Corps (who supplied half the money) as well as other donations from local companies and private citizens. In a show of unity, local companies also sent volunteers to help with the grand opening so that everything would run smoothly. With only half of the money used to far, there are plans to also open a community garden as well as build storage sheds and other structures and more landscaping. The number of these sorts of courses have swelled in the past few years which points to mountain biking growing in popularity. And with added benefits from parks such as this one is adding, it’s only a matter of time before there are even more.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

from Yaser Khalifa and Mountain Biking

Lethal Violence in Chimps Occurs Naturally, Study Suggests by JAMES GORMAN


A new survey suggests that violence is a natural part of chimp behavior and not the result of actions by humans that push the animals to lethal attacks.

Published: September 18, 2014 at 12:00AM

New Bioethical Rules Are Being Created Due to Technology

Facebook is currently known as a company that can do no wrong when it comes to business decisions and acquisitions. Facebook is also a company that is known for doing many things wrong when dealing with the people who use it and their personal information, their Facebook accounts and setups, and now their emotions. A couple of weeks ago, Facebook admitted that it had run non consensual emotional data manipulation experiments on many of it users. Facebook (along with scientists from Cornell) had manipulated the news feed so that they would see more sad articles and then collect data on the reactions and status posts of those tested on. While I’m not sure what sort of reaction they were expecting when they released this news, people were obviously furious and appalled that this sort of experiment was done without even asking or giving a warning that this might be a possibility. With all of the worries about data privacy and how big business is stripping those rights away, the Facebook revelation was swiftly condemned by users, reporters, bloggers, and everyone else in between.

Clearly the mass use of social media, and the experiments using it, have entered unexplored territory when it comes to ethics and rules regarding non consensual experimentation. Because of the hugely negative backlash (Facebook later released an apology), an international group of bioethics researchers have written an article attempting to deal with the unexplored world of large-scale social computing research. Before the advent of these massively popular social networks, no one had to worry about this sort of issue. Now that social networks are ubiquitous, there needs to be a set of rules that are to be followed so this sort of mass betrayal doesn’t happen again. It might not have been a big deal this time, but the rules need to be created before anyone else continues down this slippery slope.

If you’d like to read more, the article is here.

from Yaser Khalifa and Evolutionary Algorithms

Yaser Khalifa is a man with many years of experience as an electrical and computer engineer. After graduating from Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt, Yaser continued his education by pursuing his PhD in Electrical Engineering at Cardiff University. Upon graduation he leapt into the working world and has since worked with teams made up of people ranging from engineers working on super conductors to fellow professors at SUNY New Paltz. Yaser also has had over 40 papers published in a variety of educational publications. He has worked with such companies as General Electric as an electrical engineer consultant with their global research division as well as numerous others in different capacities. When not working you can find Yaser engaging in his other passions. He is an avid outdoors man and loves to mountain bike whenever possible. He both leads mountain biking tours as well as engages simply for pleasure. He was introduced to the sport by a friend at SUNY New Paltz and has since then volunteered as a biking guide with Minnewaska State Park, among others.