Wed April 29, 2015

Superweed? Scientists Define A Controversial Concept

Palmer amaranth, with herbicide-resistant varieties, can grow as tall as an NBA player, and costs farmers thousands of dollars to remove it.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s... a superweed?

If you’ve paid any attention to the debate concerning the adoption of genetically-engineered crops, you’ve heard of superweeds. They’re those nasty, hearty weeds that cross-breed with GMO corn to resist herbicide applications. Or, um...they’re new, special weeds, able to outcompete other pesky plants with undetermined magic properties, right? No, they’re the result of an over-reliance on a particular weed management strategy.

But which is it? That’s been the problem.

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Thu April 9, 2015
Weather Nerding

CSU Atlantic Hurricane Outlook Calls For Mild Season

An image of Hurricane Ivan, a Category 5 hurricane that hit the U.S. Southeast in 2004.

This year's Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be a calm one, according to the annual tropical storm outlook released April 9 by Colorado State University.  

Phil Klotzbach is a research scientist with the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU, and heads up the forecasting project. Klotzbach said the number of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes is predicted to be "about half the average hurricane season."

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Mon March 16, 2015
Tasty Science

Is Fat The Sixth Taste? Denver Museum Goers Help Scientists With Mystery

Desiree Baca takes a taste test at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Her results, and those of hundreds of other visitors, are helping scientists learn if humans can taste fat.
Stephanie Paige Ogburn KUNC

At the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, children and their parents meander through the Expedition Health exhibit, chattering about science and bodies, peering through microscopes and conducting experiments.

A set of glass doors abuts the exhibit, and every once in a while, after a quick chat with a museum volunteer, a family makes its way through the doors.

Today, that family is the Bacas -- Tim, and daughters Raveania and Desiree, ages 12 and 11, from Aurora. They sit at a tall lab bench, and listen as Anjelica Miranda, dressed in a white lab coat, guides them through a taste test.

The Bacas are not aware of it yet, but they are taking part in one of the most unique science experiments in the country. Their taste test results, combined with that of hundreds of other museum visitors, may help scientists discover the genetic underpinnings of a sixth taste.

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Thu March 12, 2015

Researchers Think There's A Warm Ocean On Enceladus

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 6:07 pm

A new analysis suggests that Enceladus' ocean is being heated from the bottom up. That could explain plumes of ice seen at its south pole.

Saturn's moon Enceladus is a mystery. From Earth it looks tiny and cold, and yet it's not a dead hunk of rock. Passing spacecraft see trenches and ridges, similar to Earth's, and in 2005 NASA's Cassini mission spotted ice geysers streaming from its south pole.

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Mon February 16, 2015

Colorado Tech Start Ups Bet The Farm On Agricultural Drones

Farmers want to use drones to scope out problem spots in crops fields or check in on livestock.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

A highly anticipated batch of federal laws governing the use of drones could change the regulatory landscape and lead to an explosion in drone use by farmers.

Farmers see drones as a way to get a birds-eye view of their fields to find problem patches with crops. That information can allow farmers to be more precise with fertilizers and pesticides and, ultimately, save them money. But getting them in the sky without running afoul of federal regulation is proving to be a challenge.

Commercial use of drones is still widely banned in the U.S., though some companies have secured exemptions. Other farmers have gone rogue, flying drones over their property without all the proper permissions, daring federal regulators to put a stop to it. But the new federal rules due out later this year are expected to usher in a new era of farm machinery.

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