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Tropical Storm Gordon has made landfall

One death has been reported so far from the storm. Gordon’s winds were just below hurricane-force last night when it made landfall just west of the Alabama-Mississippi border.

Why you can smell rain

What you’re smelling is petrichor – a pleasant, earthy scent that accompanies a storm’s first raindrops. A weather expert explains where it comes from.

8 planets in 1 night, from Rome

“I have been thinking for decades about imaging 8 planets of our solar system in 1 night, from sunset to dawn. I imaged all of them from Rome, above the amazing monuments of the Eternal City.”

Beluga whales and narwhals go through menopause

Besides humans, only 4 species are known to experience menopause, and they’re all whales – belugas, narwhals, killer whales and short-finned pilot whales.

What is a Dyson sphere?

Dyson spheres are back in the news. In case you’ve never heard of them – or want to brush up – here’s a primer.

Hybrid super-snakes in South Florida?

Interbreeding between Burmese and Indian pythons in South Florida might have resulted in what geneticists call “hybrid vigor.” One result is that the snakes seem to have adapted to both swamps and high, dry ground.

How a volcano helped defeat Napoleon at Waterloo

In June 1815, the Allied army defeated Napoleon’s army at Waterloo. An Indonesian volcano helped, says a scientist at Imperial College London.

Guessing your shelter dog’s breed? You’re probably wrong

What breed is he? is often the first question people ask about a dog, but the answer is often terribly inaccurate,” said the author of a new genetic study of shelter dogs.

Why are some species more likely to go extinct?

Death is inevitable for individuals and also for species. With help from the fossil record, paleontologists are piecing together what might make one creature more vulnerable than another.

NASA Selfies app lets you play astronaut

We’ve had lots of fun playing with this app over the past few days. It lets you generate snapshots of yourself in a virtual spacesuit, posing in front of places like the Orion Nebula or the center of the Milky Way galaxy.