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Dolphins use specific whistles as names

Image credit: Shutterstock / Willyam Bradberry

Image credit: Shutterstock / Willyam Bradberry

Bottlenose dolphins in Africa use signature whistles to identify each other, similar to the way humans use names, say scientists.

Lifeform of the week: Cranberries

My first encounters with cranberries were in the form of cranberry sauce, specifically the canned variety. But cranberries are more than just a holiday condiment.

Managing biodiversity in parks a growing concern

Redwood National and State Parks, USA. Image Credit: World Parks Congress.

Redwood National and State Parks, USA. Image Credit: World Parks Congress.

To help manage biodiversity in protected areas, we need to spend just a fraction of the yearly amount spent on the military, says a new study.

Everything you need to know: Geminid meteor shower

Meteor flying straight from Gemini's two brightest stars, Castor and Pollux, on night of December 12-13, 2012.  Photo by EarthSky Facebook friend Mike O'Neal in Oklahoma.  Thank you Mike!

Meteor flying straight from Gemini’s two brightest stars, Castor and Pollux, during the 2012 shower. Photo by Mike O’Neal in Oklahoma.

The peak night of the 2014 Geminid meteor shower will probably occur on the night of December 13 (morning of December 14). The night before (December 12-13) may offer a decent sprinkling of meteors as well. And you could try watching on December 14-15, if all else fails. The meteors tend to be few and far between at early evening, but intensify in number as evening deepens into late night. Don’t let the late-night moonlight discourage you from watching after midnight, or during the peak viewing hours. Geminid meteors are bright!

Ten things you might not know about space

Image credit: UltraVISTA/Terapix/CNRS/CASU

Image credit: UltraVISTA/Terapix/CNRS/CASU

Ten oddities and misconceptions about space that you may – or may not – have heard before.

Burning questions about winter cold

Snowfall departure from normal October 2014, via Rutgers Snow Lab

Snowfall departure from normal October 2014, via Rutgers Snow Lab

Old Man Winter seems to have gone maverick in the Northern Hemisphere over the last few years. Take 2014 as an example. It’s on track to be the warmest globally in more than a century of record-keeping, with May, June, August, and September all setting world heat records for those particular months. Yet February only managed to tie for 21st warmest globally, mainly because of two regions of prolonged cold across North America and central Eurasia.

One of the highest resolution images of Mercury, ever

Mercury via MESSENGER

This image shows an area at 83.20 degrees North latitude and 267.80 degrees East longitude on Mercury. Resolution 10 meters. Image via NASA / JHU / APL MESSENGER spacecraft.

Here is the sun’s innermost planet, Mercury, imaged on September 15, 2014 by the MESSENGER spacecraft. This is of the highest resolution images of Mercury ever obtained. MESSENGER has been orbiting Mercury since 2011, but now the craft’s fuel is nearly depleted. It is slipping toward Mercury in orbit, and space engineers have been periodically boosting it higher. MESSENGER will impact Mercury in March 2015. For now, we’re getting some of the best-ever Mercury pics.

This date in science: Edwin Hubble and the expanding universe

This image is the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field, released in 2012.  Read more about this image here.

This is the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field, released in 2012. Nearly every speck of light here is a separate galaxy, beyond our Milky Way.

November 20, 1889. Happy birthday, Edwin Hubble! The Hubble Space Telescope is named for this astronomer. How did this honor come to be? Hubble’s work was pivotal in changing our entire cosmology: our idea of the universe as a whole.

Incredible lake-effect snow pounds Buffalo area, continuing today

Image Credit: Derek Gee via Twitter

Image via Derek Gee via Twitter

Lake-effect snow is nothing new for those north and east of Lakes Erie and Ontario. When it happens, snow totals climb over three to four feet (over a meter) in less than 24 hours. In isolated spots around the Buffalo, New York area this week, over five feet (1.5 meters!) of snow fell earlier this week, and a second round is happening and expected to continue through Friday.

Lifeform of the week: Carnivorous plants

Image Credit: Webbaliah

Image Credit: Webbaliah

Faced with lousy soil conditions, some plants came up with a novel solution – eating meat. They may look all stationary and defenseless, but don’t be fooled. Carnivorous plants would eat you if they had the chance.