A heartbreaking dome of staggering magnitude

Alex Pasternack at Vice.com’s Motherboard channel has some very interesting thoughts on domes. Giant, massive, city-bestriding domes, starting with the Great Stink Dome of Hangzhou, which was erected to contain vapors emanating from the site of a former insecticide factory. Pasternack’s article discusses some of the fascinating history related to the idea of dropping domes …

The 11.4 million mile swab kit

I’m proud to announce that the sample collection for the building science component of Project MERCCURI is complete! In early May, Koichi Wakata from JAXA (Japan’s space exploration agency) collected swabs swabs of surfaces aboard the International Space Station. Back in June last year, Jenna, Wendy and I went to the Johnson Space Center in …

Citizen Irony

I’m working on a manuscript describing the different and particular challenges scientists in various disciplines face when incorporating citizen science into their research. So, I thought I would go looking for other articles about it, and found one with the promising title A new dawn for citizen science by Jonathan Silvertown. I’m holed up in …

Radioisotope contamination from Chernobyl degrading microbial ecosystem services?

In a a new study (also covered by Smithsonian.com), researchers placed 572 bags of leaf litter in 20 sites within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and found that rates of decomposition varied by as much as 40%, correlating with the level of radioactive contamination at the site. The authors suggest that this is a worrying development, …