Gwynn Guilford

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China's Island-Building Spree Is About More Than Just Military Might

February 22, 2015 China’s playing Monopoly in the South China Sea—only, instead of building hotels on Pacific Avenue, it’s constructing helipads and, in some cases, whole new islands. In less than a year, shallow reefs in the Spratly Islands have sprouted white-sand outcrops, sporting what look to be Chinese military facilities, according to...

California Needs More Than 10 Trillion Gallons of Water to End its Drought

December 16, 2014 California is already in its third year of drought, and things aren’t looking any sunnier. Two of the state’s main river basins are now more than 11 trillion gallons (42 cubic kilometers or 10 cubic miles) of water below normal seasonal levels, says a team of NASA scientists. In other...

35,000 Walruses Have Mobbed the Alaskan Coast—Because There’s No Sea Ice Left to Rest On

October 1, 2014 It’s exhausting, being a walrus. Seals can swim indefinitely. Not walruses. After a day cruising Arctic water for food, they like to plant their tusks onto an ice floe, haul their blubbery selves up, and have a snooze. But it’s been hard to find a comfy chunk of sea ice...

Why China Doesn't Feel the Need To Back Down in Hong Kong

September 30, 2014 Tear gas versus umbrellas—it’s a pretty unfair fight. But alas, the Hong Kong police’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters over the last few days reflects a larger power imbalance between Hong Kong and its Communist Party overlords. Hong Kong was once a crucial gateway for trade, investment, and capital-raising for its...

There’s a Huge Hidden Downside to Standing Desks That No One Told Me About

September 29, 2014 It wasn’t fear of cancer, heart attacks, diabetes or even early death that did it. The reason I switched to a standing desk was, simply, to find a reprieve from pain. Since I graduated from college, back pain and its cruel confederates—neck, shoulder, and hip pain—have been unshakable facts of...

The Economic Case For Paternity Leave

September 24, 2014 Suddenly last year, maternity leave got a makeover, courtesy of a most improbable source: Shinzo Abe. Japan’s prime minister is synonymous with machismo-spiked nationalism (he famously denied that women forced into sexual servitude by Japanese soldiers in World War II were “coerced”). But when he unveiled his sweeping economic revival...

Lego’s Female Scientist Set Could Inspire a Generation of Girls

August 7, 2014 Even in Legoland, men have long dominated science. That’s about to change, though. The Danish company just launched Lego Research Institute, a $19.99 line featuring a paleontologist, astronomer and a chemist. Behold: Lego This trio of one-inch female scientists was created by Ellen Kooijman, a “real-life geoscientist,” and selected by...

About to Ask For a Raise? Listen to These Three Songs First

August 7, 2014 “Auditory cheesecake” is how famed cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker once described music. He called it an “exquisite confection crafted to tickle” the spots in the brain that leave us feeling happy and relaxed. That rings true for music that’s akin to, say, Mozart—but what about Metallica? Lil’ Wayne? It’s harder...

The Western States Are Guzzling Water So Fast They Don’t Realize They’re Running Out

July 25, 2014 To residents of the southwestern United States, the rising incidence of drought in recent decades has made speedy showers and yellowing lawns facts of life. Little do they know that things are about to get worse still. A new study (pdf) shows the Colorado River Basin, the southwestern US’s only...

Man Who May Be a Top Chinese Hacker Likes Grain Alcohol, Heineken

June 10, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It turns out Chinese military hackers are way sneakier than anyone had realized. This is evident in a new report (registration required) by a security company called CrowdStrike. Throughout the last seven years, the People’s Liberation Army hackers have baited their targets—including foreign companies and governments involved in the space...

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