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Tornado Swarms Are Now Upon Us

October 16, 2014 Despite greenhouse gases storing more heat energy for storms, there hasn't been a mad increase in tornadoes in the United States. However, the behavior of tornadoes is changing, moving from being spread throughout the year to coming in "clusters" of frenzied and destructive tornadic activity. That's the conclusion of Harold ...

Bay Area Cities Are 'Overdue' for a Massive Earthquake

October 14, 2014 Here's discomforting news for Californians worried about the shifting ground under their toes: Four urban areas in the Bay Area have "stored enough energy to produce major earthquakes," according to new research. Evidence that something nasty is rumbling comes from the behavior of the San Andreas fault system, which runs ...

Drought Is Making California Shrink in Mass

October 3, 2014 To live in California is to be reminded every day about the dwindling water supply. With more than 80 percent of the state locked in extreme drought, it's no wonder people are taking desperate measures like replacing their lawns with astroturf, snitching on neighbors who overuse their hoses, and eating ...

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti: We Will Be the First City to Do Autonomous Vehicles Right

September 30, 2014 It's no secret that Eric Garcetti has a thing for autonomous vehicles. At a conference last winter, L.A.'s self-proclaimed "tech mayor" shared his dream of having an entire neighborhood devoted to whirring, driverless machines. Today at The Atlantic's CityLab 2014 summit in downtown Los Angeles he doubled down on that ...

More Evidence That Goats Are a Good Municipal Investment

September 29, 2014 There's no better way for a city to garner amusing headlines than by whipping out a bunch of goats for lawn-clearing duty. It happened this year in Seattle when the local transportation department used ruminants to eat unwanted brush ("Getting Their Goat"), last August when D.C. did the same in ...

Antarctic Sea Ice Hits a Record Max, and That's Not Good

September 18, 2014 For the third year in a row, the sea ice ringing Antarctica has set a new record. Its extent is the farthest now since observations began in the late '70s, and scientists say the growth is largely the result of climate change. Antarctic sea ice melts during the early part ...

Germs Spread Unbelievably Fast in the Workplace

September 8, 2014 Say some under-the-weather person at your workplace coughed into their palm and touched a doorknob. Beginning with that one contaminated object, how long would it take for the virus to run rampant through the building? Would it be a day? Eight hours? Perhaps the best answer if you're a germophobe ...

It's a Historic Year for American Temperature Extremes

September 3, 2014 This year is shaping up to be one of the weirder ones in America's weather history. That's because we now seem to be living in two geographically separate nations: one scalded by unbearable heat, the other bitten by waves of unusual cold. In a typical year, the U.S. has either ...

The Arctic Is Losing an Alarming Amount of Snow

August 19, 2014 There was once a time when the Arctic rocked a full, glorious coat of snow. But the region has lately experienced a bout of icy balding, losing as much as half the depth of snow that usually accumulates on sea ice during the spring. Arctic snow helps protect the underlying ...

Help Science Identify a Kajillion Astronaut Photos of Cities

August 15, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Want to do a small part to help world science, or just pretend you're an astronaut (wheee!) zooming above Earth at 17,500 mph? Then pound some Tang and head on over to "Cities at Night," an ambitious crowdsourcing effort to sift through an immense mountain of photos shot from space. ...