New tech monitors solar flares, space weather and keeps GPS accurate


It’s easy to forget that the sun isn’t the uniformly glowing orb it appears to be from Earth. In actuality, the sun is a tumultuous ball of nuclear explosions. Although those explosions don’t usually affect us in a physical way on Earth, they do affect the thousands of satellites orbiting our planet that control things like GPS and communications services we depend on everyday.

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A Climate Model: Nothing Like Heidi Klum

You often hear the term “climate model” thrown around in the news or in scientific reports but what does that even mean?


Before we dive in, it’s useful to differentiate between climate and weather. Weather is all of the short-term (minutes to days) variations of the atmosphere including phenomena like wind, precipitation, cloudiness, and humidity, as well as more organized events like thunderstorms and hurricanes.

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No Paine, No Gain

Picture a scientist. If you don’t know many scientists, you might picture a man with glasses wearing a white coat, perhaps with grey hair in disarray, holding a microscope or a flask of green liquid, like most children do. But when introduced to real scientists, a child’s picture changes – now there are women, people of color, very few white coats, and more holey jeans and t-shirts. And if these kids met the aptly named Alex Paine, PhD candidate in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, they’d draw another type of scientist – one with grapefruit sized calves and a back rippled with muscles: a body builder.


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Space ship Earth has a new pilot

Outside of my professional life as a physicist, I have not seen any visceral evidence that makes me believe in climate change. One Indian summer, one hurricane, or one hot day is not enough evidence to convince me the climate is changing.


According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the average temperature of the Earth has increased 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last 100 years. I have neither lived for a century, nor do I have the ability to sense a one-degree temperature increase.

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How Exercise and Recovery Produce Olympic Success


Today in Rio, CU Boulder’s own Emma Coburn won the Bronze Medal in the Finals of the Steeplechase, a 3000 meter race over barriers and water. To complete the race, competitors run seven and a half laps on a standard 400 meter track. Each lap has five wooden barriers which, unlike hurtles, do not move when runners crash into them. The fourth barrier in each lap is followed by a water pit 12 feet long, and two and a quarter feet at its deepest. In a single race each runner encounters 35 barriers, including the 7 water pits.

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#ThanksScience – Keeping money safe


Think about the last time you held actual money in your hands – a crisp $20 fresh from the ATM, or a handful of coins jingling merrily in your pocket. Maybe you were driving on a cash-only toll road or had to pay back a friend. Although bills and coins are increasingly being replaced by cards or smartphone apps, our currency is still under attack by counterfeiters. Luckily, U.S. scientists have been continually inventing advanced anti-counterfeiting technologies as far back as Benjamin Franklin’s “nature prints,” which used actual leaves to create unique patterns on bills.

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Rio 2016: This is your Olympian on dope


At the Olympics opening ceremony today, we’ll see a lot of excitement, a lot of patriotism, and a lot of hope. What we won’t see are a lot of Russian track athletes.

If you somehow missed the news that Russian athletes and government officials are embroiled in a doping scandal bigger than one of Bilyal Makhov’s thighs, here are a few quick facts.

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Flavor tripping on the REAL miracle fruit

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Last summer, I unexpectedly spent a rainy afternoon devouring a heaping pile of raw lemons, limes, and grapefruit with a giddy smile. I was determined to have an adventure in the rugged Colorado wilderness, so I joined a group of friends at an isolated hut in the mountains, where we enjoyed a weekend of hiking to amazing views, vibrant shooting stars, and “flavor tripping.”

Never heard of flavor tripping? I hadn’t either – and I wasn’t entirely on board with the idea of any kind of “tripping.” (I am, after all, a nerdy scientist.) But after reading the packaging of the mysterious “miracle berries” we were about to consume, my anxiety abated. This was just science! Allow me to explain.

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