Science

Many parts of the U.S. have been getting warmer over the past several decades, and also experiencing persistent drought. Wildlife often can't adjust. Among the species that are struggling is one of the American West's most highly prized fish — the cutthroat trout.

In springtime, you can find young cutthroats in the tiny streams of Montana's Shields Basin. Bend over and look closely and you might see a 2-inch fish wriggling out from under a submerged rock — the spawn of native cutthroats.

earthquakes
Domesticat / Flickr Creative Commons

A swarm of central Idaho earthquakes that rattled Challis residents for more than a month appears to be dying out.

But seismologists say five portable seismographs have provided new information about the area that saw a sequence of quakes up to 4.9 in magnitude, peaking in mid-April.

Mike Stickney with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology based in Butte, Montana, says the earthquakes are occurring on a northwest trending zone on the west side of the Salmon River.

A disease-causing fungus thought to be confined to the deserts of the U.S. Southwest has been discovered in soil samples from eastern Washington.

Steve Swanson / NASA

Tuesday morning, Boise State University students will speak with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. They’ll get to ask the crew 20 questions. It’s all part of BSU’s Space Symposium.

All semester, BSU Space Broncos have been engaging with NASA, chatting online and taking part in the space agency’s research and programs. That work is culminating with a live chat with NASA astronauts Steve Swanson and Rick Mastracchio.

This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Wikipedia Commons

Geologists plan to install three portable devices known as seismometers or seismographs in the Challis area in central Idaho to help experts better understand a recent flurry of earthquakes.

The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a sequence of quakes rumbling the area, the largest of which was a 4.9-magnitude quake on Saturday which shook pictures off walls. Challis residents also felt earthquakes above 4.0-magnitude on Monday and April 10.

cans
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The chemical BPA, or bisphenol A, is commonly found in plastics, soup cans, and store receipts. Scientists continue to study how the chemical affects people. New research from the University of Idaho may sound a cautionary note for humans. 

Gordon Murdoch is an associate professor of physiology at the University of Idaho. He focused on fetal heart development in rhesus monkeys.

For the study, pregnant monkeys were fed fruit containing BPA. “Our question was did it affect the genes in the fetal heart?” he asked, “And to our surprise and dismay, it did.”

The mysterious Clovis culture, which appeared in North America about 13,000 years ago, appears to be the forerunner of Native Americans throughout the Americas, according to a study in Nature. Scientists have read the genetic sequence of a baby from a Clovis burial site in Montana to help fill out the story of the earliest Americans.

A new independent review finds the federal government used uncertain science when it proposed taking the gray wolf off the endangered species list across the Lower 48.

It's not something we often think about, but as we go about daily life, we're constantly shedding little flakes of skin. So are animals and fish.

Ron Miller

Look south and imagine the bottom-tenth of the sky blocked by a striped arch like a colossal wall on the horizon. That’s what it would look like from Idaho if Earth had rings like the planet Saturn.

Aaron Kingery / NASA

If you wake up early and the skies are clear this week, a comet named ISON should be visible through binoculars over the southeastern horizon.

Astronomy websites have hyped the passage of this comet as the best in more than a decade. But a lot depends on a close encounter with the sun next week.

NASA.gov

The picture below is the planet Saturn and its rings back-lit by the sun. It’s essentially a planetary eclipse. Earth appears as a blue pinprick in the background. The picture is a mosaic of 141 different images. It comes from the Cassini space craft and it’s getting a lot of attention online.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Friday two dozen high school students from the Treasure Valley will present research they’ve done as part of a summer science program. Their research helps government agencies make wildfire decisions.

Bailey Maier displays a poster featuring maps of the World Center for Birds of Prey. They show what plants grow where. Maier points to one map heavily shaded in red. It’s cheatgrass she says. The red is where the invasive weed grows in heavy concentration.

jordan.treetrunk.org

A Boise science teacher has won a national education award. Dick Jordan along with Katie Pemberton of Coeur d'Alene is among 97 teachers from across the country to receive the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Jordan teaches biology and environmental science at Boise’s Timberline High School. Each winner receives $10,000 from the National Science Foundation and an invitation to a ceremony in Washington D.C. later this month.

nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard

A study called the Nation’s Report Card for science came out last week. Idaho students scored 14th nationally. At the same time education leaders from across the state met to discuss how to improve the state’s science education. Last week’s STEM Summit brought together, teachers, administrators, politicians, and business leaders from all over Idaho to talk about the future of science, technology, engineering and math education. Brenda Gardunia was one of the speakers. She’s a long time Boise teacher and is working for the National Science Foundation through an Albert Einstein Fellowship.

nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard

A study often called The Nation's Report Card came out Thursday. The National Center for Education Statistics gave eighth graders a new science test in 2009 and gave it again in 2011. None of the states did worse last year, 16 did better, most scored about the same. Idaho was one of those. But NCES’s Arnold Goldstein says Idaho did well on the science test overall.

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