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A vocational school student stuns China by besting university competitors in a math contest
22 June 2024 - A 17-year-old vocational school student from rural China became a celebrity on social media after reaching the final round of a math competition, beating many others from top universities and raising questions about the education system. Jiang Ping, who is studying fashion design, finished 12th in the Alibaba Global Math Competition, one of 802 who made it to the final round -- an eight-hour test that takes place Saturday. (more)

Move over, honeybees - America's 4,000 native bees need a day in the sun
21 June 2024 - Say bee, and most picture a European honeybee -- a non-native species used in commercial honey production worldwide. But what gets easily forgotten is that North America is home to around 4,000 species of wild bees. To recognize these crucial ecosystem helpers, which provide 75 percent of our global food crop, the United Nations declared May 20 as World Bee Day in 2014. (more)

Reported birth of rare white buffalo calf in Yellowstone park fulfills Lakota prophecy
20 June 2024 - The reported birth of a rare white buffalo in Yellowstone National Park fulfills a Lakota prophecy that portends better times, according to members of the American Indian tribe who cautioned that it's also a signal that more must be done to protect the earth and its animals. (more)

Photographer shares 'magical' photos of rare white bison calf at Yellowstone National Park
20 June 2024 - A rare white bison spotted in Yellowstone National Park has social media users in awe. ...The white bison calf is the first born in the 32-year-old park's history. ...Native Americans consider white bison to be sacred, according to African Safari Wildlife Park. In fact, one social media user on Instagram came across the photographer's post about the white bison and chimed in. 'Thank you for these photos,' the Instagram user wrote. 'You cannot imagine the meaning for us Lakota as a people.' (more)

A beginner's guide to celebrating Juneteenth
19 June 2024 - For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities [in the United States]. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed -- after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has become more universally recognized beyond Black America. (more)

It's summer solstice time. What does that mean?
19 June 2024 - It's time for the start of summer -- with a full moon to boot. Here's what to know about the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere on Thursday [20 June]. The Earth spins on a tilt as it revolves around the sun. The summer solstice occurs for Earth's upper half when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted most closely toward the sun. This also marks the longest day and shortest night of the year. (more)

Koalas can predict and prepare for the hottest days of summer, study finds
18 June 2024 - For the first time, free-ranging wild koalas have been observed regulating their body temperatures ahead of the hottest days of summer, by lowering their temperatures well below average during cooler morning conditions. The research has been published in Conservation Physiology. Research lead Dr. Valentina Mella said, 'This strongly suggests koalas predict the hottest days from morning conditions and adjust their core temperatures accordingly. We have never seen this type of behavior before in koalas.' (more)

The next full moon is the Strawberry Moon
18 June 2024 - The Next Full Moon is the Strawberry Moon; the Flower, Hot, Hoe, or Planting Moon; the Mead or Honey Moon; the Rose Moon; Vat Purnima; Poson Poya; and the LRO Moon. The next full Moon will be Friday evening, June 21, 2024, appearing opposite the Sun (in Earth-based longitude) at 9:08 PM EDT [US]. This will be Saturday from Greenland and Cape Verde time eastward across Eurasia, Africa, and Australia to the International Date Line in the mid-Pacific. Most commercial calendars will show this full Moon on Saturday, June 22, the date in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The Moon will appear full for about three days around this time, from Thursday evening through Sunday morning. (more)

Upcoming June 2024 full moon will look unusually big and colorful
18 June 2024 - June's full moon will include several special treats for skywatchers: Not only will the moon be unusually low in the sky, it will also appear quite large and could even be rather colorful, astronomers say. On Friday, June 21, the day after the summer solstice, the strawberry full moon will appear in the evening skies over America. Alas, it won't look like a strawberry, and it probably won't be red, astronomers say, although it may have a golden color. (more)

Scientists may have found an answer to the mystery of dark matter. It involves an unexpected byproduct
17 June 2024 - For about 50 years, the scientific community has been grappling with a substantial problem: There isn't enough visible matter in the universe. All the matter we can see -- stars, planets, cosmic dust, and everything in between -- can't account for why the universe behaves as it does, and there must be five times as much of it around for researchers' observations to make sense, according to NASA. Scientists call that dark matter, because it does not interact with light and is invisible. (more)

Massive cradle of baby stars revealed in new space telescope images
16 June 2024 - A massive cradle of baby stars has been observed in new detail by a European space telescope, adding to its celestial collection of images. The European Space Agency released the photos from the Euclid observatory on Thursday [23 May]. They were taken following the telescope's Florida launch last year as a warm-up act to its main job currently underway: surveying the so-called dark universe. (more)

Scotland's remote land of bogs and bugs in line for world heritage status
15 June 2024 - t is a land of mire, mist ,and midges that could soon be awarded a special status among the planet's wild habitats. In a few weeks, UNESCO is set to announce its decision on an application to allow the Flow Country in north Scotland to become a world heritage site. ...The Flow Country straddles Caithness and Sutherland in the most northerly part of the British mainland and is the largest area of blanket bog in the world. (more)

Green, green seagrass of home: Welsh nursery growing to save marine habitat
14 June 2024 - Between Dylan Thomas's boathouse home at Laugharne and the natural fast track of Pendine Sands in south-west Wales, an ambitious project is under way to try to help restore one of the world's most important and threatened habitats: seagrass meadows. Two species of seagrass, flowering plants that live in shallow, sheltered bays and provide a vital habitat for species including seahorses, octopuses, and cuttlefish and are an important carbon sink, are being grown in ponds fed with seawater pumped in from Carmarthen Bay. (more)

US: All the buzz! Florida Bee Rescue dedicated to saving the bees for more than 40 years
13 June 2024 - Florida Bee Rescue specializes in swarm removals from homes and businesses. They are experts in transporting and saving the bees. Florida Bee Rescue owner, Victor Gonzalez, said that his family has dedicated more than 40 years to beekeeping, care, and protection of bees. Gonzalez transports the bees to his family's Florida Bee Rescue farm where the honeybees are cared for by an experienced beekeeper and the bees can continue to thrive, pollinate and contribute to the local ecosystem. (more)

The largest solar power plant in the world is now switched on
12 June 2024 - The world's biggest solar plant has come online, according to Chinese media. Covering 13,333 hectares (32,947 acres) in the desert of northwest Xinjiang and capable of powering a small country on its own, the facility was reportedly connected to the grid last week. The installation comes amid a surge of investment into renewable energy in the country -- one that the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently described as 'extraordinary'. (more)

New energy source powers subsea robots indefinitely
11 June 2024 - Power modules driven by ocean temperatures save money and reduce pollution. No one has mapped more territory than the National Aeronautics and Space Administration known as NASA, which is a U.S. government agency that is responsible for science and technology related to air and space. The agency not only charts stars and other planets but also maps Earth from orbit. Now a NASA invention could let robots map our planet's entire seafloor, helping to unlock resources while protecting habitats. The sonar devices for such an operation are not new, but they're hampered by battery limitations. (more)

African elephants call each other by unique names, new study shows
10 June 2024 - African elephants call each other and respond to individual names -- something that few wild animals do, according to new research published Monday [10 June]. The names are one part of elephants' low rumbles that they can hear over long distances across the savanna. Scientists believe that animals with complex social structures and family groups that separate and then reunite often may be more likely to use individual names. (more)

People are embracing the 'no-buy year' to save money and the environment
10 June 2024 - The no-buy challenge is resolving to spend money only on necessary purchases. The self-imposed rules of the challenge are simple: participants pledge to stop buying non-essential items, be they unneeded shoes, additional beauty products or other impulse buys for a set amount of time, usually 12 months. While the challenge is meant to last for one year, people trying it say they are learning new techniques to help them avoid overspending in the future. (more)

Canada: Indigenous communities make clean energy drive work for, not against, them
9 June 2024 - Indigenous peoples have been steadily warning about the impacts of renewable energy development on their lands and communities, but some see a way to harness this trend for the positive. Provinces like British Columbia are now implementing new renewable energy policies similar to Ontario's FIT program (feed-in tariff program,) that would see a requirement for Indigenous equity participation, as well as favorable loan and financing conditions for Indigenous projects. (more)

India: He frolicked in forests as a child. Now he's saving them from a coal mine plan
9 June 2024 - Alok Shukla has led a decade-long grassroots campaign against some companies seeking to develop coal mines in forested areas in Central India. Shukla became an environmental activist and in 2011 confronted big mining companies planning to raze forests to mine coal. In May, 43-year-old Shukla was declared as one of the six winners of the 2024 Goldman Environmental award for his successes. (more)

Bison return to Portugal
8 June 2024 - A herd of eight bison was last week transferred from Poland to the Greater Coa Valley in northern Portugal where, after a period of acclimatization, they will eventually be set free on the 7,600-hectare Termas de Monfortinho, and Herdade do Vale Feitoso estate. Once the bison are settled into their new home, people will be allowed to view them as part of a wildlife tourism initiative set up under the guidance of the Wild Coa Network, a network of more than 50 nature-based businesses in and around the Greater Coa Valley. (more)

James Webb Space Telescope chief scientist Jane Rigby receives highest US civilian award
8 June 2024 - On May 3, 2024 Jane Rigby, senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor. ''The Presidential Medal of Freedom,'' according to the White House website, ''is the Nation's highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.'' (more)

Your plastic-free kitchen: First steps in getting PFAS 'forever chemicals' out of your diet
7 June 2024 - Reducing plastics in your kitchen is easier than you think. With a little ingenuity and a lot of flexibility, it's possible to find substitutes for the plastics that are leaching into our food and bodies and clogging our oceans. The goal, says Erika Schreder, science director at the environmental health research and advocacy organization Toxic-Free Future, is to reduce our exposure to plastic chemicals. Food storage is a great place to start. (more)

UK: Extinct 'mountain jewel' plant returned to wild -- in secret location
6 June 2024 - A plant that went extinct in the wild has been re-introduced to the UK mainland in a secret location to keep it safe. It's just one small plant but with one in six species in the UK endangered, you've got to start somewhere. The BBC was there the moment pioneering horticulturist Robbie Blackhall-Miles returned it to its native soil. (more)

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