Most of Mass. under severe or extreme drought conditions, National Drought Monitor says

Most of Massachusetts is currently under “severe” or “extreme” drought conditions, the National Drought Monitor said Thursday.

An updated map released by the monitor Thursday said southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape and Islands were in the extreme drought category, as was a stretch of the northern part of Middlesex County.

The monitor describes extreme drought as a level that can bring significant crop and pasture losses, as well as “water shortages or restrictions,” according to its website.

Among the Massachusetts communities enacting restrictions Thursday was Cohasset.

Town officials said Thursday in a statement that a drought warning was “currently in effect for all residents,” and that the warning carries “stricter mandatory outdoor water restrictions” than those previously imposed on Sept. 1 due to “abnormally dry conditions.”

The stricter measures that took effect Thursday, the statement said, include a prohibition on using irrigation systems. In addition, officials said, a “handheld hose

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Scientists detect ‘mass death’ of sea life off Russia’s Kamchatka

A Greenpeace handout photo showing the area off Khalaktyr beach on the Kamchatka peninsula that may have been contaminated with
A Greenpeace handout photo showing the area off Khalaktyr beach on the Kamchatka peninsula that may have been contaminated with toxic chemicals

Pollution off the Pacific shoreline of the remote Kamchatka peninsula has caused the mass death of marine creatures, Russian scientists said Tuesday.


Locals sounded the alarm in late September as surfers experienced stinging eyes from the water and sea creatures including seals, octopuses and sea urchins washed up dead on the shore.

Coming on the heels of a massive oil leak in Siberia, the latest incident has sparked a large-scale investigation with fears that poisonous substances in underground storage since the Soviet era could have leaked into the water.

A team of divers from a state nature reserve found a “mass death” of sea life at a depth of five to 10 metres (16-33 feet), Ivan Usatov of the Kronotsky Reserve said, adding that “95 percent are dead.”

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Determining the mass of galaxy clusters — ScienceDaily

A top goal in cosmology is to precisely measure the total amount of matter in the universe, a daunting exercise for even the most mathematically proficient. A team led by scientists at the University of California, Riverside, has now done just that.

Reporting in the Astrophysical Journal, the team determined that matter makes up 31% of the total amount of matter and energy in the universe, with the remainder consisting of dark energy.

“To put that amount of matter in context, if all the matter in the universe were spread out evenly across space, it would correspond to an average mass density equal to only about six hydrogen atoms per cubic meter,” said first author Mohamed Abdullah, a graduate student in the UCR Department of Physics and Astronomy. “However, since we know 80% of matter is actually dark matter, in reality, most of this matter consists not of hydrogen

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Sentinels of ocean acidification impacts survived Earth’s last mass extinction

Sentinels of ocean acidification impacts survived Earth's last mass extinction
Several species of planktonic gastropods, including five sea butterflies (shelled) and two sea angels (naked). Credit: Katja Peijnenburg, Erica Goetze, Deborah Wall-Palmer, Lisette Mekkes.

Two groups of tiny, delicate marine organisms, sea butterflies and sea angels, were found to be surprisingly resilient—having survived dramatic global climate change and Earth’s most recent mass extinction event 66 million years ago, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences led by Katja Peijnenburg from Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands.


Sea butterflies and sea angels are pteropods, abundant, floating snails that spend their entire lives in the open ocean. A remarkable example of adaptation to life in the open ocean, these mesmerizing animals can have thin shells and a snail foot transformed into two wing-like structures that enable them to ‘fly’ through the water.

Sea butterflies have been a focus for global change research because they

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Tesla Battery Day tech won’t be mass produced until 2022

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The expectations around Tesla Battery Day, the event in which Tesla showcases its advancements in battery technology, are immensely high, partially because of Tesla CEO Elon Musk hyping it up to no end. 

But some of the stuff that Tesla’s about to unveil won’t reach mass production until 2022. 

This comes from Musk himself. In a series of tweets, the Tesla CEO said that the new battery tech will affect the company’s long-term production, “especially Semi, Cybertruck & Roadster, but what we announce will not reach serious high-volume production until 2022.”

Musk also pointed out that the company plans to increase battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG, CATL, and possibly other manufacturers. But Tesla

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