Robotic weather balloon launchers spread in Alaska

SCIENCE U.S. weather service union fears that automation threatens jobs and sacrifices forecasters’ local knowledge Last week, things began stirring inside the truck-size box that sat among melting piles of snow at the airport in Fairbanks, Alaska. Before long, the roof of the box yawned open and a weather balloon took off into the sunny … More Robotic weather balloon launchers spread in Alaska

Rebecca Boyle Excavates Earth’s Earliest History

THE OPEN NOTEBOOK Earth has a memory problem. Few rocks have survived from the first billion years of the planet’s history, when all kinds of important things happened, including—perhaps—the first stirrings of life. This amnesia has made it hard for researchers to piece together our origin story, and answer the really big questions like How … More Rebecca Boyle Excavates Earth’s Earliest History

The Carbon Harvest

SCIENCE Vast bioenergy plantations could suck up carbon and stave off climate change. They would also radically reshape the planet On a sunny day this past October, three dozen people file into a modest, mint-green classroom at Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman to glimpse a vision of the future. Some are scientists, but most … More The Carbon Harvest

In Search of a Greener Future for the Weed Industry

PACIFIC STANDARD Will the environmental impact of cannabis balloon as legalization sweeps across the country? It’s hard to get a word in with Derek Smith. He’s winding through the crowd, shaking hands and nodding hellos across the locker-lined corridors of Revolution Hall, a hulking high school auditorium-turned-venue in Portland, Oregon. At one point, Smith stops … More In Search of a Greener Future for the Weed Industry

Boom and Busted

BIOGRAPHIC In trying to untangle a mysterious herring collapse from the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, scientists in Prince William Sound are revealing just how resilient—and unpredictable—marine ecosystems can be. On a cold day in June, Scott Pegau leans toward the passenger window of a Cessna floatplane and peers out at the teal … More Boom and Busted