It is the weekend, and time to talk science! Your trusty correspondent suggests a drinking game in which contestants print out a copy of Einstein’s 1905 paper on special relativity, drink copiously, and then try to explain it to each other in five minutes or less. The winner becomes instantly unpopular and probably loses consciousness in the bargain, like New Girl’s “True American” except without America or Zooey Deschanel. Why not? The diem is ripe for carping!

Here are MUI PR Blog’s picks for this week’s scintillating science tales.

 

1. Could Global Warming Send Emperor Penguins Packing?

The long homeward journeys of the faithful emperor penguin are the stuff of legend and award-winning documentaries. What happens if the notion of “home” undergoes a radical redefinition? Scientists traditionally believed that emperor penguins returned to the same nest to breed, navigating themselves across frozen wastes to the same comforting hearths year after year. A new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota appears to challenge that assumption, revealing that some penguins are relocating. Melting ice sheets and changing temperatures may play a role, but it is too soon to ascertain the root causes of such colony fluctuations.

 

2. “Save The Bees” – The White House Weighs In

Remember that laughably horrendous moment in M. Night Shymalan’s laughably horrendous “The Happening” where Mark Wahlberg panics about missing bees? That is actually a thing. Honeybee populations are falling in North America, and the situation is so dire the White House is stepping in. On Friday, President Obama formed a new taskforce to combat the loss of these vital pollinators on whose beating wings so much of our nation’s wilderness and agriculture depends. The causes of colony losses remain uncertain, but angry fingers are being pointed at pesticides as an integral culprit.

 

3. Dwarf Creators

23 years after its launch, the tried and true Hubble telescope is still busy unlocking the secrets of our universe. Taking advantage of the incredibly sensitive Wide Field Camera 3, Hubble has generated data indicating that dwarf galaxies were veritable cosmic factories in the dawning years of the universe, churning out stars at incredible rates. Researchers used grism spectroscopy technology to break apart starlight into a spectrum, identifying particularly eager starmakers by the intense radiation and resulting effect on the analyzed light.

 

4. SpiderSoldier

U.S. military researchers have designed handheld climbing pads that could allow soldiers to scale the sides of buildings without ropes or harnesses. Based on the pads adorning a gecko’s feet, the inventions could transform tactical urban combat in the coming decades. The special structures of a gecko’s feet take advantage of Van Der Waals forces, electromagnetic reactions created by the shifting, impermanent polarity in atoms. When the thousands of fine strands on the bottom of a gecko foot come into contact with a surface, the resulting reactions allow the foot to “stick.” It is symmetry of the highest elegance, coming soon to a battlefield near you.

 

5. A Sirius Rainbow

Forgive your correspondent, for he is about to pull an IFL Science and give you a gorgeous picture in lieu of actually saying anything interesting. You may not blame him, though. The refracting light of Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, was captured by a long-exposure photograph taken in Pakistan.

The results are stunning:

Image Credit: The New Scientist

Image Credit: The New Scientist

 

What are your picks for savvy science stories of the week? Connect with me in the comments below or on Twitter @aa_murph