In Antarctica, a Mysterious Igloo Slowly Appears

If you’re a slow TV buff, the webcam for Casey Station, one of Australia’s three Antarctic research bases, makes for reasonably compelling viewing. Wind blows, and trucks make tracks in the snow. Ant-sized scientists scurry in and out of the various doors. Someone occasionally switches out the name on the black and orange Happy Birthday sign.

Over the last week in April, though, the webcam’s fans were treated to an unusual and thrillingly progress-related activity. “The emails started to come into Australia’s Antarctic Division,” Business Insider Australia writes. Far to the right side of the frame, someone was building—was that an igloo?

It was. According to BI, two staff members from the base, electrician Adam Roberts and communications technician Clint Chilcott, had been discussing building an igloo for a long time. Last week, they decided to give it a go.

An Inuit family poses for a photo while building an igloo...

Some Very Clever Signs from the March for Science

Article Image

On Earth Day, April 22, millions of people hit the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities worldwide to March for Science.

The organizers of the march have framed it as a reproach against “an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery.” Lead organizer Jonathan Berman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, described it like this to the New York Times:

“Yes, this is a protest, but it’s not a political protest… The people making decisions are in Washington, and they are the people we are trying to reach with the message: You should listen to evidence.”

Speaking to Buzzfeed News, Bill Nye, one of several public leaders for the march, said:

“People are denying the facts of science in the world’s most influential economy. We’re marching to remind everybody of how much science serves you, a person, as a citizen in our society.”

Here are some of the clever signs participants of the march created:

This dog is marking his bark heard….

Antarctica Is Covered in Rivers, Lakes, and Waterfalls. That Might Not Be Good.

The floating ice shelves that buttress Antarctica are less icy than we thought, it turns out. They’re filled with flowing water. New research published in the scientific journal Nature maps the extensive network of meltwater from Antarctica’s ice sheets and found that, contrary to previous understanding, lakes and rivers—even waterfalls—created by melting have been common for at least seven decades.

Two new papers analyze satellite imagery of Antarctica dating back to 1973 and aerial photography dating back to 1947 for evidence of meltwater. Warming oceans melt ice shelves around from the bottom up, while warming air temperatures melt them from the top down, creating pools and rivers of liquid water on the continent’s surface.

Researchers found that over the last 70 years, a system of meltwater drainage has transported water from the continent of Antarctica across the floating ice shelves that surround it, traveling up to 75 miles and creating ponds up to 50 miles long.

This isn’t great news for the stability of the ice shelf. Water is heavy, and the weight can cause the ice below these lakes to crack. As…