Earth & Conservation

It's 63 Degrees In Antarctica

That and other stories that went around the office today

Antarctica Temperature Reaches 63 Degrees Fahrenheit

That's about 17 degrees Celsius. Last week saw a period of extreme temperatures in Antarctica. On the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, researchers recorded recorded several temperatures 60 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. Jordan Gerth, a researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, said while this figure is quite rare, it should be considered more or less an outlier-for now. The South Pole has its own polar vortex which can allow for such extreme weather this time of year (end of summer). Scientists continue to record data in the Antarctic and say, if we start seeing more and more days with very high temperature, that's when we should be really concerned. (CNBC)

One Killed, One Injured at NSA Headquarters

Earlier today, two men crashed a car into a security gate at the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters. One man was killed, after security personnel opened fire, and the other was injured. The New York Times is reporting that both men were dressed as women and were driving an S.U.V. that had been reported as stolen. An FBI spokeswoman confirmed a shooting had taken place at a security gate near Interstate 295, just outside Washington D.C. She also said the FBI does not believe the incident was an act of terror. The NSA headquarters is located on the Fort Meade United States Army base and employs over 35,000 people. It is the largest government spy agency in operation. (The New York Times)

In Western China, Chongqing Rapidly Transforms From Farmland to City

As part of the massive urbanization of China, Chongqing is changing at an incredibly fast pace. Until 1997, the city went largely undeveloped since it was not as easily accessible for trade compared to the mega-cities in the eastern part of the country. Nearly twenty years later, after a surge in investment, the city is transforming incredibly fast. In 2014, the Chogqing's population increased by over 4,000 people each week. Massive, densely-packed apartment buildings are taking over swaths of land that had been previously used as simple farm plots for hundreds of years. Quartz has collected some striking photos to capture the transformation. (Quartz)

Secular Blogger Brutally Murdered in Bangladesh

In the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, a blogger was killed by a group of assailants armed with machetes. Washikur Rahman, a writer who advocated secularism, was attacked on a busy street, according to local police. It was the second attack in five weeks to target a vocal critic of hardline religious extremism. The government has been attempting to crackdown on such Islamist groups who are advocating for Sharia Law in the country. (Reuters)

Photos Show Young Star Growing Extremely Quickly

Astronomers at the University of Toledo have documented a baby star that appears to be growing much faster than normal pace. HOPS 383, classified as a "Class 0" protostar, is roughly 1,400 light years away. Most Class 0 stars are simply gas and dust, beginning to condense into a hot center surrounded by a disk. The Class 0 stage usually lasts 150,000 years, which is a tiny fraction in a star's overall lifetime, but HOPS 383 is showing a 3,500% increase in brightness over the past several years. Astronomers think this surge in brightness is indicative of a rate of growth that's much, much faster than other similar stars. (Quartz)

Coffee May Lower Risk of Liver Cancer

Coffee fans can delight in this bit of good news. A massive study from the World Cancer Research Fund International analyzed the findings from 34 previously published studies focused on diet, nutrition, physical activity, and liver cancer. Researchers concluded that drinking one cup of coffee per day could reduce your risk of developing liver cancer by 14 percent. This was largely due to coffee's anti-inflammatory properties. Most of the available data was pulled from animal studies, but there were some human studies as well. As usual, there's more research needed, but for now, drink up. (Medical News Today)

Photo courtesy of Christopher Michel / Flickr