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How Female Frogs Tune Out Useless, Noisy Males

Before frat parties, there were frog ponds.Literal breeding grounds for some of the world’s noisiest bachelors, these lusty pools are where amphibians gather to woo mates. And as any frog researcher will tell you, they’re “super, super, super loud,” says Valentina Caorsi, a bioacoustician at the University of Trento in Italy.Some spots host hundreds...

This Black Hole Was Hiding a Massive Surprise

There’s a spot in space, thousands of light-years from here, that might best be described as a cosmic amusement park. A supergiant star, so hot that it glows electric blue, and a black hole spin around each other at extraordinary speeds, orbiting so closely that some of the star’s material is pulled toward the black hole. The stellar particles swirl...

The Weekly Planet: Why a Political Philosopher Is Thinking About Carbon Removal

Jared Rodriguez Every Tuesday, our lead climate reporter brings you the big ideas, expert analysis, and vital guidance that will help you flourish on a changing planet. Sign up to get The Weekly Planet, our guide to living through climate change, in your inbox.Until a few years ago, the idea that humanity could suck carbon pollution out of the atmosphere...

Antarctica Is Running Out of Wilderness

In almost every sense of the word, the Palmer Archipelago in Antarctica is wild. Humpback whales, elephant seals, and the wandering albatross, a seabird with a wingspan as long as a male great white shark, all call this area home. Towering glaciers and blue-tinged icebergs dot the landscape, and sunsets last for hours.This empty, untamed place also...

‘To Me, This Penis Is Out of Control’

The world of Danish children’s television is not for the prudish. Kids who turn on the tube in Denmark might be greeted by gratuitous flatulence, cursing, casual nudity, or cross-dressing puppets. One show centers on a pipe-smoking pirate who wallops ninjas and flirts with Satanism. In another, an audience of 11-to-13-year-olds asks probing questions...

Get a Heat Pump

If you’re like me, you know that getting rid of your car is one of the best things you can do for the climate, and also that you will never do it. This is a car-oriented country, and a car-oriented time. But in 2019, the private cars and light trucks that ordinary people drive for work and shopping and leisure were responsible for about 15 percent of...

You Got the Vaccine! What Can You Do Now?

The past 11 months have been a crash course in a million concepts that you probably wish you knew a whole lot less about. Particle filtration. Ventilation. Epidemiological variables. And, perhaps above all else, interdependence. In forming quarantine bubbles, in donning protective gear just to buy groceries, in boiling our days down to only our most...

Coronavirus Reinfection Will Soon Become Our Reality

On its face, reinfection appears to be a straightforward term. It is literally “infection, again”—a recovered person’s second dalliance with the same microbe. Long written into the scientific literature of infectious disease, it is a familiar word, innocuous enough: a microbial echo, an immunological encore act.But thanks to the pandemic, reinfection...

The Mediterranean’s Red Gold Is Running Out

On a golden day last September, I visited the ruins of the first Greek city on the Iberian Peninsula, a settlement from the sixth century B.C. called Empúries. Traders venturing down present-day Spain’s Costa Brava, a rugged stretch of coastline in northeastern Catalonia, had recognized the advantages of the location: a natural port, some protection...

The Weekly Planet: The Great Climate Bill of 2021 Is Being Shaped Now

Every Tuesday, our lead climate reporter brings you the big ideas, expert analysis, and vital guidance that will help you flourish on a changing planet. Sign up to get The Weekly Planet, our guide to living through climate change, in your inbox.President Joe Biden’s legislative climate agenda has kind of fallen out of the news. Lawmakers are focused...

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