11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

Homo naledi looks great for her age … not a day over 350,000 years.

Illustration by Stefan Fichtel, National Geographic

Who is Homo naledi?


… Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ could spell disaster for a warming planet.

Antarctica’s valleys could be deep lakes.
Photograph by Maria Stenzel, National Geographic

What’s going on in Antarctica?


… in space, no one can hear you snore. Because you’ll have a hard time sleeping in the first place.

Astronaut Megan McArthur rests in her sleeping bag on the space shuttle Atlantis.
Photograph courtesy NASA

How else does space impact the human body?


… human noise is threatening wildlife in national parks.

Bighorn sheep react to sounds in Banff National Park, Canada.
Photograph by Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber, National Geographic

Find your park, love your park, enjoy your park. Quietly.


… dreams of the Stone Age have been dated in Southern Africa.

The latest research investigates rock art of the San people, like this gorgeous hunting scene.
Photograph by Chris Johns, National Geographic

How old is the creative impulse?


… how just one data point could predict the collapse of an entire ecosystem.

Coastal ecosystems like this one in Italy may help preserve rangelands in the Midwestern U.S.
Photograph by David Littschwager, National Geographic

Create your own imaginary ecosystem, from top to bottom.


lawns are crops Americans are obsessed with, and biomasses are crops bunnies are obsessed with.

It’s missing pink flamingoes.
Photograph by Ad Meskens, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-3.0

Avoid the lawn! Start xeriscaping.


… how mountaintop coal mining impacts life and landscape.

A cemetery sits atop the remaining part of a mountaintop in West Virginia.
Photograph by Robb Kendrick, National Geographic

Navigate the geography of coal in the U.S.


… drought doesn’t cause famine. People do.

The Horn of Africa region (including Kenya, here) is also prone to drought—but the impacts of climate change alone are not enough to create famine, experts say, so long as they are managed.
Photograph by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic

Investigate the paradox of undernourishment.


… smartphones are nothing less than pocket laboratories.

Mobile phones are helping to take conventional laboratory-based science into the field, the classroom and the clinic.
Photograph by Michael Melford, National Geographic

Put your pocket lab to use with the iNaturalist!


… what the last Nuremberg prosecutor wants the world to know: “War makes murderers out of otherwise decent people. All wars, and all decent people.” Powerful read.

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