11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… there really is a black panther in Africa.

This melanistic leopard—a black panther—prowls the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, not Africa.
Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic

What are black panthers? Who are Black Panthers? Who is Black Panther?


… three tests the Green New Deal must pass in order to work.

This building in Greensburg, Kansas, uses wind turbines, solar panels, and geothermal heat pumps—all renewable energy technologies.
Photograph by Lauren Ayres, My Shot

How can policymakers—and your own students—make informed environmental decisions? Use our lesson to find out.


… to encourage girls to enter STEM fields, we need to talk about action—not identity.

The February issue of Explorer magazine is dedicated to the work of three female explorers.
Photograph courtesy Explorer magazine

Listen to our explorers tell your students what they’re up to with this month’s incredible line-up of female scientists and researchers in Explorer Classroom.


… brave cartographers are fighting the tyranny of the rainbow.

Visualizations like this one have been widely recognized as having a number of disadvantages including: abrupt shifts in brightness, misleading for viewers with color vision deficiencies, too flashy to look at for a longer time.
Map by U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Ocean Dynamics and Prediction Branch

What impact does color have on how students are introduced to mapping activities?


climate change is powering Switzerland.

The gushing waters of glacial retreat (like the Stein Glacier here) are fueling cheap hydropower in Switzerland.
Photograph by James Balog, National Geographic

Despite the booming hydropower melting glaciers are bringing to Switzerland, the nation is still trying to protect the ice of the Alps.


… the deep blue sea is getting bluer.

As global warming alters communities of phytoplankton, the ocean’s color will intensify.
Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas

Why is the ocean blue?


… two endangered birds have been rediscovered in Hawaii.

Hawaiian petrels, like this fuzzy chick, were identified using acoustic monitoring.
Photograph by USFWS, Andre Raine/Kaua’i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project. CC-BY-NC 2.0

What other birds are “on the edge”?


… there’s an Atlas of Endangered Alphabets.

Click to navigate a repository of indigenous and minority writing systems, and the people who are trying to save them.

Learn how one speaker created a dictionary to help preserve her indigenous language.


… the beauty of public transportation.

Navigate public transportation around the world with our fun GeoStory.


… how to become better storytellers.

Our explorers attend “Storytelling Bootcamps” to hone their communication skills.
Photograph by Jen Shook, National Geographic

Learn how one zoo educator uses the power of storytelling in conservation.


… the winners of the World Data Visualization Prize.

The Grand Prize went to this “dazzling, winning entry from Nikita Rokotyan uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to find previously-unseen connections and harmonies between different countries. It uses an AI technique called t-SNE to discover clusters of nations that are related by happiness score, health expenditure, investment in education and many other variables. It then presents these patterns visually, creating an interactive world map that we can explore, tweak and filter to find unexpected pairings and insights. It uses design, code and artificial intelligence to bring data and statistics to life.”
By Interacta – Nikita Rokotyan, Olya Stukova and Dasha Kolmakova

Learn a little about the Data Visualization Lab here at Nat Geo!

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