The Current: The Franklin Institute Blog

jet stream map

The Fingerprints of Anthropogenic Climate Change are Emerging in Extreme Weather Events

Winter cold spells are often mistakenly pointed to as evidence against global warming. A common remark I’ve encountered this winter season is, “It’s so darn cold, how can the globe be warming?” It may seem counterintuitive, but while the globe continues to warm, erratic cold snaps at the middle latitudes may actually become more frequent.

redback spider

The Wild World of Spider Mating

For humans, navigating the dating scene to find a mate is tricky enough. It’s even tougher for a male Australian redback spider—80% of males never find a mate. Dr. Maydianne Andrade at the University of Toronto Scarborough has studied these spiders for decades, discovering that desperate times call for desperate measures. During mating, male redbacks somersault onto the fangs of females, often getting cannibalized. But this self-sacrifice is worth it, as it significantly improves their odds of reproduction.

launch of Falcon Heavy shuttle

Falcon Heavy: Why We Launch

The Falcon Heavy launch scheduled for this afternoon has me nostalgic for the days of the space shuttle launches. As a photographer and digital media producer, I covered over 50 space shuttle launch attempts for National Geographic and AOL from 2005 to 2011.

People would always ask me, “Why do you keep going back?” It was expensive (it was a self-funded project and I don’t live in Florida), time consuming, heart breaking, and exhausting. And honestly, every time I would go, I would make the decision that it was my last launch: I’d seen enough, and I didn’t need to come back.

groundhog meme

Groundhog Day Science

As Environmental Scientist at The Franklin Institute, part of my job is to find ways to help the public separate fact from fiction when it comes to climate science. The task is not always easy: the study of our changing climate is complicated, and is constantly evolving as we learn more and more about our remarkable planet.

Man in anti-gravity

5 Foods Astronauts Cannot Eat in Space

Manned spaceflight began in 1961 when the Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took man’s first flight beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Humans have, ever since, been exploring space through a variety of missions including the International Space Station, which has housed individual Astronauts and Cosmonauts for periods of up to a year. Nevertheless, life in space would not be possible with the often specialized foods that consumed in orbit and beyond. In a microgravity environment, however, certain foods are impractical.