Your letters and comments on the March 30, 2019 issue of Science News

Moving green

Researchers found iron oxides trapped in a sample of green frosty icecream. The chemicals can explain why commonly blue-hued icebergs can sometimes seem green, Jeremy Rehm reported at”Tiny pieces of iron can explain why several icebergs are green” (SN: 3/30/19, p. 12).

“Since icebergs can float for tens of thousands of kilometers, and since iron is a limiting nutrient for algae, so I wonder whether these bergs are a substantial source of iron to get algae in freshwater latitudes?” Reader Karl Chwe requested on Facebook. Chwe additionally asked if diminishing numbers of Antarctic icebergs, and therefore reduced iron transportation, could impact the quantity of algae readily available to consume and store carbon dioxide, even accelerating climate change.

While it’s a fact that icebergs, notably giant ones, supply some iron into the sea and encourage algae, most Antarctic icebergs never leave it to temperate areas, Rehm says.

Shell sport

There is stiff competition for cubes one of land-dwelling hermit crabs (one displayed below). New study hints that the scent of a dead hermit crab might indicate to neighbors a shell is up for grabs, Yao-Hua Law reported at”Hermit crabs are attracted to the smell of their own dead” (SN: 3/30/19, p. 10). Video of these hermit crabs in a frenzy within deathly smells, which Science News published on Instagram, motivated reader drplockwood to dub the behaviour”musical cubes”

And Antarctica’s icebergs may actually be growing in number, he says. However icebergs that are green are uncommon. “They account for perhaps 3 percent of Antarctic icebergs, according to a poll researchers from a helicopter,” Rehm claims. “So even if green icebergs do take iron, it is uncertain they would play a massive part in iron cooking, especially outside the Antarctic region.”

Search party

Several astronomers are compelling for NASA to create searching for technosignatures, or even indications of alien technology, an official aim, Lisa Grossman reported in”It is time to start taking the search for E.T. badly, astronomers say” (SN: 3/ / 30/19, p. 4).

Online reader Jan Steinman supposes that human culture would last long enough to detect technosignatures. The best indications of intelligent life future people would be able to detect”may be smoke signals” from no further than the second mountain range on Earth,” Steinman wrote.

That’s an interesting point, and one which astronomers have considered, Grossman claims. ) Carl Sagan, a leader of this area specializing in searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, known as SETI, produced a similar observation in the 1980s when he along with four other scientists warned about the possibility of nuclear winter (SN: 11/12/83, p. 314).

SETI pioneer Frank Drake and colleagues published a study in 2018 which found that even if we locate technosignatures, it is very likely the alien civilizations that made them would have already died out (SN: 4/14/18, p. 9). “Smoke signals really,” Grossman claims.


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