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James MacDonald

James MacDonald received a BS in Environmental Biology from Columbia and a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University, spending 4 years in Central America collecting data on fish in mangrove forests. His research has been published in scholarly journals such as Estuaries and Coasts and Biological Invasions. He currently works in fisheries management and outreach in New York.

The Ecological Impact of a Border Wall

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a large border wall. We look at the damage a wall would create for the surrounding ecology.

The Extinct Civilization of Mars

Liquid water has been detected on Mars. We explore the history of the search, and the astronomer, Percival Lowell, who shook the public imagination.

What Causes Brain Freeze AKA Ice Cream Headaches?

Brain freeze, or the ice cream headache, is still little understood.

Aphantasia: When the Mind’s Eye is Blind

Those suffering from aphantasia cannot form mental images. Which begs the question: What exactly do we mean when we say mental image?

Take a Nap, It’s Good For You

Like taking a nap? Exploring the research that finds a positive correlation between health and a short daily rest.
"Homo naledi, hand (Hawks version)" by John Hawks - http://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/99005.php. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Homo_naledi,_hand_(Hawks_version).jpg#/media/File:Homo_naledi,_hand_(Hawks_version).jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Homo Naledi: Our Newly Discovered Ancestor

Found in a cave in South Africa, the fossils have been determined to be from Homo naledi, a previously unknown ancestor of the human species.
"Stonehenge Wide Angle". Licensed under Public Domain via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stonehenge_Wide_Angle.jpg#/media/File:Stonehenge_Wide_Angle.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Stonehenge’s Larger Neighbor

The discovery of Durrington Walls, a monument more formidable than Stonehenge, deepens the mystery of these Neolithic structures.
The habitat at sunset - photo by Sian Proctor
University of Hawai`i at Manoa

Sealed In A Dome For Science

NASA volunteers are experimenting with long-term isolation in a dome in preparation for long space flights.
Palmyra

Archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad, Enemy of ISIS

The noted archaeologist was targeted for his research and work on the ruins of Palmyra, an ancient semitic city dating back to the Neolithic age.

Is Tropical Sustainable Logging Possible?

So-called sustainable commercial logging is not sustainable.

Venom Found in the Unlikeliest of Animals

Venom is used by some surprising animals, including mammals.
Astronauts on the International Space Station are ready to sample their harvest of a crop of "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce from the Veggie plant growth system that tests hardware for growing vegetables and other plants in space.
Credits: NASA

Gardening in Space

Zero-gravity gardening: why growing plants in space isn't the same as here on Earth.

Turtle Shells: More Than Meets the Eye

Turtle shells evolved over time from earlier precursor structures.
AFP/Getty Images

Hand to Ankle: A New Grafting Technique Offers Hope

The surgical reattachment or grafting of limbs has a short history because of its difficulty.

Will Spicy Foods Preserve You?

Spicy foods may prolong life; they certainly act as food preservatives.
Artist's concept of buckyballs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons around an R Coronae Borealis star rich in hydrogen. Credit: MultiMedia Service (IAC)

What’s Between the Stars? Buckyballs!

How buckyballs fit into the formation of new stars.
"OregonCoastEcola Edit" by Cacophony edit by Noodle snacks - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OregonCoastEcola_Edit.jpg#/media/File:OregonCoastEcola_Edit.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Is the Pacific Northwest Due For a Big Earthquake?

The Pacific Northwest may be due for a big earthquake, and there is historical evidence to suggest it may be huge.
Bust of queen Nefertiti in the Neues Museum, Berlin

"Nefertiti 30-01-2006" by Arkadiy Etumyan - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nefertiti_30-01-2006.jpg#/media/File:Nefertiti_30-01-2006.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>

The Tomb of Queen Nefertiti?

The long undiscovered tomb of Queen Nefertiti may have been found.

Why Urban Crabs Are More Aggressive

Urban crabs are more aggressive than their rural counterparts because of heavy metal contamination.
Cecil Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe 2010

"Cecil the lion" by Daughter#3 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/daughter3986851963/4516561242/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cecil_the_lion.jpg#/media/File:Cecil_the_lion.jpg

Does Hunting Have a Place in Wildlife Conservation?

Can hunting be a viable option for wildlife conservation?

Drones Stress Out Bears, Too

The effects of drones and planes on animal stress.

Kepler Finds Truly Earth-like World

The Kepler telescope discovers a habitable planet.

A Brief History of Quarks

Understanding the history and future of quarks.
armadillo

Armadillos are Cute, but They Spread Leprosy

A surprising examination of how armadillos spread leprosy.