Maptivism, Pond Fleas and One Polar Bear’s Long Journey

BY Jenny Marder  February 7, 2011 at 5:48 PM EDT

Maps, Activism and Technology: Check-Ins with a Purpose

Sukey.jpgIntroducing Sukey, the “maptivism” app. Detailed in this column is a sort of Four Square for nonviolent organizing: location-based mobile social networking that allows people to check in during demonstrations, track crowds and avoid danger zones. Already, group Twitter alerts and status messages are getting embedded geographically into maps to alert people to the safest areas. A mobile safety compass, if you will. (iRevolution)

Tiny Water Flea Clocks in Record Number of Genes

NPR.jpgResearchers have sequenced the little pond flea, Daphnia. It is transparent, no bigger than a grain of rice, and makes its own blood when certain genes are expressed. And Daphnia has an extraordinarily large number of genes — more than 31,000. “If Guinness tracked such things, Daphnia would hold the record for the most genes of any animal studied to date,” NPR’s Joe Palca reports. And many of these genes are brand new to science. (NPR, Joe Palca)

Polar Bear’s Epic Nine-Day Swim: Anomaly or Omen?

OnEarth.jpgOnEarth has an interview with a scientist who tracked a polar bear’s excruciating hunt for sea ice. The 498-pound bear swam for nine-days straight, that’s 232 hours, and lost her bear cub and a fifth of her body weight during the journey. A sad and fascinating story. (Emily Gertz, OnEarth)

Cooling on Warming

New Yorker.jpgEven with coastlines shrinking, famine spreading, and mounting scientific evidence that continues to support climate change, the climate bill has “died of complete organ failure,” writes Hendrik Hertzberg in The New Yorker. A study on how the president made it through the State of the Union without ever using the words “climate change,” or “global warming,” and what that might mean for his climate agenda. (Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker)

And in case you missed them, some recent stories from our Science page:

If a Boy Scout Can Get Nuclear Materials, What’s Stopping Terrorists?

Telescope Finds 1,200 Planets Outside Solar System

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On Mars, Shifting Sand Dunes Surprise Scientists