Science online, Portland-bound edition

Just two days after I get back to Moscow from that Santa Barbara, I’m off again to Portland, for Evolution 2010. As in previous years, I’ll try to post daily notes about cool talks I see at the meeting, and maybe some photos of Portland, where the weather is allegedly going to be warm and sunny. In the meantime, here’s what’s been going on in the science blogosphere this week:

Never again? Photo by Vern and Skeet.
  • Still gushing. Earlier this week, BP removed the containment cap on the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher following a mishap with an underwater robot, but it’s back for now. Internal documents suggest that, early on in the disaster, BP knew a lot more oil was flowing than they told the federal government. Hydrology experts are considering how existing flow control structures might be able to use the Mississippi River itself to protect coastal wetlands from oil.
  • Reconsider that sashimi. An environmentalist group is petitioning to protect bluefin tuna, which spawn in the Gulf of Mexico, under the Endangered Species Act. (NY Times)
  • Meanwhile, in even longer-running fossil fuel disasters. In Pennsylvania coal country, underground mine fires burn unchecked. (SEED Magazine)
  • Walk like a man. A newly-discovered fossil of Australopithecus afarensis—the same species as “Lucy”—has a ribcage more like a human’s than an ape’s, suggesting that it stood upright. (A Primate of Modern Aspect)
  • Why did the moose cross the road? Larger mammals with broader home ranges and lower reproductive rates are at greater risk of becoming roadkill. (Conservation Maven)
  • No word about preference for rock’n’roll, though. Attitudes about sex are better predictors of attitudes about drug use and religion than “abstract political ideologies.” (Blag Hag)
  • Wait, there’s software to do that? You never know when the Methods section of an otherwise obscure paper is going to turn up something useful. (NeuroDojo)

And now, a video of aggregating ladybugs.