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300-Pound Ray Slams Woman in Boat

Fla. tourist survives bodyslam without a scratch

(Newser) - An Illinois woman ended up a lot closer to nature than planned during a sightseeing trip in the Florida Keys when an eagle ray leaped right into her tour boat, pinning her to the floor. "It happened so fast, in a split second," Jenny Hausch, who had been... More »

Nature Films a Fraud: Producer

They involve rented animals, M&Ms

(Newser) - Swimming with sharks, camping with wolves, blazing through the Everglades—nature documentaries get us so close to the animal kingdom they seem unreal ... and they often are, according to a new tell-all book. Chris Palmer, an executive producer who has spent more than 25 years in the wildlife film industry,... More »

Avatar Speaks to Our Inner Science Geek

Flick appeals to humans' natural wonder at the weird world

(Newser) - Excuse Carol Kaesuk Yoon if she seems “a bit breathless,” but Avatar has reinvigorated the biologist’s awe of the natural world, and she suspects that effect is what’s really driving the flick’s blockbuster success. People love to puzzle over nature, and try to order it... More »

Green Spaces Make You Healthier

People who live near vegetation suffer fewer diseases

(Newser) - People who live close to parks or other “green spaces” are likely to be healthier, a new study suggests. Dutch researchers scoured the health records of 345,000 people, comparing their health status to the amount of green space in the surrounding area, from a half-mile to 2-mile radius.... More »

Nature Makes You Nicer

People more focused on others when primed with natural imagery, research shows

(Newser) - Being around the natural world or representations of it makes you a better person, Miller-McCune reports. A study finds that people shown slides of natural landscapes rated community-oriented goals—such as “to work for the betterment of society”—as more important to them than self-oriented goals—for example,... More »

Top Towns to Raise Outdoorsy Kids

(Newser) - Backpacker combed through info on outdoor programs and proximity to national forests and parks to find the best cities in the US to raise active, crunchy kids. The results:
  • Boulder, Colo.: "Yes, we live here, but Boulder wins on its merits." Close to woods, glaciers, and mountains,
... More »

Naked Hikers Enjoy Solstice Au Naturel

(Newser) - The summer solstice is upon us, but for certain enthusiasts, today bears a different name: Naked Hiking Day. “No way to explain it until you experience it,” one fan told the AP. “Traditional” hikers might feel the same upon encountering backpackers in the buff. “It’s... More »

Campgrounds Add Perks, Redefine 'Roughing It'

(Newser) - The purer pleasures of the outdoors don’t seem to be enough for some campers anymore, the New York Times reports. Increasingly, campgrounds are offering amenities like pizza delivery, air-conditioning, kiddie rides, and valet service to the delight of families and owners’ balance sheets. “The objective is to maximize... More »

National Parks Plan 3 Free Summer Weekends

(Newser) - The National Park Service is looking to stimulate summer vacations, with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announcing today that entrance fees at 147 national parks and monuments—including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite—will be waived on three weekends this summer: June 20-21, July 18-19, and Aug. 15-16. “During these... More »

Rare Lynx Cubs Born in Spain

Iberian Lynx is world's most endangered cat

(Newser) - Officials say three endangered Iberian lynx cubs have been born in a nature reserve in southern Spain. The Iberian lynx is the world's most endangered cat, and the cubs were part of a breeding program in Andalusia's Donana National Park. The regional environmental department says the cubs born Wednesday bring... More »

Nature Makes Us Smarter, So City Folk Are...

(Newser) - Watching bears eat spiders on TV is fun, but do nature shows help restore our lost link with the natural world? Studies show that screen images of the great outdoors help workers relax and think clearly; an actual window onto leafy environs helps them destress even faster. "But what... More »

Barbies of the Future May Grow on Trees

Researchers use wood and wax to make biodegradable alternative

(Newser) - Wooden toys may not be so 1850s, scientists say. A bioplastic made from trees has been used to make everything from golf tees to car parts in recent years, but its sulfurous stink kept it out of the toy market. Now a sulfur-free version of "liquid wood" is available,... More »

Candidates Go Hunting (Not Each Other) in Field & Stream

McCain, Obama declare their love for the outdoors in nature mag

(Newser) - Barack Obama and John McCain will talk fishing and hunting in the October issue of Field & Stream magazine. (Coincidentally or not, the cover feature implores readers to “Find Your Bull,” the Swamp notes.) In the interview, both candidates profess to be big fans of the outdoors,... More »

Rising Seas to Swallow Reserve

Caretakers forced to retreat before rising waters

(Newser) - A portion of a major UK nature reserve is being abandoned to the rising tides, the Independent reports. In the face of eroding sea defenses, Titchwell Marsh has decided to make a “managed retreat” inland, giving up much on a substantial portion of the birdwatching hotspot. “The erosion... More »

Roots of Speech Found in Humming Fish

All vocalizing creatures share common brain circuit, researchers find

(Newser) - The songs of birds, the hums and grunts of toadfish, and the lofty speech of humans all use the same ancient brain circuit, despite an evolutionary split 400 million years ago, reports National Geographic. Researchers have discovered that the base of the hindbrain and upper spinal cord is the starting... More »

This View Zaps Stress, Naturally

Study finds plasma TV images no substitute

(Newser) - For stress relief, there is no substitute for views of nature, the Seattle Times reports. A University of Washington study found that students who faced a stressful task returned to a normal heart rate most quickly while looking out the window at trees and grass. More »

Homosexuality: It's Perfectly Natural

Gay relationships abound in animal kingdom

(Newser) - It may throw a wrench in Noah's ark-stocking plans, but same-sex relationships appear in many animal species, reports The long list of animals that practice gay sex includes bears, penguins, gorillas, and dolphins, among others. But scientists question the act's evolutionary purpose, because it doesn't aid in reproduction.... More »

10 High-Tech Survival Items

Innovative solutions for wilderness living

(Newser) - Wired sees a distinct lack of cool high-tech outdoor gear, and gives its favorite examples of steps in the right direction:
  1. The Cocoon, a hanging teardrop-shaped tent/sleeping bag.
  2. The Adamant, an earthquake-proof bed.
  3. The Bedu Emergency Rapid Response Kit, a keg full of enough essentials to keep a family alive
... More »

Darwin's Papers Now Online

Once-private drafts, notes and even recipes of evolutionary scientist are free to public

(Newser) - A vast collection of the papers of Charles Darwin is now online, providing public access to volumes once restricted to Cambridge scholars, the BBC reports. 20,000 items are available, including the first draft of his seminal book on evolution, travel notes and personal pieces such as family recipes, Reuters... More »

Cheating, Corruption Rampant in Ant Society

Secret elite exploits workers with its DNA

(Newser) - A power-mad elite is secretly rigging the system so their offspring rise to power, LiveScience reports. That’s the situation a team of researchers has discovered in ant society—not exactly the epitome of community collaboration once thought. Until now, it appeared that any properly-fed larvae could hatch into a... More »

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