Abstracts: Extinction, Standing Rock, Craters, and More


• A mass extinction is on its way, and Stephen Hawking says we have 1,000 years to get out of Dodge. This, of course, it easier said than done, given the fact that his evacuation plan requires moving to an entirely different planet. (Washington Post)

The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs may have created an environment in the rock where new life could thrive. Visual: iStock.com/solarseven

• Despite below freezing temperatures, protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline were sprayed with water cannons Sunday night as they tried to move two burned out vehicles blocking a bridge just north of their encampment. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier defended the decision Monday, saying protesters assaulted police with rocks and burning logs. (Bismarck Tribune)

• Sixty-six million years ago, a comet decimated the dinosaurs, but it could have created an environment suitable for other forms of life in the process. Drilling into the crater exposes microbe habitats as well as a curious circle of mountains. (Scientific American)

• Thar she blows! Last Friday, a humpback whale breached the surface of the Hudson River near the George Washington bridge in New Jersey. This is the farthest north a whale has been spotted in the waterway to date. (USA Today)

• A recent study has shaken our understanding of earthquakes. Scientists now suggest that water waste disposal may not be the sole cause of manmade earthquakes; hydraulic fracturing, too, could play a role. (PBS)

• Obama has removed most of the Arctic Ocean from new offshore oil and gas leasing for the next five years, but president-elect Trump may reopen the plan in order to add additional Arctic lease areas. (NPR)

• More than a dozen companies and government organizations race to develop a Zika vaccine from scratch, with hopes of offering a solution to the disease within the next two years. (New York Times)

• With a new White House administration comes changes to program aims and budgets, including those related to NASA. While president-elect Trump has not yet sent a delegation to NASA headquarters, predictions abound — is a return to the moon on the horizon? (Washington Post)

• And finally, earlier this month, unsuspecting hikers in Alaska stumbled upon two bull moose literally frozen in combat. (National Geographic)