Posts by Ilima Loomis

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Solving a solar mystery

Sunbeams — what a drag. That’s the conclusion of physicists trying to solve a longstanding mystery: why the sun’s surface rotates more slowly than its inner core. The team argues that energy radiating outward from the sun pushes back slightly as it is expelled, providing just enough resistance to put on the brakes. The hypothesis…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Two years after shutdown, California oyster farm remains a community hot-button

Conventional wisdom has it that oysters are one of the most environmentally friendly animal proteins. Not only do bivalve shellfish require no nutrients or marine ingredients to be added to the water, as filter feeders they actually clean the water column, removing pollutants and impurities to reduce turbidity. So when one of California’s oldest oyster…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

A catalog of Hawaiian star names

You don’t find many linguists at the International Astronomical Union’s General Assembly, the world’s largest annual gathering of astronomers. But at last August’s event in Honolulu, John Kaipo Mahelona was there. He’d co-authored the definitive catalog of Hawaiian star names and knowledge, Nā Inoa Hōkū, the culmination of three decades of research with co-author Rubellite…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Business break-ups

Whether parting ways with a troublesome client, letting go of a contractor or splitting from a partner, ending an important business relationship can feel as stressful and difficult as a “real” breakup. The blending of close business relationships into personal friendships can make a split even more painful. Compounding the possibility of hurt feelings are…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

“China’s Relentless Campaign to Pave the Coast”

From Holland’s famous dikes to the construction of New Orleans on a former swamp, humans have a long history of “reclaiming” flooded coastal lands for their own purposes. But in recent years, as the value of wetlands has been better understood, the trend has been moving in the opposite direction, with increasing protection for coastal…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

My first byline in Discover

Buff and mahogany swirls and starbursts form distinctive patterns on the shells of hawksbill sea turtles, once common in tropical oceans worldwide. But their numbers dropped because demand for jewelry, hairpieces and other ornaments crafted from their shells made them one of the most widely trafficked species. Now, those same shells can provide critical information…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Where were the whales?

Each fall, Pacific Ocean humpback whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds near Alaska and Russia to the warm waters further south. In these places, the whales spend their winters finding mates, breeding, and giving birth to and rearing calves conceived the previous winter. Or, they normally do. This past winter, the whales, by and…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

“Cool Jobs: Getting to know volcanoes”

In my latest “cool jobs” story for Science News for Students, I profile a vulcanologist who studies magma, an infrasound scientist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, and an atmospheric scientist at the University of Hawaii who helps predict the spread of vog. Read the full story here.

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Thank you, readers!

I was thrilled to see that my reporting on “rejections” in the aquarium-fish trade was among the most-shared stories in Hakai magazine’s first year. Thank you for reading and sharing my work, and read more of Hakai‘s most popular stories here!

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

“Cool Jobs: Mapping the Unknown”

Two hundred million years ago, Earth looked very different. Its landmass was pushed together into one giant continent. Today scientists refer to it as Pangaea. Over time, the rocky plates that make up Earth’s crust split this mega-continent apart. The plates later ripped those new continents apart, too, moving them around and smooshing some of them…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

1 in 4 aquarium fish “rejected”

Export data and international trade records have long suggested that millions of fish caught for home aquariums die along the complex supply chain from fish wholesalers to hobbyists’ tanks. But these trade statistics, in many cases the only source of information available, omit a crucial stage in the aquarium fish industry: what happens to fish…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Tracking the devastating sea cucumber fishery

Soft, slimy, and wrinkled, they looked like a heap of waterlogged, disembodied phalluses. The photographs, snapped by bystanders in the spring of 2015, showed sea cucumbers being hauled away from Hawai‘i’s beaches by the truckload. The animals slid over one another in a pool of mucus. As the images began spiraling through social media channels,…