Posts by Ilima Loomis

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“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,…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Cleaning teeth with bubbles?

People with sensitive teeth often hate visiting the dentist. One reason: Having their teeth cleaned and polished can hurt. Now, scientists have taken a close-up look at the tool that dentists use for that cleaning — and the tiny bubbles it creates. They think their work could lead to a new tool that can clean…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Does astronomy have a future in Hawaii?

For weeks, the astronomers, technicians and support staff working on Mauna Kea watched the protesters. Native Hawaiians and others opposed to the massive Thirty Meter Telescope gathered near the 9,000-foot mark, their encampment near Hale Pohaku, the small campus where observatory workers stay when they’re not at the summit. In March, the protesters blocked the…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Does the universe’s acceleration create the right conditions for life?

Scientists have known for several years now that stars, galaxies, and almost everything in the universe is moving away from us (and from everything else) at a faster and faster pace. Now, it turns out that the unknown forces behind the rate of this accelerating expansion—a mathematical value called the cosmological constant—may play a previously…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

“Author lets you take all the credit”

I profile local ghostwriter Leslie Lang in the current issue of Hawaii Business magazine. Read the full story here.

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Sustainable shark fishing? Shark scientists say yes.

A new survey of shark and ray researchers takes a bite out of the popular belief that shark fishing and the shark fin trade should be banned. As it turns out, a large majority of shark experts believe that sustainable fisheries are not only possible, they are actually preferable to protecting sharks with sanctuaries or…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Hawaii wastes 26 percent of available food supply

We may buy that clamshell of beautiful, ripe strawberries with the best of intentions – pancakes! cobbler! fruit salad! – but when the end of the week comes and they’re getting soft and fuzzy in the back of the produce drawer, we’re likely to throw them in the trash. Multiply that process by several thousand households,…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

First discovery of an NEO by ATLAS telescope

The term “killer asteroid” might bring to mind the kind of massive space rock that wiped out the dinosaurs millions of years ago. But such a large object — around 5 to 15 kilometers (3 to 8 miles) across — might hit Earth only once every few hundred million years. Smaller space objects hit more…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Solving the Mystery of How Sunspots are Formed

Sure, the sun’s light and heat make life possible on Earth, and its gravity holds our entire solar system together. But our nearest star remains surprisingly enigmatic. Scientists still don’t know, for example, why its magnetic activity fluctuates in an 11-year solar cycle. Or how powerful solar flares can knock out satellites, disrupt GPS systems,…

Ilima Loomis Latest News and Publications

Thank you, readers!

My story on planets with two suns was one of Science News for Students’ top 10 most popular stories for 2015! Read the complete list here.