SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Bringing Back San Juan Capistrano's Swallows Is One Tough Mission
from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)
A bird's call rings endlessly inside the adobe walls at Mission San Juan Capistrano as tourists wander through the courtyard--ablaze with flowers in full bloom--and a handful of fourth-graders snap pictures and take notes for class projects.
Hardly the sweet song of the nightingale, the sound is more like the croak of a distressed frog--or, by an expert's own description, a "rusty, squeaky door."
It's a last-ditch effort to lure back the cliff swallow, which put San Juan Capistrano on the map but has snubbed the mission in recent years. The mission has tried drawing them back with food. It has tried shelter. Now, it's trying seduction.
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Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.
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