In 1957, two engineers working out of a garage in Hawthorne, New Jersey, sealed two shower curtains together in an attempt to create a plastic wallpaper. Instead, they invented Bubble Wrap. Now, Sealed Air Corp, the makers of Bubble Wrap, are releasing a new version of the packing material called iBubble. In this week’s episode of Good Thing/Bad Thing, Loretta Chao, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, tells us how the less poppable bubble wrap could be better for the environment.
Plus, by analyzing 13,000 years worth of fossilized owl vomit found in a Utah cave, researchers have determined that the ecosystem of the Great Basin region, in the western United States, has undergone rapid changes in the last 200 years. But the effects aren’t due to climate change. Instead, they’re the result of more direct human influence, such as the introduction of invasive cheatgrass, which alters food webs and changes the way energy flows through the ecosystem.
And a new study suggests temperature swings—not extreme hot or cold—are the more deadly meteorological phenomenon. Brandon Keim, a freelance science reporter, discusses those and other science stories in the news this week.