Global Scan

Scientists find fossil evidence of a penguin that stood taller than a man


Adults emperor penguins stand with their chicks.


Giuseppe Zibordi/Wikimedia Commons

Modern day's largest penguin, the emperor penguins of Antarctica, stand about 4-foot-5 and weigh a little more than 100 pounds, when fully grown.

But millions of years ago, there was a penguin species almost 50 percent bigger than today's emperor penguins — bigger than the average man is today. And scientists have recently discovered a 37 million-year old fossil of the colossus penguin, which gives them new insights into just how big they must have been.

According to a report from The Guardian, the colossus stretched nearly 6-feet 8-inches from toes to beak — and registered a little under 6-foot as they normally stood. They giants would have weighed more than 250 pounds. All that size would have had a major advantage, too. They could have swam under water for as much as 40 minutes.

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Satellites offer a view of the conflict in Gaza from before, and after

The New York Times has put together and annotated a collection of satellite photos of the area around the Gaza Strip, from June 28, before the Israeli offensive began, and July 30 — showing just how much has changed after a month of war. The photos show where buildings have been damaged and destroyed, where fires rages and where vehicle tracks have churned up what was once productive land.

The images also show how widespread the damage and destruction has been, especially in certain areas, some of which have been completely leveled. 

Your steak costs a lot more than just money

Good steaks are never cheap, but it turns out the costs go far beyond money. We're talking about the costs on the environment of raising cows into steak — orders of magnitude greater than any other conventional livestock and especially compared to plants.

To put it bluntly, eating cows are the least efficient way of converting food energy into protein for human consumption. And it's not even close. To generate 1,000 calories of protein from a cow requires 150 square meters of arable land. Eggs and poultry require about five square meters to generate the same amount of calories. PRI's Science Friday looks at a new study examining the environmental consequences of eating beef.

In Vietnam, they're using site rules against you

Vietnam's media are tightly controlled by the government, not allowed to say or do anything that might question the country's ruling party. But on social media, anything goes. And that's made the government uncomfortable — so the government is lashing out against people posting on those sites, using the sites' own rules against them.

The BBC spoke with several Facebook users who have had their accounts suspended after people — believed to be government agents — have mounted campaigns to report them for site rule violations until the social networks disable the "offending" accounts. Oftentimes, they can't even get their accounts back.

A look inside a Texas detention center for migrants

We've seen a lot of reporting about the migrant crisis on the US-Mexico border, with children and adults being arrested in increasing numbers — numbers so high they are challenging US immigration and border protection authorities. But today we're offering to take you inside one of the temporary detention centers for migrants caught crossing the border — this one in McAllen, Texas.

As part of our Global Nation coverage, reporter Jason Margolis visited an existing facility that's overcrowded and overstretched, as well as a new, temporary facility that has better conditions, especially for children. PRI's The World has the story.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Typhoon Halong, which lashed Guam and the Northern Marianas islands last week, has its sights set on Japan, where its expected to make landfall Thursday or Friday. The storm, a category three typhoon right now, is expected to hit land as a category two storm, with sustained winds of 80 mph. But it's not the winds that have Japan on edge, it's the rain. The storm is expected to hit an area that's already soggy from previous storms, according to the Washington Post.

This post is a regular feature of It's a daily brief and email newsletter of stories, events and graphics that are catching the attention of our news staff. The World's Leo Hornak kicks it off from London and various folks on our editorial team around the globe contribute from there, like Cartoon Editor Carol Hills in Boston. Don't expect anything near the standard wrap of major news stories. This blog post and its email companion will be as idiosyncratic as our staff... and we'll want you to tell us what you like and don't like. Sign up for a account and subscribe to our newsletter to get it delivered to your inbox. The newsletter arrives during the US morning hours.