August 28, 2014

2:15 AM | Every Post is a Comeback Post
So I had originally intended to have a mini-blitz of material posted during Shark Week involving some of the topics that slip under the Shark Week radar, but for some reason technical difficulties arose that prevented me from successfully posting.  Also, in the middle of that I attended the annual AFS meeting in Quebec, which […]

August 27, 2014

6:50 AM | 3QD blogging contest metadata
The long-lived, old-school blogging site 3 quarks daily is holding its annual science blogging contest  They have nominated eighty-five blog posts upon which one can vote to advance it into the finals round.  In theory, this means that everyone voting should read all 85 posts, and make an honest choice.  If that doesn't work, then they should at least skim each post- OK, how about simply

August 23, 2014

9:23 PM | Geology Sonnet 6
Nobody studies fucking iodine. The halogen too rare for us to care, But iodate to carbonate’s inclined So we might have a useful proxy there. This IO3 requires oxygen, And thus does not exist in reduced seas. Its presence in old carbonates means then Ozone and oxygen were in the breeze. Archean carbonates do not have I, But it appears when O first graced the air. And thus another tool

August 22, 2014

9:32 PM | Geology Sonnet 5
Australia is a dry and stable land. No mountain range, no active slipping fault, And yet this plain had lava seas erupt. We call them Kalkarindji flood basalt. It’s hard to know just when these rocks were formed. The weathering and rock type complicates Radiometric dates of dykes that swarmed When seas contained the first protochordates. For ten long years they searched the outback rocks
7:20 AM | How many?
"Sand people always ride single file, to hide their numbers."

August 21, 2014

9:24 PM | Geology Sonnet 4
Enough with carbon, climate variation Let’s look at rocks from a far older time, Which lacked much copper min’ralization, And when anorthosites were at their prime. Earth’s middle age- boring for a reason? Tectonics were remarkably unchanged. Ice and iron were both out of season. A billion years of uniform exchange Of isotopes, strontium, and S The active margins ringed the continent.
1:23 AM | Geology Sonnet 3
Science week geology sonnet number three!  See previous posts for background. A pox on all those proxies non-unique Which make interpretation hard to do. Magnesium to calcium we seek Sea Temp'rature, and not pCO2. So lithium, uranium are used To disambiguate the Mg curve. O. umbonatus' data's not recused, Antarctice ice growth isotopes observe. But whence the melting in the Miocene? Here

August 19, 2014

10:39 PM | Geology Sonnet 2
As mentioned previously, I am writing Geology Sonnets for National Science Week.  These are articles from the high-profile scientific journal Geology, presented in the form of Elizabethan verse. I don’t know how many of these I will get through this week, but here is the second: The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province Erupted tholeiitic and potassic. C O two upset atmospheric balance.
2:36 AM | Geology Sonnets!
Here in Australia, it is National Science Week, and I have been surprised and delighted at the bizarre and creative ways that many people around Canberra have been celebrating science.  It is inspirational, to the point where I might try to join in.  So in this spirit, I give you Geology Sonnets.  These are articles from the high-profile scientific journal Geology, presented in the form of

August 15, 2014

1:12 PM | Indian e-commerce
On my recent trip to India, one of the big stories in the newspaper was the rise of consumer good e-commerce.  Flipkart, an Indian company founded by the ex-Amazon Bansal brothers, recently announce that it had raised over one billion dollars of funding for expansion projects.  A day later, Amazon announced that it would be investing two billion dollars in its Indian subsidiaries.  Of course,

August 11, 2014

1:11 PM | Bayesian Geochronology
 Bayesian statistics is a growing field of exploring data-rich, complicated, explanation-poor phenomena. In a nutshell, you start out with an initial assumption, called a “prior” and then modify it with new sets of independent data. The Bayesian approach is one of the hot new techniques to come into Earth Science in the past decade, as it allows us to sensibly integrate disparate sets of data

August 08, 2014

4:26 AM | Fin-Body Ratios for Smooth Dogfish – Depends on How You Slice It
The 2010 Shark Conservation Act prohibits removal of fins at sea for all sharks landed in U.S. Waters, with a glaring exception for smooth dogfish, or smoothhound sharks.  In an effort to ensure that fishermen aren’t performing the cruel practice of throwing a still-living but finless shark overboard, a fin:body ratio of 12% for smooth […]

August 04, 2014

3:18 PM | OCO
 A month out, and already the carbon tax is ancient history.  And while no household bills have yet appeared to demonstrate the savings (or lack thereof) to the common battler, there is no doubt as to the identity of the big winners. (Photo: The Australian) I do not have any specific inside information on this topic, so this is only my best guess as to what Gina Rinehart has been joyfully

August 03, 2014

5:30 AM | Volcanoes in the mist
Flying home from Singapore on a rare daytime flight, I was fortunate enough to pass over easternmost Java in a window seat.  Unfortunately, although I was looking for volcanoes, one effect of volcanoes (or any large mountain) in the tropics is that they tend to generate rainfall, so most of them were mostly obscured by cloud.  Despite this, I did get some glimpses here or there through the

July 31, 2014

4:17 PM | It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…
As those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably already noticed, this week I’m at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, an annual meeting of fish and reptile researchers that includes the American Elasmobranch Society.  It’s a great way to meet up with fellow shark, ray, and chimera junkies and check out […]
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