October 03, 2014

4:00 AM | Fast and Rigorous: Finding Surface Reflectivity by Looking Up at Clouds
New method developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory efficiently estimates surface reflectivity from incoming sunlight bounced back by clouds.
4:00 AM | President Obama Honors Nation’s Top Scientists and Innovators
President Obama today announced a new class of recipients of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation—our Nation’s highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology. Included in this new class of recipients was SLAC Director Emeritus Dr. Burton Richter.
4:00 AM | A Closer Look at the Perfect Fluid
Researchers at Berkeley Lab and their collaborators have honed a way to probe the quark-gluon plasma, the kind of matter that dominated the universe immediately after the big bang.

October 02, 2014

5:58 PM | The Tar Sands Bubble
By Brian Palmer The Canadian tar sands industry has seen better days. Energy giant Statoil announced last week that it would postpone a major mining project in Alberta for at least three years. It was just the latest in a string of major setbacks for tar sands oil, which has become nearly as bad for corporate profits as it is for the environment.High labor costs and the falling price of crude oil have contributed to the industry’s dark days, but […]
12:26 PM | Where'd the Aral Sea Go? (Seriously, It's Missing)
By Susan Cosier Can you point out the Aral Sea on a map? Yeah, neither can we … because it barely exists anymore. Once the fourth largest lake in the world (it’s actually a lake, not a sea), the Aral has gone dry. The lake reached its lowest level in modern history in August, as shown in these NASA satellite images (see the full transformation here). What happened? Starting in the 1950s, the Soviets began diverting the region's two largest […]
12:23 PM | Data management fairy tales
On Tuesday I read this refreshing post in LinkedIn by Jeffrey Maskell of Westheimer Energy Consultants. It's a pretty damning assessment of the current state of data management in the petroleum industry: The fact is that no major technology advances have been seen in the DM sector for some 20 years. The [data management] gap between acquisition and processing/interpretation is now a void and is impacting the industry across the board... I agree with him. But I don't think he goes far […]
4:00 AM | Martin L. Perl, Winner of 1995 Nobel Prize for Discovery of Tau Lepton, Dead at 87
Martin L. Perl, a professor emeritus of physics at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in physics for discovery of the tau lepton, died Sept. 30 at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto at the age of 87.
4:00 AM | Team Advances Understanding of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s Meltwater Channels
An international research team’s field work is showing that, well, things are more complicated than we thought.

October 01, 2014

9:12 PM | When to Blame the Rain (or Lack Thereof) on Climate Change
By Clara Chaisson According to a bevy of studies released Monday, we can point the finger at climate change for much of last year’s extreme weather. (And there was a lot of it.) In a report published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, scientists from 22 research groups looked at 16 separate extreme weather events from 2013 and asked—in their best Steve Urkel voice—“Did climate change do that?”In half of […]
12:24 PM | Behold: Thousands of Stranded Walruses
By Susan Cosier An Alaskan beach is spilling over with an enormous herd of bathing beauties—about 35,000 Pacific walruses. The mammals are coming ashore in record numbers because there is no sea ice left on which they can rest, give birth, and dive from for food—higher temperatures made short work of that this summer. (Arctic ice cover is at its sixth lowest average ever recorded.) The edge of the sea ice has been receding further […]
4:00 AM | Hide & Seek: Sterile Neutrinos Remain Elusive
Daya Bay neutrino experiment publishes a new result on its first search for a "sterile" neutrino.

September 30, 2014

7:29 PM | Soiled Justice
By Susan Cosier Three years ago a court in Ecuador ruled that the oil giant Chevron bore responsibility for four decades of pollution that destroyed the homes and livelihoods of thousands of indigenous farmers. The company was on the hook for $19 billion—the largest court award ever for environmental damages. Unfortunately, the farmers’ struggle for justice didn’t end there. Chevron refuses to pay up, and in his new book Law of the Jungle, […]
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