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April 15, 2014

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4:00 AM | Alvarado Dr., Holbrook, Ariz.
This isn’t just old west ruin porn. There’s actually a water policy question here. This is in Holbrook, Ariz. There’s a big, expensive new levee protecting this neighborhood from the Little Colorado River. These properties back onto the levee. How do they decide whose property warrants protection? Related posts:Don’t Think About Water Crossing the divide Water in the desert, Kingman, Ariz., edition
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2:21 AM | A weird dry stretch
Here’s a statistical oddity. Through April 14, we’ve measured 0.4 inches (10 mm) of precipitation at the National Weather Service’s Albuquerque gauge in 2014, about 23 percent of the long term mean. This is the seventh straight year that Albuquerque has been below average through April 14. 2007 is the last calendar year in Albuquerque ...Continue reading ‘A weird dry stretch’ » Related posts:Another dry month at my house Running the table: dry at all […]

April 14, 2014

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11:56 PM | Massive Sea of Warmth Propels March to Fourth Hottest
An area of extraordinarily high temperature stretching more than half way around the globe helped propel this past March into the record books as the fourth warmest since historical record-keeping began in 1880, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The global average temperature for March was warmer only in 2002, 2010 and 1990. The […]The post Massive Sea of Warmth Propels March to Fourth Hottest appeared first on ImaGeo.
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8:54 PM | Years of Recapping Dangerously
By Jason Bittel When the premiere of your 9-part climate change documentary is up against Game of Thrones’ purple wedding and the return of Don Draper, it’s probably a smart idea to open with Indiana Jones boarding a fighter jet on his way to kick some Nazi ass.Of course, it’s really just Harrison Ford on a plane loaded with CO2 sensors, but he is embarking for an exotic locale to confront an existential threat to humanity. “The […]
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7:59 PM | Airborne Wind Turbines Have Significant Potential, Study Finds
Airborne wind turbines hovering high in the air and tethered to the ground, like kites, have the potential to generate huge amounts of electricity, based on a recent wind availability study led by the University of Delaware. Read more »

Archer, C., Delle Monache, L. & Rife, D. (2014). Airborne wind energy: Optimal locations and variability, Renewable Energy, 64 180-186. DOI:

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7:18 PM | Monday’s SpaceX Launch Cancelled; Next Opportunity is April 18
SpaceX is launching a rocket to the International Space Station this afternoon. The live webcast begins at 12:45 PST and the launch itself is scheduled for 1:58.
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6:54 PM | The Profits of Doom
By George Black Every cloud has a silver lining. And every hurricane, every melting glacier, every millimeter of sea-level rise. That’s the uncomfortable message delivered by McKenzie Funk’s Windfall: while global warming may bring catastrophe to billions, it will also make some people very rich. Banks, hedge funds, and smart investors had this epiphany, Funk says, around 2007, after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that 11 […]
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6:37 PM | Scientists Gain Insight Into High-Temperature Superconductivity
In a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, researchers have identified and solved at least one paradox in the behavior of high-temperature superconductors. The riddle involves a phenomenon called the “pseudogap,” a region of energy levels in which relatively few electrons are allowed to exist. Read more »

Mishra, V., Chatterjee, U., Campuzano, J. & Norman, M. (2014). Effect of the pseudogap on the transition temperature in the cuprates and implications for its origin, Nature Physics, DOI:

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6:05 PM | When pharmaceuticals become too effective
Sepsid flyThe veterinary pharmaceutical ivermectin has been used for more than thirty years all over the world to combat parasites like roundworms, lice and mites in livestock and pets. The active ingredient belongs to the chemical group of avermectins, which generally disrupt cell transport. However, when ivermectin is used in high dosage excess quantities are excreted in the faeces of treated animals which also harms dung-degrading beneficial insects like dung beetles and dung flies. This has […]
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5:50 PM | White House Pressed to Protect Ailing Monarch Butterflies
The White House is sent a fresh pitch for a push to restore monarch butterfly habitat and food on public and private lands.
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5:23 PM | George Bush Presidential Library opens offshore drilling exhibit
The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University has a new exhibit that tells the story of offshore drilling and the 41st President’s previous life as an oilman. The... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:36 PM | Flexible Thermoelectric Generator Turns Body Heat Into Electricity
A team of researches at KAIST University, Korea, has developed a glass fabric-based flexible thermoelectric generator that is extremely light and produces electricity from the heat of the human body. Read more »
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3:20 PM | BMW Unveils Concept X5 eDrive
BMW is using the New York International Auto Show 2014 to present the BMW Concept X5 eDrive—a company’s next step in reducing fuel consumption and emissions in the SAV segment. Read more »
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3:04 PM | Still want to cut food stamps?
Desperate people were not waiting for the government to help them; they were helping themselves, acting directly. Aunt Molly Jackson, a woman who later became active in labor struggles in Appalachia, recalled how she walked into the local store, asked … Continue reading →
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3:00 PM | Four Ways to Reduce the Loss of Native Plants and Animals from Our Cities and Towns
The actions we undertake under the banner of “creating biodiversity-friendly cities” are about more than just conservation, they are about managing urban biodiversity in a broader sense. Frequently in our discussions of this topic, two distinct but interdependent ideologies tend … Continue reading →
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2:01 PM | Futuristic Iceberg Society, IPCC: 'The Time Is Now,' Jellyfish Toilet Paper?
By Jason Bittel The last word: The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the third and final part of its massive report yesterday (there won’t be another big one for seven years or so). In the meantime, the latest is chockfull of dire warnings and strongly worded clarion calls. The chief takeaway is that while there’s still time to act against a 2-degree-Celsius rise in global temperatures, that window is closing. “We […]
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1:30 PM | Chevron Tries Again With Richmond Refinery Revamp
Chevron is looking to launch a billion-dollar construction project at its Richmond refinery. It’s a slimmed down version of a project that environmentalists stopped with a lawsuit a few years ago.
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7:51 AM | Ethnomineralogy
Ryan went to the Gadget Show last week, and brought me back a present. He bought me three notebooks made from Parax Paper, which (according to the label) is made from stone. He knew I’d be intrigued, and I had to investigate. It turns out that Parax paper is tree-free, made from calcium carbonate (the active ingredient in agricultural lime, and the stuff that makes water hard) and some plastic (HDPE). Its manufacture doesn’t use any water, requires less energy than conventional […]
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1:03 AM | AMACRQ: Colorado River Use Bar Graph
A couple of weeks back, I made a quickie bar graph to provide some context for the amount of water involved in the Colorado River Delta pulse flow. It was half-assed. A reader asked for more: “Would love it more if it included other things, like Las Vegas consumption, MWD consumption, UB pasture irrigation, and ...Continue reading ‘AMACRQ: Colorado River Use Bar Graph’ » Related posts:Stuff I wrote elsewhere: Cities’ water use in the Colorado Basin Municipal and […]
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12:05 AM | Documenting the Disappearing Rio Grande
From its headwaters amidst towering Colorado peaks to its mouth in a small delta along the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande flows 1,896 miles — a ribbon of life-giving water through a parched land. And it is disappearing. As environmental journalist and adventurer Colin McDonald tells it: For more than 3,000 years it has supported […]The post Documenting the Disappearing Rio Grande appeared first on ImaGeo.

April 13, 2014

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2:39 PM | Nations’ Handling of New Climate Report Presages Divisions in Treaty Effort
Wrangling over wording of the summary of the latest U.N. climate report foreshadows worse to come in treaty talks.
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2:16 PM | Margaret Bowman on the Colorado Basin solution space
From an interesting talk last month by Margaret Bowman on a vision of what the Colorado River Basin solution space might look like (pdf of talk text here): [T]he region’s agricultural industry will be modernized with more efficient irrigation technologies. This modernization will not only increase the productivity of agriculture, but will also result in ...Continue reading ‘Margaret Bowman on the Colorado Basin solution space’ » Related posts:Dead Pool, the Colorado […]
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3:48 AM | My TEDx Talk: We Are Perfect, With a Hefty Asterisk
I propose a shift in goals from numbers to traits that can help us shape a "good" Anthropocene.

April 12, 2014

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7:44 PM | An homage to Ansel Adams: Moonrise over the Ballpark
Disclosure: I digitally altered the original. The moon was moved. Related posts:What is that building? tossing out of the light Indian Service Route 46
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6:06 PM | Tropical Cyclone Ita Lumbers Along Australian Coast
After making landfall in Queensland, Australia on Friday, April 11 as a category 4 storm, Tropical Cyclone Ita has been lashing coastal areas between Cairns and Townsville with heavy rain and gale force winds, including gusts up to 60 miles per hour. Despite having remained mostly over land since landfall, Ita’s cyclonic structure has remained fairly […]The post Tropical Cyclone Ita Lumbers Along Australian Coast appeared first on ImaGeo.
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2:45 PM | The National Environmental Policy Act in western water
The National Environmental Policy Act – NEPA – is a weird bird. It’s one of the earliest of a suite of U.S. environmental laws that took shape in the 1960s and ’70s as environmental values grew into a substantive element of our nation’s politics. It doesn’t actually protect anything, but it does require the U.S. ...Continue reading ‘The National Environmental Policy Act in western water’ » Related posts:The shortcomings of the Endangered […]
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2:00 PM | Weekend Species Snapshot: Spix’s Macaw
You or your kids may have seen the fabulous blue macaw in the movie “Rio” or the just-released “Rio 2.” Unfortunately, more people have seen these movies than will ever see... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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9:38 AM | Rapid pulse
Ryan and I have been clearing out our cupboards and running down our food supplies, inadvertently doing so at the same time as the Guardian’s Live Better campaign was looking at food waste. In one memorable day I used up four spare eggs, making pancake batter and two batches of Snickerdoodle dough (one which went into the freezer for later) and roasted the butternut squash that had been sitting on the counter for… a while. Mostly it has been less eventful, just making use of […]
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6:27 AM | tossing out of the light
I’ve quoted before Don DeLillo’s great description of how, at a night baseball game, under the lights, “the players seem completely separate from the night around them.” At our Albuquerque Isotopes’ home opener this evening, the players’ home whites seemed impossibly white, the grass seemed impossibly green, the sky behind the lights impossibly inky black. In ...Continue reading ‘tossing out of the light’ » Related posts:8-?-2 Notes […]
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1:19 AM | Cape Cod Bay Update
Our colleagues at the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown, MA (http://www.coastalstudies.org/) have been very busy in the last few weeks as their annual spring right whale surveys continue in and around Cape Cod Bay. In recent days CCS has reported seeing as many as 100 right whales in the Bay! Most of the whales are feeding at or just below the surface on the high concentrations of
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