Posts

October 28, 2014

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5:22 PM | Corporations Should Mean What They Say on Sustainability
Nowadays, it seems like every big company promotes an image of sustainability. A common example is the now-ubiquitous hotel-bathroom notice invoking images of ocean animals or pastoral scenery in an... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:12 PM | NEON releases a higher education video on photosynthesis
Did you ever wonder how scientists measure photosynthesis? Check out the latest NEON educational video, developed in collaboration with David Moore (University of Arizona), Ankur Desai (University of Wisconsin) and Pat Morgan (LiCOR). This video is the second in a series of data-science focused videos hosted on YouTube. Also be sure to check out our … Continue reading »
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3:39 PM | How a Human, Bird, and Grasshopper Breath
This informative illustration of how three different animals breath is the work of Eleanor Lutz, a designer with a degree in molecular biology. The animated infographic shows how humans breath in and out in sequence through the nose and mouth. Birds have multi-chambered lungs that can process incoming air and outgoing air simultaneously-- a very efficient system for running and flying. Grasshoppers, on the other hand, essentially breath with their whole bodies.3 Different Ways to Breath, […]
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3:35 PM | Stuff I wrote elsewhere: septic systems and groundwater contamination
I am endlessly fascinated (and frustrated) by the mess that is societal risk perception. Here (behind a Google survey wall), a look at efforts to regulate septic systems in Bernalillo County, primarily on the kind-of-rural fringes of the Albuquerque metro area: As groundwater contamination problems go, the stuff leaking from septic systems isn’t terribly sexy. ...Continue reading ‘Stuff I wrote elsewhere: septic systems and groundwater contamination’ »
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3:31 PM | Discoveries of the week
Ingolfiella maldivensisA new species of marine interstitial wormshrimp, Ingolfiella maldivensis, is described from coral sand on the inner and outer reef off Magoodhoo island, Faafu atoll, Maldives. Six females were found and compared to other species from the Maldives and those bordering the Indian Ocean and beyond. Morphological resemblance ties it to a species from the Caribbean island of Curaçao. Both species are found in shallow sublittoral interstitial spaces.Obviously this new […]
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3:03 PM | Dry start to southwestern U.S. 2014-15 water year
Most of the way through October, it’s been a dry start to the 2014-15 “water year”, the season in which we build the snowpack to feed the rivers of the southwestern United States. As Jonathan Overpeck says: + @jfleck if there ever was a water year/ winter when we needed snow in our SW headwaters, ...Continue reading ‘Dry start to southwestern U.S. 2014-15 water year’ »
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1:49 PM | When It Comes To How We Vote on Energy Issues, Age Matters
A new poll from The University of Texas at Austin reveals markedly different perspectives on energy issues based on the age of voters, a finding that could help determine the outcome of next week’s... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:22 PM | How Unscientific Ebola Steps in U.S. Could Help Spread Virus Elsewhere
How hyper-reactive quarantine steps in the United States could worsen the Ebola epidemic in Africa -- and perhaps beyond.
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1:00 PM | Can a legal rhino horn trade really save the rhinos?
Between 1990 and 2007, poachers killed about 15 rhinoceroses each year in South Africa. An explosion in demand for rhino horn, however, has changed that number dramatically: by last year, rhinos were dying at a rate of 2.75 every day, or more than 950 for the full year. Both Southern white and black rhinoceroses are prized for
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12:14 PM | Jane Goodall and John Oliver Debate Putting Hats on Chimps
By Susan Cosier We all know biologist Jane Goodall spent years of her youth living with chimpanzees in the forests of Tanzania. But did she ever try to put a monocle and top hat on one of them? Comedian John Oliver—never one to shy away from the tough questions—got to the bottom of wild primate behavior in his interview with one of conservation’s favorite ladies. For over 50 years, Goodall’s chimpanzee research has helped us protect […]
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11:17 AM | 3D printing for environmental research
For Manchester Science Festival I have been demonstrating an exploration of using 3D printing (additive manufacturing) to support environmental and ecology research and teaching. Apart from the practical benefits I think 3D printing is an important development for open research because it allows us to share hardware more easily than ever before, simply by sharing …
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6:32 AM | UF Space Plants Lab
This new short video from the University of Florida Space Plants Lab explains how and why they’re studying how plants react to being in microgravity.  This blog posting is © copyright Emma Cooper 2014. Unauthorized duplication and/or republication is not permitted.

October 27, 2014

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10:32 PM | African Lions Face Extinction by 2050, Could Gain Endangered Species Act Protection
The African lion (Panthera leo leo) faces the threat of extinction by the year 2050, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe warned today. The sobering news came as part of the... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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8:12 PM | Detecting Crap on the Internet
For our course about the impacts of the internet, we developed an exercise to get our students thinking critically about the credibility of things they find on the web. As a number of colleagues have expressed in interest in this, I thought I would post it here. Feel free to use it and adapt it! […]
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7:54 PM | Could lightning keep the lights on?
Could lightning be used as an energy resource? The answer is “yes” – but you probably don’t want it to. A single bolt of lightning contains approximately 1 billion joules of energy, or about 300... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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7:12 PM | Using Microscopic Bugs to Save the Honeybees
For several decades, honeybees have been ravaged by a deadly disease that kills their babies and leads to the collapse of entire hives. The disease is called American Foulbrood and its effects are so devastating and infectious that beekeepers often have to incinerate infected hives.Beekeepers check the health of a hive (Brian Wilcox)Treating bees for Foulbrood is complicated because the disease can rapidly evolve to resist antibiotics and other chemical treatments. For the past few decades, […]
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6:06 PM | Good chronic pain and illness management
I’ve warned you off potentially bad chronic pain management programs and asked you to join a project improving a widely used program in North America. But if you’re looking for help right now, that isn’t very useful. So, here are … Continue reading →
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5:23 PM | Strengthening IRIS: Cultivating Broad Scientific Input
By Louis D’Amico, Ph.D. As a scientist in EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program, I am routinely faced with the task of evaluating evidence to determine if a chemical may cause a toxic effect. Developing chemical health assessments involves evaluating complex, sometimes controversial scientific issues that may lead to differing opinions about the interpretation […]
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3:33 PM | Wells on the fringes of Tucson running dry
Contra Porterville in California, where poor farmworkers with few options are running out of water, on the fringes of Tucson it’s those who chose to sprawl onto the edge of a relatively affluent community, beyond municipal utilities and dependent on a marginal aquifer, who are now seeing their wells running dry. Tony Davis: In the ...Continue reading ‘Wells on the fringes of Tucson running dry’ »
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3:24 PM | A Boulder Dam anniversary
Yesterday was the 78th anniversary of the first electric generator go into full operation at Boulder Dam. EDN has the story: Electricity from the dam’s powerhouse was originally sold pursuant to a 50-year contract, authorized by Congress in 1934, which ran from 1937 to 1987. In 1984, Congress passed a new statute which set power ...Continue reading ‘A Boulder Dam anniversary’ »
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2:00 PM | Berkeley Lab Tackles Global Vaccine Delivery Problem with Portable Solar-Powered Fridge
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a portable vaccine solar-power fridge designed to run without power for five days, so vaccines are still viable when they are delivered in remote countries.
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1:30 PM | Barcoding Diatoms
Diatoms are microscopic algae living in both fresh and salt water.  They are unicellular organisms with silica impregnated cell walls. Living diatoms are among the most abundant forms of plankton and represent an essential part of the food chain in the ocean. Diatoms are responsible for at least 25% of global carbon dioxide fixation. Once dead, their shells accumulate on the seabed and eventually form siliceous sediment deposits.Given that diatoms are photosynthetic algae, they are […]
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1:03 PM | ‘Bionic Eye’ Allows Some Blind People to See Light
A California woman recently became the first person in the West to receive a new type of bionic eye, an implant that will help her see for the first time in nearly three decades.
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12:36 PM | Stop Doodling in Our National Parks!
By Susan Cosier Art has its place, but it’s not in our country’s national parks—unless, of course, we’re talking ancient glyphs, Bob-Ross-style landscapes, photography (whether by Ansel Adams or dear old dad), and other mediums of the “leave only footprints” variety. But that’s not the kind of artistic expression (ahem, vandalism) Casey Nocket allegedly unleashed this summer on our natural treasures. Armed with […]
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10:47 AM | Soil wind erosion is influenced by soil inherent properties
Carlos M. Asensio Grima casensio@ual.es Department of Agronomy University of Almería, Spain Soil wind erosion is influenced by soil inherent properties, different wind characteristics and surface vegetation cover. For a better understanding of this process is necessary to explain the effect and consequences of wind erosion on the ground and especially in agricultural areas of […]
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9:54 AM | Images of soil erosion
Frans Kwaad, physical geographer Soil erosion is the removal of soil from cultivated land at a rate that is (much) higher than the rate that would occur under the natural vegetation at the considered site. Besides the loss of fertile topsoil, soil erosion entails the dissection of cultivated land by rills and gullies and the […]
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3:29 AM | Priority administration and Arizona’s Colorado River allotment
It’s generally more complicated than I think: A member of the Inkstain brain trust points out two catches in my “why can’t Phoenix just leave its unused apportionment in Lake Mead” post last week. The first has to do with Arizona’s application of the doctrine of prior appropriation with respect to its allocation of Colorado ...Continue reading ‘Priority administration and Arizona’s Colorado River allotment’ »

October 26, 2014

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3:51 PM | Conflict sells
Here is Maria Gibson, the groundwater geek: Although research shows, on an international level, collaboration rather than conflict is the norm, most would agree “water collaboration” is far less exciting than “water wars”…. Via the always helpful Michael Campana, and more Gibson here.
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1:47 PM | Two Years After Sandy’s Surge, New York City Shifts Toward a Softer Relationship with the Sea
Two years after Sandy swamped parts of New York City, a vision emerges for a mix of hard and soft landscape changes reflecting the reality of rising seas.
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8:04 AM | Book Review: Qaqamiigux
Shortly before I moved, I came across references to a new book with an unpronounceable title – Qaqamiiĝux̂: Traditional Foods and Recipes from the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. I was intrigued, especially since I had to look up where the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands are. It turns out that they’re off the south western coast of Alaska, with a cool, wet and stormy climate. The region is volcanically active. Qaqamiigux (if you’ll forgive the ongoing lack of […]
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