Posts

December 30, 2014

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11:39 PM | Vermont’s Yankee Nuclear Power Plant Closes Its Doors
With the close of 2014 came the closing of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. At 1:04 pm EST on Monday, the 620 Megawatt plant in southern Vermont was completely shut down. The nuclear facility... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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9:21 PM | Accepting the things we cannot change
I enjoy blogs like Words Are My Game, where Liana M. Silva chronicles her writing life: the struggles to fit writing in amongst family issues, or the difficulties in finding direction with a new book she’s working on. Her blog is the story of process, of a work in progress, and does away with the…
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9:18 PM | Baby It's Cold Outside, and Here's Why
http://youtu.be/TOyx9lNhih4 Okay, it's not cold everywhere in the U.S. and Canada — but the Arctic sure seems firmly established in the Rocky Mountain West. Here in Niwot, Colorado (not far from Boulder), I woke up to temperatures below zero. And to be honest, I'm loving it. That's a selfie I took while on a run yesterday with my son. I think it was 10 degrees F at the time, and the snow was coming down.  (And yes, I think our brains were probably a bit frozen at the […]
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3:01 PM | Almonds, water policy and cropping decisions
In the Colorado River Basin, I’ve been arguing that if you want to think hard about water policy, you have to be thinking hard about alfalfa. Out in California’s Central Valley, as Felicity Barringer explained last week in her last story for the New York Times (sad face), you’ve got to be thinking about almonds: ...Continue reading ‘Almonds, water policy and cropping decisions’ »
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2:00 PM | Warm Temps Mean Less Snow for the Sierra
Despite those December storms, this year's winter Sierra snow survey will likely reveal levels far below average for this date.
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2:00 PM | The real reason behind Tanzania elephant deaths
In May 2009, villagers armed with torches chased elephants off a cliff in West Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Six elephants died, including a calf that was stabbed after falling. People often assume that people kill elephants for ivory, but a report in Land Use Policy suggests that the Tanzania incident was driven by other factors. For one
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2:00 PM | The reasons behind a Tanzania elephant killing
In May 2009, villagers armed with torches chased elephants off a cliff in West Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Six elephants died, including a calf that was stabbed after falling. People often assume that people kill elephants for ivory, but a report in Land Use Policy suggests that the Tanzania incident was driven by other factors. For one
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7:29 AM | Bye bye 2014
A toast to 2014 I’ve been ill with a bad cold since Christmas Eve, so my time off work isn’t going according to plan. I still feel like I’ve got cotton wool between my ears, but since the clock is running out on 2014 I thought we’d take a look at what were the top posts on the blog this year. And so, in reverse order… No. 5 is a blog about the Szechuan peppers, Zanthoxylym species, written in 2012. They’re increasingly popular plants, I think, and […]

December 29, 2014

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6:59 PM | Washington State Offers Ambitious Cap-and-Trade Plan
(Washington State Department of Transportation/flickr) By John Upton Climate Central If Washington’s governor gets his legislative holiday wish, the Evergreen State in 18 months will launch one of the world’s most sophisticated and all-encompassing climate-pollution pricing programs. Draft legislation released last week by the office of Gov. Jay Inslee (D) would — if sufficient support can […]
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3:22 PM | Stuff I wrote elsewhere: first-ever San Juan Chama Project shortfall
The standard Bureau of Reclamation map of the Colorado River Basin has a series of red-dashed slivers beyond the physical boundaries of the basin itself, the places where we’ve chosen to artificially extend the watershed’s boundaries. In the process, we have created entire communities dependent on the success or failure of the basin’s water management ...Continue reading ‘Stuff I wrote elsewhere: first-ever San Juan Chama Project shortfall’ »
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2:00 PM | How Science Can Help Prevent a (Bad) Hangover
In the annals of medical research, you won’t find many studies on the common hangover. But one intrepid Bay Area scientist has taken on the topic -- and even has an inexpensive remedy you probably haven't heard about.
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2:00 PM | Bird Biology Knowledge Expands with the Sequencing of 48 Genomes
In a stunning feat of scientific prowess, a large group of scientists has completely sequenced the genomes of 48 different bird species. But as sequencing gets easier, managing all of that data is turning out to be the real challenge.

December 28, 2014

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7:15 PM | Satellite Images Show Intense Thunderstorm Activity in Area Where AirAsia Flight Lost Contact
As I'm writing this, the search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501 has been suspended for the night. The Airbus 320-200 aircraft took off from Surabaya, Indonesia with 162 people on board at 5.27 a.m. local time on Sunday, and then lost contact with air traffic controllers about two hours later. We don't know yet what happened, but questions have already been raised about what role, if any, weather conditions may have played in the disappearance of the aircraft. With that in mind, I […]
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4:54 PM | On New Mexico’s Rio Grande, a brutal four years
With a sub-par snowpack once again in New Mexico’s high country, I got a Twitter question this morning about the last time we’d had a good snowpack. My favorite came in 2008, when I was just starting to track this sort of thing closely: SAN MARCIAL— Water was already lapping at the side of the ...Continue reading ‘On New Mexico’s Rio Grande, a brutal four years’ »
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3:29 PM | Beautiful Sunday: The Deepest Creatures on Earth
It’s hard to imagine life forms of any kind survi […]

December 27, 2014

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10:39 PM | Lake Mead in 2014 headed for second biggest drop in modern era
With just a few days left, it looks like Lake Mead will end 2014 down 19 feet, which would be the second biggest one-year drop of the “modern era” (the years since completion of Glen Canyon Dam upstream damped down the river’s ups and downs). With inflow largely regulated by Glen Canyon Dam and outflow largely ...Continue reading ‘Lake Mead in 2014 headed for second biggest drop in modern era’ »
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10:03 PM | Top Ten Animals Enjoying Winter Break
It's the holidays, and that means school is out and you have time to play! Here are some adorable animals that are also enjoying winter break.
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9:31 PM | the dwindling of California’s “wretched little mud-holes”
John Van Dyke, in his epic visit to the deserts of western North America a century ago, wrote harshly of their springs: Occasionally one meets with a little stream where a fissure in the rock and a pressure from below forces up some of the water; but these springs are of very rare occurrence. And ...Continue reading ‘the dwindling of California’s “wretched little mud-holes”’ »
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3:00 PM | The Best (or Worst) of 2014
I wrote more than 150 articles about endangered species in 2014. Very few of them could be considered “good news.” But be they good news or bad, here are some of the best... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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