Posts

March 04, 2015

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8:04 AM | Women in Geoblogging II: Zombies! Plus Kittehs, Water, and Plants!
There are so many great geoblogs by women, and we’re working our way down the list. There’s quite a diverse collection today! GeoMika and SpaceMika by Mika McKinnon These two blogs by... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

March 03, 2015

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8:44 AM | Women in Geoblogging I: Maps, Science Education, and Geology in Space
Yesterday, I gave you a ginormous list of women geobloggers. Let us now explore their blogs. Settle in for some terrific geoscience, my darlings! A Cartographer’s Toolkit by Gretchen Peterson... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

March 02, 2015

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8:22 AM | Women of the Geoblogosphere: Follow Them! For They Are Awesome
This is a very neat week, because it is the week between National Science Day and International Women’s Day. We’ll be celebrating women in science all week, culminating in a brand-new... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

March 01, 2015

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12:33 AM | Watch the Breath of the Earth in This Very Cool Animation
Driven by energy from the Sun, air circulates in our planet's atmosphere in complex but regular patterns. Call it the breath of the planet. And now you can watch it, thanks to this video released by NASA. When you watch it, you won't exactly be seeing the wind itself. But you will see the weather systems that, in a sense, make those winds visible. More specifically, the animation is the first ever to offer a global mapping of rainfall and snowfall. And it consists of data from 12 satel

February 28, 2015

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10:12 PM | Arctic Invasion Chokes East Coast Waters With Ice
The Arctic invasion that has gripped so much of the United States for so long has turned the waters in and around New York City into something resembling the winter shores of Qaanaaq, Greenland. Well, I guess that's an exaggeration. But when I went to NASA's Earth Observatory today and saw satellite images of the ice choked waters around Gotham, the first thing that came to my mind was the floating sea ice off Greenland. As the Earth Observatory observes, "Baby It's Cold […]

February 27, 2015

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12:57 PM | ■ Why Apple will make a car—and probably a lot more
We shouldn’t think of Apple as a computer company, but as an entirely new type of firm that could change the way entire industries operate.

February 25, 2015

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5:22 PM | Life is Flourishing in the Iron Curtain’s Death Zone
Phil McKenna, reporting for a piece NOVA Next jointly published with the Big Roundtable: Twenty-five years earlier, in 1989, the man in front of me had hatched a plan to transform the former no-man’s land that separated Western Europe from the Eastern Bloc into an eco-corridor running through the heart of Europe. It was a […]∞
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4:19 PM | Ford is developing a ride-sharing app and companion vehicle
Emily Badger, reporting for the Washington Post: Ford is trying to develop its own Uber-like “ride-sharing” app with a twist that only an automaker can bring to this rapidly shifting market — Ford is also working on a vehicle to go with it. Not a theoretical autonomous car, as Uber has fantasized (and begun researching […]∞
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3:12 AM | The Ultimate Cure for Hubris
Yes, I know, I'm obsessed with the Sun. And I swear — I really wan't intending to post another image of it for awhile. But after I visited the Solar Dynamics Observatory's "Little SDO" Facebook page today, I couldn't resist. I found a mind-blowing image there showing a big glowing splurge of plasma erupting from the Sun out into space. It's called a solar prominence, and you can see it in the image above. It is twelve and a half Earths in length, or ~160,000 […]

February 24, 2015

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11:09 PM | Vetoed Keystone XL Pipeline Would Transport Oil Extracted in Gigantic Open Pit Mines That Are Visible From Space
The news is in: President Obama has just vetoed legislation approved by both houses of the U.S. Congress that would have allowed construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to go forward. He wielded the veto pen just a matter of hours after the bill reached his desk. The pipeline has become a symbol in the political battle over climate change. But lost in the clamor is a discussion of the environmental impact of extracting the petroleum from Canada's vast oil sands fields. So I […]
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5:47 PM | Evolution of a Hurricane-Force Storm in the North Atlantic
A low pressure system in the North Atlantic that evolved into hurricane-force storm last weekend brought gale force winds and high waves to the United Kingdom and Ireland Sunday and yesterday. On satellite imagery, the storm looks pretty dramatic, so I thought I'd share some of what I've found. The image above is a screenshot from a video showing the evolution of the storm. The false-color images comprising the video come from a Meteosat weather satellite. This particular remote […]
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1:11 PM | On the relation between data quality and analysis results
“Analysis results can only be as good as the underlying data are.” – Is this really the whole truth? I have used this argument numerous times; especially when clients and data providers were dissatisfied with analysis results. And I’m totally convinced that in most cases the argument is valid. During the last few years I’ve […]
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5:50 AM | La Mancha Screwjob
This episode we pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past to walk the line between reality and fantasy.

February 22, 2015

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12:27 AM | Contrarian Scientist Who Says Sun is Responsible for Global Warming is Accused of Taking Corporate Cash for Science
Willie Soon, a prominent global warming skeptic, says "no amount of money can influence what I say or do or research or write." If recently released documents are accurate, he is a liar.  -- ⊕ -- During a lecture on climate change in 2013, Willie Soon, a prominent skeptic of human-caused climate change, pointed to a large image showing an explosion of plasma from the Sun and then said that he was "fed up" with the scientific consensus on climate change: They say […]

February 20, 2015

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8:32 PM | When we’ll run out of oil
When is peak oil? Plenty of ink has been spilled in service of predicting when, exactly, we’ll run out of oil. Some people say it has passed, others insist that because of advances in drilling technology, we’ll continue to find more. Well, Rhett Allain asks another question over at his blog, Dot Physics: Assuming we […]∞

February 19, 2015

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6:32 AM | The Pinnacle of Evil Volcano Lairs – At Least in This Solar System
A while back, we had a meme traveling around the geoblogosphere regarding evil volcano lairs. Many geologists came up with excellent lairs, as you shall see. But I decided we needed to think big as... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

February 15, 2015

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9:46 PM | Tale of Two Seals: Winners and Losers in a Warming Arctic
Editor's note: With the Arctic warming faster than any other region on Earth, floating sea ice in the region has been in decline: The average area of Arctic sea ice shrank at a rate of 57,000 square kilometers each year between 1996 and last year. That's an area slightly larger than the state of Michigan. For the animals and other living things that manage to scrape a living in the harsh Arctic environment, you might think that this would be welcome new. And you'd be right […]
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12:40 AM | Hurricane-Force Blizzard Takes Aim at New England, With Another Blockbuster Storm Possibly Coming Next Week
As I'm writing this, a storm barreling down from the Great Lakes has approached the Atlantic coast near Washington, D.C. It's forecast to start marching northeast toward New England tonight into Sunday. If it sets up as expected, parts of New England could well get walloped by a hurricane-force blizzard. I'm not using that word lightly. The forecast is for hurricane force winds by Cape Cod: [Max Wind Gusts] An updated graphic now shows the forecast (& […]

February 14, 2015

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1:21 AM | Take a Breathtaking Journey to the Sun, Skim its Surface — and Be Amazed!
From Earth, the Sun basically looks like a featureless, burning yellow ball — and one that we obviously shouldn't look at directly. But from its geosynchronous orbit 22,236 miles from Earth, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft has been doing just that. More specifically, SDO has been capturing a highly detailed image of the Sun more than once a second, building up 2,600 terabytes of data. And now, in celebration of the spacecraft's fifth anniversary in space, NASA has […]

February 12, 2015

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8:18 AM | Darwin Did Geology, Too! A Collection of Quotes for Your Darwin Day Enjoyment
It’s Darwin Day! Celebrating Darwin’s birthday is a lot of fun, and if you know the right skeptic’s group, there may be cake. With dinosaurs! But the reason why many Darwin Day... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

February 11, 2015

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5:15 PM | Is the Sun Frowning After Scrubbed Launch of Solar-Wind Satellite?
Windiness forced NASA to scrub the launch yesterday of a new satellite designed to provide real-time monitoring of, well, the solar wind. And from the looks of things, the Sun is not happy about it. | Update, 2/11/15: At a few minutes past 6 p.m. EST, the Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DISCOVR, successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. For a photo and more information, scroll down. | The image above was acquired at 10:30 a.m. EST today by NASA's […]
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12:57 AM | Crowdsourcing Books By and/or About Women and People of Color in the Geosciences
You know those moments where you suddenly notice the ism in the background? Had one recently meself. I spent a few weeks going through every single geology book available for Kindle on Amazon. I... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

February 10, 2015

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3:26 AM | Baked Australia: Bushfires Blaze as New Report Pins Blame for Intense Heat Waves on Climate Change
A new report out earlier this week says climate change is making Australia hotter, with anomalously warm days occurring more often and heat waves becoming hotter, longer and more frequent. Perhaps the report should have been titled "Baked Australia" instead of "Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Heat in Australia." To be honest, at first I wasn't going to post anything about this. That's because the report, from Australia's Climate […]
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1:01 AM | The Trust Engineers
How a tiny group of social engineers are making our online relationships kindler and gentler, whether we like it or not. 

February 07, 2015

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9:23 PM | How and Why It's Weird Outside — In Six Images
Dateline — Niwot, Colorado, Feb. 6, 2015, 9:30 p.m.:  Temperature: 65 degrees F. Normal low for this date: ~ 20. Dateline — New York City, Feb. 6, 2015:  Low temperature for the day: 16 degrees. Normal low: ~28 Dateline — Eureka, CA, Feb. 7, 2015:  From KIEM TV: "Fifteen families have been stranded and several students relocated after weather related washouts and slides hit the North Coast. Fox Creek in Carlotta destroyed part of a […]

February 06, 2015

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9:19 PM | Whispers of Ecological Change in the Arctic Are Trying to Tell Us Something. Are We Listening?
Editor's note: This is a guest post by Avery McGaha, one of two master’s students who joined me in Tromsø, Norway to attend the Arctic Frontiers conference in January, 2014. It is supplemented with some additional reporting by me. McGaha's trip was made possible by a grant from the University of Colorado's Center for Environmental Journalism.  Following the recent announcement by NASA and NOAA that 2014 was likely the hottest year on […]
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1:41 PM | Quality of Life
Searching for the term “Quality of Life” in Google Scholar results in nearly 2.5 million entries and although the year is still young, 16,500 of these papers have been published in 2015! Obviously there is large interest in quality of life. Currently several researchers of our department (mainly in Prof. Blaschke’s working group ) are working […]

February 05, 2015

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4:33 PM | Smoke From Aussie Bushfires Blown Almost to Antarctica
Two big bushfires — one described as the largest in Western Australia's recent history — have lofted large amounts of smoke high into the atmosphere, where it has been picked up by winds and blown 2,000 miles to the south. Have a look at the image above, which was created using data from the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instrument, or OMPS, on the Suomi NPP satellite. The big magenta-colored spot to the south of Western Australia shows the highest concentration of […]
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