Posts

December 21, 2014

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5:53 PM | Greed explained: J. Paul Getty, Aristotle and the Maximum Power Principle
Regular readers know I often write about energy, and while this piece may not at first blush seem like an energy story, you'll soon see that the quest for an ample supply of energy is, in fact, at the heart of human greed.Greed is often said to be a central cause of our ecological and social ills. It motivates excessive and injurious exploitation of the planet and thus threatens the existence of many species including humans themselves. It leads to excessive economic inequality and the social […]
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5:00 PM | Most of Alaska's Permafrost Could Melt This Century
Permafrost in Alaska's iconic Denali National Park and other areas could all but disappear by the end of this century, new research suggests.
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4:09 AM | My AGU talk on tackling climate myths in a free online course
This post is based on an invited presentation I gave at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. The talk was titled Applying Agnotology Based Learning in a MOOC to Counter Climate Misconceptions. In it, I explained the approach taken in our upcoming MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) titled Making Sense of Climate Science Denial. For the last few years, I’ve been talking to people about agnotology-based learning.  Usually they blink or stare at me with […]
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3:09 AM | Baja quake in 2010 generated hundreds of landslides
The 2010 Cucapah earthquake in Baja California, triggered hundreds of landslides that sent up dust clouds all along the mountain range.David Petley, who writes the Landslide Blog, and his colleagues used remote sensing data and  quantified the number (452)  and volume of landslides (2.6 million cubic meters) in the Cucapah […]
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2:49 AM | One year ago today: crossing the Drake Passage
Even starting off as far south as Ushuaia, it’s a long way to Antarctica – almost 1000 km of open water. We got a peak of the chart below whilst touring the bridge of the Corinthian – they have computer … Continue reading →
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2:17 AM | If These Cliffs Could Talk: The Cliffs of the Ah-wah-nee that Never Got Legends
Do you know these places? Would a place that has cliffs like these merit being declared a national park?Thankfully, these rocky precipices are in a national park already. But these are not the iconic features that end up in the photo collections of the millions of tourists that visit this place every year. But these cliffs contribute to the awesome scenery by serving as the backdrop for some very famous rocks. They serve as the supporting chorus behind the hardrock band, so to speak. They are […]
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12:39 AM | AGU Fall Meeting: Day 4
Thursday was a really exciting day. In the morning I sat in on a session about the hydrology of landslides, and especially how water storage in pore space affects landslide dynamics and discharge.

December 20, 2014

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11:13 PM | Geo 730: December 20, Day 719: Timberline Trail
Timberline Trail circumnavigates all of Mount Hood, as the name implies, near timberline. Here it can be seen descending into the upper valley of the White River (unless you're taking the trail clockwise, in which case it's ascending from that valley). I did consider walking down there, but decided I didn't want to make the climb back up. According to the PDF at the link up front, the trail is "only" 36.6 miles/58.9 kilometers- I could've easily done it in two days, or a leisurely three, 30 […]
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11:05 PM | Grizzly Peak
Grizzly Peak is the highest point in Oakland, at 1754 feet elevation (sources differ). As you approach it on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, it seems to loom quite high. That’s an illusion caused by the eucalyptus forest. As you get closer, you start to see through the trees. And from the bay side, the peak has […]
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10:12 PM | Dr. G’s #AGU14 Spotlight – Citizen Science
The AGU Fall Meeting called attention to the growing opportunities and benefits of citizen science - especially work at the global level. Read about high altitude citizen science and the work of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation.
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7:31 PM | Geo 730: December 19, Day 718: Upper Salmon River
At the end of the dry season, this modest stream is barely a trickle. However, according to Wikipedia (see stats box on upper right), the Timberline area receives an average of 45 feet of snow each winter. (Note this is not the amount of snow on the ground at any time; it's total snowfall.) During spring melt, or during warm rain events, such as we're having today, Dec. 20, 2014, this small stream certainly swells to a torrent. Looking at all the loose rubble in and around the water, and […]
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5:18 PM | Happy Holidays!
As 2014 winds down and the holidays approach, here again is the Bill and Boyd reminder that Nature doesn't always know about and respect holidays! Have a safe and enjoyable holiday and best wishes for 2015!
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3:00 PM | Smelly Corpse Flower Set to Bloom
In a matter of days, perhaps hours, a rare corpse flower will bloom in upstate New York. True to its name, the plant is expected to unleash a stench like rotting flesh.
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2:50 PM | I Have Some Exciting Trips Planned in 2015 - Join Me!
Many of the readers of this blog have traveled with me before to learn a bit about earth history and the evolution of landscapes. In 2015 I have a fantastic line-up of trips planned, both internationally and here in the Southwest. You can view a pdf of all of my trips here. There is no better way to travel than with your own personal geologist to explain what you are seeing. I hope to see you in 2015!The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River - April 9 to 16 and August 22 to 29, 2015The Green […]
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9:42 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #51B
2014 will be the hottest year on record Aboriginal kowledge could unlock climate solutions Acidic oceans could quiet coral reefs A lump of coal for fossil fuels Arctic is warming twice as fast as world average As world leaders try to reduce emissions, carbon dioxide levels keep rising Climate change could cut world food output 18 percent by 2050 Climate change divide widens on Senate Energy panel Climate change mea non culpa If you don’t accept that climate change is real, you’re […]
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6:44 AM | ..and That’s What Science is all About Charlie Brown
I am just back from a whirlwind trip to the AGU Meeting in San Francisco. 25,000 Earth scientists in one place, and it’s among the largest science meetings on the planet. I shot some videos that I will post over the weekend, but in the meantime here is a talk I made in October 2013 (in Washington) as part of the AGU Science Speaker series.
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6:41 AM | Site U1443? Check!
 After a 966 nautical mile transit from Singapore, averaging 11.7 knots, we arrived at the first site of our expedition, Site U1443, on December 7.  In more than 2900 meters of water, we drilled read more
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3:12 AM | One year ago today: our Antarctic voyage begins
You may recall that last Christmas, your intrepid bloggers managed to find ourselves on the trip of a lifetime to the Antarctic. We’re pretty sure that Geokid was Santa’s most southerly delivery on Christmas Eve. We have posted the odd … Continue reading →
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12:55 AM | arrogance
I occasionally see badly-written reports that will be read and picked apart by other stakeholders, and  bidders who blatantly ignore proposal requirements. I have also attended meetings with technical experts who had no idea what they were supposed to discuss.These are usually not signs of incompetence. They indicate arrogance - someone or an organization that thinks that they are above such inconsequential things as evidence or support for their position.I have never been able to just […]

December 19, 2014

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11:53 PM | Video: Ride along with Orion as It Plummets Back to Earth
A new NASA video provides an astronaut's-eye video of the final ten minutes of Orion's test flight.
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10:54 PM | Estevan gets his picture on the wall
In March, President Obama nominated New Mexican Estevan López, who at the time was head of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, to head the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. It was a big deal in a number of ways, not least of which was that, in replacing Mike Connor, López would be the second New Mexican ...Continue reading ‘Estevan gets his picture on the wall’ »
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10:33 PM | New Zealand watersheds show the dirt on logging and grazing
Grazing animals and logging trees in New Zealand could affect water quality there, according to scientists working to determine how water quality problems in the country relate to land use. The results could help guide water-friendly policy in New Zealand and other parts of the world, according to Jason Julian, a geographer at Texas State University.
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10:24 PM | Random Space Fact Videos
Enjoy Random Space Fact Videos this holiday season. Each is designed in to give you at least one space fact and one laugh in about one minute. Here are the videos and the background on the concept.
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9:56 PM | Through Charlie’s Window
When I first saw this photo I thought Charlie had added an effect, erasing all colour except the green of a neighbour’s roof. But as I focused on the picture, colour started seeping through. A streetside roll-out blue box, a tiny brick-brown chimney, and then finally, the faintest hint of colour on evergreen needles behind […]
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9:47 PM | Bárðarbunga volcano update 19-December-2014
Bárðarbunga volcano earthquake activity continues as before. No earthquake has reached the magnitude of 5,0 or greater since Monday 15-December-2014. Earthquake activity in the range of magnitude 3,0 and above remains high at the moment. There has been … Continue reading →
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8:57 PM | Dirt and Views from Mid December Field Work
A bit short of content and posts due to work and travel and field time. The last two days were classic western Washington mid winter field days - a bit wet, a bit windy and the days are really short. Work was a mix of figuring out dirt and with cloudy views.Southern tip end of the Bolton Peninsula withQuilcene Bay on the left and Dabob Bay on the rightOxidized outwash and driftWhere did this pebble come from? Non Olympic sourceAnother cut slope - compact glacial advance outwashTest pit digging […]
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8:25 PM | A new Chang'e 3 and Yutu image archive
A treasure trove of newly released images from the Chang'e 3 program includes a photo sequence of a waxing Earth and lots of high-resolution views of rover and lander on the Moon.
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8:18 PM | Bubbles Could Provide Energy Breakthrough
Studying how bubbles work could lead to more efficient power stations. Continue reading →
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7:00 PM | Using less water, Queensland edition
“The average daily water consumption across the south east in November 2014 was 190 litres per person per day. This is a stark contrast to consumption levels before the millennium drought, when the region’s residents were using an average of 330 litres per person per day.” That’s Queensland, Australia. To translate to U.S. measures, that’s ...Continue reading ‘Using less water, Queensland edition’ »
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7:00 PM | Mysterious 'Ice Pancakes' Form on Scottish River
Strange-looking ice formations the size of dinner plates are discovered floating on a Scottish river.
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