Posts

July 17, 2014

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3:59 PM | New watch, old watch, not the same
A break from The Deep. In New watch, old watch, still the same I described the truely fascinating tale of me buying a replacement Garmin Forerunner 110. A few weeks ago I was faced with the replacement having the strap broken in a second place, and the glass having cracked when I incautiously thrutched a…
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1:32 PM | Mars comes to Stevenage
Stevenage: for readers outside of the UK it may not ring much of a bell, and indeed, with no disrespect to Stevenagians, for most UK readers it is not one of our most famous and glamorous metropolitan areas. Located around...
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9:10 AM | Grown in Hot Rock Depths: The Geology of the Seahawks Super Bowl Rings Part I
The 184 diamonds in the Seahawks Super Bowl Championship rings can tell us a thing or three about Earth’s inner self. We’re still interrogating those valuable, shiny rocks (which... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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9:02 AM | 45 Years after Apollo 11, NASA Prepares for Another Big Splashdown
A new version of Apollo 11's splashdown will play out when the first astronauts aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft return to Earth.
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6:00 AM | Science snap (#30): Aust Cliff, Gloucestershire
One of the most fascinating things about geology is its ability to reveal global events from evidence contained within a single outcrop. The cliff exposure at Aust in Gloucestershire, UK, is a spectacularly colourful example of this. Located beneath the original Severn Bridge, and running alongside the Severn Estuary, the 40m tall rock face records […]
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5:30 AM | Is global warming causing extreme weather via jet stream waves?
As I sit here in a northern part of the United States (Minnesota), a rare summer arctic blast barrels down from Canada on what otherwise is one of the warmest days of the year. Global warming? I could use some global warming today, people are saying. Not only is this a teachable moment, but it coincides with a major new study on climate connections. First, let’s see the current jet stream. It is wildly undulating, first swinging up into northern Canada before curving back and plunging […]
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1:16 AM | El Nino May Take The Stage, but His Opening Act is Not Rocking The House
Just looking at the latest on El Nino from the CPC, and I must say I’m not yet impressed. Most of the atmosphere/ocean coupled models are still forecasting an El Nino to develop, but temps in the Pacific have cooled some in the past two weeks. Perhaps more importantly, the atmosphere has not started to respond, with greater than normal rainfall continuing in the West Pacific. In an El Nino, …
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1:07 AM | Labour’s dodgy drilling policy avoids climate reality
In his interview on TV3’s The Nation last weekend David Shearer declared a Labour Party policy on oil and gas drilling which, like the Government’s, fails to confront the reality of climate change. Drilling will continue. The approval processes will be improved, the regulations will be tight, the money gained will be used well, but […]
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12:04 AM | Participate in EarthCube governance
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July 16, 2014

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10:33 PM | Geo 730: July 14, Day 560: Congratulations! It's a Conifer!
In this shot, we can see enough detail for me to be able to tell it's a conifer. How? Coniferous wood is dominated by a single cell type, tracheids, which make up 90-95% of the tissue volume. Deciduous wood has a greater variety of cell types, with greater specialization, and a more "disorganized" (my own mental construct) overall look. See this link for a nice introduction; the tissue diagrams on the right are the pertinent illustrations. Even at full size (see crop below), you can't make out […]
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10:12 PM | July 16, 2014 at Little River.
We've been too busy to blog.  Why?  Growing, busy, crazy.A snapshot:  Beth Fisher's joined us in a planning/management role, Anna's her old self, Meriam remains our amazing business director; Keisha Lurhsen's working in the shop and office; Radia (Meriam's daughter) is a summer intern, Akiyo Matsumoto (松本 明代) is our Japanese laison.  My wife Kate's co-owner.  Jim Nation runs the shop, Cameron Lenzini is an undergrad intern; Wahid […]
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8:51 PM | How Arecibo Observatory Transmits to the ISEE-3 Spacecraft
Talking to spacecraft is a normal occurrence at Arecibo Observatory, but sometimes the nuts and bolts are a little unconventional.
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8:24 PM | Von einem T-rex, der hungrig blieb
Wenn man von vergangenen Lebewesen nur meist kümmerliche Überreste findet, ist es meist recht schwer, auf ihr Verhalten und ihre Lebensweise zu schließen. OK, manches mag vielleicht mehr trivialer Natur sein. Man kann einiges aus Skelettbau und Zahnform herauslesen. Aber es geht um die Feinheiten. Ein sehr gutes Beispiel ist die Frage, ob der König der Tyrannenechsen nun ein mehr harmloser Aasfresser war oder ein furchterregendes und blutrünstiges Raubtier, vor dem die […]
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8:15 PM | Geo 730: July 13, Day 559: Growth Rings
Zooming in from the last post, we're now close enough that the annual growth rings are evident. These form in wood that grows in temperate environments with distinct warm and cold seasons. During the cold weather, growth almost entirely stops, and the cells are much smaller and more densely packed, creating the dark portion of a ring. During warm weather, the cells grow more rapidly, and much larger, creating the lighter portion of each ring. In tropical areas, with no distinct seasons, tree […]
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7:18 PM | Geo 730: July 12, Day 558: Woody Texture
Over this and the next couple of posts, I'll be progressively zooming into the wood grain preserved in this specimen. Here, we can definitely see the woody texture and form, but not much detail. There are limits to what one can capture with a camera unaided by a microscope, but the detail one can capture is still pretty amazing. Photo unmodified. March 9, 2012. FlashEarth location.
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5:39 PM | Pelican vertebrae are mostly air
I was at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County yesterday to do some research in the ornithology collection. After lunch I was working on this pelican skeleton and I thought, “Geez, there is just no way to do this thing justice with still photos. I should make a video.” Here it is. You’ll […]
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5:23 PM | How Do Summer Superstorms Form?
A massive line of thunderstorms can be unnerving, but squall lines, as meteorologists call them, are a fairly common phenomenon during the summer season. Continue reading →
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5:00 PM | Random Review – Hungry Hobo, Milan, IL
When in Milan… We were broken down in the lovely town of Milan, IL, and had no other choice than to take extended walking tours of the village. Because we were intrigued by the name, we decided to take dinner … Continue reading →
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4:35 PM | Geologist’s Nightmares
Adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews mentions in an article published in 1922 in the “Asia Magazine” and later in his book “On the Trail of Ancient Man” (1926), a strange creature, said to inhabit the Gobi-desert in Mongolia: “Then the Premier asked that, if it were possible, I should capture for the Mongolian government a specimen [...]
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4:35 PM | Geologist’s Nightmares
Adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews mentions in an article published in 1922 in the “Asia Magazine” and later in his book “On the Trail of Ancient Man” (1926), a strange creature,... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:30 PM | Mysterious, Giant Crater Appears in Siberia
A massive, unexplained hole is discovered in a gas-rich area of Siberia called the 'end of the world.'
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3:30 PM | Adventures in the (other) field: Mass Media Fellow Julia Rosen reports from the Los Angeles Times
“Buzz! Buzz! We want you to have time to speak with the Los Angeles Times,” a woman named Christina interjected. I was standing, clutching my notepad and recorder, in Buzz Aldrin’s office in West Los Angeles on probably the most challenging assignment of my summer (so far) as a scientist-turned-reporter for the LA Times.
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3:15 PM | 1st Order Effects of Climate Change Becoming Evident in Miami Beach
In November 2013, a full moon and high tides led to flooding in parts of the city, including here at Alton Road and 10th Street. Photograph: CorbisFor those of us in the earth sciences it is kind of mind-boggling to believe that some people still think that climate change is a hoax foisted on us only by liberals or communists. There is a billion-year record of climate change that exists in the rock record and it clearly shows that Earth's climate is subject to change. And there is a […]
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3:08 PM | Stuff I wrote elsewhere: moving groundwater in New Mexico
The Augustin Plains Ranch project, New Mexico’s version of a trend toward meeting urban needs in the west by pumping rural groundwater in to cities, is taking another whack at winning state approval after losing resoundingly two years ago: A for-profit group hoping to pump New Mexico groundwater to the Rio Grande Valley and sell ...Continue reading ‘Stuff I wrote elsewhere: moving groundwater in New Mexico’ »
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2:54 PM | Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes
This article is a reprint of a press release posted by the World Meterological Organization on July 11, 2014. Better disaster data enables better decisions Weather, climate and water-related disasters are on the rise worldwide, causing loss of life and setting back economic and social development by years, if not decades. From 1970 to 2012, 8 835 disasters, 1.94 million deaths, and US$ 2.4 trillion of economic losses were reported globally as a result of hazards such as droughts, extreme […]
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12:22 PM | I've been asteroided! (274860) Emilylakdawalla
What a great piece of news to receive upon returning home from vacation! There is now a small piece of the solar system named for me: asteroid 274860 has been formally named "Emilylakdawalla" by the International Astronomical Union. Here is everything I've been able to learn about my namesake asteroid.
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11:56 AM | Summer reading on teaching – and Teaching Naked
“I firmly believe that if every teaching faculty member could carve out the time to read one or two great books on teaching and learning every year, we would collectively serve our students much better than we do already.”  –  James Lang (Top 10 Books on Teaching, June 11, 2014) I think it is safe to say that each of us are challenged to find time to read a book …
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11:00 AM | From paper to press release: making your research accessible to the wider public
During the General Assembly, EGU Media and Communications Manager Bárbara Ferreira shared her science writing skills and media know-how in a workshop demonstrating how to write a  press release or post about the latest geoscience. Here are her take-home messages… “When you communicate science, no one else is more important than your audience.” Bárbara opened with […]
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6:09 AM | Field Work Travelog – Day 4, Hello Laramie!
One day later than the original plan, but here we are. We got the truck back yesterday afternoon, a little too late for try to get some miles in before the end of the day. Instead, we decided to enjoy … Continue reading →
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4:11 AM | Image of the Week
Filed under “data can be cool”         This is a graph of wind and air pressure at a weather station as a hurricane passes directly over.  Notice the double spikes as each eye wall passes overhead.  
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