Posts

March 18, 2015

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7:33 AM | Why Dennis Mersereau at Gawker is Wrong About Fahrenheit Being A Better Temperature Scale
  I enjoy Dennis Mersereau’s pieces on Gawker, and I suspect his piece touting the wonder’s of the OLD Fahrenheit scale was covertly designed to get a thousand nasty comments from those of us who live metrically, and from the comments so far, it worked. Now, I suspect that most of Fahrenheit’s dwindling number of supporters are the type who have trouble remembering if 0.04 is 4 tenth’s or 4 …
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5:25 AM | Fossil fuels are way more expensive than you think
A new paper published in Climatic Change estimates that when we account for the pollution costs associated with our energy sources, gasoline costs an extra $3.80 per gallon, diesel an additional $4.80 per gallon, coal a further 24 cents per kilowatt-hour, and natural gas another 11 cents per kilowatt-hour that we don’t see in our fuel or energy bills.  Levelized generation costs for new US electricity generation and environmental damages by fuel type. Source: Climatic […]
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1:30 AM | Prionocyclus macombi Ammonite Fossil
This Prionocyclus macombi (Meek, 1876) ammonite fossil is on display at the Mesa Verde National Park as of August 2014. The ammonite existed in the Late Cretaceous Period (Campanian). The area is rich in geological history going back 2 billion years. The national park was founded in 1906 to protect the Anasazi Native American sites found on the mesa tops, cliffs, and canyons. The exposed areas
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12:15 AM | Triple creek junction
A while ago I featured the casting ponds at McCrea Memorial Park, in the valley of upper Lion Creek. I didn’t poke further downstream at the time, but since then I have. The creek runs alongside a pair of small concrete “trout ponds,” cunningly made with cobble-lined runnels that would send a lifegiving trickle through […]

March 17, 2015

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11:20 PM | The Community Hates Science SO MUCH (not). A Weekend at the Mineral Show
As we all know, science has no hold on the imagination of the young and old in our society, nobody cares about rocks, minerals, fossils, and all that stuff. I mean, one could offer a show with that stuff, and we simply realize that no one would show up.Or maybe not. Every year, events seem to prove the opposite. For many years, our local Mother Lode Mineral Society has held their Rock and Mineral Show at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock and did so this last weekend. Thousands of […]
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11:13 PM | Geo 1095: March 17 Day 806: Green and Gray, Green and Gray
Not the title I'd been planning, but it is Saint Patrick's Day. This is the outcrop I'd been eyeballing for literally decades, hoping to have an opportunity to stop sometime. That may sound like an easily-remedied problem, but there are a number of issues. First, of the almost exactly 35 years I've been in Oregon, I've owned a car for fewer than three of them. Second, I've often not been in control of where stops were made. Third, on what likely amounts to the majority of my trips, the […]
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10:14 PM | Geo 1095: March 16, Day 805: Reverse Grading
On the approach to Tombstone Pass, on Route 20 east of Corvallis, in the Western Cascades, there are a number of appealing roadcuts, some of which have convenient pullouts. Despite having sailed merrily past them many times, I had never had time or opportunity to stop and look more carefully at them prior to a trip to the area with Dana on  October 9, 2012.Though this was not the droid outcrop I was looking for, it did have some interesting features, and the one I was looking for was just […]
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10:01 PM | Severe Geomagnetic Storm May Light Up the Sky with Irish Green Tonight
Two coronal mass ejections over the weekend have arrived at Earth, and are producing a severe geomagnetic storm this evening. Besides causing long-range radio/GPS communication problems, it is already lighting up the aurora, and there is a decent chance of seeing the sky dance with a colorful display of the northern lights later tonight. A good measure of your chance to see the lights is the Kp index, and as …
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7:35 PM | An economist’s view of California’s water problems
David Zetland: [W]e see a total lack of vision or action to address the REAL drivers of scarcity — retail prices too low to notice, permissive overuse of groundwater, failing water-as-charity policies, and the blinders of a historic pretension that water rights are properly allocated (nope) in the correct volumes (NOPE). Taken together, the excess ...Continue reading ‘An economist’s view of California’s water problems’ »
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7:12 PM | Celebrating the Irish-Geological Heritage
According to a popular myth, long time ago lived a giant named Finn McCool on the shores of the county of Antrim in Ireland. On the opposite shores lived the Scottish giant Benandonner. One day Benandonner challenged McCool to a battle. McCool started to build a bridge, made of large columns of black rocks, to cross over the Irish Sea. Soon the bridge was completed and seeing his furious opponent approaching, Benandonner became afraid of the battle. So he asked advice to his wife. The […]
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5:00 PM | El Nino Can Predict Tornado Season's Severity
This year's El Niño may deliver a quiet tornado season.
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4:27 PM | The economics of California’s drought
Jeff Michael at the University of the Pacific’s Center for Business and Policy Research summarizes data on economic recovery in California suggesting that the impact of the drought has not, at least to date, been as significant as some might suggest: Focusing just on the Central Valley, there is a geographical pattern from north to south. ...Continue reading ‘The economics of California’s drought’ »
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4:00 PM | How the Chicago River Turns Green on St. Patrick's
For more than 40 years, the Chicago River has been dyed green on St. Patrick's Day. After the river is colored by an eco-friendly powdered vegetable dye, it can take several days for the green to dissipate.
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3:18 PM | Technical Help Needed – IRMS Instrumental Quandry
This is a technical post. I’m writing for other scientists who use the same (or similar) instrument as I do to ask a technical question. I’m having a problem with the mass spectrometer and need the advice of others. If … Continue reading →
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3:04 PM | Museum transfer bill passed by Arizona House committee
The Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee passed the museum transfer bill, SB1200, by 9-0 on Monday.  It now goes to the full House for approval and then on the to Governor for signature.SB1200 transfers the building that housed the former Mining and Mineral Museum from the Arizona Historical Society to the Arizona Geological Survey to be converted to a Mining, Mineral, and Natural Resources Education Museum.The building has been vacant and unused since it was closed in 2011 […]
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2:10 PM | You can predict how rabbits run by looking at their skulls (using this one weird trick!)
I have a new paper out today in PeerJ: “Ecological correlates to cranial morphology in leporids (Mammalia, Lagomorpha)”, with coauthors Brian Kraatz, Emma Sherratt, and Nick Bumacod. Get it free here. I know, I know, I have fallen from grace. First Aquilops, now rabbits. And, and…skulls! I know what you’re thinking: that maybe I’m not just […]
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1:36 PM | Intractable Conflict: Can We End ‘Endless’ Wars?
Intractable conflicts such as the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East or long-term civil wars in central Africa are among the world’s most destructive social ills, and the most difficult to solve. Over the past decade, Peter Coleman, director of the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University, has been developing an innovative way of understanding intractable conflicts — and potentially resolving them.
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12:19 PM | Adventures in Open Access publishing
 There is not a lot of diversity in the journals geochemists, geochronologists and hard-rock petrologists traditionally publish in.  Precambrian Research, Geochimica, Chemical Geology, Gondwana Research, and EPSL are all run by Elsevier, while the Journal of Petrology and Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology are also published by large, for-profit corporations.  American Mineralogist is one
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11:00 AM | How Denver Became the Mile-High City
For a long time geologists have been trying to figure out why the High Plains, where Denver is located, turned out to be so high, yet also level and smooth enough that a city could be built there. It may have had something to do with water. Continue reading →
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9:19 AM | How Do We Know When We Have Collected a Sample of Bennu?
A huge amount of effort goes into deciding where to try to collect a sample on Bennu. There are roughly nine months to survey, map and model the asteroid to help make this decision.
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8:49 AM | Understanding the Moon Pool (or, How Does the JR Keep From Sinking?)
There is a hole in the bottom of the JOIDES Resolution. And not a small one - it’s 22 feet wide. The hole is in the centre of the ship, directly below the derrick. It’s called a “moon pool” and is an essential part of our drilling operations. The drill pipe hangs from the top of the derrick, passes through this hole, into the ocean and all the way down to the seafloor. read more
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8:16 AM | Landslides in the Movies part 3:- Exodus: God and Kings
A short video has been released for the 2014 movie, Exodus: God and Kings, showing how they made the scene in which Moses gets buried by a mudslide.
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5:44 AM | Nick and Tom: Geology of Seattle and the Puget Sound
Nick Zentner and Tom Foster have been putting together some great videos explaining Washington landscapes. They are working on an I-90 series and start off in Seattle.
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4:43 AM | This Being my Bi-Annual rant on Daylight/Summer Time
I’ve not taken the time to research it, but I suspect summer time leads to poorer short term weather forecasts, the reason being we get the evening model guidance an hour later. This means forecasters like me cannot see all the latest data before the 10/11 PM newscasts, but that said, I’ll let John Oliver at HBO make my case this year, as he does it much better than I …
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3:02 AM | LightSail Featured on CBS Evening News
The Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft made an appearance on national television Monday night during a two-minute segment by CBS Evening News.
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2:41 AM | How much water does California have left? The other Jay disagrees
UC Davis’s Jay Lund responding to the flurry of news coverage surrounding Jay Famiglietti’s Los Angeles Times op ed: While the drought is serious, a UC Davis scientist is casting doubt on Famiglietti’s dire prediction. “It’s not the right impression that one more year of this and we’re toast,” UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences ...Continue reading ‘How much water does California have left? The other Jay disagrees’ »
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12:03 AM | Geo 1095: March 15, Day 804: Confluence
Our last stop before we headed into Cave Junction for lunch, then back to I-5 and up the road to the old nickle mine at Riddle, was at the confluence of Grayback (I think) and Sucker Creeks. Klamath streams that drain fairly large areas can be a gold mine (metaphorically speaking) for finding odd rock types and all sorts of fine, weird structures. I don't recall anything notable in terms of rocks here, and I don't think I carried any of this spot home... but it was quite pretty.Photo […]

March 16, 2015

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10:15 PM | Socialism means no toilet paper?
In which I teach Timmy about economics1. What can I lose? Its a guaranteed crowd-pleaser; everyone reading here hates neolibs anyway :-). So: Timmy recommends as “An excellent piece” Art People: Learn Economics, I Beseech You by Franklin Einspruch. And, well, its all more or less the obvious if you’ve been following Timmy or similar,…
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10:04 PM | paying speakers
Thee was some grumbling last week in the comments for this AAM post regarding payment to speakers. Some people were upset that the original poster was trying to get free speakers, and implied that this was similar to not paying interns.I've been both a free speaker, and the person trying to arrange other free presentations. Here's the thing: in both situations, at least in my line of work, the speaker is getting paid, just not by the organization they're presenting to. A technical presentation […]
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10:00 PM | Aloha, Mahalo and Goodnight!
By Jo Ward I was lucky enough to go on the recent Geological Society of America’s Hawaiian volcanoes field trip with a fabulous bunch of students from Australia, New Zealand and the United States.  It was an amazing geological experience … Continue reading →
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