Posts

December 19, 2014

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7:24 AM | Dr. G’s #AGU14 Spotlight – Union lunchtime forums
For some, lunchtime is focused on food. For many at the AGU Fall Meeting, lunchtime is spent feeding ourselves with inspiring and innovative ideas presented during the Union General Sessions.
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4:08 AM | Nuclear Lake
Believe it or not, there's a lake off Route 55 near Pawling in eastern Dutchess County with the rather unusual name of Nuclear Lake. Google Maps LocationHow on earth did it get that name?  It's certainly not something the local Chamber of Commerce would choose.  Well, it apparently was named when a former hunting preserve around the lake was purchased in 1955 by an outfit called Nuclear Development Associates. New York Times - February 18, 1955The federal Atomic Energy Commission […]
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3:29 AM | “Rain,” coming to a bookshelf near me, April 2015
Excited to see Cynthia Barnett’s Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, is now available for pre-order, which means we don’t have to wait too much longer. (If you have time to kill between now and then, may I recommend Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis?)
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3:00 AM | Thirsty Thursday – December’s Brewing Madness
Something clicked in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been brewing like crazy. The end result is this current state of my living room: To get here, I started last Saturday with bottling the hard cider that had been … Continue reading →
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1:29 AM | Science Storytelling Workshop at AGU14
"What does this look like?" "Zombies!" one of the scientists suggested. "Right," the cinematographer agreed. He reinforced the idea of shifting the frame to give the person on camera space for their gaze to travel - 'Lookroom'. He'd noted before that when there's an empty space looming behind a person's back it creates tension. Perhaps a zombie is about to stagger up from behind. Whoever's filming needs to keep in mind framing, or the way that visual elements are placed... Read more
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12:53 AM | Sterilizing for Mars
“Leave no trace.” It’s a central ethic of wilderness exploration. Pack your supplies in, pack your waste out, and leave the natural landscape unspoiled. But when it comes to the newest frontier of exploration—visiting alien worlds to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life—the challenge of avoiding contamination with traces of life from Earth is a huge challenge.
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12:39 AM | Rocks: the larger they are, the faster they crumble
Sooner or later, mountains crumble into boulders, boulders crumble into rocks and pebbles, and so on, until wind and rivers carry sand and dust into the ocean, completing the geologic rock cycle. "But how [rocks] go from the mountain into that ocean bottom, that's what is not understood very well," said Jaakko Putkonen, a geologist with the University of North Dakota. Scientists from UND and other institutions discovered that chunks of rock break off of boulders in Antarctica once every 1,900 […]
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12:38 AM | Geo 730: December 18, Day 717: Upper Salmon Valley
The valley directly in front of us here is the upper end of the Salmon River. The pair of valleys beyond that are a tributary to the White River (closer), and the White River (farther). Palmer ice field/glacier appears to the right of the tree in the left middle, and Crater Rock and the Mount Hood summit are above that feature. The winds were from the east this day, so I don't think that cloud could be described as a lenticular.Photo unmodified. October 10, 2012. FlashEarth location.
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12:26 AM | Quality control of aerosol measurements filters out important readings
The hardworking AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork) instrument in Baengyeong, South Korea was having a rough day. Every 15 minutes, the telescope-like device pointed its barrel at the sun to record its light and measure how much was blocked by airborne particles, or aerosols. July 13, 2012 was an overcast day and the light absorbed by the clouds dominated the measurements. But then, just after 1 p.m., the clouds parted, the instrument looked up, and data was collected. Only no one saw it.

December 18, 2014

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11:30 PM | Why Do Thunderstorms Give Off Super-Intense Gamma Rays?
Brief bursts of intense energy occur inside thunderstorms 1,000 times a day around the world, new research shows. Continue reading →
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9:15 PM | NASA Satellite Sends Back Most Detailed CO2 View
Fresh data from NASA reveals a comprehensive global view of CO2 in full color.
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8:42 PM | Geo 730: December 17, Day 716: Diurnal Stream?
The reason for the question mark in the title is that I'm not sure "diurnal stream" is a valid term, nor the correct one for this situation. Basically, snow melt from ice and snow fields above this spot doesn't melt during the night, so the water flow stops. Then, during the day, if it's warm enough, melting starts again, and the stream gets water. So this stream, at this point at least, flows in stop-and-start daily pulses. I'm not sure I've seen anything like this before, but thinking about […]
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8:02 PM | Chemosynthetische Ökosysteme in der Erdgeschichte
Anbei nur kurz ein Vortrag von Steffen Kiel (Universität Göttingen), gehalten auf dem Lyell Meeting am 12. März 2014 über chemosynthetische Ökosysteme im Laufe der Erdgeschichte. Chemosynthetische Ökosyseme sind faszinierende Lebensgemeinschaften, die fern von Sonnenlicht ihre zum Leben benötigte Energie eben nicht von unserem Zentralgestirn beziehen, sondern aus anderen Quellen. Dazu zählen die unter anderem die bekannten schwarzen und weißen […]
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7:12 PM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #51A
3.6 degrees of uncertainty 9 things scientists did this year to ensure a better climate future Climate change in the Himalayas a reality: Experts Earth faces sixth ‘great extinction’ with 41% of amphibians set to go Fossil fuel companies grow nervous as divestment movement grows  Global warming: It’s OK to be smart about it Good COP, bad COP: Winners and losers at the Lima climate conference New paper raises question of tropical forest carbon storage New satellite maps […]
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6:19 PM | Heaven Above and Earth Below: Scientists Track Atmospheric Disturbances to Gather Earthquake Data
Earthquakes generate seismic waves that propagate through earth, water, and air. Generations of geologists have used ground-based seismometers to decipher information about earthquakes, including magnitude, epicenter, depth and tsunami danger. But more recently some researchers have wondered if seismic waves traveling through the air also carry traceable information about the earthquake that generated them. If so, measuring seismic waves in the atmosphere could potentially speed up earthquake […]
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5:15 PM | Pancake ice on the River Dee in Scotland
Pancake ice on the River DeePhoto by Jamie Urquhart, biologist from hereIf the Queen of England were in residence at the moment at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, her summer residence, and if she walked downstream a few miles, she'd see the stunning cluster of pancake ice on the River Dee!How does such ice form? To start with, we probably need to review a phenomenon known as "frazil ice."  Water normally freezes at 273.15 K (32 F), but can be supercooled down to almost 231 K if there are […]
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5:12 PM | Tracking wastewater in the ocean with satellites
Scientists can use satellites to track wastewater plumes in the ocean, according to new research presented Tuesday afternoon at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Researchers from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other research institutions tracked wastewater plumes from the Los Angeles County and Orange County treatment plants in California during maintenance in 2006 and 2012, respectively. Each plant temporarily diverted wastewater into an older, shorter, […]
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5:00 PM | Robot Captures Views of Hidden Arctic Ecosystem
A remote-controlled underwater robot explores the underside of stable Arctic sea ice, collecting the most detailed information yet of this largely unexplored environment.
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4:41 PM | Heart Rate Monitors for Shellfish May Help Purify Rivers
In tanks at the University of Iowa, mussels equipped with heart rate monitors are purifying water with their excrement. Like human heart monitors, the gadgets glued to the mussels’ shells provide information about activity and metabolism. But in the mussels’ case, this information is helping researchers understand how mussels cleanse the water of agricultural runoff.
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2:49 PM | MS Alum Leads Green Initiatives at McGraw Hill Financial
Master of Science in Sustainability Management alum, Jaclyn Bouchard (’14) came into the program with an academic background in biology and energy management and professional experience working for sustainability-focused startup companies. The analytical and collaborative skills that Jaclyn acquired from the program propelled her to become the Manager of Corporate Responsibility at McGraw Hill Financial, one of the leading companies in credit ratings, benchmarks, and analytics. Jaclyn […]
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1:30 PM | Just in Time for Christmas! All the Gargantuan Guides in One Place!
Do you still have gifts to buy? Don’t want to leave the comfort of your home or office? Are you dreading the very thought of stepping into a store? Want to give the gift of knowledge and... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:08 PM | My early Christmas present: a dead corn snake
A friend’s daughter owned a pet corn snake, and a hamster. About a month ago, the former got into the latter’s cage — and in a reversal of the usual course of such events, sustained some nasty injuries. As snakes often do, it struggled to recover, and the wound seems to have necrotised. This morning […]
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12:47 PM | One for the ichnologists
For those inclined toward trace fossils… …This is from Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. I saw it on the trail to Consolation Lakes from Moraine Lake. I do not recall rock type – could be dolostone, could be Gog quartzite. It’s float (loose; not in situ), but I infer the photographed surface is the underside of the bedding plane; I’d be fine being totally wrong about that, though. There are …
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10:12 AM | What happens if we overshoot the two degree target for limiting global warming?
This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Roz Pidcock Two degrees is the internationally-agreed target for limiting global warming, and has a long history in climate policy circles. Ambition that we can still achieve it is running high as climate negotiators gather in Lima to lay the groundwork for a potential global deal in 2015. But against this optimistic backdrop, greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise. With each passing year the scale of the task looms ever larger.  There […]
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8:18 AM | Amazing but watch with caution: camera phone footage of the deadly Banjarnegara district landslide in Indonesia
There is a video on Youtube that apparently shows the moment that the Banjarnegara district landslide in Indonesia occurred, killing over 100 people
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6:53 AM | Post Permian Mass Extinction Size Reduction In Glossopteris Plant Lineages
Mass extinctions prune away branches of the tree of life. The late Permian-Triassic mass extinction event affected marine and terrestrial animal life severely, perhaps more than it affected terrestrial plant life. One common observation is that survivor species tend to be smaller bodied representatives of groups. This is known as the Lilliput effect.A lot of attention has been paid to evolutionary trends in size during and post mass extinction in various animal groups. An interesting paper in […]
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6:30 AM | Science Snap (#35): Twinning
Twinning is a phenomenon in mineralogy whereby a single crystal of a mineral has two or more parts in which the crystal lattice is differently orientated. The shared surface between two twins is called the composition or twin plane, and the orientation to either other is determined by symmetry through rotation or reflection; this relationship is described by a twin law. Twinning most commonly occurs when there is a change in conditions during the growth of the crystal, for example a variation […]
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2:19 AM | Lightning Bolts May have Jolted Life on Earth
Michael Wong wants to understand how life could evolve on other worlds. A graduate student in planetary sciences at the California Institute of Technology, he usually focuses on planetary atmospheres. But recently, his quest took Wong to a strange, hostile setting: the bottom of an acidic ocean on Earth, 4 billion years ago.
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2:03 AM | Infinite Visions, One Planetary Society
Three weeks ago, we launched a social media campaign hoping to engage the public in space exploration. What we achieved was more than we expected—our Infinite Visions campaign reached more than 2.5 million people in 47 countries.

December 17, 2014

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11:35 PM | NASA Delays Asteroid Redirect Mission Concept Selection until 2015
NASA's efforts to capture a near-Earth asteroid and tow it back to lunar orbit will have to wait a little bit longer for a final mission concept.
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