Posts

January 30, 2015

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10:22 AM | Guest post: Baltic gold: the amber rush
Danuta Ziętala writes: When you visit the Polish coast you have to take a souvenir: a necklace made of amber, a bracelet made of amber, or other jewellery. Prices depend on size, working, the precious items inside (mosquito!). I want...
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7:08 AM | Pond and Debris Flow: Beavers or Snow and Ice
This has been a week of contemplating beavers and the landscape. This first post is field work related. I hope to have another a policy aspect of beavers later. On Monday I ventured up a steep stream drainage in effort to assess the risk of debris flows that might come down the drainage. Assessing debris flow risk entails assessing the geomorphic features of the drainage - How stable are the slopes? What types of failures should be expected? How steep is the drainage? How much […]
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7:00 AM | Water is far more valuable and useful than oil
This is a re-post from The Guardian by Stephen Leahy about his new book I have a confession: I knocked back 320 pints at the pub last night. I actually only had two shots of a decent single malt but it took 320 pints of water to grow and process the grain used to make the whisky. That’s a whole lot of water considering the average bathtub holds 60 to 80 litres. Even after 20 years of covering environmental issues in two dozen countries I had no idea of the incredible amounts of water […]
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5:28 AM | The Sierra Beyond Yosemite: Wait! Is that...a Glacier?
People who visit Yosemite Valley often think about glaciers. Even those with no geologic background quickly become aware of the role of glaciers in forming the valley, but the thoughts are often of the past. It's been 11,000 or 12,000 years since any glaciers have been in the bottom of the valley, and it's been around 800,000 years since glaciers filled Yosemite Valley. The glaciers seem a part of the distant past.When we reached the crest of the White Mountains on our fall field trip, we could […]
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5:17 AM | Never Alone – Iñupiat storytelling with spirit
A young girl named Nuna aims carefully, flinging her bola at the shards of ice lingering in the windy sky above. The spirits answer. A crane appears: mysterious, beautiful, perhaps even sorrowful. Is it sorrowful for Nuna? I can’t say, but I know I’m entranced. Nuna is the heroine in Never Alone, a game crafted to introduce aspects of Alaska Native Iñupiat culture to players across the world. Never Alone was developed in partnership between E-Line Media and the Cook […]
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3:00 AM | New NASA Satellite to Map Earth's Dirt From Orbit
NASA's next Earth-observing satellite is ready to launch Thursday (Jan. 29), and it could vastly improve the way scientists monitor droughts around the world.
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2:41 AM | We Must Do A Better Job of Communicating Forecast Uncertainty
My wife says that most of her friends have no idea about how I make a forecast, and I suspect that some believe I just get it from the NWS, without thinking how even they might do it. Many folks do understand we use numerical models but beyond that it’s hazy, and they think that if the forecast is wrong, it’s because the model was bad, not the interpretation of it. …
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12:34 AM | Geo 1095: January 29, Day 759: Stygian Pool
Continuing the walk to the Visitor's Center at Oregon Caves National Monument, here is a better view of the pool and patio behind the lodge. The cave entrance is directly above the waterfall, and is the source of that water. The stream flowing through the cave has been dubbed The River Styx, hence the post title. Astute readers may notice there's no outlet to this pool. So where does the water go? That's a topic for future posts, but it'll be a while; tomorrow we're going spelunking!Photo […]
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12:24 AM | Possible minor eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano caldera
It appears that at 21:22 UTC (on 29-January-2015) a possible minor eruption might have taken place somewhere along the Bárðarbunga volcano caldera rim or in it slopes. I don’t have any confirmation yet, but this is what the … Continue reading →

January 29, 2015

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11:24 PM | Lion Creek in Mills College
Lion Creek was once an Oakland landmark, named for the mountain lions and their habitat high in its catchment. Today it sneaks its way, mostly underground in culverts, to the bay. Didn’t use to be like that. Nowadays, the only place the creek is cherished and well cared for is on the Mills College campus. […]
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10:07 PM | Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof 16 – mit Judotricks gegen einen Gepanzerten
Wie würde ein Kampf zwischen einem sehr beweglichen und einem schwer gepanzerten Gegner wohl aussehen? Vermutlich würde mancher auf die Panzerung setzen. Aber nicht immer ist die von Vorteil. Das kann man sehr gut bei dem Zweikampf der Spinne aus der Art Loxosceles gaucho und einem Weberknecht sehen. Weberknechte mögen uns vielleicht als zerbrechlich erscheinen, sie haben aber einige recht raffinierte Verteidigungsstrategien, die unter anderem auch die Stinkdrüsen […]
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9:59 PM | The “finger-like” parapostzygapophyseal processes of Qijianglong
There’s a new mamenchisaurid in town! It’s called Qijianglong (“dragon of Qijiang”), and it’s the work of Xing et al. (2015). As far as I can make out, the life restoration is also due to Xing Lida: at least, every instance of the picture I’ve seen says “Credit: Xing Lida”. If that’s right, it’s an amazing display […]
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9:30 PM | Icebergs Make a Signature Crunch as They're Born
The birth of an iceberg comes with its own characteristic sound, according to new research.
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7:56 PM | Summer Program Opens Door to the Life of a Scientist
For Destiny Torres, currently a biology major at Brown University and a Gates Millennium Scholar, participating in the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory’s Secondary School Field Research Program in 2010 offered her the perfect combination of research and mentorship opportunities, lab work, and getting a glimpse into the daily life of a scientist.
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5:48 PM | How NASA's Budget Request Comes Together: Part 1
It takes a year to make, and is the starting point for all coming debate by Congress. It's the President's Budget Request, and understanding how it comes together is an important part of being an effective space advocate.
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5:18 PM | Darwin: An Encounter With Beetles
In 1827 Charles Darwin's father Robert Darwin, alarmed that his son was turning into  a wastrel, decided to enroll him at Cambridge with the ultimate  aim of preparing Charles Darwin for a life as a country parson. This would set him up for life among the country gentry he already knew and was comfortable with. Charles's unhappy tryst with medical school in Edinburgh had disappointed his father and the Church of England  seemed a perfect place for a rather aimless son with a love […]
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4:35 PM | U.S. Wants to Open Atlantic Drilling, Restrict Arctic
The Obama Administration announced that for the first time, it will open the Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern coast to oil and gas exploration. Continue reading →
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4:06 PM | Drunk on Geology - Inversion IPA
The next up in the Drunk on Geology series is Inversion IPA  produced by Deschutes Brewery from Bend, Oregon.An inversion is a naturally occurring phenomena when the temperature goes from normal (warmer near the Earth's surface and cooling upwards) to inverted (colder near the Earth's surface and warming upwards). This frequently happens in areas where a warm front is able to ride on top of a cold front. When the colder air is trapped in place for some reason, this condition can persist […]
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3:23 PM | a “literary startup”
I like how Mary Z. Fuka described yesterday’s John Fleck 2.0 launch party – I’m a “literary startup“. I need a clever name with some sort of capital letter in the middle or something. And a logo. I need a logo, right? This morning, the day after I finished up the last stories of a ...Continue reading ‘a “literary startup”’ »
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3:08 PM | Rocks in the right place at the right time…
Flo looks two examples of the strange and important ways that geology and where it’s located can affect international governance and regulation. From the presence of tiny coralline islands to ownership of the Arctic! I’ve always had an interest in the peculiarities of geology and geomorphology and the inordinate (sometimes almost absurd!) ways that they play their part in deciding on big international governance. Humanity has long-relied on the presence of geological features such […]
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3:00 PM | Yam-Tastic Oil Change Porter
Over the winter holiday, I discovered that yams have a particular sweetness that I really felt must be included into a beer somehow. I started looking for yam ale recipes, but none gripped me. Then I stumbled upon a porter … Continue reading →
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2:53 PM | Mineral Classification Made Easy - Mohs Hardness Scale
Talc – Gypsum – Calcite – Fluorite – Apatite – Feldspar – Quartz – Topaz – Corundum – Diamond -  “Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness ” should be familiar to rock-hounds and earth-science students alike, as it lists common minerals in the order of the relative hardness (talc as the softest and diamond as the hardest mineral). Almost all  basic classification charts include this scale, as mineral hardness can be a quite […]
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12:44 PM | Bigger Better, Smaller Smarter?
If you are thinking of brining a new canine friend home, one the questions that may be on your mind is: what is the right size and breed? To a great extent, a dog’s personality, behavior, and dietary and exercise requirements may be determined by its breed and size. Those who love the idea of […]
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11:39 AM | Oakham, Rutland Earthquake 28/01/15 Recorded at Keele, UK.
A moderate (for the UK) M3.8 earthquake occurred last night near Oakham in Rutland, England. The recording above made at the University of Keele on our 6TD seismometer shows the three-components of ground motion (up-down; north-south; east-west) and nicely shows the arrival of P-waves and S-waves. Our record from our SEP-1 school’s seismometer is not [...]
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11:39 AM | Oakham, Rutland Earthquake 28/01/15 Recorded at Keele, UK.
A moderate (for the UK) M3.8 earthquake occurred last night near Oakham in Rutland, England. The recording above made at the University of Keele on our 6TD seismometer shows the three-components of ground motion (up-down; north-south; east-west) and nicely shows the arrival of P-waves and S-waves. Our record from our SEP-1 school’s seismometer is not [...]
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8:04 AM | The Pakyong Airport landslide issue in India
In Northern India, landsliding is occurring upslope of the Pakyong airport construction site, which has used extensive slope cutting during construction
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6:43 AM | New research reveals extreme oxygen loss in oceans during past climate change
New research published this week reveals that vast stretches of the ocean interior abruptly lost oxygen during the transition out of the last ice age that occurred 17,000–10,000 years ago. This event was the most recent example of large-scale global warming, and was caused primarily by changes in Earth’s orbit around the sun. Past climate events provide informative case studies for understanding what is currently happening to the modern climate system. For this research, marine […]
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4:24 AM | January Woolly Bear Catepillar
Washington State is enjoying San Diego-like weather. This has been particularly true above the lowlands where cold air tends to settle. On Monday, Bob and I investigated a debris flow which entailed making our way up a steep drainage to a ridge summit at 2,800 feet. It was a very steep climb.  During a short break we found ourselves in a small cloud of mosquitos at 2,000 feet. Just below the summit ridge we came across this woolly bear caterpillar.  Bob noted […]
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2:12 AM | The Sierra Beyond Yosemite: A Stunning Impenetrable Wall of Solid Rock
Mount Whitney from the Alabama Hills in the Owens ValleyImpenetrable. The imaginary mountain barrier surrounding Mordor in the Lord of the Rings has nothing on this real-life wall of solid granite. For more than one hundred miles, from Mono Lake south to Owens Lake and beyond, there is a 10,000+ foot high crest that divides California from the rest of the country, which stops almost all precipitation from Pacific storms, and which denied immigrants an easy path to the gold-fields of the Mother […]
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1:10 AM | More pillow basalt at Rodeo Cove
I promised photos of the second part of my trip to see pillow basalts at the Marin Headlands, and here we are, just as the fog was lifting in the early afternoon. After exploring the Point Bonita lighthouse and its vicinity, we decided to hike down through the abundant succulents (Carpobrotus edulis, if I've got it right) to Rodeo Cove and its beach.
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