Posts

September 30, 2014

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6:25 AM | How did the UK grid respond to losing a few nuclear reactors?
This is a re-post from PassiiviIdentiteetti, written by Jani-Petri Martikainen. Answer: mainly by increasing the use of coal in power production. In the second week of August power company EDF decided to shutdown their reactors in Heysham and Hartlepool. This was a precautionary measure after finding a defect in the boiler of Heysham unit 1. In total 4 reactors that can produce up to 2.6 GigaWatts (GW) of electricity were turned off. On the week they were turned off, the UK used an […]
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6:21 AM | Lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy of the Chinle Formation in Lisbon Valley, Utah
The stratigraphy of the Chinle Formation in Lisbon Valley, Utah has been somewhat controversial. This paper is the result of several seasons of fieldwork and provides an intense revision of the local stratigraphy as well as discussion of the fossils found in these rocks. Martz et al. provide a large amount of information and are careful to make sure that their work is repeatable as possible. To this end they provide coordinates and labelled photos of their measured sections as well as a list of […]
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5:56 AM | Triassic Research at the 4th International Paleontology Congress - 2014
Wishing I could have joined my colleagues this week for the 4th International Paleontology Congress in Mendoza, Argentina.  There is a large amount of Triassic research being presented at this meeting. Here is the link to the abstract volume.
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4:38 AM | Planetary Society President Testifies Before Congress
Society President Dr. Jim Bell provided expert testimony at a September hearing on the state (and fate) of planetary science.
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4:28 AM | Brief mission update: Hayabusa 2 has a launch date!
JAXA announced the launch date for their Hayabusa 2 asteroid sample return mission today: November 30 at 13:24:48 Japan standard time (04:24:48 UT / November 29 at 20:24:48 PST)
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12:42 AM | Bárðarbunga daily update on 29-September-2014
I am sorry for this late update. I did spend several hours trying to figure out a problem that does not appear to be on my end regarding my IPv6 tunnel connection. I hope this problem is solved … Continue reading →

September 29, 2014

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11:20 PM | conference time-keeping
Athene Donald recently addressed a big pet peeve of mine: conference talks that run way past their allotted time, thus screwing up the schedule for everyone else who has the misfortune to be after them. When I've presented at conferences, I've usually had dire warnings to keep to the time limit, or else. And I respect those limits. How do I do that?I practice with the material until I have a good sense of the "beats" of the presentation and I'm reasonably sure that I can end within a few […]
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11:14 PM | Gold Fever! comes to Western Science Center
On Saturday we opened a new temporary exhibit, “Gold Fever! Untold stories of the California Gold Rush.” The panels that make up the core of the exhibit were developed by the Oakland Museum of California and the California Council for … Continue reading →
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11:00 PM | When is the real ‘end’ of a PhD?
Recently a number of the original OnCirculation contributors have reached the ‘end’ of their PhDs including Evan, Kelly, Nick and myself; however this has led to the question, ‘When is the true end of the PhD?’ or in popular terms … Continue reading →
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10:57 PM | Curiosity update, sols 748-763: Driving and Drilling at Pahrump Hills
The biggest news on Curiosity of late is that the rover has drilled her fourth full drill hole on Mars! Drilling happened at a site called "Confidence Hills" on sol 759. But before she did that, she took a long series of amazing photos of rock formations at Jubilee Pass, Panamint Butte, and Upheaval Dome.
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9:30 PM | Millennium Promise Team to Join Battle Against Ebola in Guinea
Locally based community health workers, who bring vital primary health care to underserved populations across sub-Saharan Africa, will join the battle against the deadly Ebola virus through a partnership between the government of Guinea and The Earth Institute.
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9:12 PM | Lakes Around the World Are Rapidly Disappearing
The Aral Sea is just one of several iconic inland bodies of water across the world that is now receding drastically. Continue reading →
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8:22 PM | Did I ever tell you how exciting snails are?
Did I ever tell you how exciting snails are? No, wait, don’t go away… Oh well. Now the rest of you have settled down, I’ll continue. My pic, incidentally, shows some Sphacterian snails I met in Greece this summer, which exhibited this odd clustering behaviour I’ve not seen before. But that’s nothing to do with…
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8:06 PM | Noch mehr Experimente mit Kindern
Das Kinder von Natur aus neugierig sind, und dass man diese Eigenschaft nach Kräften unterstützen sollte, ist ja keine so weltbewegend neue Erkenntnis, möchte man meinen. Und wenn man die Neugier und die Freude am Spiel so schön kombinieren kann, wie in den Videos der Royal Institution, dann hat eigentlich die ganze Familie ihren Spaß dabei. Und nicht nur Kinder können dabei spielerisch viel über unsere Welt und die ihr zu Grunde liegenden Gesetze erfahren. […]
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6:58 PM | Taking Undergraduate Research on the Road
This experience taught us not only about climate modeling, quantitative research and analysis, but also about the dynamic process of working with a client and with a team. After months of hard work, our team presented our findings to fellow students and faculty at Columbia and to our clients at West Point. The project has blossomed into continued collaboration between Columbia and West Point—including additional capstone projects in the spring semester.
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6:45 PM | ’tis a pity he’s silent
Ah, the (self) pity of it. AW has a long lame series of excuses for why he went all the way to Bristol to hear Michael Mann talk but did not ask, or even try to ask, any questions. Sou takes it to pieces, but you really don’t need that. Obviously it wasn’t necessary to…
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5:45 PM | Colorado Rock Formation May Be Result of 'Natural Fracking'
A prehistoric catastrophe may explain how the curious Tava sandstone in the Rocky Mountains may its way into much older granite rock.
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5:16 PM | Geo 730: September 29, Day 637: Unexpected Contact
I had noticed this cobble conglomerate before, but I had not, before this trip, consciously thought about its implications with respect to the overlying contact with the basalt breccia. (Lens cap right of center, diameter is 52 mm)Why do geologists spend an inordinate amount of time fussing over contacts? From outside, it might appear as if we're simply obsessed with rocks- and to an extent, there some truth to that. But it's not just the rocks themselves, it's what they tell us. First, and […]
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4:15 PM | Mars Orbiter Mission delivers on promise of global views of Mars
Ever since I first learned about the capabilities of Mars Orbiter Mission's small payload of science instruments, I have been anticipating one type of data in particular: global color views of Mars captured in a single 2000-pixel-square frame. Just days after entering orbit, Mars Orbiter Mission has delivered on that promise.
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3:45 PM | Hiker Captures Japanese Volcano Eruption: Photos
See images shot by a hiker trapped on the top of Mount Ontake, the Japanese volcano that erupted on Sept. 27.
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3:00 PM | At the Corner of Mudd Hall, the Secret of Blue Quartz
How did those big crystals of blue quartz get locked into the pink granite of Mudd Hall? How come they’re blue? In Part 3 of the Columbia Geology Tour, David Walker of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory explores the mysteries of granite formed deep in the earth more than 600 million years ago.
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2:28 PM | As expedition ends, scientists crack like deep-sea rocks
Amy West is the science writer and outreach and education officer for the JOIDES Resolution, a drill ship operated by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) that is on a two-month expedition studying the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc in the region where the Pacific Plate is descending under the Philippine Plate to form the Mariana Trench and the deepest point in the ocean–the Challenger Deep.
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1:57 PM | Charnockite at Swift Run Gap
Over the weekend, I ran a 1-credit field course for NOVA, on the geology of Shenandoah National Park. I was about eight minutes early getting to the meet-up location, so that allowed me to check out a promising new outcrop of rock along the road (route 33, ~100 m west of Swift Run Gap). Here are two photos of it: charnockite (pyroxene-bearing granitoid or meta-granitoid), with weak foliation: This is …
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12:39 PM | Thought Sandy Was Bad? Revisit This 1821 Hurricane
For all the talk of 2012's Hurricane Sandy being a superstorm, a new report warns that a future repeat of the hurricane that struck New York City in 1821 would be far more devastating. Continue reading →
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10:59 AM | Imaggeo on Mondays: Marble outcrops
This week’s Imaggeo on Mondays image was taken by Prof. Konstantinos Kourtidis, in Alykes, along the southern coast of Thassos island, where he photographed the beautifully white marbles that outcrop along the coastline. The Greek Island of Thassos is located in northeastern Greece, close to the coast of Thrace in the Aegean Sea, although geographically […]
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10:43 AM | The Sublime Waitomo ‘Glowworm Grotto’
Note: This post features a few photos with unknown authors.  If you are aware of who took these photographs, please let me know in the Comments section below so I […]
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7:20 AM | STEM’s Harassment Problem Goes Well Beyond Field Work
D.N. Lee has a post up at her Scientific American blog that needs to be read right now. Here’s a pull quote, but read the entire thing. Now. No excuses. I know the SAFE research focused on... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:40 AM | Carbon News 29/9/14: Key challenged over climate impacts on Pacific islands
Memo John Key: look Pacific Island leaders in the eye The Government is being challenged to invite the leaders of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati to come and tell Parliament what they think of New Zealand’s climate change policies. Support to help Small Island Developing States move to renewable energy is one of five […]
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6:28 AM | The Thin Line Between A Nobel Prize and a Straight-Jacket
I’ve written frequently here about conspiracy theories, and it’s something that has long fascinated me (and many meteorologists as well, thanks to the chemtrail folks). I spotted a great piece on the subject today by Katy Waldman in Slate. I must say, that having conversed with these folks in person, and via email for 3 decades, it made a lot of sense to me. So, if you have relative or …
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6:28 AM | Early Snow in the Sierra Nevada! During a field trip, of course.
Snow-capped peaks above Hope ValleyWhat a difference a week can make! Seven days ago I was in the Owens Valley and eastern Sierra Nevada, and though we got a bit of inclement weather, it was a warm storm, and we were barely inconvenienced. The pictures (here and here) show little in the way of new snow or ice. But then there was this last weekend. I was leading a short tour of Lake Tahoe for conferees at the SciX conference in Reno, Nevada, and from the moment we arrived at the lake on Friday […]
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