Posts

August 15, 2014

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3:57 AM | Holotype worship and the Hypodigm
I thought a short essay on the treatment of holotypes would be worthwhile. In zoological sciences, many of us are involved in describing and naming new species - in order to maintain taxonomic stability, a type specimen must be designated in a new publication naming a new species. In plain english, the type specimen - also known as a holotype - is the specimen demonstrating the physical evidence for which a new species is named upon. Often when a new species is discovered, researchers will leap […]
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3:55 AM | How we use water in the desert: Hatch green chiles
On a bit of a water nerd’s lark today, I ended up knee deep in a chile field outside Salem, New Mexico, in the area technically known as the Rincon Valley but more commonly called the Hatch Valley. It’s a ribbon of green (to borrow John Van Dyke’s memorable phrase) gripping the Rio Grande as ...Continue reading ‘How we use water in the desert: Hatch green chiles’ »
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12:05 AM | Earthquake swarm in Hveravellir
Two days ago (13-August-2014) an minor earthquake swarm took place in Hvervellir (volcano). Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 2,5. All the earthquakes that happened had depth less then of 10 km. Earthquake swarm in … Continue reading →

August 14, 2014

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11:18 PM | Climate Change and Human Development
It has been clear for some years that climate change is affecting poorer populations sooner and more gravely than it is economically developed societies. There is little sign that the wealthy nations are much disturbed by this fact, and no sign that it has any braking effect on the inexorable drive to find and exploit […]
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9:04 PM | Very like a fruitcake
Alternatively, “Despair of the Dork Side part 2″. But I’d thought I’d stick with the Hamlet theme. So, no sooner does AW write not one but two barking mad posts about CO2 (see DotDS) than the what-I-had-thought-comparatively-sane Jo Nova complete the trilogy with It’s an Unsettling Climate for skeptical scientists like Murry Salby. Its all…
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7:17 PM | Studies Find Climate Change to Disrupt Antarctic and Tropical Ecosystems
A recent study finds that West Antarctica’s ecosystem is highly correlated to its climate. As a result, climate change will have a negative impact on its ecological relationships, from plankton to penguins. Antarctica isn’t alone - climate change will also affect tropical ocean ecosystems by causing mass coral bleaching.
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7:11 PM | 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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6:31 PM | Pile Driving Noise in Bellingham
The last couple of days I have been hearing the distinctive repeating clank of pile driving both from my office and home. When I initially heard the sound I thought someone might be driving a geoprobe sampler nearby, but the noise was too continuous for geo probe sampling. On my walk to work I saw the source of the sound. An old rail road bridge crossing Whatcom Creek that has been used as a trail was damaged by a fire, and is now being replaced with steel pile supports being installed […]
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6:22 PM | Writing to a database (R and SQLite)
Some time ago I wrote a post on preparing data for a database. Since then I’ve not been idle, just busy not writing for my blog! This article is a follow up and… Continue reading →
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6:00 PM | New Plant Language Discovered
Parasitic plants and their hosts may use genetic information as a language. Continue reading →
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6:00 PM | Humans Are to Blame for Rapidly Melting Glaciers
Glaciers worldwide are melting due to human factors, such as greenhouse-gas emissions and aerosols, a new study suggests.
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11:10 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #33A
Ants may boost CO2 absorption enough to slow global warming Brazil readies big push on solar energy but companies are wary  Climate change and health - joining the dots Cutting emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change Danger to Great Barrier Reef growing  In the ocean, clues to change Keystone XL could be worse for climate change than U.S. claims 'Not a mystery' why Republicans are blind facts on climate change Renewed signs of an El Nino event in 2014 Rules prevent […]
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9:44 AM | What I learned at Wikimania
As you may know, I like going to conferences outside the usual subsurface circuit. For this year's amusement, I spent part of last week at the annual Wikimania conference, which this year was in London, UK. I've been to Wikimania before, but this year the conference promised to be bigger and/or better than ever. And I was looking for an excuse to visit the motherland... What is Wikimania? Wikipedia, one of humanity's greatest achievements, has lots of moving parts: All the amazing content on […]
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9:19 AM | There’s (volcanic) dust in the archives
There’s not much that beats the thrill of discovery.. particularly when it turns up in your own backyard.  This summer, I have been on the hunt for records and reports of the 1902 eruptions of St Vincent, a lush volcanic island in the Eastern Caribbean. There are indeed many reports from this eruption, carefully documented in […]
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9:18 AM | Greenland 2014: field work update!
The Greenland ice sheet is the largest continuous body of ice in the northern hemisphere, covering an area of ~22million km^2. Despite appearing to be devoid of life, it is […]
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8:00 AM | Data From the Rescued ISEE-3 Spacecraft Have a New Internet Home
"A Spacecraft for All" is a new website by Google Creative Labs that will host citizen science data from the ISEE-3 Reboot Project.
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4:45 AM | Brewer Shows Bamboo Not Just for Pandas Anymore
Bamboo -- technically a grass not a tree -- grows fast, captures carbon and can be made into pale ale.
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4:03 AM | The merits of plasticity
Whether a species thrives or flags can have resounding consequences. When we think of our changing world, we imagine an ecosystem occupied by organisms which are interlinked. Photosynthesizers like plants and phytoplankton which harvest energy from the Sun occupy the lowest trophic level, while the herbivores that eat them are on the second trophic level, supporting higher level carnivores. When something goes wrong in one part of this pyramid / web / food chain, disconnects can […]
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3:17 AM | Bonus water likely for Lake Mead in 2015, but it’ll just keep dropping anyway
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s key August forecast, out today (pdf),projects that there will be enough water in the Colorado River system next year to release a bonus pulse of 770,000 acre feet of water from Lake Powell down to lake Mead above and beyond the legal requirements of the Colorado River Compact. But even with ...Continue reading ‘Bonus water likely for Lake Mead in 2015, but it’ll just keep dropping anyway’ »

August 13, 2014

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11:00 PM | Mars orbiters plan for their October encounter with comet Siding Spring
Now that we have reasonable confidence that our Mars orbiters will be safe from the close passage of comet Siding Spring, we are free to be excited about the opportunity that the encounter represents. At a community workshop on August 11, representatives from Mars missions shared their plans for great comet science.
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10:40 PM | Weather extremes, atmospheric rivers and Japanese fire bombs
A shot-down Japanese fire balloonreinflated by the USFile uploaded by Bkwillwm toWikipedia, public domain     In my book, "The Dynamics of Disaster" (Norton Press, 2013), I discuss the big "rivers in the sky"--our jet streams.  These atmospheric rivers were discovered in the 1920s by Wasaburo Ooishi, a Japanese meteorologist studying the dynamics of the atmosphere near Mount Fuji. To quote my book: The Japanese "were able to turn their knowledge of the jet streams to their […]
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9:49 PM | Crazy Summer Weather pattern Is About To Flip
The summer of 2014 has been unusually mild in the Midwest and portions of the East, and brutally hot and dry in the West. The heat and drought in the NW corner of North America has led to raging forest fires that have spread dense smoke over the northeast and across the Atlantic to France, and the drought in California has reached the worst possible level: exceptional drought. Mother Nature is …
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7:38 PM | Day Creek Mesa
This DEM (digital elevation model) of the Skagit River valley shows the river has been systematically eroding away an older river valley floor. In the image above dark green is lowest elevation white/gray is highest.A closer look shows the active channel migration area in the green colors shows lots of active channel movement back and forth that on occasions bumps up against the sides of the old valley floor in this area near Day Creek. The older valley floor can be seen in the brown to light […]
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4:47 PM | Afterschocks continue from Duncan earthquake
The Duncan area of eastern Arizona had another measurable aftershock early this morning, following the June 28, M5.2 event.  A M2.8 quake occurred at 3:33 am local time close to other recent aftershocks.   We expect aftershocks to continue for weeks and possibly months.   [Right, orange star marks epicenter.  Credit, USGS]
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4:37 PM | 23 Million Rides Later, No U.S. Bike-Share Deaths
In 36 city programs there have been zero bike share-related deaths since the first bikes hit the streets in 2007.
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3:20 PM | Petrified Wood Contains Oldest Fossilized Fire Scar
After serving nearly 30 years as a doorstop for a nuclear physicist, a hunk of petrified wood has finally been recognized as a one-of-a-kind find.
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3:13 PM | Possible traces on a fossil plant?
 DB Poli from Roanoke College and her students Travis Lupmkin and Sarah Petrosky have been closely examining our Carboniferous plant fossils from the Boxley quarry in Beckley, West Virginia, in order to make identifications and to look for any unusual … Continue reading →
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3:04 PM | Ocean Sediments Tell a Surprising Climate Story
Geochemists Alexander van Geen and Jacob Mey helped coauthor a recent paper in the leading journal Science showing that warming climate in the future may not degrade oxygen supplies in some parts of the oceans as previously thought. As surface waters warm, they hold less oxygen dissolved from the air; they also become less dense and thus less [...]
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2:47 PM | Sustainability Management Student Association Welcomes New President
Current M.S. in Sustainability Management student Prerna Chatterjee first became interested in sustainability when she worked as a Carbon Footprint Analyst in Germany after earning her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. Recently, Prerna was elected to be the President of the Sustainability Management Student Association where she and her fellow board members work to keep MSSM students connected to the field outside of the classroom through organizing a variety of professional and […]
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2:46 PM | Job Opportunity
This just in! If you are interested, please contact Michele Thornley ASAP. Good luck! The Department of Physics & Astronomy at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, invites applications for an immediate opening for a one-year Visiting Assistant Professor position for the 2014/2015 academic year. Candidates are expected to have at minimum an ABD in physics, astronomy, or a related field. […]
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