Posts

November 14, 2014

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2:41 PM | Explainer: The Emissions Agreement Between the U.S. and China
Will the recent agreement struck between the United States and China on greenhouse gas emissions really help matters or will it all be so much hot air? Trace examines the deal and what could come from it.
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12:43 PM | Friday fold: GSW fall field trip
Last Saturday was the Geological Society of Washington’s fall field trip. Dan Doctor, Alan Pitts, and I led a team of ~20 geologists out to the great new exposures along Corridor H in West Virginia. Here’s the team in front of some of the parasitic anticlines and synclines that decorate the larger structure of the Patterson Creek Mountain Anticline: The strata here are Silurian-aged tidal flat carbonates of the Tonoloway …
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12:00 PM | Geosciences Column: Is it possible to quantify the effect of natural emissions on climate?
The air we breathe is full of tiny particles that can have a big impact on our climate. Industrial activities have greatly increased the number of these particles, cooling the climate and potentially offsetting some of the warming due to greenhouse gases. In this post Kirsty Pringle introduces new research that suggests that it might […]
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11:57 AM | Which colour scale is best for you?
Everyone sees colours slightly differently. With a multitude of colour options available to make complex climate-related maps & line-graphs, which do you choose? Which colour scale is best for you? Below is an example for mean annual temperature in the … Continue reading →
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9:07 AM | How did the horrible Yale “Brontosaurus” skull come to be?
A while back, Ben Miller reminded me that when I posted about the old Yale “Brontosaurus” skull, I promised: So how did the YPM come to make such a monstrosity? What was it based on? Tune in next time for the surprising details! I told him at the time that I’d soon get around to writing a […]
Editor's Pick
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8:20 AM | If These Cliffs Could Talk: Tis-sa-ack and Tu-tok-a-nu-la (A Geologic Love Story)
Tis-sa-ack (Half Dome) from near Yosemite FallsA love story...Unnumbered snows have come and gone since The Great Spirit led a band of his favorite children into the mountains, and bade them rest in this beautiful Valley of Ah-wah-nee. They were weary and footsore, and were glad to rest after their long journey. Here they found food in abundance. The streams held swarms of fish, meadows were knee-deep in sweet clover, great herds of deer roamed the forests in the Valley, and on the high […]

November 13, 2014

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10:51 PM | LightSail Gets Burn Wire Redesign for Round 2 of Vibration Tests
The Planetary Society's LightSail-A spacecraft is less than three weeks away from an expected go/no-go decision on whether the CubeSat will be launched into space for a shakedown cruise next year.
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10:26 PM | Road to 2015: A Pivotal Year for Sustainable Development
The Sustainable Development Goals, to be set by the United Nations in September 2015, will outline the international development priorities for the coming decades. What will the goals look like? How can we measure progress effectively? Where will the funding to implement these goals come from? Can an international climate agreement be reached in Paris next year, and what might it look like? Columbia's Sustainability Media Lab will present "Road to 2015: A Pivotal Year for Sustainable […]
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8:26 PM | Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Positions for Spring 2015
The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development is currently accepting applications for spring 2015 teaching assistant positions.
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7:52 PM | Art Every Day – Day 13
I’ve had one of those days, wherein my schedule was slightly disrupted, so nothing has quite worked out… But I have come to a place that I will call ‘done’ for my #elegram: I could always do more, but time … Continue reading →
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7:26 PM | Philae status, a day later
The Philae team scrambled all morning to comprehend the initially confusing status of the lander, and the picture is much clearer today. Speaking of which, there are lots more pictures!
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7:19 PM | Thirsty Thursday – Penny’s Pumpkin Ale… and More!
Last weekend, I finally got to bottle my pumpkin ale. Two more weeks, and I get to drink it. It was ready to be bottled, for sure! I sanitized all the bottles. Then filled and capped (and occupied most of … Continue reading →
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7:04 PM | Cheers for ESA and Rosetta
Space exploration is a cause of optimism for me. Everything about the ESA mission (Live_updates_Rosetta_mission_comet_landing) should be a cause of celebration. Really remarkable project. If you haven't seen the images from Rosetta and Philae:  Comet 67P/Churyumov-GerasimenkoPhilae's first panoramaA sense of scale
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7:00 PM | Lightning Expected to Increase as the Planet Warms
Climate change means more lightning strikes for each degree the world warms, a new study finds.
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7:00 PM | Can US-China Deal Change the Climate?
The new U.S.-China climate deal may be good politics for Presidents Obama and Xi. But what about the atmosphere?
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5:20 PM | As alien as it gets
Humankind has touched the surface of the solar system’s most alien of objects. Image taken from NAVCAM top 10 at 10 km – 10. There are no words…
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5:14 PM | Earth’s Age and the Cosmic Calendar
During  the 19th century geologists realized that earth was quite older than previously believed, however this discovery posed an even greater question: what about the universe?  Did earth (like some fundamental creationists believed and still believe) predate the cosmos, were  earth and the cosmos created at the same time or came earth later? Early geologist [...]
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5:14 PM | Earth’s Age and the Cosmic Calendar
During  the 19th century geologists realized that earth was quite older than previously believed, however this discovery posed an even greater question: what about the universe?  Did earth (like some... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:43 PM | Satellite nightlight images show flood exposure increasing worldwide
More people around the world live in flood-prone regions than did 20 years ago, increasing death tolls and economic damage from floods and the chances that flooding will cause similar losses in the future, a new study finds. The increased concentration of human populations in flood-risk zones could exacerbate an already expected upsurge in flood-related destruction in a warming climate, the researchers report. The study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a […]
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1:30 PM | A Hanging Valley in Lamoille Canyon
Getting back to Lamoille Canyon, a place of stunning cliffs and glacier carved valleys, I'm going to take us to an up-canyon viewpoint where we can see one of many hanging valleys. MOH and I initially came to this valley by way of the last stop on our second-day, GBR field trip. The roadside pullout, compleat with descriptive sign, can be reached easily by paved road by driving about 1.5 miles past Thomas Canyon campground.The hanging valley, as seen from a pullout along NF-650,looking up (way […]
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1:30 PM | A Hanging Valley in Lamoille Canyon
Getting back to Lamoille Canyon, a place of stunning cliffs and glacier carved valleys, I'm going to take us to an up-canyon viewpoint where we can see one of many hanging valleys. MOH and I initially came to this valley by way of the last stop on our second-day, GBR field trip. The roadside pullout, compleat with descriptive sign, can be reached easily by paved road by driving about 1.5 miles past Thomas Canyon campground.The hanging valley, as seen from a pullout along NF-650,looking up (way […]
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1:08 PM | Adventures in Creationist Earth Science Education I: In Which First Impressions Are Made
Welcome to the first installment of our down-to-earth analysis of young earth creationist earth science textbooks*, in which we learn what good Christians™ are teaching the kids these days.... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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12:47 PM | Gypsum casts? You be the judge — UPDATE: Syneresis cracks!
Silurian aged mud cracks feature small lensoidal features: are they casts of ancient gypsum crystals?
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11:15 AM | (OT) Open Letter to Senator Ted Cruz from The Oatmeal
Very amusing and very rigorously constructed argument in favour of Net Neutrality: Dear Senator Ted Cruz, I’m going to explain to you how Net Neutrality ACTUALLY works – The Oatmeal. Ted Cruz is the Obamacare of put-downs via Obamacare association.    
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10:53 AM | Brief Philae "Morning After" update: First ÇIVA panorama from the surface
I'm just getting up to speed on the news from overnight, which is mostly good: Philae remained in contact with the orbiter (which means the CONSERT radar sounding experiment was working), and it's sitting stably on the surface, although it's not anchored in any way. And they released the first ÇIVA image from the ground!
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9:34 AM | China and US reach emissions deal, NZ govt warned its policies are failing
Today’s news that the US and China have agreed a long term policy to reduce carbon emissions is being hailed as a “game-changer” in international climate negotiations. China has agreed to cap its emissions in 2030 — the first time it has committed to anything more than a reduction in the carbon intensity of its […]
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6:53 AM | Some Really Good Science Journalism
I saw three pieces of REALLY good science journalism today, and (in case you missed one or all three) here they are. I usually give top marks on science journalism to the BBC, but the best reporting (BY FAR) today on the Rosetta Probe and it’s Philae Lander came from MSNBC host Rachael Maddow. Well worth a watch: Next is a piece by my friend Bob Henson (who is trying …
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6:28 AM | New study shows warm waters are melting Antarctica from below
Just this week, a new study has appeared which describes a clever method for measuring the flows of ocean currents and their impacts on ice shelves. This study has identified a major mechanism for melting ice in the Southern Hemisphere. The paper, co-authored by Andrew Thompson, Karen Heywood, and colleagues is very novel. The scientists used sea gliders to identify water flows that bring warm waters to the base of ice shelves in Antarctica. As I’ve written before, ocean currents are […]
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6:00 AM | Science Snap (#34) – Kick ‘em Jenny
Kick ’em Jenny is a submarine volcano located 8km to the north of the Caribbean island of Grenada. It lies close to the small, uninhabited volcanic islands of Ronde, Diamond, Ill Caille and Les Tantes, though no physical evidence of the volcano is evident from land. At least twelve recorded eruptions have occurred since Kick […]
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1:08 AM | rural adventures
The title to this post from earlier this week caught my eye immediately. "My job wants me to deal with shotguns, guard dogs, mud holes, and dark woods"... it's another day in the life of Short Geologist! In the case of the Ask a Manager post, it's someone who's sent out to canvass for something or other, and their management is shrugging off their safety concerns.The comments (as usual) go off in a million directions, but I wanted to address a side discussion about rural poverty, and […]
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