Posts filed under ‘Science’
Here’s a really neat interactive showing real-time wind patterns around the Earth. Click on the globe to turn and then click on the background to activate. Interesting. And fun.
Wow, wind’s really blowing in the Antarctic today:
Again, here it is.
It takes a while to load but man-oh-man the live view from the International Space Station (link below) is breathtaking…the clouds, the never-setting sun and city lights.
At times I curse our new technologies and at times I love them. In this case, I love them.
Our tax dollars at work. Check it out here.
From a few minutes ago, moving east off the U.S. coast over the Atlantic (it’s much better in person):
This is good, via Act.TV/Americans United:
The GOP may be a lot of things, but “climate scientists” is not one of them. But that won’t stop them from ignoring a 97% consensus among actual scientists, along with 7 out of 10 Americans, that climate change is man-made and needs to be dealt with.
Love this from RingOfFireRadio and Neil deGrasse Tyson:
Oh, ah, wait. Maybe not.
Despite what Republicans and their corporate masters are screaming about with regard to Obama’s proposed cuts to power plant emissions, history shows that environmental regulations do not — repeat — do not slow and/or destroy economies. They might force corporations to spend money to retrofit plants (the real reason for all the screaming) but implementing them doesn’t mark the end of life as we know it. To those of us who’ve been around for a while, that meme is as old as dirt.
From Peter Gleick:
BTW, a huge majority of Americans support regulations like the ones proposed.
Summer officially begins on June 21st. I’m wondering what we’re facing if this is where we are now:
I just set up a new category, Global Warming is Here, because I’m reading about lots of “little” things that are happening right now that add up to already-big, imho, ramifications. I.e., the cascading decline of the Earth’s systems has begun in earnest.
Take this for example (so, so sad — way to go humans!):
The new poster child for climate change had his coming-out party in June 2012, when Petey the puffin chick first went live into thousands of homes and schools all over the world. The “Puffin Cam“ capturing baby Petey’s every chirp had been set up on Maine’s Seal Island by Stephen Kress, “The Puffin Man,” who founded the Audubon Society’s Project Puffin in 1973.
Puffin parents dote on their single chick, sheltering it in a two-foot burrow beneath rocky ledges and bringing it piles of small fish each day. Researchers would get to watch live puffin feeding behavior for the first time, and schoolkids around the world would be falling for Petey.
But Kress soon noticed that something was wrong. Puffins dine primarily on hake and herring, two teardrop-shaped fish that have always been abundant in the Gulf of Maine. But Petey’s parents brought him mostly butterfish, which are shaped more like saucers. Kress watched Petey repeatedly pick up butterfish and try to swallow them. The video is absurd and tragic, because the butterfish is wider than the little gray fluff ball, who keeps tossing his head back, trying to choke down the fish, only to drop it, shaking with the effort. Petey tries again and again, but he never manages it. For weeks, his parents kept bringing him butterfish, and he kept struggling. Eventually, he began moving less and less. On July 20, Petey expired in front of a live audience.
Kress assumed [Petey's parents] were just unlucky. Then he checked the other 64 burrows he was tracking: Only 31 percent had successfully fledged. He saw dead chicks and piles of rotting butterfish everywhere. “That,” he says, “was the epiphany.”
Herring and hake had dramatically declined in the waters surrounding Seal Island, and by August, Kress had a pretty good idea why: The water was much too hot.
Here’s the video of poor Petey trying to swallow a butterfish. It is 1.08 minutes long and is condensed from video of Petey’s attempt to swallow the fish over the course of — get this — three hours.
<iframe width=”430″ height=”242″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/_tdO72TFXz0?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
Check out what corporate-owned Republicans in North Carolina are doing. The chemicals used by the fracking industry must be terrifying if they’re going to this length to keep them secret:
As hydraulic fracturing ramps up around the country, so do concerns about its health impacts. These concerns have led 20 states to require the disclosure of industrial chemicals used in the fracking process.
North Carolina isn’t on that list of states yet—and it may be hurtling in the opposite direction.
On Thursday, three Republican state senators introduced a bill that would slap a felony charge on individuals who disclosed confidential information about fracking chemicals. The bill, whose sponsors include a member of Republican party leadership, establishes procedures for fire chiefs and health care providers to obtain chemical information during emergencies. But as the trade publication Energywire noted Friday, individuals who leak information outside of emergency settings could be penalized with fines and several months in prison.
“The felony provision is far stricter than most states’ provisions in terms of the penalty for violating trade secrets,” says Hannah Wiseman, a Florida State University assistant law professor who studies fracking regulations.
The bill also allows companies that own the chemical information to require emergency responders to sign a confidentiality agreement. And it’s not clear what the penalty would be for a health care worker or fire chief who spoke about their experiences with chemical accidents to colleagues.
Amazing. The citizens of North Carolina pay these guys’ salary but these state senators are blatantly and flagrantly working against the wellbeing of the very people who voted them into office and again, who pay them to ah, work for them not against them. Thomas Jefferson must be twirling in his grave.
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, May 12 (UPI) –One of the world’s most proficient deep-diving submarines, the remote controlled Nereus, imploded over the weekend while exploring the Kermadec Trench, northeast of New Zealand’s North Island.
Nereus was a stalwart of deep sea exploration, and a prized tool of U.S. science.
“Nereus helped us explore places we’ve never seen before and ask questions we never thought to ask,” Timothy Shank, a scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), told BBC News. WHOI managed Nereus’s research and diving activities.
Nereus lost contact with controllers while cruising at a depth of 6.2 miles beneath the ocean’s surface. Debris from the sub, later found floating in the area, led scientists to believe Nereus suffered an implosion.
At the time of its demise, Nereus was exploring the second-deepest ocean trench on earth. The underwater pressure was a crushing 16,000 pounds per square inch, or psi.
There was financial loss, however — $8 million. Launched in 2008, Nereus was constructed with funding from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as several non-profit organizations.
My Tweet of the Day is from Michael Moyer, the Editor of Scientific American:
GREENBELT, Md., April 29 (UPI) — A video released today by NASA, captured by the agency’s weather satellites, shows yesterday’s deadly tornado-spawning storm from space.
The 31-second computer-animated video was created by weather scientists working on the GOES Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite or GOES-East; the project is collaborative effort between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
The last sentence here is the killer:
You probably wouldn’t knowingly eat a substance known to induce death in human cells. But that’s what millions of people are doing every day, even when they’re enjoying foods with “natural” on the label.
Norwegian scientists just published a new study that will appear in the June issue of Food Technology showing high levels of glyphosate—the active weed-killing chemical in Roundup—are turning up in genetically engineered (GE) soy. That herbicide-laced soy winds up in thousands of nonorganic packaged foods and in animal feed for livestock like pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys.
Why is this happening? Genetically engineered crops are manipulated in a way that could never occur in nature so plants like corn, soy, canola, cotton, and sugar beets can withstand high doses of glyphosate-containing herbicides that would normally kill them. The result? Roundup in food that people and farm animals eat.
As more and more weeds become resistant to glyphosate and GE technology fails, farmers spray heavier glyphosate applications—and more often. Glypshoate is systemic, meaning it’s take up inside of the plant. As nonorganic farmers crank up glyphosate use, the Environmental Protection Agency has been slowly increasing allowable levels of glyphosate in food.
So, Monsanto’s Roundup is doing a number on the planet and, here in the U.S. at least, the so-called Environmental (cough) “Protection” (cough) Agency is enabling them.
The corporations really do run the place.
What a country.
I’m thinking about rebirth and renewal and about the possibility that today represents the hope that we humans will find a way to be kinder to each other and much, much more respectful of the plants and animals who (try to) coexist with us on this little sphere we live on.
The world is at growing risk of “abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes” because of a warming climate, America’s premier scientific society warned on Tuesday.
In a rare intervention into a policy debate, the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AASA] urged Americans to act swiftly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and lower the risks of leaving a climate catastrophe for future generations.
“As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” the AAAS said in a new report, What we know.
“But we consider it our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risks and costs of taking action.”
The United Nations’ climate science panel, the IPCC, will gather in Yokohama, Japan next week to release the second in a series of blockbuster reports, this time outlining how a changing climate is affecting rainfall and heat waves, sea level and the oceans, fisheries and food security.
But the AAAS scientists said they were releasing their own assessment ahead of time because they were concerned that Americans still failed to appreciate the gravity of climate change.
Here’s a website the AASA scientists set up — What We Know — to highlight the facts, answer questions and to generally talk about climate change.
(I predict a renewed campaign by wingnuts (on behalf of the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, et al.) about scientists being wackos.)
This is something I could spend hours thinking about:
I just got this tweet from “AtmosNews” on Twitter. “AtmosNews” is the combined Twitter feed of the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), both located here in Boulder, Colorado.
If they’re tweeting out warnings — with warnings — from the National Weather Service/Atlanta that are this dire, the storm hitting the southeast as we speak is going to be very bad:
Be careful everyone!
The NCAR building was designed by I.M. Pei, an internationally renowned architect. It is very, very cool. As a matter of fact, I can see it from my desk where I’m typing. It’s the reddish building nestled at the base of the mountains just to the left of the peak of the white roof (my neighbors across the street) below:
Sheesh. You can hardly see it.
Here are some much better shots:
NCAR and UCAR were established by the National Science Foundation. They are the U.S. hub for the study of the atmosphere. If you’re ever in Boulder, I suggest a visit if you have any interest in, yes, science.
I can’t say I’ve given much deep thought to solar flares or their size, which I know varies, but I had a vague notion, of course, that they were ginormous and flared thousands of miles into space. Wrong. More like millions of miles into space. They are incomprehensiblynormous. Holy cow. Look at the little ol’ Earth down there:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an illustration like this that adds perspective to (1) the size of the Earth relative to a solar flare or (2) the size of the Sun relative to the Earth. Seriously informative and interesting. Thanks to Space.com. and NASA.
As for that debate, here’s my Tweet of the Day which is so spot on:
Watch it here:
I guarantee you won’t see this on the corporate media tonight:
Happening today at 6:33 p.m. ET:
And there’s this tidbit about We the People having the right to assemble:
Via OMG Facts: What the Andromeda Galaxy would look like in our sky if it was brighter:
Wow. So beautiful. Too bad it isn’t brighter!
Not only that, if we looked at that every night we might not be so arrogant as to think we’re so, so special and likely the only planet with life on it anywhere. The Andromeda Galaxy is thought to contain one trillion stars. Surely there’s complex life on at least one of them.
A Newly Detected Fracture Suggests That Tectonic Forces are Pulling the Continents Together Once Again.
Geologists mapping seismic activity and underwater topography off the coast of Portugal say the tectonic forces that once split and spread the ancient supercontinent Pangea across the surface of the globe appear to be shifting into reverse, setting our existing continents on an eventual collision course.
Just kidding! No, I’m not going to worry about this but I wonder what would cause the plates move back toward each other. Interesting.
They’re right. It can’t be done.
This morning I came across this:
ALEC Plans Massive Environmental Attack for 2014
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has a big year ahead of them, as they attempt to dismantle a slew of environmental protections from state to state. More specifically, the corporate front group is hoping to pass dirty energy friendly legislation to ease the rules for electric utilities.
From state to state, ALEC is drafting legislation that would cut renewable energy, increase dependence on coal and dismantle energy efficiency standards.
And then I remembered reading about this a few days ago:
[Colorado's "Democratic"] Governor Hickenlooper has chosen Glenn Vaad, a former state representative from Weld County, as the newest of the three-member Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Mr. Vaad is no friend of clean energy for Colorado—his voting record allied primarily with the fossil fuel industry at the expense of Colorado’s clean energy economy. Mr. Vaad is also a former high-ranking member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a powerful corporate lobbying group whose members include Koch Industries and others pushing state legislatures to turn back the clock on adoption of renewable energy in Colorado and elsewhere.
If a so-called Democratic governor is appointing “former high-ranking” members of ALEC to state boards — any board — we’re doomed. Seriously. It illustrates the fact that this isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats anymore — they’re all being corrupted — it’s about the corporatocracy and the monied class against the rest of us.
The Supreme Court has rejected Arizona’s bid to put in place its ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The justices on Monday declined to reconsider a lower court ruling that the law violates a woman’s constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb.
“Viability” of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks. Normal pregnancies run about 40 weeks.
It looks like the Constitution is getting in the Tea Party’s and the religious right’s way, though they claim to be its great defenders.
This is so cool:
When it comes to understanding the Earth’s geology, many researchers are just scratching the surface. Literally. With drills and picks and axes.
But in Germany, a decades-old drilling site lets scientists (and one Dutch artist) go much deeper—nearly 6 miles below the surface. And they’ve brought up a guttural voice from deep inside the Earth.
The drilling shut down due to lack of funding in the 1990s, but research has continued since then to paint a picture of this underground landscape. And in the last year, a Dutch artist named Lotte Geeven decided the emerging image needed a soundtrack, too.
Geeven worked with scientists and sound engineers to give voice to the subterranean world. She recorded sounds and took seismic readings at the borehole’s base. There doesn’t appear to be any explicit description of what the groaning and moaning sounds actually are (perhaps seismic waves adjusted to be audible to the human ear, suggests The Verge) but they are certainly worth a listen.
Go here to listen to the tape. (Scroll down)
Great idea: Name extreme storms after policy makers who deny climate change: