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AGU Announces Endorsement of the March for Science

From The Prow | 23 February, 2017
-- By Eric Davidson, President, AGU, and Robin Bell, President-Elect, AGU A few short weeks ago, a group of scientists on Reddit and Twitter were looking for a way to speak publicly in support of science, research, and evidence-based policy in light of recent communications and actions taken by the new administration and Congress. These [...]
Categories: leadership;

Repost: Here's to You, Geological Heroes

Looking for Detachment | 23 February, 2017
My DSL lines and WiFi, provided by Frontier (or not provided, as the case may be), are currently quite lousy with 50%-plus packet loss. For some reason, Google pages and products, including this blog, work at least slowly and sporadically, as does the NWS weather site. So I can find out how many calories I'm eating (or drinking) while checking out the latest atmospheric river that has most likely been one of the culprits in decimating my internet connection. I can also do a little research by asking Google questions and submitting search terms. If the answers show up in the blurb accompanying the resulting list of search results, then I'm good; if not, I'm stuck with a list of websites that won't open. Consequently, I can't quite finish the current post I'm working on: It needs a little more research. So I'm reposting a post from 2010: a submittal to the now defunct Accretionary Wedge blog carnival. Here it is.
Categories: exploration; geologists; old times; people; repost; road songs; tribute; video; women;

The Milding of February: All-Time Winter Warmth in Midwest

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog | 23 February, 2017
Residents of Wisconsin have never experienced a winter day like the one that enveloped the state in a springlike balm on Wednesday. An uncommon lack of late-February snow cover across Illinois and southern Wisconsin allowed very mild air streaming no...
Categories: None

THEMIS: Noachis Terra dunes and gullies

Red Planet Report | 23 February, 2017
THEMIS Image of the Day, February 23, 2017. This VIS image shows part of an unnamed crater in Noachis Terra. Large gullies dissect the crater rim and dunes are located on the crater floor. (If gullies look like ridges, remember ... Continue reading ‚...
Categories: Reports; Arizona State University; ASU; dunes; gullies; Mars Odyssey; NASA; Noachis Terra; THEMIS; Themis Image of the Day; Thermal Emission Imaging System;

Noripterus returns ‚Äď sorting out some pterosaur taxonomy

Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings | 23 February, 2017
New reconstruction of Noripterus by Rebecca Gelerenter. This is a composite based on all the material we have from various specimens (known material is in white).
Categories: Pterosaurs; fossils; taxonomy;

Liveblogging the Deluge: Checking out the Spillway at Don Pedro Reservoir

Geotripper | 23 February, 2017
It's probably not too hard to figure out what happened. I get home from a five day trip only to find that the spillway at Don Pedro Dam has been opened for the first time since the floods of 1997. It's a big event in these parts, an acknowledgement that the reservoir was full and in danger of spilling over in an uncontrollable manner. So I had to go and have a look. Mrs. Geotripper and I had a few hours this afternoon and headed on up the river. We had no idea what to expect, or whether we would be allowed anywhere near the spillway.
Categories: 2017 floods; Don Pedro Reservoir; Don Pedro Spillway; Liveblogging the Deluge; Tuolumne River;

From Reno, a data point illustrating how epically wet the winter of 2016-17 has been in the West

Inkstain (John Fleck) | 23 February, 2017
In Reno, a record year seven-plus months early
Categories: climate variability; water;

Astarte Clam Fossil

Louisville Fossils and Beyond | 23 February, 2017
The Astarte (Coelastarte) excavata (J. Sowerby) pelecypod fossil from the Middle Jurassic Period (174-164 million years ago). Found in Inferior Oolite, Dundry Somerset England. On display at the British Natural History Museum London as of August ...
Categories: British Natural History Museum; clam; england; jurassic; pelecypod;

not atwitter

Accidental Remediation | 23 February, 2017
People have been announcing the death of the blog and the great migration to twitter for a while now. A good example is here at Dynamic Ecology.
Categories: on blogging;

MARCI weather report, February 13-19, 2017

Red Planet Report | 22 February, 2017
Mars continued to display local-scale storm activity for the past week. Repeated dust storms were observed over Amazonis and near the Phlegra Montes. The northern part of the Acidalia storm-track also experienced short-lived dust storms near Tempe an...
Categories: Reports; atmosphere; clouds; dust; haze; Malin Space Science Systems; MARCI; Mars Color Imager; Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; MRO; MSSS; NASA; storms; weather; wind;

HiRISE: Layered mantling deposits in the northern mid-latitudes

Red Planet Report | 22 February, 2017
Ice-rich mantling deposits accumulate from the atmosphere in the Martian mid-latitudes in cycles during periods of high obliquity (axial tilt), as recently as several million years ago. These deposits accumulate over cycles in layers, and here in the...
Categories: Reports; Beautiful Mars; High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment; HiRISE; ice-rich mantling; Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; MRO; NASA; University of Arizona;

How do weirwood trees work? The answer may lie beneath

The Contemplative Mammoth | 22 February, 2017
Vermont wetland ecologist Charlie Hohn (@SlowWaterMvmt) had some intriguing thoughts about weirwood trees after reading my post about the impacts of the Wall on biodiversity (published last summer as part of a "science of Game of Thrones" blog carnival. He drafted this post in response. You can read more of his work at Slow Water Movement.
Categories: Guest Posts; ecology; pop culture; trees;

Curiosity update: Re-attempt the drive

Red Planet Report | 22 February, 2017
Sol 1617, February 22, 2017, update by USGS scientist Ken Herkenhoff: The drive planned for Sol 1616 halted early, apparently because the right rear wheel got stuck between two rocks.  The mobility team concluded that it is safe to continue, ... Con...
Categories: Reports; Aeolis Mons; Curiosity; Gale Crater; Hobbstown; Mars Science Laboratory; Mount Sharp; MSL; Murray Formation; NASA; New Sweden; Stimson Formation;

Urban planning after humanitarian crises: Supporting local actors to take the lead

Resilient Urbanism | 22 February, 2017
How can humanitarian actors support local government to lead recovery and reconstruction planning after urban crises?  My current research project (with Elizabeth Parker, David Garcia and Rahayu Joseph-Paulus) investigates case studies in Indonesia and the Philippines to find out.
Categories: English; Haiyan; Indonesia; Philippines; planning; reconstruction; recovery; urban; Yolanda;

Wonderful potentially habitable worlds around TRAPPIST-1

Planetary Society Weblog | 22 February, 2017
Scientists have found seven, Earth-size planets orbiting a star just 40 light years away. Three lie in the habitable zone and could have water on their surfaces....
Categories: None

THEMIS: Pages from the south polar climate history book

Red Planet Report | 22 February, 2017
THEMIS Image of the Day, February 22, 2017. Today's VIS image shows part of the south polar cap. It is now summer in the region and the surface frosts are gone. The layers of ice comprising the cap are now ... Continue reading ‚Ü'...
Categories: Reports; Arizona State University; ASU; climate change; climate cycles; Mars Odyssey; NASA; south polar ice cap; south polar layered deposits; south polar residual cap; THEMIS; Themis Image of the Day; Thermal Emission Imaging System;

Coastal Subsidence: Harbinger of Future Flooding?

Speaking of Geoscience | 22 February, 2017
by Timothy H. Dixon and Makan A. Karegar, School of Geosciences, University of South Florida, Tampa
Categories: Public Policy; Science Communication;

How Do We Get the Private Sector to ‚ÄúWalk the Walk‚ÄĚ on the SDG for Cities?

The Nature of Cities | 22 February, 2017
If you have been following the global, regional, and local-level conversations about the Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs) and their implementation--for example, UN's Habitat III meeting, held in Quito, Ecuador--you have probably heard of or participated in providing clarity on the role of the private sector in achieving SDG 11, which calls on us to ... Continue reading How Do We Get the Private Sector to "Walk the Walk" on the SDG for Cities? ‚Ü'
Categories: Essay; People & Communities; Science & Tools; Africa; Business; Education/Knowledge/Learning; Governance; Housing; Justice; Policy; Resilience; Sustainability;

One Of The Largest Icebergs On Record In The Making

Geopostings | 22 February, 2017
A very large crack is forming in the Larsen C Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. The crack is up to 1,500 feet wide and will most likely generate one of the largest icebergs on record. Only 6.4 miles of ice are keeping the ice sheet from calving off an iceberg that is basically the size of Delaware. Researchers who have been studying the ice melt (Project MIDAS) estimate that although the exact timing of the calving event in unclear, it could occur easily within the next few months. In fact, scientists noted that the crack spread another approximately six miles during the second half of December 2016. From January 1st to January 19th, the crack expanded again, and now only 6.4 miles of unbroken ice remains. Once the calving event occurs, scientists are concerned that it will destabilize the Larsen C ice sheet to the point of its disintegration.
Categories: Anarctica; glacial geology; global warming; Larsen C ice shelf; sea level rise; Project MIDAS;

Scott Pruitt and the EPA: One of these statements is not like the other

Deep Sea News | 22 February, 2017
Photo courtesy of Lorie Shaul The EPA: The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment. Scott Pruitt's first address to the EPA employees (paraphrased): Let's all be civil and compromise. I learned about it in a book about the ...
Categories: Climate Change; Conservation & Environment; Environmental Sciences; Industry & Government; Mining; EPA; Oklahoma Attorney general; scott pruitt;

Return to Evolving Planet

A line of people snakes through the north entryway, populated mostly by locals taking advantage of a promotion offering free entry for state residents. From the middle of a group of twentysomethings, I hear a man's voice express mild disappointment as he peers past the ticket counters at the famous tyrant dinosaur beyond.
Categories: field museum; paleoart;

The Magic of Reality, by Richard Dawkins

Mountain Beltway | 22 February, 2017
I just finished Richard Dawkins' book for younger readers and/or a general audience, The Magic of Reality. It's a general-interest science education book, written in Dawkins-speak - very conversational and emphatic about key points. It consists of a series of chapters about different topics, with each chapter guided by a big question, like "What is a rainbow?" or "What are things made of?" or "Who was the first person?" Dawkins opens the chapter with the recounting of myths from various cultures that attempt to answer those questions. These are delightful in the context of comparative anthropology, and I was delighted to see that the myths of the Hebrew tribes of the Middle East are mixed in with the stories of the Dogon of West Africa, Australian Aborigines, Scandinavian Vikings, and the Ainu of Japan. No special priority is given to any particular strain of non-scientific thinking. But don't take that to mean that Dawkins is delivering his often scalding critique of religion in this book as he did in The God Delusion. This is toned down significantly from the approach he's employed elsewhere. Anyhow, once the myths have been enjoyably recounted and no insight has been gained, Dawkins re-asks the question -- "But what is a rainbow really?" and "Who was the first person really?" and then attempts to answer it as best he can. Some of these explanations are more compelling than others, based on what I assume is Dawkins' familiarity with the source science. He's spent a lot of time thinking about evolution, and as a result the answer to the "first person" question is elegant and excellent. He puts forth a terrific thought experiment wherein readers are asked to imagine building up a pile of portraits: your own on the bottom, with your father's on top, and his father's on top of that. One parent at a time, going back 185 million generations. Guess where you end up? ...At a fish! Dawkins makes the point that each of these photos shows an organism that is the same species as the one before it and the one after it - no child is a different species than his or her father, no parent is a different species than his/her child. And yet, in a sequence like this, a thick enough stack of portraits in between two individuals would indeed render them different species. Evolution is (for the most part) a gradual process, and this thought experiment is an elegant way of demonstrating that concept. The book isn't quite as strong when it comes to discussing the spectrum of light and earthquakes and atoms, but that's like saying that Dickens isn't Shakespeare: It's still quite good, even if in some cases I had a quibble with the level of simplification chosen. Overall, The Magic of Reality would be an ideal book to give to an early teenager with a general interest in science.
Categories: books; evolution;

The 170 km/h Sanxicun landslide in Sichuan Province, China

The Landslide Blog | 22 February, 2017
On 10th July 2013 the catastrophic Sanxicun landslide, located at 30.917, 103.565, occurred during heavy rainfall in the Dujiangyan area of Suchuan Province in China.  This was a large landslide - the estimated volume is 1.9 million cubic metres - and parts of the landslide travelled as a highly mobile flow for about 1000 metres.  The landslide struck 11 buildings in a tourist resort, killing 166 people.  I described this landslide on this blog at the time, but it is interesting that there was considerable uncertainty at the time as to the number of victims.  The image below was posted by Xinhua the day after the disaster:
Categories: landslide report; Review of a paper; china; East Asia; featured; research; review of a paper;

Sol 1617: Re-attempt the drive

The Martian Chronicles | 22 February, 2017
The drive planned for Sol 1616 halted early, apparently because the right rear wheel got stuck between two rocks. The mobility team concluded that it is safe to continue, so the drive planned for Sol 1617 is essentially the same as the previously-pl...
Categories: Curiosity; Field Work; Fun Stuff;

Annular Eclipse to be visible from Africa, Antarctica and South America.

Sciency Thoughts | 22 February, 2017
An annular eclipse of the Sun (eclipse in which the Moon passes in front of the Sun, but does not completely block it, leaving visible ring of light) will be visible from parts of Angola, Argentina and Chile on Sunday 26 February 2017, with a partial eclipse visible from much of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, Antarctica, the southern half of South America and the islands of the South Atlantic.
Categories: Annular Eclipse; Earth; Orbital Mechanics; Solar Eclipse; Solar System; Sun; The Moon;

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