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20 August 2014

Before you set a hashtag for your course or have students blog, think FERPA

Are you going to require that your students post on a public blog this semester?  Will you be creating a Facebook page for your class and asking students to post on it?  Will you have students post selfies on Twitter with a course hashtag?  For those instructors that use social media with their students and courses, this could be the most important tweet you read all year:   Is your …


18 August 2014

Sunkoshi landslide: another update

An update on the valley-blocking Sunkoshi landslide in Nepal, where efforts to drain the lake continue to proceed slowly amidst growing signs of unrest about the loss of the trade route to Tibet


Camille Struck 45 Years Ago Tonight

The stagnant muggy heat of August began to break 45 years ago today on the coast of Mississippi, as clouds and winds increased. Later that evening the world turned upside down as a 30 foot wall of water whipped by winds of an incredible 190 mph changed the Mississippi Coast forever.Hurricane Camille was one of the most violent hurricanes ever to hit the mainland U.S., and it still ranks with …


15 August 2014

Continuing landslide turmoil in Nepal

Heavy rainfall is bringing continued landslide problems in Nepal and northern India, compounding the difficulties facing the Nepal Army at the Sunkoshi site


13 August 2014

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 …


Setting a technology policy for your classroom? Ask students for input

Devising a policy on technology in the classroom? Ask your students, David Gooblar writes in @chroniclevitae. — Chronicle (@chronicle) January 23, 2014 For those of us heading back to the classroom this fall, we are thinking about what to do in our classes, and how to keep our students engaged during the 50 minutes we have them three times week – and by “engaged,” I mean keeping students connected …


11 August 2014

Will Oysters Share the Same Fate as the Wicked Witch of the West?

Oceans. You don’t have to live on the East or West coasts to understand and appreciate the appeal of the oceans. From long walks on the beach to collecting seashells, images of the oceans proliferate our media, romantic literary epics, and vacation planning. However, that is all changing as our oceans increase in acidity. To put it simply, like the wicked witch of west, invertebrates like oysters, mussels, and other shelled creatures are “melting”


Snow,Cold, and Drought: The Coming Winter Might Be Brutal

I’ve spent the weekend looking at how the coming winter may turn out, and before I go any farther, let me say that long-range forecasts can turn out to be horribly wrong. Let me repeat that: long-range forecasts can turn out to be horribly wrong. That said, there are some fascinating indications that the Eastern and Southeastern U.S. may be in for a cold and wet/icy winter, while the drought in …


10 August 2014

How Weather and Climate Models Work- or Why Meteorologists Learn Calculus

Numerical weather models have come light years over the  last 30 years, and despite what you may think, they make it possible to make very accurate weather forecasts for as much as 5-7 days into the future possible. Have you ever wondered just how they work? It’s not something that you can cover in a few paragraphs, but it is not all that hard to get a basic understanding of …


8 August 2014

This Is Why Canada and The West Are Burning

NASA posted this map of the temperature anomalies over North America for July, and you can easily see why we there is so much wildfire activity in the U.S. West and Canada North. This is why dense smoke is travelling thousands of miles to the Eastern Seaboard. The heat out west has now pushed much of California into Exceptional Drought” status.


Worried about Speaking in Public? Try Toastmasters. Really.

That’s right, Toastmasters, the outfit with the retro name that seems to promise insurance salesmen who shake your hand too hard, like that guy in the movie Groundhog Day who keeps pestering Bill Murray. “It’s Ned! NED RYERSON!”

Yes, I was dubious, too.

But then la few weeks ago I actually went to a meeting…


Friday fold: Buckle vs. passive folding in the Chancellor Group slates

The Friday fold is an outcrop in Yoho National Park that showcases differences between buckle folding and passive folding.


7 August 2014

Wildfire Smoke Dims Sun Over Eastern U.S. and Canada

Dense wildfire smoke (from forest fires in Canada) has once again moved into the NE U.S. The smoke is bringing a hazy sky this evening to the Eastern Great Lakes, and across NY and into Maryland,Virginia, and Delaware. The smoke was brought southward by the cool front that passed through last night. A closer view of the smoke is below: Click the images above for a much larger version. The …


Dysfunction Junction (Part 2)

Several weeks ago I wrote a piece on the background of the U.S. congressional appropriations process, outlining the procedure through which the Federal government is funded. Progress to Date: The Senate has begun work on several appropriations bills, but as of today none have been passed by the full Senate. The Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill which funds NASA, NIST, NOAA, NSF, and the White House’s Office of Science and Technology was passed by the full Appropriations committee in June with broad bipartisan support, and appeared destined for the president’s desk.


[Bhote Kosi] Sunkoshi (corrected) landslide in Nepal – an update

The Bhote Kosi landslide crisis continues, with little reduction in the level of the lake despite the best efforts of the Nepal Army


6 August 2014

Guest post: Glaciolacustrine deltas in the Canadian Rockies

One of Callan’s “Canadian Rockies” field course students supplies a guest post about deltas that build out into glacial lakes.


Graphic syllabus and outcomes map – new additions to your fall syllabus?

Graphic syllabus = a one-page diagram, flowchart, or concept map of the topical organization of a course. Outcomes map = a one-page flowchart of the sequence of student learning objectives and outcomes from the foundational through the mediating to the ultimate. –  Nilson (2007) Each semester, and for every course we teach, we are required to create a course syllabus.  Each of our institutions have some variations as to what …


Yunnan earthquake: images of the valley blocking landslides

The government mapping agency in China has released satellite images of landslides triggered by the Yunnan earthquake earlier this week


5 August 2014

Sea-level spikes can harm beaches worse than hurricane

Unforeseen, short-term increases in sea level caused by strong winds, pressure changes and fluctuating ocean currents can cause more damage to beaches on the East Coast over the course of a year than a powerful hurricane making landfall, according to a new study. The new research suggests that these sea-level anomalies could be more of a threat to coastal homes and businesses than previously thought, and could become higher and more frequent as a result of climate change.


How Nuclear Waste Disposal Can Help Us Understand Debate Over Fracking

Remember when shale gas was the answer to our energy woes? It was touted as a cheap and plentiful energy source that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Industry experts promised jobs, depressed local economies looked to get boosts; with so much good to be had, extracting natural gas from shale looked to be a no-brainer.