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26 November 2014

SoundCloud as an audio creation & dissemination tool

We focus so much on the reading and writing skills of our students, but what about their listening skills? The online platform SoundCloud allows for audio content creation, dissemination, and the listening of audio files from science organizations.

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El Nino Modoki Style

I just finished a rather detailed piece for my station’s website about El Nino and long range forecasting. If you really want to understand what an El Nino is, and how it can help make a long range forecast, then it’s worth a read. Click the image below to read it. I warn you that it is long form, and there are 4 videos embedded that you really should watch. …

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24 November 2014

The Governor of New York Owes an Apology to a Bunch of Meteorologists

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, really stepped in it on Saturday. He’s now getting a firestorm of criticism, and he deserves every bit of it, but I want you to understand why before I go into what he said. There is an old rule among weather forecasters, and it goes like this- “Never forecast a record, you will probably be wrong!”. Now I, and many others, have broken …

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Primitive camping and serpentinite

There are field trips that make me very glad I drive a car with a reasonable amount of clearance, and my camping overnighter to the Los Padres National Forest south of Big Sur was no exception. Driving the Coast Ridge Road wasn’t the most harrowing trip I’ve ever made, but it certainly merited the description of ‘gnarly’ that one of my camping buddies applied.

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23 November 2014

Funny, Scary, Fascinating, and Geeky. What You Missed in Science This Week.

I am going to start doing a weekend post here with links and images from the world of geek that caught my eye this week. First up is Will Marshall and the TED talk below. Data is the fuel that science runs on, and he has figured out a way to harvest a LOT of it.   Guess what body of water is the 4th fastest warming on Earth? This …

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21 November 2014

Duck Season Now Open. What’s in Congress’ Sights?

The 113th Congress returned to session last week after the mid-term elections. Democrats are seeking to compromise while they still have leadership of the Senate, and Republicans want to tie up loose ends to make room for more ambitious legislation in the 114th Congress when they take control of both chambers. The hope is that the lame duck Congress will be productive in passing fiscal year 2015 (FY15) appropriations, confirming nominees for administrative posts, and selecting party leadership positions for congressional committees.

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2014 On Way to Hottest Year on Record

My friends at Climate Central produced an excellent video that you should see and share.

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20 November 2014

And This Weeks Most Scientifically Illiterate Post on Twitter Goes To…

The Heartland Institute long ago proved that they are not among the scientifically literate, but today they posted a real “LMAO fall in the floor laughing” tweet on their twitter account. Let’s talk about just how preposterous this is, and how it shows an absolute total lack of the ability to reason. So, here are 10 reasons why my little dog Riley has greater critical thinking skills than anyone who …

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19 November 2014

Kolmanskop in Pictures

Last month I spent some time in Namibia for work. During one of my days off, I was able to spend some time visiting Kolmanskop. Located in the Namib Desert a few miles outside of the seaside town of Lüderitz, Kolmanskop is a “Ghost Town” that is the remains of a former diamond mining town. Kolmanskop was founded shortly after diamonds were discovered in the region in 1908 and was abandoned …

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Fountain of youth underlies Antarctic mountains

Time ravages mountains, as it does people. Sharp features soften, and bodies grow shorter and rounder. But under the right conditions, some mountains refuse to age. In a new study, scientists explain why the ice-covered Gamburtsev Mountains in the middle of Antarctica looks as young as they do.

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Teaching Professional Skills… what exactly is a “Doctor of Philosophy”?

True story… student walks in to a faculty member’s office, sees the diploma hanging above her desks and comments, “Wow! For someone that has a degree in philosophy, you certainly know oceanography really well!” What can we learn from this and teach students when they see our diplomas that state we have a “Doctor of Philosophy”?

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18 November 2014

Rabenstein, South Tyrol: a great new landslide video (and a quick update on the Mannen landslide)

On Sunday a 20,000 cubic metre landslide occurred at Rabenstein in South Tyrol, Italy. It was captured on a dramatic video.

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Seeing with Your Own Eyes- What You Can’t See with Your Own Eyes

This is a pretty amazing video from NASA Goddard. Worth a watch!

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17 November 2014

Markagunt: A truly gigantic gravity landslide (2000 cubic kilometres!)

A new paper in Geology describes for the first time the Markagunt gravity slide – a c.2000 square kilometre landslide deposit in Utah, USA that occurred about 22 million years ago.

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14 November 2014

Indian Summer For The End of November?

There are growing sign,s that after one more blast of even colder air next week, we will see some much warmer air over the Central and Eastern U.S. as we head into Thanksgiving. Indian summer may be on the way! The forecast below is based on an average of many long-range model runs of the Climate Forecast System. Research shows that an average of model runs provides a more accurate …

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13 November 2014

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 journal of the American Geophysical Union. Its authors used satellite images to show that a widely used proxy for population—the number of lights seen at night—increased globally along rivers by an average of 1.2 percent each year between 1992 and 2012.

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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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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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12 November 2014

Backtrack to… Who is our big name in geology, and where’s our show?

Science personalities and television series are popular with the general public in generating excitement and interest in physics, chemistry, biology, space science… but where are the geologists? And where’s our TV show?

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Mannen landslide: latest status report

The creep rate of the Mannen landslide in Norway has now declined to 2 mm per day. The risk level has been reduced from red to yellow, but the landslide still requires monitoring

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