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27 February 2015

Oklahoma Senator Illustrates Dunning-Kruger Effect

I wrote about the Dunning Kruger effect last week and a U.S.Senator took the floor of the Senate today to illustrate why you do not want to be a victim of this disease. In case your wondering about how the winter of 2015 is shaping up in the U.S. and around the world. Read this post from last week as well.Then there is also this research being published in the …

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25 February 2015

Drilling deep

We’re in the Indian Ocean currently drilling the deepest of a six hole transect across the middle of the Bengal submarine fan. The fan covers the bottom of the Bay of Bengal with sediments eroded from the Himalayas. We’ll be devoting almost three weeks of our eight-week International Ocean Discovery Program expedition to drilling at this site. Our target: to reach 1,500 meters (about a mile) depth. Drilling this deep is a major challenge when you are drilling into the seafloor, which just so happens to be more than 3,600 meters (about two miles) below sea level.

But why so deep? And why here?

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Strategic edtech planning with the 2015 NMC Horizon Report

This 12th edition of the NMC Horizon Project identifies and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education across the disciplines

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24 February 2015

Massive amounts of Saharan dust fertilize Amazon rainforest

The Sahara Desert is a near-uninterrupted brown band of sand and scrub across the northern third of Africa. The Amazon rainforest is a dense green mass of humid jungle that covers northeast South America. But after strong winds sweep across the Sahara, a tan cloud rises in the air, stretches between the continents, and ties together the desert and the jungle. It’s dust. And lots of it.

Scientists have not only used a satellite to measure the volume of dust that makes this trans-Atlantic journey. They have also calculated how much phosphorus – remnant in Saharan sands from part of the desert’s past as a lake bed – gets carried across the ocean from one of the planet’s most desolate places to one of its most fertile.

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The Future of Weather Forecasting May Be in Your Backyard or Your Smart Phone

I did a piece about the growing number of backyard weather stations that aired on Monday, and I thought I would share it with you. I also talk about the growing number of weather apps and smart phone sensors, that I’ve mentioned here before. You can find out how to set up a home weather station and put the data online for the world to see in a post I wrote …

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23 February 2015

Fauquier Golf Course – the evolution of a landslide

The Fauquier Golf Course landslide is picked up very clearly in two Google Earth images, one of which dates back ten years, suggesting that last week’s large slumping event has been developing over a long period.

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21 February 2015

Fauquier golf course – an interesting large-scale slump

An interesting and quite large slmup has developed on the golf course of the small community of Fauquier in Britsih Columbia, Canada in recent days

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Understanding How VERY Difficult Forecasting Snowfall Is

In the warm season, if we forecasters are off by two degrees, and get the rainfall off by a tenth of an inch, not one person will notice. In a snow event, this error is often the difference between nothing, and an icy mess on area roads. This happened today in Northern Alabama, where the models missed a very light amount of precip. but that one tenth of an inch …

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19 February 2015

NPP Suomi Satellite View of The Ice and Snow

The best views of Earth from space are often from the relatively new NPP/Suomi satellite. The image below is a true-colour view of a snowy and icy Northeast U.S. If you click on the image you will get a MUCH larger version. You should be able to make an 11-14 print from it. Also, check out what Dr. Jennifer Francis has to say about the connection between the loss of …

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Northeast U.S. Shivers, as Nation Experiences 6th Warmest Winter

More cold air is coming to the Midwest and East next week as well, with long-range numerical guidance indicating temps. will stay WELL below normal for most of next week. The intense cold over the north, contrasted with the warmth in the tropics has produced a jet stream with winds approaching 180 mph around 6 kilometers above the surface (`30,000 feet). It may surprise you to learn though that for …

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Four Ways Scientists Can Give Good Answers to Bad Questions

One of the reasons I love working with scientists is that they tend to be very direct. Ask a question: get an answer. Sometimes the answer is a little long and makes me revisit basic physics I haven’t thought about since middle school, but I definitely get an answer. Thankfully, most of the questions journalists, policymakers and citizens ask scientists are straightforward. But many are off-base and sometimes even badly framed. If a scientist provides a direct answer to a bad question, they can inadvertently leave audiences with an inaccurate impression of their work.

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Paglajhora: another progressive road failure video

A video on Youtube shows a road collapse event that destroyed a truck at Paglajhora in Darjeeling. The landslide was a part of a much larger and very active slope failure that seems to have been initiated and exacerbated by poor slope management practices

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18 February 2015

Backtrack to… student feedback via video vs. red pen

Is it time to throw away your red grading pen, and to start providing feedback to your students via individual video clips? Two Australian researchers think so. But the question still remains… will students do anything with your feedback?

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Landslides from the 2015 Wilberforce earthquake in New Zealand

The GNS landslide team have produced a reconnaissance report detailing the landslides triggered by the 2015 Wilberforce earthquake in New Zealand

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17 February 2015

The Chesapeake Bay is Freezing Up!

Click the image above for a version large enough to print! It’s become another ‘winter to remember’ in the Northeastern U.S. The snow goes all the way to the beach here on Delmarva, with 6-8 inches covering the area. Some pics sent in from our viewers are below. Below is the ferry out to Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay. A snowy Ocean City beach below.

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Science communication as a “responsibility”

“I am a scientist, first and foremost, but I feel it is my responsibility to answer questions from the public when I am asked,” Diffenbaugh said during a panel on communications Feb. 12 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Jose, California.

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15 February 2015

Fox Glacier – a time lapse video of slope failures as the glacier retreats

Victoria University of Wellington has compiled a fascinating time lapse video of slope movements as the Fox Glacier in New Zealand retreats in response to climate change

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A Reliable Vaccine to Treat Dunning-Kruger Syndrome

Well, it actually an effect rather than a syndrome, but it can seem like one to others. The vaccine for it is science literacy, but make no mistake, it doesn’t work for everyone. It’s kind of like the flu shot, it protects many and lessens the severity for most others, but some people get the full-blown illness anyhow. If you’re wondering what the Dunning-Kruger effect is, just look at the …

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13 February 2015

Video in Education and Outreach

Video is an excellent tool for conveying emotion and generating excitement. It’s got beautiful moving images, ambient sound, and music (if you dare). It’s got human connection if you talk with people on camera or see them active on screen. It’s the most visceral way to capture an audience and tell a story. It’s not the best at communicating the details of a story however. Text, well written, still does a good job at that. But if your audience is prepped and excited about a topic or in my current case, a research expedition (because they watched an interesting or compelling video), they may be more inclined to sit down and read more about it.

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Movies in your geology

No, that’s not a typo – it’s the topic of a discussion I prompted on Twitter a few weeks ago and then immediately forgot to post about. Fortunately, through the wonder of Storify, I can recap it for everyone. The backstory is that I had a request from a reader for movies he could show that featured geologically interesting places, but weren’t necessarily about geology or disasters. He also requested that they be fairly popular (things that had done well at the box office and might be expected to have been seen by a wide audience) and that they be things that intro students would recognize, either because they were recent or widely re-watched.

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