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You are browsing the archive for 2009 October.

31 October 2009

The Greatest Halloween Trick Ever Played

On October 30th 1938 Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the air convinced several million Americans that we were being invaded by creatures from Mars. He was told by the bosses at CBS, dealing with the panic he caused, to tell the audience at the end of the program that it was only a joke. His off the cuff “apology” is a classic. It still has valuable advice 71 …

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Post Calls Out Senator Laughing Stock

When I wrote a post last month called What do Climate Scientists think of Senator Laughing Stock, I hesitated at pressing the publish key. I try to keep these posts about science and stay away from politics. What CO2 is doing to our climate is a purely scientific question. How we act to fix the problem is a political question. I stay away from political questions! James Inhofe, the senior …

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29 October 2009

Why The Vanishing Polar Ice Cap Will Impact You

The folks at the National Snow and Ice Data Center have released some new data on the polar ice as we head into late autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. The ice pack is retreating at a rate of about 11.2% per decade, and Dr. Mark Serezze, the director of the NSIDC says that we are just a few decades away from a mostly ice free August in the Arctic Ocean. …

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His Star Picture is Better Than Your Star picture!

Axel Mellinger is a professor and physicist at Central Michigan University, but at night he is an amateur astronomer. He has compiled an incredible photo of our Milky Way Galaxy and the ENTIRE night sky using over 3000 high resolution photographs. The picture above is a VERY LOW resolution image of his big picture. The new image is the highest resolution It took him almost two years and travel from …

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28 October 2009

Three Must See Science Documentaries

There are three documentaries that I think are gold standard and that everyone should see. They are all so good that, even if you are not interested at the outset, you will be drawn into them. I am sure others will have their favourites, and some may not agree with my choices, but here they are and the reasons why. If you have read many of my posts, you can …

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26 October 2009

Cirrocumulus Under What?

As I came into the station car park on Monday, I noticed a beautiful deck of Cirrocumulus Undulatas clouds high over the Huntspatch. The ripples in the cloud are formed the same way that ripples form in a pond when you throw a rock in. Waves in the atmosphere can be caused by air flowing over mountains, or from strong convection. Actually there are quite a few processes, but anything …

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24 October 2009

You Made an Okie Smile!

Being from Oklahoma, it is especially gratifying to find out this Saturday night that I’ve been given the Woody Guthrie Award for a Thinking Blogger. The award was passed to me by Mike at Greenfyre’s, and that makes it all the more pleasing since it is one of the best blogs on Science out there. I have never considered myself in the same league, but it sure was nice of …

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23 October 2009

Ancient Light Into The Shiny Bucket

Astronomers call telescopes light buckets. This is because they are really just buckets that catch photons of light. Your backyard telescope catches photons that have mostly been travelling through space for a short time. Photons from the moon have only been travelling for 1.5 seconds. The photons from the Sun about 8 minutes. Mars is about 15 light minutes away and Pluto is just under 6 light hours away. So …

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21 October 2009

A Letter You Should Read

The letter below was signed by the directors of the following scientific organizations. I’m a member of three. They are right. October 21, 2009 American Association for the Advancement of Science Dear Senator: As you consider climate change legislation, we, as leaders of scientific organizations, write to state the consensus scientific view. Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that …

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18 October 2009

An Amazing Escape! (One Lucky Penguin!)

My two favourite animals are inhabitants of opposite poles. Ursus Maritimas. Polar Bears. They will eat you if you’re not careful, but they are truly majestic creatures. When I travelled through the High Arctic in August 2007, I saw three. The best was the second encounter on an ice flow in North Baffin Bay. It was spitting snow and quite cold, but sitting in our Zodiac, we were oblivious to …

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