Taxonomy term

Voices

Geologic Column: You gotta have a plan

Early in the 1990 film “Tremors,” the character Earl criticizes his colleague, played by Kevin Bacon, for not having a plan. “Valentine, you never plan ahead. You never take the long view. I mean, here it is Monday, and I’m already thinking of Wednesday,” Earl says. “It is Monday, right?”
 
Of course, “Tremors” has a lot going for it: funny dialog, great scenery, monster subterranean worms, a female seismologist, and, of course, Kevin Bacon. But the messages about planning ahead whenever possible and improvising when necessary are ones that every earth scientist will appreciate.
17 Mar 2013

Highlights of 2012: Climate 2012 - A window into what to expect for 2013 and beyond?

July 2012 was the hottest month by far for the lower 48 states. Much of the nation faced drought conditions that grew steadily worse throughout the summer, and there were major repercussions for crop yields and food prices. Wildfires were also rampant. The record low snowpack in May 2012 in the Colorado Rockies set the stage for major wildfires in June, with more than 600 homes lost in Colorado alone. Wildfires developed in other regions in July as well, as tremendous record-breaking heat developed in Oklahoma and surrounding areas. Considered individually, the record temperatures, droughts, fires and diminished snowpack are not necessarily alarming and may not signal anything beyond the natural occurrence of a hotter-than-average year. But combined, these indicators are much more significant from a climate standpoint. They highlight that there is more than just natural variability playing a role: Global warming has reared its head in a way that can only be a major warning for the future. So, what can we expect?

25 Nov 2012

Increasing resilience: A national imperative

Over the past several years, the concept of resilience has increasingly captured public attention. Even fitness clubs are advertising resilience to get you in the best shape of your life — able to handle anything that comes your way. The same resiliency that helps individuals — being mentally, physically and financially prepared, and having a disaster-recovery plan — applies to communities and even to nations. In August, a committee of the National Resource Council (NRC) of the National Academies released a report in which the authors looked at how communities can increase their resilience to natural disaster. The committee outlined a plan for becoming more resilient over the next two decades, but that work must begin today.

18 Nov 2012

Bare Earth Elements: GSA highlights, days 2 and 3

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — EARTH’s Tim Oleson is in Charlotte, N.C., this week for the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference. He is blogging about interesting talks and activities he’s attended, so keep checking back to get the scoop. Read his first report from the conference here. You can also follow the action by following @earthmagazine on Twitter.

Monday and Tuesday at GSA are in the books here in Charlotte. Naturally, there were too many interesting presentations to attend, but that’s the beauty of conferences. What’s another great thing about them?  You can listen to undergraduate, graduate and seasoned researchers alike discuss their research, all in the same day and in the same place.

06 Nov 2012

Bare Earth Elements: GSA highlights, day 1

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — EARTH’s Tim Oleson is in Charlotte this week for the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference. He’ll be blogging about interesting talks and activities he attends, so keep checking back to get the scoop. You can also follow the action by following @earthmagazine on Twitter.

GSA’s annual conference got under way in earnest on Sunday with the start of technical sessions, poster displays and more. With major sessions focusing on sea-level rise and anthropogenic effects on the natural landscape, our interaction with Earth and with the climate was already sure to be a big theme.

05 Nov 2012

Voices: Judged unfairly in L'Aquila - roles and responsibilities should have been considered

Earlier this week, an Italian judge summarily convicted seven participants in a meeting of the Italian Serious Risks Commission who evaluated the hazard posed by the L’Aquila earthquake swarm before the magnitude-6.3 earthquake on April 6, 2009, for the same offense and to the same penalty: six years in prison. Much has been written about this court decision, but the very different roles played by the seven defendants and their different expertise have not been discussed. Is there no difference among the roles of the “L’Aquila Seven” in the communication disaster?

26 Oct 2012

Hazardous Living: Italian seismologists tragically convicted of manslaughter

Today, six seismologists and one government official were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison. The seismologists and official had been on trial for not adequately warning the public about the danger of a potential earthquake prior to the L'Aquila earthquake in April 2009 that killed 309 people.

22 Oct 2012

Voices: Riding the dragon: Commercial space exploration

“Looks like we’ve got us a Dragon by the tail.”

So said astronaut Don Pettit upon the successful capture of the SpaceX Dragon capsule by the robotic arm on the International Space Station (ISS) in May, heralding a revolution in space exploration with a bit of humor. We have entered the era of private spaceflight, and just in time.

01 Sep 2012

Blogging on EARTH: Finding prehistoric souvenirs in Michigan

Around the Fourth of July, I usually visit my parents and participate in a geological family tradition that is pointless to the extreme and yet addictive and fun. Mom and Dad live on Lake Leelanau near Traverse City, Mich. The lake is about a dozen kilometers long and a few kilometers wide. It’s a great place for water-skiing, fishing, jet-skiing and kayaking.

04 Jul 2012

Voices: Italian quakes and deaths point to industrial facilities as death traps

On May 29, eighteen people died in northern Italy when a magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck near the town of Mirandola. Arguably, these deaths were preventable, and they bring up the questions of how we can prevent such deaths in the future. Building codes are key in protecting people. If the most modern buildings collapse while old ones remain standing, something is wrong.

06 Jun 2012

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