Taxonomy term

april 2013

Travels in Geology: Adventuring in upstate New York and remembering a life cut short

Adam and I splashed through the water to avoid the pricker bushes along the banks of the East Branch Mohawk River. The water was frigid — it was late in the fall. We were hiking about a kilometer from Adam’s family’s cabin in New York’s Finger Lakes region, in search of a cascade spilling from the surrounding hills. Adam promised that the waterfall was just around the next bend, as he’d done already five times that morning. “Wait up!” I yelled as I bent over to pick a rock out of the water. “I found another fossil!”

30 Apr 2013

Getting There and Getting Around New York

The Adirondack and Finger Lakes region is roughly equidistant from New York City, Montreal and Boston. By far the most scenic way to get there from New York City is by train. The northbound Amtrak from New York City follows the Hudson River at least until Albany. From there, some routes continue toward Montreal and others veer westward toward Rochester. If you snag a window seat on the left side of the train, you can spot waterfalls and birds of prey through your window. There are daily trains between New York and Montreal; trains from Boston, however, require a nonsensical transfer in New York.

 
30 Apr 2013

Why is the U.S. so insecure about its energy security? Measures of energy independence show it is increasing, not decreasing

In recent years, every time an election has rolled around, politicians have espoused the necessity of energy independence and energy security. According to them, if we are to achieve the necessary level of energy security we need to “drill, baby, drill,” develop “clean coal,” install new pipelines, develop renewable energy, make sure our cars get better gas mileage, or [fill in another sound bite of your choosing here]. A listener could easily conclude that the U.S. lacks energy security. But what do the numbers tell us about our current state of independence?

28 Apr 2013

Denying sea-level rise: How 100 centimeters divided the state of North Carolina

On the surface, it looks like America is a place where scientists and scientific achievements are held in high regard. The retired space shuttles were welcomed by flag-waving crowds; millions of people watched Curiosity’s nail-biting landing on Mars and James Cameron’s descent into the Mariana Trench. The discovery of the Higgs boson made front-page headlines and captured the imaginations of a nation. It would seem that America still loves and respects science.

21 Apr 2013

How the NC-20 Succeeded

The basic motivation of the NC-20 is financial; the group is withholding information about coastal hazards from the public in order to keep area real estate and tourist markets up and running. None of the NC-20 leadership is qualified in any aspect of climate change science, but they certainly are savvy in the ways of public relations and information spinning. They are quite capable of reading the literature and exaggerating the uncertainties inherent to good science.

21 Apr 2013

Blogging on EARTH: Spring has sprung, at least in some places

Spring was nowhere to be found during my recent three weeks of travel through Europe; not in the olive orchards of southern Italy, the cobbled streets of Copenhagen, or the banks of the Danube as it winds through central Vienna. Instead, winter has dragged on stubbornly — the worst in 43 years — leaving behind relict patches of snow in shadowy alleys and warning new leaves not to adorn the bare branches of trees with vernal green.

19 Apr 2013

Energy Notes: December 2011-2012

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
19 Apr 2013

National Weather Service introduces impact-based warnings for tornadoes

Tornado damage threat: considerable or catastrophic?

On May 22, 2011, a column of rotating air spawned a massive EF-5 tornado, with wind speeds greater than 200 miles per hour, over the city of Joplin, Mo. The twister caught the city off guard, leaving 158 people dead and injuring more than 1,000 people, making it the deadliest tornado in the United States since record-keeping began in 1950. As the National Weather Service (NWS) surveyed the city following the tornado, they began considering ideas on how to better alert the public to the risks of dangerous weather events. After a successful test phase of one such idea, the agency is now expanding on its so-called “Impact Based Warnings” experiment.

15 Apr 2013

Down to Earth With: The Lava Cap Winery

During a long career at the U.S. Geological Survey  (USGS) and the University of California at Berkeley, paleontologist David Jones, who died in 2007, made fundamental contributions to understanding the geologic history of western North America, particularly the evolution of California’s puzzling Coast Ranges.

14 Apr 2013

Big quakes topple traditional views of fault behavior

If rules are made to be broken, then perhaps conventional wisdom is made to be overturned. The spate of large earthquakes in recent years — the magnitude and location of which have defied scientific expectations in several cases — has provided ample support for these maxims, at least within earth science. For all the confusion, though, data emerging from these events are reshaping and improving our understanding of how faults operate.

14 Apr 2013

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