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Energy Notes: April 2008-2009

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.

 
20 Aug 2009

Benchmarks: August 17, 1959: Hebgen Lake earthquake and landslide

By Callan Bentley

You’re camping in Montana, doing some fly fishing on the Madison River. You’ve had a full day of beautiful Big Sky country weather, and had fresh trout for dinner. In your campsite at the Rock Creek Campground, you go to bed satisfied and happy. It’s a nice enough evening that you sleep out in the open, to better appreciate the stars. The waters of the Madison gurgle by, gently lulling you to sleep while Orion shines above.

18 Aug 2009

Mineral Resource of the Month: Ferrous Slag

Ferrous slag is a byproduct of iron- and steelmaking. It is produced through the addition of materials such as limestone, dolomite, lime and silica sand to blast furnaces and steel furnaces to strip impurities from iron ore, scrap and other ferrous feeds, and to lower the heat requirements of the iron- and steelmaking processes. The slag forms as a dominantly calcium silicate melt that floats on top of the molten crude iron or steel; the slag is then removed from the liquid metal. 

 
14 Aug 2009

Down to Earth With: Jack Horner

As one of the world’s most successful dinosaur hunters and a leader in the field of dinosaur growth and development, Jack Horner needs little introduction for paleontology enthusiasts. His first big discovery, the dinosaur Maiasaura, or “Mother Lizard,” was found with the first known dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere and the first evidence of colonial nesting. This discovery dispelled the notion that dinosaurs were bad mothers. Other notable discoveries include the first dinosaur embryos and the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. Horner also served as technical advisor for the “Jurassic Park” films and is the partial inspiration for the main character Alan Grant.

23 Jul 2009

The Moon Men: "Rocket Men" and "Voices from the Moon"

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first step taken on the moon on July 20, 1969. Since that historic small step — which 600 million people around the world watched breathlessly — other space missions have captured headlines: NASA’s Space Shuttle program, the International Space Station, the intrepid Mars rovers. But none, perhaps, has had quite the impact on our imagination as the giant leap that Neil Armstrong took for mankind.

16 Jul 2009

Benchmarks: July 4, 1054: "Birth" of the Crab Nebula

On July 4, 1054, Chinese and Japanese astronomers observed a new, iridescent yellow point of light in the constellation Taurus. This “guest star,” said to be as bright as the moon, failed to disappear with the rising sun — for a month, it shone both night and day. Even after fading during daytime, it remained in the night sky for nearly two years, by some accounts. Historians and scientists think that this event was likely the supernova that created the Crab Nebula, one of the most spectacular and rare astronomical features in the known universe.
 
04 Jul 2009

Down to Earth With: Randy Olson

Marine biologist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson made a name for himself in 2006 with the release of his first feature-length movie, “Flock of the Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus.” He followed that success with last year’s “Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy.” These movies feature hot-button science issues, but they are not documentaries. Rather, Olson says, they are designed to entertain and spark an interest in the scientific topic — whether evolution or climate change — so that viewers will want to learn more.

23 Jun 2009

Energy Notes: February 2008-2009

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.

 
20 Jun 2009

Mineral Resource of the Month: Pumice and Pumicite

Pumice is an extremely light, highly porous extrusive volcanic rock, formed through the rapid cooling of air-pocketed lava. In fact, some pumice is so light that it can float on water. Although pumice is often light in color as well, depending on its mineral makeup, it can vary from white to pink to gray to black. Fine-grained pumice, or pumicite, is made up of minute grains, flakes, threads or shards of volcanic glass that are finer than four millimeters. Pumicite and volcanic ash are descriptive terms and are often used interchangeably.

 
14 Jun 2009

June 9, 1938: Huang He Diversion: Largest Act of Environmental Warfare in History

By Nate Burgess

The Huang He (Yellow River) has been called “China’s Sorrow.” The name pays tribute to the millions killed by the river’s churning, muddy waters in a long history of dramatic diversions and massive floods. One of the most notable recent events in the river’s troubled history occurred in June 1938, when the Nationalist Chinese Army diverted the river to block invading Japanese troops. In both number of deaths and geographic scale, this event was the largest act of environmental warfare in modern history.

09 Jun 2009

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