Taxonomy term

june 2009

Cityscape, 'wet regions' fueled Atlanta tornado

On March 14, 2008, at 9:38 p.m., something happened in Atlanta that had never happened in the city’s 171-year history: A tornado ripped through a 10-kilometer-long swath of the city’s downtown. The twister, with winds reaching 210 kilometers per hour, blew out skyscraper windows and stalled a major college basketball conference tournament.

23 Jun 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

A tale of two rocks: Moon-like rocks right next door

Lunar exploration is once again in full swing. Japan’s Kaguya and India’s Chandrayaan-1 satellites are currently in orbit around the moon. China’s Chang’e spacecraft, after a successful mission, has been intentionally crashed on the moon. And the United States’ Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is preparing to launch. These are all unmanned missions; humans haven’t been to the moon in more than 30 years. But we will probably return in the next decade, and when we do, we hope to dig even deeper to uncover the moon’s secrets.

18 Jun 2009

White House climate report: U.S. changes already apparent

Blogging on EARTH

The climate status report released today by the White House includes no new research; instead, it is a synthesis of existing scientific data and studies. But the report sums up this information by adding a firm message: The United States is already feeling the impact of climate change — and should therefore take mitigating action sooner rather than later.

16 Jun 2009

Old plutonium reveals new secrets

Buried treasures come in many forms. Few, however, can help prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to terrorists. But a glass bottle discovered in an old safe buried at the Hanford Site in eastern Washington turned out to contain crucial clues that could help scientists develop new ways to track the spread of nuclear materials.

16 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

Three Cheers for Peak Oil!

After decades of back-and-forth, the debate about peak oil boils down to two points of contention: Is peak oil real, and is it cause for concern? But instead of arguing tired positions that don’t seem to be converging on consensus, maybe it’s time we shift our tack and instead see what we can do to bring about the peak as soon as possible.

08 Jun 2009

Redefining Quaternary

Blogging on EARTH

The Quaternary Period — the geologic time period that includes human evolution up to the present — is now a bit longer than it used to be.

04 Jun 2009

Travels in Geology: Tanzania's natural wonders

Tanzania's natural wonders — towering volcanoes, paradisaical islands and sundry animal life — have inspired travelers from Ernest Hemingway (who hunted big game) to the rock band Toto (who rhymed “Serengeti” with “company”). Situated on Africa’s eastern coast, Tanzania consists of the mainland country, once called Tanganyika, and the exotic archipelago Zanzibar, located in the Indian Ocean 25 to 50 kilometers from the mainland.

04 Jun 2009

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