Taxonomy term

may 2012

Voices: Making tough decisions in a changing climate

World leaders are beginning to realize that planning for and adapting to our changing climate must become a priority of national governments. But what does that mean, in practical terms, for planning and policymaking, and for the day-to-day business of government? Do standard decision-making practices need to change? If so, how?

07 May 2012

Getting There and Getting Around Greece

Reaching Santorini by one of the regular domestic or chartered international flights is convenient, but to appreciate fully the dramatic caldera, we recommend arriving by slow ferry (with observation decks). Several are available each day from Athens’ port, Piraeus, as well as more sporadically from other islands. Santorini is very compact, so you can stay on any coast and still see all of the attractions. Although there are established bus routes, the most convenient way to explore the island is by renting a car, motorbike or ATV in any of the main towns.

05 May 2012

Travels in Geology: Santorini: Dangerous volcano, postcard-perfect jewel of the Aegean

Santorini is an idyllic Greek isle renowned for its sensational sunsets, colorful beaches, and blue-domed, whitewashed buildings clinging to sheer, dark cliffs. Located in the Aegean Sea, this unique destination is part of a circular archipelago of volcanic islands that were joined together in a single land mass until about 1600 B.C., when it was ripped apart in one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history.

05 May 2012

North star loses mass but still shines bright

The North Star, the Pole Star, the Guiding Star, Polaris: Its many names reflect the many centuries humans have gazed northward to it for guidance. Because Earth’s North Pole is aligned with Polaris’ position in the sky, the star appears motionless, providing a steadfast beacon for early sailors and adventurers alike. But the star itself is far from motionless. In fact, Polaris is a specific type of star known as a Cepheid variable, which pulsates, varying in size and luminosity over a period of days and, according to recent observations, also ejects large amounts of mass into space.

03 May 2012

Benchmarks: May 15, 1909: The Northern Great Plains earthquake

In Culbertson, Mont., at a quarter past nine on a Saturday evening, Ralph Bush and H.G. Walsh were resting in the third-floor apartment of the Reed Cash Grocery when the floor began to rock, vibrating a small penknife right off their table, and sending a candle lamp clattering to the floor. At the nearby Evans Hotel, confusion reigned as the quake shook the two-story brick building, causing frightened guests to flee into the streets. On the second story of the Farmers & Merchants bank, a piano player was entertaining a social gathering at the home of Professor Dale when the shaking sent a vase crashing to the floor. The 15 seconds of quivering was so pronounced at Skelley’s barbershop that, “It rang up a 50-cent cash sale on the cash register, and it has been keeping me guessing how I can balance the darned thing,” Skelley told a reporter from the Culbertson Republican.
02 May 2012

Where on Earth? - May 2012

Clues for May 2012:
1. This beach is on the west coast of a country that arose from the subduction of the Cocos Plate beneath the Caribbean Plate — starting 25 million to 15 million years ago during the Miocene — and the volcanism that followed.
2. The beach is located at the neck of the host country’s largest peninsula and is where most of the country’s seismic activity occurs.

Voices: Defending science: The link between creationism and climate change

What do creationists and climate change deniers have in common? Over the past few years, this riddle has been on our minds a lot at the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit that has fought for more than a quarter-century to defend the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Now, we’re expanding to defend the teaching of climate change — and with it, science in general.

30 Apr 2012

Mobile mapping with lidar hits the road

About a decade ago, Light Detection and Ranging technology, also known as lidar, burst onto the geoscience scene. The tool was quickly adopted by researchers, from archaeologists and geomorphologists to seismologists and atmospheric scientists.

By mounting lasers and detection and positioning instruments on an airplane or satellite, researchers could map everything from Mayan ruins lost beneath thick jungle canopies to erosion along shorelines to the structure of particulate plumes emitted from power plants to the topography of entire countries.

26 Apr 2012

U.S. Navy navigates a sea change in the Arctic

Arctic sea ice is already significantly declining in both extent and thickness, and impacts of the decline are evident. New shipping lanes in the Northwest Passage have been passable for ship traffic during summer months for the last two years, and an increasingly accessible Arctic is attracting increased interest. Shipping companies, entrepreneurs, scientists and tourists, however, are not the only ones looking north; militaries around the world, including the U.S. Navy, also have an interest. To that end, the Navy has created a task force and employed a corps of geoscientists to help develop a roadmap for expected future Arctic operations.

16 Apr 2012