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science and society

Californians prepare for the Big One

At 10 a.m. local time Thursday, a massive magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Los Angeles. But don’t worry — it was only a drill.

12 Nov 2008

USGS finds giant gas hydrate deposits on North Slope

Buried beneath Alaska's North Slope are about 85.4 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas hydrates, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey assessment. That would be a significant source of energy to add to the U.S. energy mix — enough natural gas to heat 100 million homes for 10 years, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced Wednesday.

12 Nov 2008

Maldives' residents looking for a new patch of land

Blogging on EARTH

The highest land point in the Maldives, a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, is only about 2.4 meters above sea level. With the IPCC predicting a sea level rise of 20 to 58 centimeters by the year 2100, the Maldives' 300,000 residents are therefore among the most threatened in the world by climate change.

11 Nov 2008

The Thirsty Dragon and the Wealthy Bear

How China, Russia and High Oil Prices Influence Global Dynamics

The world is changing. Gone are the days of Middle Eastern sheikhs controlling the world’s oil and our purse strings. Russia and China are changing the rules of the game.

10 Nov 2008

Raising bees and capturing rainwater: U.S. prisons go green

Blogging on EARTH

The flagging economy may complicate federal aspirations for a green revolution, but at least one government entity has adopted the movement in stride: state prisons.

According to a recent report by the Associated Press, prisons across America now host the likes of compost heaps, organic gardens and solar panels in an attempt to save precious state budget money.

04 Nov 2008

Energy mission: "Kilowatt Ours"

“What if every time you flipped a light switch, a mountain exploded in West Virginia?”

In the new documentary “Kilowatt Ours,” filmmaker Jeff Barrie explains why that idea isn’t as preposterous as it sounds.

29 Oct 2008

VA geologists axed due to budget crunch

Virginia, like many states, is being hit hard by the recent economic downturn — and as Virginia tightens the purse strings, the state’s geological survey is going to feel the pinch.

Not surprisingly, geologists in Virginia are not happy.

Virginia expects a $2.5 billion budget shortfall over the next two years. To balance the budget, Virginia’s Gov. Tim Kaine plans to lay off 570 state employees, including nine employees (out of 21) from the state’s Division of Geology and Mineral Resources (Virginia’s equivalent to a state geological survey).

22 Oct 2008

Hot enough for ya? Investigating climate change in "Heat"

In FRONTLINE's urgent, ambitious new special "Heat," producer and reporter Martin Smith takes on a sweeping canvas of climate change, journeying from the disappearing glaciers of the Himalayas to the cement factories of India to the coal mines of the United States. There's a revealing look into the U.S.' role in the climate change conference in Bali last December, as well as into the plans of China's largest car company.

21 Oct 2008

Danger and wonder in Nat Geo's "Giant Crystal Cave"

Razor-sharp rocks. Deadly crevasses. Unbearable heat. Scalding water. One false step...and you’re history.

“Giant Crystal Cave,” the National Geographic Channel’s hour-long documentary on scientific exploration deep inside Mexico’s Naica Mountain is as much about derring-do and danger as it is about science. The film follows three scientists as they visit the mountain’s most famous cavern for the first time in hopes of unlocking some of its mysteries.

09 Oct 2008

Lay of the Land: Terrain's Toll on the U.S. Civil War

In the waning days of summer 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee lined his Confederate troops along a grassy ridge on the western side of Antietam Creek in the outskirts of Sharpsburg, Md.

Across the stream, Union troops prepared for an attack.

Then, on Sept. 17, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Battle of Antietam began. The armies blasted each other with gunfire from dawn until nearly dusk. That day proved to be the single bloodiest day of the American Civil War, with more than 23,000 men lying dead or wounded in the valley’s fields by nightfall.

02 Oct 2008

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