Taxonomy term

science and society

Report from Ground Zero

How geoscientists aid in the aftermath of environmental disasters

01 Oct 2009

Getting a master's in social geology

At first glance, it seems like an obvious solution to a problem: Villagers need vegetables and an aid organization has money to buy tools and seeds. Striving to create a sustainable program, the aid organization develops a training plan to teach the villagers how to garden, invests in local workshops, and purchases tools to distribute to the participants. All plans seem in order and the project is poised for success. However, the project’s managers encounter the first of potentially many obstacles when they realize that shovels are impossible to use if you don’t have shoes.

24 Sep 2009

Putting Earth's history to sound

Geophysicist Dave Engebretson of Western Washington University in Bellingham has struggled with his eyesight since birth. But when his vision took a serious downturn in 1996 — today he has difficulty recognizing faces up close — Engebretson grasped for the world of sound. He has made a considerable hobby out of audifying scientific data — taking numbers from datasets and setting them to sound frequencies to create seconds-long clips at his home studio.

21 Sep 2009

Breaking the Energy Barrier

Can the Department of Defense solve the world's energy crisis one jet at a time?

18 Sep 2009

The long legacy of Peru's "Mine of Death"

The Inca knew there was something sinister about the cinnabar they hauled out of the ground at Huancavelica in Peru hundreds of years ago. They called the mine the Mine of Death. Now, a new study has exposed a 3,500-year history of mercury pollution from the cinnabar mines, a much longer legacy than researchers had previously realized.

05 Aug 2009

When and why L'Aquila came tumbling down

Early on the morning of April 6, 2009, a magnitude-6.3 earthquake rocked the Apennine region of central Italy, killing more than 290 people and leaving at least 30,000 homeless. Some 15,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed in L’Aquila, the largest city in the region. Although strong, the earthquake was not powerful enough to easily account for the high loss of life in a developed country. The devastation has prompted some researchers to investigate Italy’s seismic safety codes for new construction — but the problem may have more to do with retrofitting older buildings.

14 Jul 2009

Rebuilding Afghanistan

Ravaged by war, drought and natural hazards such as earthquakes and landslides, Afghanistan’s people face many challenges. But the country also has untapped resources — great natural beauty , deep supplies of groundwater and a vast mineral wealth, including coal, gems like emeralds and metals like copper and iron.

02 Jul 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

When wildfires attack: Should I stay or should I go?

As California enters its third consecutive year of drought, officials are standing by for the state’s wildfire season, set to peak later this summer. They have reason for concern: During the previous two summers alone, wildfires have burned more than 12,000 square kilometers and killed more than two dozen people. A new study offers advice on how California can minimize wildfire deaths and save property: Don’t force residents who live near the margins of forest and urban areas to evacuate; instead, give them the option of staying and defending their homes.

01 Jun 2009

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