A journal of science, thought, and action.

A Long Drive




A Long Drive

Reflections of an earlier time and place.

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The Conservation Alliance

Archive Highlights

Coral Reef Update, 3

Coral Reef Update, 3

Explaining the biology and consequences of coral bleaching.

18 Mar 2017

Video Highlights

Recent Archive Highlights

Environmental Art

Environmental Art 15 January 2018

Environmental Art

Creating paintings with natue connections.

Patagonia and Sustainability

Patagonia and Sustainability 31 December 2017

Patagonia and Sustainability

Patagonia shows how to apply sustainability in business practice.

Where Good Ideas Come From

Where Good Ideas Come From 22 December 2017

Where Good Ideas Come From

A clever storyteller suggests an answer.

Bottled Arctic Notes

Bottled Arctic Notes 15 December 2017

Bottled Arctic Notes

A bottled note tossed to the waves recovered years later.

Bloody Falls, Dry Valleys, & Mars

Bloody Falls, Dry Valleys, & Mars 7 December 2017

Bloody Falls, Dry Valleys, & Mars

The Dry Valleys are one of the strangest environments on Earth.

With the Stoke of a Pen, an update

With the Stoke of a Pen, an update 5 December 2017

With the Stoke of a Pen, an update

In 2014, major marine preserves were created.

Flashing Light

Flashing Light

Solarization is a special photo technique where a developing print is exposed to a flash of light while still in the darkroom tray. The result produces both positive and negative effects on the artistically rendered image in ghostly, halos of light. The same effect was captured by a very lucky Russian photographer when the recent meteor exploded over Siberia while he was conducting a sunrise photo shoot. If timing and location are everything to a photographer then the surprised Russian was ...
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Self Portrait

Self Portrait

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech and NASA have released a panoramic self-portrait of the Curiosity Rover compiled from multiple photographs captured by the rover itself. Holes where the rover drilled into Martian rocks are clearly visible. The frames used to create the photograph were edited to exclude the camera's robotic arm itself to enhance the effect of the self-portrait. What is particularly interesting is the presence of dust or fog in the Martian atmosphere that almost blots ...
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Molton Rain

Molton Rain

Photography and video are used as powerful tools in helping to document research findings and create visual stories. An amazing example was released by NASA's Goddard Institute showing plasmas erupting from the Sun. In the HD video, solar gasses have been ionized---stripped of their elemental electrons---and erupt in gigantic arches greater than the diameter of the Earth. The Sun's magnetic field constantly tugs on the ionized jets ( plasma ) pulling them back down to the surface in ...
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Breakthrough Prizes

Breakthrough Prizes

When you think of Silicon Valley, the life sciences aren't the first things that come to mind. The valley, once known for its orchards and berry farms, is now the epicenter of all things software, hardware, and gadget related. Now it is also the place where recognition of the biological sciences has gained some new acknowledgement with the Breakthrough Prize in the Life Sciences created by several of the Valley's famous entrepreneurs and investors. The first Breakthrough Prizes are being ...
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Envious of a Sea Slug

By Lucas Gardner As reported by the Royal Society journal, Japanese researchers recently observed a very strange, very special ability of the Chromodoris reticulata species of sea slugs - the ability to detach and regrow its penis. Basically, their entire life is like that one King Missile song. It's a weird feeling to be envious of a sea slug, but I'd choose the ability to only have a penis when I WANT one over any other super power, although the sex life of the Chromodoris reticulata, ...
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President's Day Quiz

President's Day Quiz

President's Day quiz: Where is the most isolated city in the world? Perhaps a volcanic island provides a clue: Mystery Desert Island (credit: NASA) Sometimes, it seems a remote desert island would be an ideal place to get away from all the politics and rancor that Presidents and everyone else must endure nowadays. WHB
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The Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges

We all need some mystery and mythology in our lives. That is one reason why science fiction and fantasy novels and their movie adaptations remain so popular. A rural road in Ireland with the apt name, The Dark Hedges, fits both needs perfectly. The Irish roadway of gnarled beech trees was planted over 200 years ago and included in the Game Of Thrones where a scene was shot for the epic TV show. It is a photographers dream of a location. The Dark Hedges (credit: Flickr) The Dark ...
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Passion Matters

Passion Matters

Recently, the Cook Island created a huge protected zone for sharks: Cook Islands' shark sanctuary creates world's largest. This is remarkable for a small, poor, and isolated group of islands in the western Pacific particularly with demands for shark fins by Asian countries. The new reserve places a ban on shark fishing and possession or sale of shark products in an area encompassing 2.6 million square miles - nearly the size of Australia. The Pew Environmental Trust assisted the islands ...
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Meteors Falling

Meteors Falling

Everyone said: once we elected a black president, the meteors would start falling. Let’s hope Morgan Freeman has a plan to save us. - Reilly Capps
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How to Fall off a Rock and Not Die

How to Fall off a Rock and Not Die

By Reilly Capps It’s never easy being a pioneer. (See: Magellan, Philippines.) The first person with an idea often suffers. (See: Curie, Marie.) Better to be the second person into the breach. So it wasn’t easy for climber Matt Maddolini to be the first to try a new kind of climbing, a kind that doesn’t use a rope or a mat but a net, a net stretched between rocks and trees and situated underneath the climbing route. When he lost his grip, he fell into space. “It was terrifying,” ...
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Voyager Valentine

Voyager Valentine

Sometimes the best valentines come from afar. On Valentine's Day 1990 and four billion miles away, the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back to create a mosaic portrait of solar system. The robotic traveler's camera captured images sweeping through the inner Solar System on the left, linking up with gas giant Neptune, on the right. Mercury and Mars are obscured by sunlight. Voyager Solar System Mosaic, Feburary 14, 1990 (credit: NASA) The Voyager Valentine didn't come with any flowers or ...
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What Kind of Beer Your Drink Could Help the Planet

What Kind of Beer Your Drink Could Help the Planet

A beautiful short by a couple buddies of mine, Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, about businesses donating 1 percent of their sales to environmental causes. One of the companies, note, is New Belgium. Get drunk, do good. [one percent] of the story from 1% for the Planet on Vimeo.
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Long Exposure

Timing is everything! It's particularly true when capturing a photograph that combines multiple elements. A nice example shows a tranquil lily pond with multicolor auroras, and the Pleiades Star Cluster. A long exposure was used to capture the details one fall evening in Alaska. Alaska Lily Pond, Auroras, & the Pleiades  (credit: NASA/Aurora Hunters) WHB
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How Two Battlebots Found Love in a Hopeless Place

By Lucas Gardner When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of the show “Battlebots.” If you don't remember it, it was a show where people built tiny little remote-controlled robots, and made them fight each other. Here is a video for reference. Like a lot of people who grew up nerdy and had an unhealthy attachment to television, I took to writing fan-fiction. So, I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite pieces of “Battlebots” fan-fiction that I have written K-1000 vs. The Metal ...
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Patagonian Glacier Collapses

Mostly, we hear of climate change happening in Greenland, Iceland, or around the Arctic Ocean. Changing glacial landscapes in the southern hemisphere are less known but still occur. Now a visitor to a national park in Patagonia has observed the collapse a massive ice bridge in Periot Moreno National Park as the ice recedes and exposes long fjords. A lucky tourist observed the ice bridge collapse while another visitor captured the event on video. Impressive event! Ice Bridge, Perito ...
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NASA’s Hidden Logs Reveal a Lesser-Known Rover

By Lucas Gardner The Curiosity Rover landed on Mars at 0:32 p.m. PDT, Aug. 5, 2012. It was one of the most outstanding victories in space exploration in human history thus far. The rover was named “Curiosity,” because, well, it says it all. It has spent the last six months searching for signs of ancient life. What a lot of people don't know anything about is the launch of the Curiosity Rover's brother, Apathy Rover, which was sent on failed mission to Mars a few years prior to Curiosity. ...
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Antiquarian Photographic Modernity

Antiquarian photography can be amazing. The ancient ways of crafting images using daguerreotypes, tintypes, and point-hole cameras can produce remarkable detail, depth, and beauty. Two examples, one a 1913 tintype of a meteor breaking apart over early Toronto, Canada, and a solargraph of an modern observatory produced with a pin-hole camera in 2012, illustrate this well. 1913 Meteor Break-up Procession, Toronto, Canada   (credit: NASA) Solargraph Observatory, UK, 2011   (credit: NASA) ...
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Convergence & Storms

With the eastern USA in the grips of another massive storm, an obvious question is if a pattern may be underway. Last fall, the confluence of three weather systems---a cold front from the north, tropical moisture from the south, and an energy mass from the west created Hurricane Sandy.  A similar situation is now playing out again. A NOAA weather satellite observed the winter storm as it was building. The monster blizzard is now pummeling New York, Boston, and elsewhere: (credit: ...
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Catastrophic Evolution

Natural catastrophes happen---just think Pompeii or Ubar, two cities of the ancient world that disappeared in dual catastrophes that became legends until being re-discovered in the 18th and 20th Centuries. Massive random events can be caused by earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, plagues, or even asteroids. Besides their destructive force, they also produces prime opportunities for natural selection to being working on the survivors. A perfect example is the evolution of mammals at the end to ...
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Growing food and community at public libraries

In the public mind, at least, public libraries have been on the wane for years. First mega-bookstores like Borders and Barnes and Noble began to displace the longstanding homes of free reading material. More recently, the rise of the Internet and the advent of the e-book have further marginalized Ye Olde Public Library. But, at least in cities and towns that continue to fund and support them, libraries are finding new ways to serve constituents and build community. In Basalt, Colo., a ...
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Regenerating Medicine in 3D

Here at Riled Up we normally focus on telling stories about environmental matters, natural history, and the wonder of exploration. However, occasionally a technological advance emerges that requires very close attention. One has just happened: investigators at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland have produced a breakthrough with the development of living materials made from embryonic stem-cells created by using 3D printing machines. The implications for biological based medicine are almost ...
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3D Hearts

Here at Riled Up we normally focus on telling stories about environmental matters, natural history, and the wonder of exploration. However, occasionally a new technological advance occurs that requires very close attention. Researchers Heriot-Watt University in Scotland have produced one such technological breakthrough with the development of living tissues from embryonic stem-cells using 3D printing machines. 3D printing has increasingly been used in industries ranging from clothing ...
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Do Cars Equal Freedom or Waste?

By Reilly Capps It’s a cruel joke car companies play. In practically every commercial, every hour, there’s a giant SUV flying through some untracked wilderness, the sense of freedom coursing through the driver’s veins. And so consumers buy giant cars by the millions. But they almost never drive them on desolate country roads. They drive them through cities and suburbs. The result? A landscape so congested and traffic-clogged that what was sold as a ticket to freedom ...
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Feds propose to list wolverine as ‘threatened’

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took an important step Friday, Feb. 1, toward listing the North American Wolverine as a species worthy of protection under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS/Steve Kroschel photo The proposal could have ramifications for western states with high, snow-covered mountain ranges where wolverines live. Colorado, in particular, already has taken initial steps toward a reintroduction of 30-40 wolverines in order to help reestablish the species. That state effort ...
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Ripples in Still Water

"If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung Would you hear my voice come through the music? Would you hold it near, as it were your own? Ripples in Still Water" Like the famous song by the Grateful Dead ripples underwater have been observed off the coast of Trinidad. Seen by the Space Station, the "internal waves" are the surface manifestations of slow ocean movements underneath the surface. Internal waves can produce enough of an effect on ...
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A River Once Ran Through It

Mars once was wet but is now is dry---super dry. Evidence for an extensive river system was recently announced by the European Space Agency when they published images of the dry river-beds captured by their Mars Express orbiter. According to the ESA, the upper part of the Reull Vallis region of Mars shows a sinuous river structure stretching for more than 900 miles across Mars. The riverine landscape is flanked by numerous tributaries, one of which can be seen cutting in a steep-sided ...
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