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A journal of science, thought, and action.

2 Cracks Expanding

24

Feb

2017

2 Cracks Expanding

Big cracks at both poles are expanding.

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7-Earths

22

Feb

2017

7-Earths

2 Telescopes find 7 Earths!

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The Conservation Alliance

Archive Highlights

Climate Change's Murder Mysteries

Climate Change's Murder Mysteries

Climate change is like a murder mystery where suspected assassins number in the thousands.

29 Apr 2014

Video Highlights

Recent Archive Highlights

Supporting Environmental Work

Supporting Environmental Work 1 April 2016

Supporting Environmental Work

April campaign to We Keep it Wild and support The Conservation Alliance.

Protecting New Lands

Protecting New Lands 14 July 2015

Protecting New Lands

Several important land protections were declared in just one week, perhaps a new trend.

Explorer to present at The Conservation Alliance

Explorer to present at The Conservation Alliance 25 June 2015

Explorer to present at The Conservation Alliance

Eric Larsen will present his The Last North expedition to an outdoor/conservation audience in Utah..

Compassionate Turtles

Compassionate Turtles 24 June 2015

Compassionate Turtles

Behavior that would be considered compassionate in humans is also observed in animals.

"Look to the Mountains"

"Look to the Mountains" 24 April 2015

"Look to the Mountains"

A photographer, mountaineer, and environmental ambassador says: "look to the mountains".

Intelligent Designers

Intelligent Designers 17 April 2015

Intelligent Designers

Portland is using 'intelligent designers' to replace an aging coal-fired power plant and other cities should follow their lead.

Chasing Ice

In the vein of full disclosure, it must be admitted that I am super-biased about the subject matter of a yet-to-be released movie, Chasing Ice, the film’s subject James Balog, a friend of 40 years, and the Sundance Film Festival where I was an original long-time volunteer. It is hard not to celebrate this fantastic documentary film, the dedicated explorer-photographer, and a festival that has come to represent all that is important in independent filmmaking. Chasing Ice chronicles the ...
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Rust Belt

The idea of a rust belt conjures images of derelict steel mills or long abandoned auto plants covered, well, in red rust of industrial strength. It isn’t a pretty sight. Far less well known are rusts that impact the natural world, particularly plants. Plant rusts are diseases caused by pathogenic fungi of which nearly 7800 species are known. Rusts can affect all plants from their leaves, stems, and roots, to their fruits and seeds. An outbreak of Myrtle Rust has been spreading like a ...
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11 Alien Solar Systems and Counting

Kepler is at it again. The clever space telescope has now discovered 11 entirely new planetary systems circling alien suns. The total of confirmed planets now stands at 26 and counting. According to NASA, the Kepler findings nearly double the number of identified worlds found outside our solar system. The alien worlds range from 1.5 times the size Earth to larger than Jupiter. All of the newly  discovered planets circle very close to their parent stars making it highly unlikely that any ...
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Spaceman Newt

You gotta like Newt, the giant-headed Republican candidate for president who's going to take us back to the moon. There are two ways to love him. First, as the real-life incarnation of Steve Austin, the congressional candidate from 30 Rock who wanted casinos on the moon: Second, as a legitimate person with actual ideas knocking around in that giant globe on his shoulders. He wants to have a permanent moon base by the end of his second term. So we can mine them for rare ...
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Earth HD

Spectacular new high-definition photo of Earth.  Hey, I can see my house!
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Strung along

They say string theory is the only game in town, and so we'd better all get working on trying to understand what it means. Most of us are still working on wrapping our heads around relativity.  So my cutting edge is about a hundred years behind. (And, honestly, I never really grasped calculus.) String theory includes a lot of strange components, including the idea -- which scientists say is more likely than not -- that our universe has many more dimensions than the four we're used to. Here's ...
  • 1422

Auroras Galore

  The eruptions from the Sun’s surface plasma produce visual displays when the energized particles hit the Earth's upper atmosphere. This short video sequence, captured in northern Norway, resulted from a January 19th solar flare. These auroras are particularly amazing. Norway Auroras (credit: Helge Mortensen) WHB
  • 1487

The Aquatic Ape

Humans evolved … in water.You’ve probably already heard this fascinating/bizarre/hilarious pseudo-theory before, but I hadn’t. When I stumbled onto it yesterday, I spent hours clicking through all the links about it. Most fun you can have outside the NFL Playoffs. Basically, one respected biologist … and apparently only one … once proposed that humans didn’t evolve on the grasslands of Africa but in the shallow water nearby. That idea … which he never really followed up on, because there’s ...
  • 1460

Song of the Spindle

Spindle cells are specialized neurons. They are found buried in restricted regions in the brains of humans, bonobos, and other great apes but also within the brains of whales, dolphins and elephants. Spindle neurons have been implicated as having an important role in many high level brain functions and cognitive abilities. Much is still unknown about these cells but their presence in such diverse large mammals suggests they occur only in highly intelligent species. Spindle cells are also ...
  • 1914

Another great one

A solar system being born, brought to you by Robert Krulwich and the amazing Hubble telescope.
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Beauty in subtlety

Here's a beautiful video from NPR and Robert Krulwich, who has the potential to be a successor to Sagan, at least in his ability to make us wonder. 
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Citizen Science

Here at Riled Up we celebrate environmental science, new technologies, and engaged explorations. Discovery and inspiration can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time of life. This is one reason why the growth of citizen science is so exciting. Citizen science is defined as “the systematic collection and analysis of data, development of new technology, testing of natural phenomena, and the dissemination of these activities on primarily avocational basis.” Individuals or volunteer networks, ...
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Chevy Volt’s battery OK

Just to follow up on my story about electric cars, the government closed its investigation into the Chevy Volt’s battery, saying “a defect has not been identified at this time.” Another reason not to abandon battery technology just yet. 
  • 2006

Death of a Giant

In the Biblical fable, Methuselah lived in the year 1656 after the Creation and died at the age of nearly 1000 years old, seven days before Noah’s flood. The phrase "old as Methuselah," often refers to any living thing reaching great age. That would certainly be true for a giant Bald Cypress that was more than 3500 years old and just burned to the ground in a puzzling fire. The cypress was a sapling before the ancient Egyptians or Greeks built their temples and civilizations. It had been ...
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Antiquarian Skylight

Exposing a piece of film over a long period of time, from a specific location, compresses the exposure, and creates a solargraph. The photographic technique requires a pinhole camera to capture the diffuse and thin light onto photo-sensitive paper or film. Pinhole photography is an early light capturing approach now being used to create modern art photos. The images look like they might have been discovered in an old trunk filled 19th Century daguerreotypes of  soldiers or cold winter ...
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Monkey seen

Chill out everybody.  The Grizzled Langur has been found. 
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Penguins Aren't People

by Conrad Anker Humans have a tendency to anthropomorphize animals. Penguins, with their tuxedo like plumage and waddle, are a fine example of how we extend characteristics and behavior of humans to animals. The physical similarity makes the connection to animals is logical--- they are born, they die, and they share a brief time span on this planet. Obviously penguins, cute and adorable as they are, would not be granted personhood in the Bill of Rights. Less obvious are corporations and ...
  • 1450

Another run at the Olympics

Forget the Olympics, I used to think. Sure, they look pretty, done up in rainbow colors with classiest necklaces this side of the British Crown Jewels, but the 1980 Olympics practically brought down the Soviet Empire, and the 1984 games left Los Angeles deeply in debt.  And so I was always perversely proud, as a fourth generation Coloradan, that my wise ancestors rejected the 1976 Olympic games' invitation to dance, the only time that's ever happened. We rejected it as too expensive and too ...
  • 1529

Good News for Warblers

The voice of the Seychelles Warbler is often described as rich, melodious, and similar to a person whistling. An endemic bird found only in the Seychelles Islands, it is endangered, and was once close to extinction. At one point the entire population of warblers was down to 26 individuals all confined to a small rocky outcrop in the Indian Ocean, Cousin Island. So it is exciting to learn that captive breeding efforts between conservationists in the Seychelles and researchers in the United ...
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Carnivorous Plants Get Creative

Carnivorous plants are true curiosities of the vegetable world. They exist in all environments but typically are found in waterlogged bogs or soils poor in essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. To compensate for these mineral deficiencies, carnivorous plants evolved sticky leaves, pitcher-like structures, and snap-traps to capture unsuspecting insects and bugs get stuck in the plant which then provides with the missing environmental nutrients. Some carnivorous plants are able to ...
  • 1746

On Deniers

From way back in 2007, here's an oldie but a goodie, as climate scientist Richard C.J. Somerville drops some genius during a debate with exceptional novelist and noted climate blowhard Michael Crichton. The end is great, when he dismisses wing nuts like Crichton by summarizing: "it tends to be the rare exception rather than the rule when a lone genius eventually prevails over conventional mainstream scientific thought." Here's the whole excerpt:  The science community today has ...
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Electric Shocks

Check out the Chevy Volt. It's not stylish. Based on looks alone, it probably ups your cool factor by about ... point five percent. If that.  The New York Post calls the Chevy Volt "one part lemon, one part government albatross."  In the article, the Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels offers a litany of facts and half-facts about the car's problems, and a list of the problems other eco cars are facing.  True, they're expensive -- about $40,000. True, the battery only powers ...
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