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A journal of science, thought, and action.

Botany, an Extreme Sport

17

Apr

2019

Botany, an Extreme Sport

Climbing gear serving plant conservation.

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Chasing Water With Gabions

16

Apr

2019

Chasing Water With Gabions

An appropriate river restoration technology.

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Archive Highlights

Conserving, The Mother Load

Conserving, The Mother Load

Avoiding another Dust Bowl.

19 Mar 2019

Video Highlights

 

The Conservation Alliance

 

City of Lights

Paris, France is known as the City of Lights. It is a place of beauty from any vantage point. I wonder if you can see the Eifel Tower, a 19th Century technological artifact, from the height of a 20th Century one, the international space station (ISS)? ISS views Europe at night (credit: NASA) WHB
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Earth: The Other Side

        Beautiful photo of Earth from NASA’s Suomi NPP.
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The Mechanical Swarm

";" alt=""> The brain sees these little buggers and immediately thinks: attack of the drones. But maybe not. Couldn’t we program these little guys to deliver pizza?
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Super-sized Earth

The first extra-solar planet has been clearly identified orbiting within the habitable zone. The new alien planet to close to Earth. The newly discovered world is designated as GJ667Cc, takes roughly 28 days to circle its parent star, a red-dwarf, and is located only 22 light-years away in the constellation Scorpios. The planet a super-sized, rocky world, 4.5 times as massive as Earth. Its red-dwarf star is part of a triple system, is about one-third the size of the Sun, and, while faint, ...
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X-ray Specs for Pollution

Casey Roberts is a student at the University of Houston. She also writes for Radiology Assistant, which helps students find the right radiology degree. She was kind enough to write for us about how scientists are using X-rays to study pollution. When a bone is broken, you x-ray it. When the planet is broken, maybe you do the same thing. A new technology called Q-XAS, or Quick Scanning X-ray Absorbtion Spectroscopy, uses the power of radiololgy to help care for the environment. This ...
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Bigger, Better, and Best

Robots continue getting better, particularly those complicated mobile machines the Jet Propulsion Laboratory builds to roll autonomously around the surface of Mars. JPL’s latest testing lab, the Mars Science Laboratory, is enroute to attempt a tricky landing there in August. Here is an image illustrating the growth in size and scientific testing complexity of three generations of JPL Mars rovers . JPL Mars Rovers (credit: NASA) The first rover, Sojourner, which landed on Mars in 1997 ...
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Bulbmania

  I must admit suffering from an acute condition known as bulbmania, the love of rare and unusual geophytes, as they are technically known. Be warned, the condition can be contagious. The bulbs I refer to aren’t the typical super-hybridized daffodils, tulips, or hyacinths of your garden center or florist shop but wild geophytes found in semi-arid and desert landscapes ranging from South Africa’s Namaqualand, the Central Asian mountains and steppes, to Chile’s Atacama Desert. The majority ...
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Dunes-R-Cool

Dunes are some of the coolest features of any landscape be it Earth, Mars, or Titan, the largest moon in our solar system. We typically conjure visions of sand dunes from the Sahara, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, or some creepy SciFi movie that swallows entire cities. The tiny particles that create dunes are moved around dry landscapes by winds—aeolian—and deposited when the air flow stops. On Earth, dunes are produced by sand grains moved by our atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen; on Mars its by ...
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Where the warming's at

Dear Climate Morons:If global warming isn't caused by people and the billions of fires we light every day in our engines and power plants, and it's caused instead by sun spots or solar flares or a wobbly Earth, then why is so much of the warming happening in the northern hemisphere, where all the people are? 
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LeBron bikes to work

No helicopters or Lambos, like Kobe. LeBron bikes to work. Apparently he does this all the time.
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You think you have a small house?

How's this for a small house? This one fits in your pocket.  Casa Básica / Basic House from martinazua on Vimeo.
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Interview with Tim DeChristopher

Tim DeChristopher interviewed from prison. "What the climate movement needs to get to is a point of resistance that doesn't have an ending," he says. "That's what make a lot of people uncomfortable about the Occupy movement was that it didn't have an ending."  He's scheduled to be out of prison in the spring on 2013. 
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Underwater jet pack

From ITN.
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The Beauty of Pollination

Those talented programmers at the TED Talks have provided a beautiful introduction to pollination. And this new presentation doesn’t even include any talking. Our wellbeing is dependent on these critters more than we ever knew. ";" alt="">The Beauty of Pollination (credit: TED Conferences) WHB
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DIY Launches

The do-it-yourself (DIY) philosophy is getting way out of hand. A pair of Canadian teens launched a little plastic Lego robot off into the stratosphere riding on top of a balloon. The high altitude voyage carried a video cam wrapped in woolen hand-warmers to record the trip. The balloon returned to Earth undamaged more than 100 miles from the launch site. Check it out: ";" alt="">Lego Man Goes to Space (credit: YouTube) However, the little Maple Leaf Lego guy should have been ...
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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 ...
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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
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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Recent Archive Highlights

Lost & Found Worlds

Lost & Found Worlds 14 April 2019

Lost & Found Worlds

Biogeography rules: odd things evolve on islands.

Conserving, The Mother Load

Conserving, The Mother Load 19 March 2019

Conserving, The Mother Load

Avoiding another Dust Bowl.

Fishing for Plastic

Fishing for Plastic 5 March 2019

Fishing for Plastic

It takes garbage to make a boat.

Krakatoa Awakens, Update 2

Krakatoa Awakens, Update 2 29 December 2018

Krakatoa Awakens, Update 2

Krakatau is again active.

Plant Intelligence

Plant Intelligence 17 December 2018

Plant Intelligence

An understanding of intelligence in plants.

Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

Where Do Good Ideas Come From? 24 November 2018

Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

A storyteller suggests an answer.

Archive