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A journal of science, thought, and action.

Curious Bird

17

Feb

2019

Curious Bird

Researchers receive a curious visitor.

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Last Message

15

Feb

2019

Last Message

Opportunity's final contact.

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Archive Highlights

A Monumental President

A Monumental President

Two new national monuments were designated.

26 Aug 2017

Video Highlights

 

The Conservation Alliance

 

The Last Ocean, an update

The Last Ocean, an update

Marine reserves have been proposed for the Ross Sea off Antarctica. They are now being considered at a convention in Germany.
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World's Biggest Coal Company Installing ... Solar Panels

Coal India, trying to reduce its energy bills, installs solar panels. 
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Lucky Impala---Stunned Tourists

Something is always in-line on a food chain. Trying to escape capture can get creative.
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The March of Ideas

The March of Ideas

By Reilly Capps
One of the beautiful things about science is that, generally, there is an orderly progression in which ideas build on ideas. And one of the real pleasures of studying history is watching the good, the true ideas rise through the muck of all the mediocre or bad ones. Here's a snapshot of a good idea on its way up. This graph shows the rise of temperatures around the world -- as seen in 1959. 
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Climate, 2.0

Climate, 2.0

Temperatures during the decade of 2001-2010 were the highest in recorded history.
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Conservatives and Libertarians Continue to 'Come to Jesus'

By Reilly Capps 
As we've written over and over again, a carbon tax -- revenue-neutral! revenue neutral! -- is the single-most important piece of legislation being proposed today. (Revenue-neutral means that gas taxes will go up, but your income taxes will go down.) The identity of some supporters of a carbon tax are more surprising. It's those people who may turn the tide. We've written about how economists favor a carbon tax, how Reagan's supply-side guru favors a carbon tax, how a former Republican congress member favors a carbon tax. And the hits just keep coming, as conservatives think real hard about a carbon tax -- revenue-neutral! -- and decide to Come to Jesus. 
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Farther Back into the Sonic Past

We wrote about a student at the University of Minnesota who charted temperatures from the last 132 years, sonically, on his cello. The folks at Lawrence Livermore Labs took it back even further. Here's 600 years of temperature records made audible:

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Still Life with Dust, #7

Still Life with Dust, #7

Like a complicated drip painting, a cosmic photograph appears as wild streamers of dust and splashes of stars.
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Concerto for a Changing Climate

Concerto for a Changing Climate

If music was being written to accompany our changing climate, this cello concerto would be a good beginning.
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Mementos of Earth

Mementos of Earth

In 1977 the Voyagers were launched towards interstellar space carrying a collection of Earth mementos. The creative adventurers who envisioned the dual explorers are worth celebrating on this 4th of July.
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Grass-fed Meat Sequesters Carbon?

Grass-fed Meat Sequesters Carbon?

By Reilly Capps
It's possible that certain kinds of meat might not be quite so bad. Animals can be part of a climate solution. “If you’re eating grassland meat,” Michael Pollan told Slate, “your carbon footprint is light and possibly even negative.”
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1.5 Cubic Miles of Water

1.5 Cubic Miles of Water

A lake under the Antarctic ice cap collapsed in a massive flood dumping 1.5 cubic miles of water into the ocean.
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Who's Really Waging a War on Coal?

File:Hazelton coal miners.jpgBy Reilly Capps 
Does this new phrase, War on Coal, make a smidge of sense? Let's look at this slowly and carefully. What is coal? Coal is a black rock that burns. It is the remains of plankton, seaweed, ferns -- maybe dinosaurs -- that died a long time ago. Coal beds are giant cemeteries. They should have headstones: "Allosaurus: 155-150 mya. RIP." What is a war? A war always involves violence. And those who oppose the War on Coal show their support for coal by finding the biggest batches of coal they can and -- follow me closely here -- BLOWING THE COAL UP. 
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Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change...Price Carbon

Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change...Price Carbon

What ecologists have known for some time, economists are coming to realize: an easy and non-bureaucratic climate solution exists that would have a real impact on helping to solve the climate crisis...price carbon pollution.
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Islands Make Wakes...who knew?

Islands Make Wakes...who knew?

Like a saliboat on a calm sea, a canoe on a lake, or a vessel on any body of water, islands can produce a wake as well. Who knew?
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Your Future Has Arrived

TF-X will have on-board systems that make flying safer and easier than ever before.By Reilly Capps
People like to complain that the futuristic-sounding year 2000 came and went without a particularly futuristic feel. Where's my hovercraft? Where's my flying car? 
But those people aren't paying attention.  
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Voyager Still Surprises

Voyager Still Surprises

The Voyager space probe has passed into a strange and unpredicted zone of space. The original models will all need to be changed.
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Ponderosa Pines: 2 Views

Ponderosa Pines: 2 Views

Colorado has been burning. Part of the reason is past forest management.
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What Counts on Speeches? Optics, and Pit Stains

By Reilly Capps
Obama's speech on the environment had excellent optics -- but they could have been even better. If Obama wants to attract more global warming converts, he should have probably kept lifting up his arms and showing off the stains. "Nasty, huh? It's like the Mississippi Delta in my pits!" And do these other things.
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A Big Day for the Environment: DeChristopher is on Letterman

By Reilly Capps
social justice, global warming, climate change, Tim DeChristopher
Tim DeChristopher, recently sprung from federal prison, is scheduled to be on "The Late Show with David Letterman" tonight. No word on whether he plans to do stand up or if he'll bring a trained monkey. 
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Science Fair Projects That Will Get You Noticed

Science Fair Projects That Will Get You Noticed

By Lucas Gardner
When school comes back around this spring, some of you younger readers might find yourself in need of some ideas for science projects or presentation topics, say, for a science fair or the like. Here are some that are all yours for the taking! You will win the science fair; you may be kicked out of school 
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The New Genius

By Reilly Capps
There've been a few people lately standing up for for poetry and literature, but poetry's old and tired. Homer. The psalmist. Lucretius. You know how I know they're not that good? They're all dead. Data is where it's at. Data's new. Emails, highway tolls, grocery store receipts. There is more data created every day today than was created in all of human history until last year. There's data to back that up, but I'm a humanities major; I don't know how to find it. Data is big. Data is valuable. You don't see the NSA busting up the constitution and demanding everybody's record from this year's sonnets.
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Herbal Earth

Herbal Earth

Green is an important color on Earth. We totally depend on it.
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Super-Sized Monsoon

Super-Sized Monsoon

The monsoon season in South Asia is typically a welcome event bringing much need rains for crops, rivers, and cities. This year a super-sized monsoon has arrived with a vengeance to northern India and Nepal with mass flooding being the norm.
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PBS's Headline Problem

By Reilly Capps 
The following piece on PBS was titled, "What Makes Us Happy?" and "Can Money Buy Happiness?" 
I can think of ten snappier, more descriptive headlines.
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Singapore Smokes

Singapore Smokes

I used to have an office in Singapore. Typically it is a very nice place but the City State is now shrouded in thick smoke from illegal fires in Indonesia.
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Recent Archive Highlights

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.

My Life As A Turkey

My Life As A Turkey 21 November 2018

My Life As A Turkey

A true turkey story for Thanksgiving.

Rewilding

Rewilding 4 September 2018

Rewilding

A 'silent spring' could become a 'wild summer' 

Conserving, the Mother Load

Conserving, the Mother Load 26 June 2018

Conserving, the Mother Load

Avoiding another Dust Bowl.

Archive