A journal of science, thought, and action.

Krakatoa Awakens




Krakatoa Awakens

Krakatoa is again active.

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Pollution from Hurricane Florence




Pollution from Hurricane Florence

Water pollution seen from space.

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The Conservation Alliance

Archive Highlights

Intelligence of Plants

Intelligence of Plants

Amazing new understandings of intelligence in plants.

8 Aug 2017

Video Highlights

Recent Archive Highlights


Rewilding 4 September 2018


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.

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.

The Rewards of Donating to SWP

You will be helped, other people – perhaps Mario Lopez -- will be hurt By Lucas Gardner Hello friends, I'm a humorist for Riled Up Journal. My friends here at SWP Media are developing an app for photographers and it's really cool and I'd like you to help us make it. SWP’s new photography interface is sort of like a new beginning for photographers. Instead of giving your stuff away for free by uploading it to Facebook or Instagram, who own the rights, you can sell your photos, for a small ...
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Sniffer Dog

Our loyal “sniffer dog” on Mars, the Curiosity rover, has been smelling the air and tasting the soils of Gale Crater where the rover landed in August. The first results are in and, so far, no methane has been detected by in the air. Methane is important. It could be a signature of extant life on the desert planet. On Earth, the methane molecule---CH4---can either be produced by geology (volcanoes) or biology (anything dead or alive) but the vast majority of the gas is derived from ...
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How to Tell if You're a Good Photographer

If you shoot your bong, you may suck By Lucas Gardner You've heard the phrase: “Nowadays, everyone with a phone is a photographer.” It's true everyone with a phone can take a photo, but those people are only photographers in the same sense that everyone who owns a car is a racecar driver. On the Internet, talented photographers are overshadowed by thousands of 14-year-olds taking pictures of their bongs and captioning them with Wiz Khalifa lyrics. That's not photography, and Wiz Khalifa ...
  • 2194

The myth of the Century Plant

Ever heard the stories about the Century Plant, the desert agave that was supposed to live for 100 years and then send up a glorious, 15-foot-high, flowering stalk, in a final reproductive flourish, before dying? Well, it was a romantic myth. At least the century part.   Bob Ward photo Fall hikers on the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail will see literally hundreds of Utah Agave plants, many of them dead with tall, yellow, dried-out stalks. But if these plants flower only once per century, ...
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Fall Photo Tips

In many locations, its fall and the perfect time for some excellent photo and video explorations. Nature photographer Juergen Roth provided Riled Up with a guest post about 11 Tips for Better Fall Foliage Photos . New England Fall Color (credit: Juergen Roth) Read Juergen’s tips for producing better photos and start shooting before the fleeting colors vanish. Visit him at Juergen Roth Fine Art Photography to view more of his work. Riled Up
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Climate of Doubt

Frontline’s great story, “Climate of Doubt,” is about how skeptics have won this last round of the climate debate. It’s frustrating … infuriating … to watch it. From the days when Newt Gingrich and John McCain said we have to do something about global warming to today’s silence on the issue. Watch Climate of Doubt on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE. It includes a bit on my favorite former congressman, Bob Inglis, who had the bad sense to be both a Republican and a realist on global ...
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Where’s the Global Warming Talk?

Even in the aftermath of a huge hurricane, major outlets aren’t talking about global warming By Reilly Capps The coverage of Sandy has been fascinating. But it feels like it’s missing the bigger point. The big point: global warming helps make storms bigger and deadlier. While it was great to hear a few New York politicians – including Gov. Cuomo, a Democrat, and a Republican, Mayor Bloomberg – mention global warming, it was sad how few news outlets did. The Onion, by contrast, gets ...
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Hurricane Sandy Storm Report

By Lucas Gardner Greetings from Buffalo. I'm right in the middle of the drizzly path of Hurricane Sandy. It has been nicknamed “Frankenstorm” by meteorologists but is more accurately referred to as “Frankenstorm's Monster.” Frankenstorm is just the guy who CREATED the storm. Common mistake. I am currently locked up in my disaster shelter, which I built in 2001 in preparation for Y2k, then converted into a sex room in 2002 then re-converted into a disaster shelter a few weeks later. I have ...
  • 2356

Super Storm

All climate change models predict an increase and frequency of extreme weather events due to a warming atmosphere that can hold more moisture. When three weather systems merge, “super-storm” Sandy is the result. There may many more to come. Super-storm Sandy from Space (credit: NASA) WHB
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Triple Threat

Hurricane Sandy is a triple threat of a storm. Combining high winds, heavy rains, and surging tides, the monster storm has begun to slam into the eastern USA. Sandy’s impacts could be immense. NASA released an impressive time-lapse animation today that shows the convergence of three air masses: the tropical storm system (Sandy) from the south merging with two cold air masses moving from the west and down from the north to create the monster hybrid storm. Hurricane Sandy Prowls ...
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Ghost Orchid

Orchids come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Here is a very tiny species---less than 3” tall---native to woodlands and stream-bank forests of tropical Africa. This orchid species lacks chlorophyll and requires a persistent root-fungus relationship throughout its development and flowering to obtain required nutrients for growth. Such plants are know as saprophytes. Despite its small size and no green leaves, the flowers are strongly lemon scented. Here are two photos of this ghostly orchid ...
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Poor Monkey

Florida’s Mystery Monkey has finally been captured. Over the past three years, he had been widely seen crossing suburban streets visiting neighborhood gardens around Tampa, Florida sampling fruits and vegetables. The neighbors were concerned. The wandering  rhesus macaque had probably escaped from a monkey colony used years prior during filming of old Tarzan movies. The Mystery Monkey had alluded food traps, veterinarian darts, and all other efforts to coral the wily critter into a cage. ...
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Dear Army Corp of Engineers: This is How Every Bridge Should Look

I never want to cross another bridge that isn’t a trampoline bridge. It looks too good to be true. It is. This is just a concept, entered into a bridge design competition. But someday, maybe. - Reilly Capps
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Beluga Speaks Human

Recently, one of our guest contributors was very discouraged that her favorite songster as a kid, Raffi, had tricked her into thinking his song, Baby Beluga, was in fact based in truth and fact. Instead, she informed us that he was "a big, fat, stinking liar” and her kid’s imagination was crushed. Baby Beluga must have been of considerable influence on many a kid’s imagination. I was reminded of her distress after learning that a real-life beluga had confused marine mammal researchers at ...
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The Big One

My hometown, Los Angeles, always gets a bum rap. Whether being destroyed by massive continental plates rupturing the San Andres Fault (2012), to attacks by creepy alien invaders (Battle LA), or the city being taken over by crazed zombies (Zombieland), LA comes out the looser. Forget the zombies munching on everyone in Santa Monica, NASA now informs me that a monster hurricane isn’t out of the realm of possibility. NASA now says the old California adage that southern California only has ...
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Time to ditch the flickering fluorescents

Remember those bluish fluorescent tubes that illuminated your childhood classrooms and, until recently, most supermarkets and big-box stores? These flickering lights have been giving Americans headaches for some 70 years, but they’re going the way of 8-track tapes and lead paint. This is not a market-based transition, but a government-mandated “phase-out.” In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy decided that so-called T12 magnetic-ballast fixtures and bulbs were outdated and inefficient. So ...
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Bye, Bye, Palms

Palms have resonated with people since record keeping began. Religious stories including the plants are often mentioned (palm Sunday, date palms); seafaring voyagers carried palm nuts between islands (coconuts); modern growers maintain huge plantations (oil palms), and famous boulevards in Los Angeles are decorated with the iconic trees (fan palms). Palms produce myriad benefits including essential foods; useful construction materials; beautiful garden elements, and important ecosystem ...
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The Tip Of the Iceberg

By Bob Ward Refrigeration is so basic to our everyday lives that we hardly think about it. But keeping food cool accounts for a big chunk of most families’ power bills, and refrigeration accounts for 14 percent of a typical U.S. home’s electricity use. Fortunately, new motors exist that can run a refrigerator 80 percent more efficiently than traditional motors, especially when coupled with a controller to run a fan at different speeds, depending on need. A new company in Glenwood Springs, ...
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Heaven & Earth Erupt

In documentary photography, the mantra is always ‘opportunity, opportunity, opportunity’. A case in point is an image of the western sky colored by iridescent auroras and the eruption of a geyser in Yellowstone National Park. The night time shooter saw a mosaic in his field of view with White Dome Geyser erupting in the foreground. With green auroras appearing on the horizon, brilliant bands of red auroras shimmering overhead, a bright moon illuminating the foreground, an image of heaven and ...
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LA Sunrise Drive

The California Science Center captured an image of the space shuttle Endeavour as it rolled through the streets of Los Angeles on October 14, 2012 at sunrise. The craft will become a ‘star attraction’ at the Center now that it has been retired. Don’t hit the palm trees! Space Shuttle in LA, sunrise (credit: California Science Center) WHB
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The Search for Tatooine Continues

Amateurs have found a planet with four suns. At first, Internet idiots were saying we found Luke Skywalker’s home planet, Tatooine. But Tatooine only had two suns, you pseudo-nerds. Get a life. - Reilly Capps  
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The Search for Tatooine Continues

Amateurs have found a planet with four suns. At first, Internet idiots were saying we found Luke Skywalker’s home planet, Tatooine. But Tatooine only had two suns, you pseudo-nerds. Get a life. - Reilly Capps  
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The Search for Tatooine Continues

Amateurs have found a planet with four suns. At first, Internet idiots were saying we found Luke Skywalker’s home planet, Tatooine. But Tatooine only had two suns, you pseudo-nerds. Get a life. - Reilly Capps  
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Anti-Sunshine Crew’s Attack Ads on Solyndra Aren’t Working

The anti-sunshine crew has spent $11 million attacking Solyndra. The solar company went belly-up, costing taxpayers half a billion dollars. It was a flop. But despite that flop, and despite the attack ads, Americans still overwhelmingly support clean energy, according to a Pew poll, which says that 52 percent of Americans support clean energy as our most important energy resource, and that it has far more support that fossil fuels. People know what’s up, despite all the obfuscation. ...
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