Monday, November 12, 2018

Pangea finally realized

Pangea, the long lost supercontinent, is now nearly complete, thanks to GOCE's innovative research showing this to be true.

These features include dense rocky zones called cratons – remnants of ancient continents found at the heart of modern continental plates – highly folded ‘orogen’ regions associated with mountain ranges and the thinner crust of ocean beds.

The new window into the deep subsurface offered by this data offers novel insights into the structure of all Earth’s continents, but especially Antarctica. With more than 98% of its surface covered by ice with an average thickness of 2 km, the southern continent largely remains a blank spot on current geological maps.

It gets better

“These gravity images are revolutionising our ability to study the least understood continent on Earth, Antarctica,” says co-author Fausto Ferraccioli, Science Leader of Geology and Geophysics at BAS.

“In East Antarctica we see an exciting mosaic of geological features that reveal fundamental similarities and differences between the crust beneath Antarctica and other continents it was joined to until 160 million years ago.”

The gravity gradient findings show West Antarctica has a thinner crust and lithosphere compared to that of East Antarctica, which is made up of a mosaic of old cratons separated by younger orogens, revealing a family likeness to Australia and India.

These findings are of more than purely historic geological interest. They give clues to how Antarctica’s continental structure is influencing the behavior of ice sheets and how rapidly Antarctica regions will rebound in response to melting ice.

Pangea breaking apart

"Ain't science grand? :)

Friday, November 09, 2018

Insanity is ...

For What's it's Worth comes to mind here in a powerful film with Chris Hedges as commentator and critic of unbridled capitalism and what it means to America and to the world. Take the time to watch this to become aware and learn why George Carlin was right. The real owners of the country don't want people capable of critical thinking because if we were, this kind of inequality and slow motion move toward totalitarianism would not happen.

Zackem: Chris’s closing line, “You can’t talk about hope until you can see reality and reality is pretty bleak, but that’s the starting point.”  That line has really stayed with me. We need to bring truth, honesty and compassion back into our national dialogue, and move past the attacks and distortion of the truth, to reach a place where hard concepts and real truth exists so we can actually accomplish positive change.

The Thinker - August Rodin

8K ... in space :)

Pretty cool without question. Seeing the goings on in the ISS depicts routines both complex and simple, something all together different from the sci fi movie of yesterday and today. :)

Astronauts aboard the ISS have had access to all manner of cameras as technology has advanced over the years. They’ve gone from 1080p HD, to 360-degree cameras, to 4K. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have shipped a new Helium 8K camera by RED to the ISS. 8K video has about eight times as many pixels as full HD with a resolution of 8,192 x 4,320. The camera actually arrived in April aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule, but the agency only now got around to producing a video with it.

The video follows astronauts going about their daily grind, floating around and doing science. There are also some awesome shots of Earth from the station, as well as the station’s exterior. NASA was so kind as to provide a description on YouTube of what we’re seeing in the footage, too. Early on, we see the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI), which maintains extremely low temperatures for experiments. The frosty air rolling off the surface looks almost surreal in 8K. There’s also some footage (around 21 and 57 seconds) of the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) and Plant Habitat-1, which help scientists understand how plants grow in space.

Not bad, not bad at all. :)

Monday, November 05, 2018


When looking at  the M1 Abrams Tank, one thinks all is well with the US Military but in looking at the real picture, a disquieting picture emerges, thanks to disastrous economic policies that has compromised to the max, the manufacturing base of a once great nation called America.

As per the report, fragility is part of the problem, caused by the economic policy that encouraged companies to offshore manufacturing in order to maximize profit has gutted GE and significant others in ways that stagger the imagination. 

Click here for the report. Disquieting indeed.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Sol, the heat engine

Sol, the heat engine that powers life, has been an obsession of man since the beginning of time as seen by an exhibit in London titled, Living with our star.

To whit.

As winter approaches here in the UK, the dark and dreary days are a reminder of how important the Sun is to our daily lives. Fortunately, there is a bright spot at the Science Museum in London, which has just launched an exhibition called The Sun: Living With Our Star. The exhibition runs until 6 May 2019 and is a treasure trove of objects that document humanity’s fascination with the Sun through the ages.

The oldest object I spotted in the exhibition was a Babylonian cuneiform from about 750 BC that refers to sunspots – possibly observed by looking at the Sun through fog or clouds. Sunspots were not a good omen to Babylonian astronomers, who interpreted them as a sign of famine. What is clear from the exhibition is that people have obsessed over sunspots for millennia. 

Physical history: The history of solar science includes a 750 BC Babylonian record of sunspots (above) (Courtesy: Jody Kingzett, courtesy of the Science Museum Group), as well as Norman Lockyer’s helium-discovering set of prisms (below). (Courtesy: Science Museum Group Collection)

Hommage to Kepler

Kepler changed how we view the universe as there are exoplanets, lots and lots of them thanks to Kepler, the space telescope that made it happen.

After nine years in deep space collecting data that indicate our sky to be filled with billions of hidden planets – more planets even than stars – NASA’s Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel needed for further science operations. NASA has decided to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 planet discoveries from outside our solar system, many of which could be promising places for life.

"As NASA's first planet-hunting mission, Kepler has wildly exceeded all our expectations and paved the way for our exploration and search for life in the solar system and beyond," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "Not only did it show us how many planets could be out there, it sparked an entirely new and robust field of research that has taken the science community by storm. Its discoveries have shed a new light on our place in the universe, and illuminated the tantalizing mysteries and possibilities among the stars.” 

Like Cassini, Kepler will be missed big time. RIP.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Where the buffalo roam

Prior to the white man, the great prairies of North America supported 30+ million bison along with a  myriad of plant and animal species that truly boggled the mind. After the white man arrived, with cattle, corn fields and systematic slaughter of the bison in hand, the grasslands of America were reduced to just a faded memory, something thought to be lost forever, until now.

When white settlers first arrived, a large swath of the U.S. was blanketed in tallgrass prairie. But turmoil came to the landscape shortly thereafter, as those settlers mowed down the bountiful biodiversity to get at the fertile soil beneath. Of the 170 million acres of tallgrass prairie that existed, only four percent of it remains today, ghosts among the cornfields.

It wasn’t just delicate grasses and wildflowers that were wiped out. An estimated 30 million bison roamed the Lower 48 before an extermination campaign brought that number down to around 300 by 1884. The animals have since rebounded somewhat in the the forests of the West and plains of the South, but the remaining tallgrass prairies in more northerly latitudes like Illinois, Minnesota, and Indiana are largely devoid of the grass-munching, mud-wallowing ungulates.

Enter the bison ...

The reason it isn’t a forest, though, is because disturbances beat back the trees. Those disturbances include fire, which Nachusa managers have used for years to slow woodland growth and provide crucial soil nutrients. Now, they have a partner in disturbance crime in the bison, who chow down on grass and spread fertilizing poop and pee all over the prairie.

Not surprisingly, plant communities with bison are becoming more diverse because the animals act as natural lawn mowers, opening up space for non-grass plants and flowers to grow. On the weird side of the ledger, Jones has found small animals in areas that bison frequent are heavier. It’s not wholly clear why, though she hypothesized that “maybe it’s because bison are lumbering nutrient providers and urine might increase invertebrates for mice to chow down on.” After all, we know animals love pee.

Hopefully this is just a start point to restoring the prairie to it's rightful place in North America because it's the right thing to do, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hey America - WTF

Hey America - WTF, pot is legal in CA, a really smart move by a sensible country, unlike the good ole USA mired in jesus, guns and tax cuts.

Stop making sense - Talking Heads