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Book report

6 hours 49 min ago
Callan reviews 11 books he's read in the past 11 months, some having to do with geology, many with the intellectual heritage of scientific insight, a few about history, two biographies, and some about random things.

On the importance of fictional role models

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 8:23pm
Last week, we learned that Leonard Nimoy died. Though it's sad both because we've lost an amazing person and an icon of science fiction, it got me thinking about why I personally cared so much about the character he created.

The Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) [Women's History Month]

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 8:22am
What can the Earth Science Women's Network possibly offer? It turns out, I underestimated the value of the "WN" in ESWN.

Chitral and Humla – two new valley-blocking landslides in the high mountains of South Asia?

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 3:31am
Reports emerged yesterday of two new valley-blocking landslides in the high mountains of South Asia, one in Humla, Nepal and one in Chitral, Pakistan

Ichnofossils in Gog quartzite

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 8:07am
At the Spiral Tunnels overlook on the Trans-Canada Highway, you can look at trains. Or, you can check out some lovely trace fossils in boulders which divide the viewing area from the highway: These are in the Gog Formation, a Cambrian-aged quartz arenite, mostly fused to quartzite nowadays… I know which subject I would choose to spend my time looking at…

Back to Back with Mr. Spock: An Appreciation of Leonard Nimoy

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:20am
Guest post by Kendrick Frazier I am finding myself surprisingly affected by the death of Leonard Nimoy Friday (Feb. 27). The character of Mr. Spock he brought to life on Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry, was one of the most memorable in television, perhaps even in modern fiction generally. He certainly was original and thought-provoking. Something about Spock’s half-Vulcan, half-human self illuminated for us all some of what it …

Monday Geology Picture: Cape Town Fire Smoke

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 1:50pm
Currently, forest fires are raging here in Cape Town, South Africa. You can see some images of the fires here and here and here. I live and work relatively far away from the fires. However, from my office today I could see smoke from the fires in the distance. I hope that the fires are put out soon since they threaten much of Cape Town’s beautiful forest as well as …

You can hide under your desk … as long as you still answer the phone

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 11:00am
“Well, if you need me I’ll be hiding under my desk,” I told my adviser on Friday afternoon. I’d just finished a 20-minute phone call with PRI (Public Radio International)’s The World. Responding to press inquiries is hard, and a morning of staring intently though the clutter on my desk wracking my brain for simple, concise answers to unexpected questions had left me feeling ragged. It had been just over 24 hours since the University of Arizona’s public information office had co-issued a press release with AGU about my recent paper on Icelandic glacial rebound, which was published in Geophysical Research Letters, and I’d spent all day Thursday and all of Friday morning answering emails and phone calls from reporters.

Study of atmospheric ‘froth’ may help GPS communications

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:01am
Irregularities in Earth's upper atmosphere can distort GPS signals, Scientists are studying these irregularities to help overcome their effects on communications.

Gazost: an impressive landslide in the Hautes-Pyrenees

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 2:39am
On Friday an interesting and quite mobile landslide affected the village of Gazost in the Haute-Pyrenees region of France

American Meteorological Society Criticises Congressional Investigation of Climate Researchers

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 9:15pm
More on this from Jason Samenow at the Washington Post.  This seems to be related to the disclosure last week, that Dr. Willie Soon did not disclose that he received funding from fossil fuel corporations. This appears on the surface to be  a serious ethical violation, and I would not be surprised to see action taken by the journals in which these papers were published. It’s worth noting that EVERY …

Live Long and Prosper, Leonard Nimoy

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 8:08pm
Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy.  Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time.  And of course, Leonard was Spock.  Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future. I loved Spock. In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person.  It was only logical …

Friday folds: Three tweets

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 7:25am
Back at the beginning of January, I asked for help on Twitter for Friday fold fodder. Here are three responses I got: @callanbentley one of my favorites from South Georgia Island. Have more on the laptop. pic.twitter.com/UaRtxM77Vm — John Van Hoesen (@Taconic_Musings) January 8, 2015 @callanbentley 2 folds from my SC Inner Piedmont MS thesis mapping field work (1997). biotite gneiss and amphibolite. pic.twitter.com/cnoyzwK3cL — Doug (@dropstones) January 8, 2015 …

George Monbiot and the Harbury landslide

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 4:00am
The writer George Monbiot has linked the Harbury landslide with the removal of vegetation from the embankment that failed. This does not seem to be correct based on the images on Google Earth and from the scene

Oklahoma Senator Illustrates Dunning-Kruger Effect

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 10:49pm
I wrote about the Dunning Kruger effect last week and a U.S.Senator took the floor of the Senate today to illustrate why you do not want to be a victim of this disease. In case you’re wondering about how the winter of 2015 is shaping up in the U.S. and around the world. Read this post from last week as well.Then there is also this research being published in the …

Drilling deep

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 11:18am
We’re in the Indian Ocean currently drilling the deepest of a six hole transect across the middle of the Bengal submarine fan. The fan covers the bottom of the Bay of Bengal with sediments eroded from the Himalayas. We’ll be devoting almost three weeks of our eight-week International Ocean Discovery Program expedition to drilling at this site. Our target: to reach 1,500 meters (about a mile) depth. Drilling this deep is a major challenge when you are drilling into the seafloor, which just so happens to be more than 3,600 meters (about two miles) below sea level. But why so deep? And why here?

Strategic edtech planning with the 2015 NMC Horizon Report

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 8:51am
This 12th edition of the NMC Horizon Project identifies and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education across the disciplines

Massive amounts of Saharan dust fertilize Amazon rainforest

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 10:02am
The Sahara Desert is a near-uninterrupted brown band of sand and scrub across the northern third of Africa. The Amazon rainforest is a dense green mass of humid jungle that covers northeast South America. But after strong winds sweep across the Sahara, a tan cloud rises in the air, stretches between the continents, and ties together the desert and the jungle. It’s dust. And lots of it. Scientists have not only used a satellite to measure the volume of dust that makes this trans-Atlantic journey. They have also calculated how much phosphorus – remnant in Saharan sands from part of the desert’s past as a lake bed – gets carried across the ocean from one of the planet’s most desolate places to one of its most fertile.

New macro GigaPans for exploration

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 7:14am
My student Robin has been busy cranking out great new macro GigaPans. Check out a few of these new examples: [gigapan src="http://gigapan.org/gigapans/169173/options/nosnapshots,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html" height="250" scrolling="no" width="100%"] link [gigapan src="http://gigapan.org/gigapans/169045/options/nosnapshots,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html" height="250" scrolling="no" width="100%"] link [gigapan src="http://gigapan.org/gigapans/169028/options/nosnapshots,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html" height="250" scrolling="no" width="100%"] link [gigapan src="http://gigapan.org/gigapans/169039/options/nosnapshots,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html" height="250" scrolling="no" width="100%"] link [gigapan src="http://gigapan.org/gigapans/168879/options/nosnapshots,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html" height="250" scrolling="no" width="100%"] link [gigapan src="http://gigapan.org/gigapans/168843/options/nosnapshots,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html" height="250" scrolling="no" width="100%"] link [gigapan src="http://gigapan.org/gigapans/168841/options/nosnapshots,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html" height="250" scrolling="no" width="100%"] link [gigapan src="http://gigapan.org/gigapans/168794/options/nosnapshots,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html" height="250" scrolling="no" width="100%"] link

The Future of Weather Forecasting May Be in Your Backyard or Your Smart Phone

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 1:21am
I did a piece about the growing number of backyard weather stations that aired on Monday, and I thought I would share it with you. I also talk about the growing number of weather apps and smart phone sensors, that I’ve mentioned here before. You can find out how to set up a home weather station and put the data online for the world to see in a post I wrote …