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Forecasters and Science Writers Knock Weather.Com For Hype

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 8:55pm
A low-end nor’easter is bringing wind and rain to much of the Northeast U.S. this evening, and Gale Warnings have been posted in the Atlantic as well. As nor’easters go, this is not really a big one, and we will see far worse over the coming months, with some of them bringing snow instead of rain.This is what I told my viewers here in Maryland/ Delaware, and so did many …

Congress and Me: A Scientist in DC

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:14pm
This past September, I participated in the Geosciences Congressional Visits Day (Geo-CVD) sponsored by AGU. As public support for science is waning, I have realized that we as scientists really need to step up our game on communicating, both with the public and with policy makers. Obviously we are versed in selling the importance of our science to our peers, but we need to do the same for the audience …

The Bukit Beruntung landslide in Selangor, Malaysia

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:42am
Earlier this week heavy rainfall triggered a landslide at Bukit Beruntung in Selangor, Malaysia, which resulted in the evacuation of over 2000 people

Standing on the San Andreas Fault

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 12:25pm
Having just arrived in California and still in the process of unpacking boxes in my apartment, I decided the most productive thing to do was go on a hike. Silicon Valley is near a lot of Open Space Preserves as well as various local and state parks, and I was really eager to get outside and explore. And because I'm in California, I was hungry to finally set eyes (and foot) on the biggest fault I could get to.

Record Warm September Increases Odds that 2014 Will be Hottest on Record

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 5:15pm
From NOAA. From NOAA. NOAA announced today that both August and September were the hottest globally since reliable instrument records began in the 1880′s. From NOAA: Global Highlights The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for September 2014 was the highest on record for September, at 0.72°C (1.30°F) above the 20th century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F). The global land surface temperature was 0.89°C (1.60°F) above the 20th …

Monday Geology Picture(s): Geological Sampling on the Moon

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 4:00am
If you think that regular geological field work and sampling can be challenging, try doing those tasks in a spacesuit. During my recent (June 2014) trip to Washington, DC, I visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Among many wonderful things, I saw a display that included some sampling tools that astronauts in spacesuits used to help them collect samples from the lunar surface during the Apollo missions. You can read …

2015 AEG Shlemon Specialty Conference – “Time to Face the Landslide Hazard Dilemma: Bridging Science, Policy, Public Safety, and Potential Loss”

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 2:48am
The 2015 Shlemon Specialty Conference, organised by the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, is entitled "Time to Face the Landslide Hazard Dilemma: Bridging Science, Policy, Public Safety, and Potential Loss".

New Brian Cox Series Human Universe on BBC Two is Excellent. Will it air in America?

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 6:53pm
I was in the UK on holiday last week, and caught two episodes of Professor Brian Cox’s new series Human Universe on BBC Two. Once again, Cox was superb, and the BBC have shown that no one on the planet can match them in science programming. Hopefully BBC will air it on BBC America or perhaps they will sell it to PBS. Then again there are probably tons of illegal …

Friday fold: Santorini schist

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 7:30am
Happy Friday! Here’s some folded schistocity in the schist of Santorini’s Cycladean subduction complex: The blunt crest of the fold in the second photo appears to be a folded marble boudin. Neato!

Another Well Written Defense of Science

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 8:53pm
Jonathan Bines is a staff writer for Jimmy Kimmel and he has a piece in Huff Post that is superb- it deserves sharing and widely. In this memorable October, a lot of virologists (and disease experts) are getting a taste of what evolutionary biologists, and climate scientists have experienced. A quote from Bines: “Science cannot be refuted by appeals to intuition or personal experience, attacks on the character or motivations …

The Winter Forecast Is Out, and It’s Probably Wrong!

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:51pm
  NOAA Released the 2014/2015 winter forecast today and it is probably wrong. I’m not taking a slam at NOAA here, they will also admit to you that the odds are that this forecast will not be correct. The truth is, that any forecast beyond 5-7 days has very low skill. That said, we cannot learn to make long-range forecasts unless we try, and that’s how science works: we make …

And now for the fun part: choosing your outreach activities!

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 1:36pm
The wonderful thing about science communication and outreach is that there are an almost infinite number of ways to share your science. We’ve made a quick list of some of the kinds of activities you can be involved in to share your science.

Boudinage in Santorini schist

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 7:27am
While on my blueschist quest, I noticed this boudin train exposed in the trail. I’m not sure what exactly is being boudinaged here – only that it is lighter in color than the schist that surrounds it, as well as finer grained and less foliated (more massive). A tabular mass of fault gouge perhaps?

Well Worth a Read: How Did We Become a Society Suspicious of Science?

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 11:17pm
I spotted this piece tonight by Keith Parsons a Professor of Philosophy at the Univ. of Houston-Clear lake. Well worth a read! He has a real point and it reminds me of Richard Feynman’s great quote: “Science is what we do keep from lying to ourselves”.

The Ebola Outbreak Is Proof That We Humans Are Terrible at Evaluating Risk

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 10:15pm
There are at least 5,000 dead of Ebola in Africa and it is a real human tragedy no doubt, but when I turned on CNN Tuesday to get the latest on what is happening there, I ended up watching nearly two hours of news about two patients who have contracted the disease in America. They are still alive, and hopefully with good care will beat the disease, but I must …

Make every week Earth Science Week!

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 8:07am
Why restrict the celebrations to one week? Let's make every effort to engage students in Earth Science content every week!

In search of Santorini’s blueschist, part 2: finding fault

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 7:22am
As mentioned last week, I took a solo field trip north of Perissa, Santorini, Greece, in search of subducted rocks. The contact between the two main rock types (marble and schist) was prominent and visible from a great distance (see photos in previous post), but what was the nature of this contact? Did it represent conformable stratigraphy? Was it a fault? Here’s a closer look at the contact: In places, …

Three great new landslide videos, including a surfing backhoe!

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 2:57am
I have come across three really interesting and high quality new landslide videos, including one that shows a backhoe surfing a landslide

Two in Row- September Follows August as Hottest on Record. 2014 May Be Hottest Ever.

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 5:38pm
Just like August, September was the hottest on record globally (according to NASA). NOAA maintains a different record, and will report their number any day now. The data sets use slightly different methods, but it’s a good bet that they will show a new record as well. NASA also has a graph showing the heat anomalies by latitude: NOAA’s National Climate Data Center created a very good info graphic that …

The New A-380 Airbus Is Indeed Amazing

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 3:19pm
I’ve been rather quiet here for over a week for good reason: I’ve been on holiday in the UK, and Cornwall in particular. I’ll have some more to write about in the week ahead, but I thought I would share a few comments about the new A-380 airbus. It’s the biggest passenger plane in the World and British Airways just put it into service. I was lucky enough to fly …