What we're talking about El Niño from a Distance Wednesday, April 16, 2014

El Niño from a Distance

So, the bad news is that it is looking increasingly likely that the world will experience a very strong El Nino event this 2014-2015 winter (winter in the N. hemisphere, summer down under).  There is even talk of a super-El Nino, one to rival 1998′s phenomenal event.  Lots of good information on that here at…

The last hurricane season in the Atlantic was anemic, being one of least active periods on record. This was attributed to extra dust blown off the Sahara which inhibits hurricane development. Right now, the various forecasting agencies around the world are agreeing that there is a greater than 50% chance, perhaps a 70% chance of…

As Coby Beck reports on A Few Things Ill-Considered, talk of a "very strong" El Niño this year has forecasters already excited about winter in the northern hemisphere. Coby says "there is even talk of a super-El Niño, one to rival 1998′s phenomenal event." El Niño alternates with La Niña bringing warmer sea surface temperatures across the Pacific to the Americas. In addition to a warm winter, El Niño typically means dry weather for most of the United States. But California could look forward to getting its thirst quenched, if not also its need for fresh powder. Meanwhile Greg Laden says the East Coast can look forward to fewer cyclones if El Niño prevails. If it does, Coby says "there will also undoubtedly be a new, likely very striking, global temperature anomaly record high."

Channel Surfing

Life Science

He hates Tiktaalik. He hates it so much he even has a hard time spelling its name correctly. Tikaalik is again being popularized through the new PBS series "Your Inner Fish.” it’s really a desperate con job on the part of evolutionists who can’t defend their evolutionary fictional story. He actually surprises me a little…

Virginia Hughes tells us about techniques to look inside the zebrafish brain. The gang at HHMI are using two photon imaging and clever image analysis to get very clear, sharp images of fluorescent neurons. Oy, that’s pretty. This old codger did some of that stuff, many years ago, but you know what we had to…

Via John Wilkins and John Farrell: A Simple Visualization of How Species Evolve This is basically my dissertation, animated. LOL!! What are you looking at? Every pixel in that square is a genetic sequence. Some of those sequences confer a higher fitness advantage (the red colored peaks) or disadvantage (below the plane). The Blue color…

Physical Science

Guest Blog By Festival X-STEM Speaker and Expo Performer  Dr. Joe Schwarcz “Hey, aren’t you somebody?” the teenager queried as I got into the elevator. While I was pondering an appropriate answer to this deeply philosophical question, his crony spilled the beans: “Yeah, he’s that guy who talks about chemistry on TV.” This was just…

… and by that I mean the El Niño phase of the El Niño Souther Oscillation climate pattern. We have been in an ENSO neutral phase for a while. Climate scientists have a hard time predicting El Niño, which arrives in Summer, Fall, or Winter, this early in the year, but nonetheless most prediction sources,…

The last couple of days have been ridiculously hectic, but Rhett and I did manage to record another episode of Uncertain Dots, our twelfth: This time out, we talk about labs, undergrad research, kids doing chores, weather, student course evaluations, and I didn’t really rant about superheroes. Relevant to the weather thing, I offer the…

Environment

… and by that I mean the El Niño phase of the El Niño Souther Oscillation climate pattern. We have been in an ENSO neutral phase for a while. Climate scientists have a hard time predicting El Niño, which arrives in Summer, Fall, or Winter, this early in the year, but nonetheless most prediction sources,…

Check out my latest post on 10,000 Birds. That is all, thank you very much.

Two recent incidents reminded me of what a worker said about “safety talks.”

Humanities

The list of Pulitzer Prize winners released earlier this week includes several journalists who addressed public-health issues, from black lung to food stamps.

I’d like to point out a new book that I think is interesting and worth a look. It is called “The Insulted Trilobite: some helpful objections to the God Delusion” and it is by the pseudonymous J. A. Posner, and obviously the intended audience is the Atheist and Skeptics community. Simply put, Poster Fisked Dawkins,…

The Washington Post provides in-depth coverage on issues facing veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan; an unprecedented release of Medicare data gives reporters a lot to work with; and journalists consider how West Virginia’s reliance on a few industries has influenced the state’s response to contaminated water and drug addiction.

Education

Guest Blog By Festival X-STEM Speaker and Expo Performer  Dr. Joe Schwarcz “Hey, aren’t you somebody?” the teenager queried as I got into the elevator. While I was pondering an appropriate answer to this deeply philosophical question, his crony spilled the beans: “Yeah, he’s that guy who talks about chemistry on TV.” This was just…

True to its mission of helping to advance STEM education in dynamic ways, the Northrop Grumman Foundation, a major sponsor of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, will take visitors up close and personal this April with one of the most ambitious projects today in space science: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. At Festival Expo 2014, get…

Guest Blog by Alan Ladwig USA Science & Engineering Festival Emcee  and Panel Host I am really looking forward to having fun at my third USA Science and Engineering Festival. With its carnival-like atmosphere the Festival is the perfect place to bring your kids for an up close look at the wonders of science and technology.…

Politics

NIOSH is one of those federal agencies that prefers to lie quietly in the background. But when USDA misconstrued a NIOSH report on poultry worker injuries, the agency took notice and created some waves.

The Bottleneck Years by H.E. Taylor Chapter 86 Table of Contents Chapter 88 Chapter 87 The Chinese Girlfriend, April 15, 2060 At the end of an Ecology 110 lecture the other day, Carman unobtrusively entered the back of the room and sat down. I was going through the history of DNA reading devices from Sanger…

From NBC: … Mohammad Musa Khan appeared in court in the city of Lahore last week, charged with attempted murder along with his father and grandfather after a mob protesting against gas cuts and price increases stoned police and gas company workers trying to collect overdue bills. “Police are vindictive. Now they are trying to…

Medicine

I’m depressed as I write this, because I have some very sad news to relate to you. It appears that Laura Hymas died on Sunday morning. I learned this on Twitter yesterday from a source I trust, not to mention from mentions on Ben Hymas’s Facebook page, in which friends are commenting on how they…

As part of related research into consumer protection, I recently scanned in a copy of Samuel Hopkins Adams’ seminal articles on the patent medicine industry. These articles, which appeared in Collier’s magazine starting in 1905, helped build the record for the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act, and for amendments to that law in 1912.…

In the well over nine years that I’ve been blogging, there’s one tried and true, completely reliable topic to blog about, one that I can almost always find. I’m referring, of course, to the credulous news story about pseudoscience. The pseudoscience can be quackery, creationism, anthropogenic global warming denialist arguments, or whatever; inevitably, there will…

Brain & Behavior

An river otter was captured on camera taking on an juvenile alligator…and winning. The battle took place at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida in 2011. More images can be seen on their Facebook page where the images were recently posted, impressive! According to National Geographic, the normal diet of a river otter consists of…

Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) helps keep proteins in the body folded properly and is thought to compensate for variations that occur in proteins over time. In a study published in Science magazine, Dr. Nicolas Rohner and colleagues showed that stress can affect the ability for HSP90 to do its job thereby unmasking these alternative…

Check out this neat video highlighting how frog-eating bats are using frog mating calls to know where to pick up dinner:

Technology

True to its mission of helping to advance STEM education in dynamic ways, the Northrop Grumman Foundation, a major sponsor of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, will take visitors up close and personal this April with one of the most ambitious projects today in space science: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. At Festival Expo 2014, get…

The Bottleneck Years by H.E. Taylor Chapter 86 Table of Contents Chapter 88 Chapter 87 The Chinese Girlfriend, April 15, 2060 At the end of an Ecology 110 lecture the other day, Carman unobtrusively entered the back of the room and sat down. I was going through the history of DNA reading devices from Sanger…

Hey, wait! Ubuntu One was the next big thing. It was better than dropbox and iTunes and everything! I never personally got it to work for me, though I did sign up for it. Just now, I got an email from The Ubuntu One team telling me the file service system would be gone effective…

Information Science

Henry Markram, a chief editor at Frontiers, the journal that recently retracted (resulting in multiple resignations of editors from that journal), inappropriately, an important paper on climate change denialism, just made the following comment on a post on that journal’s blog. My own personal opinion: The authors of the retracted paper and their followers are…

As part of the celebrations for Canada`s upcomming 150th birthday, the Canadian federal government has released its Digital Canada 150 strategy paper, and while it`s not all bad, at the same time there is not an awful lot to recommend it. Especially considering it was four years in the making. My sense is that its…

Oh, Cracked, you are so funny. So funny it just really hurts sometimes. And these so definitely apply to the pickle that libraries and other cultural/content institutions and industries find themselves in as we try and find our place in a future that is very different from the past. 5 Reasons The Future Will Be…

Jobs

Two recent incidents reminded me of what a worker said about “safety talks.”

A high-road employer and lower-wage workers spoke in the second week of public hearings on OSHA’s proposed rule to protect workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica.

It’s the time of year where colleges and grad schools are making admissions decisions, and faculty job search season is winding down (for tenure-track positions in physics, anyway– our search for a visiting professor for next year is still underway). In the spirit of the season, then, Matt “Dean Dad” Reed asks about the writing…