Environment

Using Feces to Identify Species

According to a press release from Northern Arizona University, Drs. Faith Walker and Carol Chambers at the Bat Ecology & Genetics Lab have developed a system called Species From Feces to identify bat species from guano collected in field locations such as mines, caves, bridges, etc. The system takes advantage of DNA sequencing technology and an assay…

Hurricane Matthew (Updated)

Update: Thursday Mid Day The hurricane status of Matthew is so fresh that the NWS, at this moment, has a mixture of products that call it a tropical storm and products that call it a hurricane. To be a hurricane, a storm’s wind speed have to be 74 mph (64 knots) or more, and of…

The US is already behind in its agreed to commitment to clean power A study just out in Nature climate Change suggests that the US is already behind in its commitments to reduce the use of fossil fuel as an energy source, and the concomitant release of climate-warming greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. The paper,…

You’ve probably already heard about his paper because everyone is all a tizzy about it. There is a fundamental complaint being made about one of the paper’s conclusions. I’ve been paying careful attention to what my colleagues are saying about that one aspect of the paper, and I get their point but I’m not sure…

One of the differences among the current four candidates for POTUS is the recognition, by only one of them, of the great importance of basic research. By that, I mean, give the scientists funding to pursue the questions that interest them. A sort of free market of ideas driven not by profits of the Bayers,…

AGU Throws Science, Climate Under The Bus

The American Geophysical Union just lost whatever remaining credibility it had as a scientific society earlier today when it announced no change in policy regarding taking money from ExxonMobil. We talked about this before, here. Margaret Leinen, the AGU president, issued a communication today that says this: Last week the AGU Board of Directors discussed…

This is it. Don’t mess this up. It isn’t that common that a single event can have a cascading effect on so many things. And if it does, such an event would not be that likely to have an entirely negative effect on all it touches. But, the election of Donald Trump as President of…

What we need to do to stop global warming

Obviously, we need to stop the human enhanced extra greenhouse effect. There are a number of ways to approach this. Let me say right away that taking CO2, the main greenhouse gas of concern long term, out of the atmosphere is NOT one of the ways. Here’s why: It takes energy to put Carbon into…

Reducing gas emissions…from cows

No joke: California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to regulate ‘gas’ emissions from cows along with other sources of greenhouse gases, of course. According to an interview from NPR, dairy cows are the number one producer of methane in California. The problem with methane is that it is a major component of smog, although according to scientists at the University…

Extreme Physiology: Radiation tolerance

Don’t let their small size fool you. Tardigrades, or ‘water bears’, are really tough animals. According to a review published in the American Scientist, these microscopic invertebrates can survive extreme variations in temperature from near absolute zero (-459 deg F) up to +302 deg F. They can also tolerate pressures that are 6 times greater than the deepest…