Archives for August, 2012

Waterworld

This week on Skeptically Speaking: This week, we’re discussing some fascinating science focused on the liquid portions of our big blue planet. We’re joined by graduate researcher Andrew David Thaler, founder of Southern Fried Science, to talk about the weird and wonderful networks of life that exist in the Deep Sea. And on the podcast,…

Curious about Curiosity?

Here’s the last few news reports: August 21: NASA’s Curiosity Studies Mars Surroundings, Nears Drive NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has been investigating the Martian weather around it and the soil beneath it, as its controllers prepare for the car-size vehicle’s first drive on Mars. The rover’s weather station, provided by Spain, checks air temperature, ground…

According to data just now available, the total surface area of the summertime Arctic Sea that is covered in ice has reached the lowest point ever recorded. Every (northern) summer the sea ice in the Arctic melts to some degree, reaching a minimum around the middle of September. Over the last several years, the amount…

Soon To Be Hurricane Isaac Isaac is a tropical storm currently located south of Puerto Rico and heading for Haiti and Cuba. After rolling over those land areas for several hours, and reaching the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, Isaac is expected to become a modest hurricane, likely to menace the west coast of Florida and…

There is a relationship between how much CO2 is in the atmosphere and sea level. More CO2 means a warmer atmosphere and that means less long term (glacial) ice and that means more sea water. Also, a warmer planet means the ocean water is warmer, and thus it expands, and that also contributes to sea…

The State Fair is about to start up here in Minnesota, and the top epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota has very clearly stated that the swine should be excluded this year in order to avoid swine to human transmission of a flu virus that has been showing up in increasing numbers lately. I’ve blogged…

Mimicry

Mimicry is when one species has changed over time via Natural Selection to look like another species. Three commonly defined forms of mimicry are: Batesian mimicry, named after Henry Walter Bates, a 19th century Natural Historian, where one species is poisonous or otherwise dangerous to a predator, and another species takes evolutionary advantage of that…

… goes down, compared to other forms of insemination, because “the female body has ways to shut that down.” That’s according to Missouri Congressman Todd Akin. But this only works, according to him, if the rape is “legitimate.” From this we can easily develop a sort of Witch Hunt method to determine if a woman…

It worked!

Never mind the heat shield, the parachute, the thruster-guided landing, all of that. Curiosity went to Mars to carry out experiments using Big Science Gear and now it is confirmed that at least one set of gear works! The method is laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, in which very high power but short burst laser light is…

Siege of Stars by Henry Gee

Henry Gee, the Nature editor, has a novel in three parts … Siege of Stars: Book One of The Sigil Trilogy … that I found hit home very closely like maybe Henry was me reincarnated and then transported back through time so his, er, our timeline would cross. This is not surprising since Henry and…