Environment

Category archives for Environment

This may be a job for the MythBusters, but I’ll throw this out as a puzzle for interested blog readers. I don’t know the answer to this (though it wouldn’t be all that hard to determine experimentally), I just think it’s sort of interesting. There’s a poll at the bottom of this post, but it…

Amazing Laser Application 9: Fusion!

What’s the application? The goal of laser ignition fusion experiments is to heat and compress a target to the point where the nuclei of the atoms making up the sample fuse together to form a new, heavier nucleus, releasing energy in the process. Nuclear fusion is, of course, what powers stars, and creating fusion in…

What’s Eating Our House?

A neighbor pointed out to me yesterday that there’s a big hole in our clapboard siding that was made by some sort of bird. This morning, I got a picture of the culprit: I’m not quite certain why the animal kingdom has decided to trash my stuff this year– insane jealousy of Emmy?– but I…

Belated March Meeting Wrap-Up

I did one sketchy update from Portland last Tuesday, but never wrote up my impressions of the rest of the March Meeting– when I got back, I was buried in grading, and then trying to put together Monday’s presentation. And, for reasons that will become apparent, I was unable to write anything up before I…

Boskone this past weekend was held at the Westin Waterfront in Boston, which has these funky double showerheads that they charmingly call the “Heavenly(R) Shower” (hype aside, they are very nice showers). The picture at right is courtesy of lannalee on Twitter, as I didn’t bring a camera. Why am I telling you this? Because…

Climate, Weather, and Public Opinion

There’s a Kenneth Chang article in the New York Times this morning on the ever popular topic of “If the globe is warming, why is it so darn cold?” It’s a good explanation of the weather phenomenon that’s making the morning dog walk at Chateau Steelypips so unpleasant. This reminded me of something I’ve wondered…

Yesterday’s reason to love quantum was the CCD sensor, which relies on the photoelectric effect to take digital pictures. Sticking with the photoelectric theme, today’s first quantum-enabled technology is the photovoltaic cell, the basis for solar panels. Photovoltaic cells convert light into electricity, essentially via the same photoelectric effect used in CCD’s. A photon of…

Snowy Poll

I just finished shoveling six-plus inches of snow off our cars and driveway (the forecast called for something like 3-5″, but we’ve got more than that, with no slowing in the fall). In honor of the first significant snowfall of the year, a poll: It’s snowing:(survey) This one has ticky-boxes, which will play hell with…

On Scandalous Emails

The big topic-of-the-moment is the hacked stash of emails from a major climate research group. The whole climate change discussion is one of those “no upside” topics that I try to stay out of, but I have some thoughts and comments about issues surrounding the email incident. These are largely based on reactions to yesterday’s…

A Question About Frost

It’s November now, which means we’re edging into winter, and my morning ritual has been expanded to include scraping the frost off the cars when I get back from walking the dog. I’ve had to do this half a dozen times already, and I’ve noticed a puzzling pattern. Our driveway is aligned almost exactly east-west,…