Published on 2012-06-12 10:45:16
Fires Increase Due To Global Temperature Rise
While everybody talks about the threat posed by stronger hurricanes due to global warming (see this earlier post ), the greater danger in the American West is from increased number and severity of forest fires. (Fires are likely to increase in other regions as well: Australia, the Mediterranean basin, and so forth.)
The increase in temperature (0.9 degrees C over recent decades) is primarily responsible for the significant increase in wildfires in [..]
Published on 2012-05-08 11:05:05
Bovine Flatulence--Threat or Menace?
Cows can digest things we can't, especially including the cellulose in grass and grain. They do this by maintaining cultures of microorganisms in their complicated series of "stomachs" that can break down cellulose. The cows then digest the microbes and the sugars and fatty acids they produce.
(Brief overview of ruminant digestion here. If you are interested in delving into the digestive physiology of ruminants in more detail, start here.)
Some of these mic [..]
Published on 2011-11-11 14:54:50
The Periodic Table of the Elements compresses an amazing amount of information into 118 boxes, one for each chemical element. The most stunning revelation of the table is the regularity of patterns formed by the similar properties of elements in each group (column), which has come to be explained by the quantum structure of the electron clouds around atoms of each element. More about the table here (Wikipedia).
Unfortunately the periodic table can be a bit dry and boring. So much information! [..]
Published on 2011-09-29 15:35:42
The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) makes hands-on science available by video. Real scientists demonstrate their experiments on line to accompany their publications. A picture being worth a thousand words, and a video being worth at least a thousand pictures, this novel channel gives fellow researchers (and budding scientists!) around the world clearer access to experimental procedures. Now JoVE is offering free access to developing-country researchers.
Those of us who have tried to fi [..]
Published on 2011-08-30 18:24:42
I am going to test your understanding of "probability" and "randomness". For purposes of this demonstration, assume that the person in this picture has been randomly selected from all Americans. This is a picture of a randomly selected American.
Is this person more likely to be a farmer, or a librarian?
Whatever you answered, your answer was almost certainly influenced by your previous knowledge, biases, and thinking about what the woman "probably" was.
Published on 2011-03-23 18:40:50
Putting Fukushima In Perspective
This excellent chart puts in perspective the various amounts of radiation we might be exposed to. I know you can't read the reduced version shown here, so click on the image or go to the xkcd site to see the full-siz
Published on 2011-03-01 18:17:16
Great Science Breakthroughs Which Shape Our Modern World
(If you have others you would include, or would drop any of these, use the Comments feature below.)
Invention of Modern Numeration, Arithmetic and Algebra
The Brahmasphutasiddhanta (Brahmagu
Published on 2011-01-05 23:37:36
If you don't understand "latent heat" you can't understand how much of the biosphere or a lot of engineering works. The latent heat of water is the energy absorbed when water is evaporated, or released when it condenses. Weather, thermoregulation, gl
Published on 2010-11-04 12:07:54
Here are some weird science words. Be careful how you use them.
Auscultation—Listening. Especially listening to the sounds of the internal organs, as with a stethoscope.
Borborygmus, pl. borborygmi—Rumbling and gurgling noise
Published on 2010-09-30 19:00:24
The Royal Society has published Climate change: A summary of the science. It has the aim "to summarise the current scientific evidence on climate change and its drivers." It is focused on how Earth's climate is changing and what is making it change.
Published on 2010-09-26 11:03:13
Flowers, sex and seeds
Flowers are the specialized plant structures which produce pollen and where seeds develop within an enclosing fruit. Each seed (like the faba bean seeds at the right) contains a baby plant.
A baby plant (plant embryo), and it
Published on 2010-09-18 11:45:47
This post will help you understand
Why the "greenhouse effect" has to do with gases in the atmosphere,
How these "greenhouse gases" in the atmosphere warm the Earth (and what that has to do with things that are "red hot"),
What this implies for futu
Published on 2010-09-18 11:33:24
Rice field in Bangladesh
New science raises serious concerns about the negative impact of global warming on crop yields and plant productivity in general.
This could be one of the most severe social and economic effects of climate change.
Published on 2010-09-17 18:08:36
What true scientist has not asked, at some time or other, "Why is pee yellow?"
Some European alchemists in the middle ages apparently thought one possible reason was that there was gold in urine. This led to fruitless, and possibly quite disgusting,
Published on 2010-08-30 16:40:17
How much oil has spilled?
Big quantities are sometimes hard to grasp. They are outside our everyday experience. When you hear that millions of gallons of crude are spilling in the Gulf, how much is that really? Professor James Corbett of the Universi
Published on 2010-08-25 19:56:53
Think of the colors you see in the sky. On a clear day, when the Sun is out, the sky may appear blue.
Take the "Why is the sky blue?" quiz (multiple choice)Why is the sky blue?
a. It isn't colored blue--it only looks blue.
b. Because it isn't red.
Published on 2010-08-25 19:55:22
Research Shows Scientists Agree on Global Warming
Researchers at Stanford and the University of Toronto noted that some people dispute whether there is "scientific consensus" on the reality and causes of climate change. They decided to find out how m