Monday, August 25, 2014

Fukushima'd Monday

The horror of Fukushima keeps on giving.

Immigrant children who were sent back are being killed.

How lizards regenerate their tails: researchers discover genetic 'recipe':
By understanding the secret of how lizards regenerate their tails, researchers may be able to develop ways to stimulate the regeneration of limbs in humans. Now, a team of researchers from Arizona State University is one step closer to solving that mystery. The scientists have discovered the genetic “recipe” for lizard tail regeneration, which may come down to using genetic ingredients in just the right mixture and amounts 
Lizards?... might want to be careful...

George Bush.

Bank of America gets to pay back 17bn over questionable mortgages.  Do they get to go back and help those people they drove out of their houses and into poverty, too?

Bigger spiders a good thing?  I don't think so....

A cop discusses Ferguson and the behavior of the police.

Oh please, let this be true! The Twilight of Antonin Scalia

One half-hour to change a governor's mind about climate change.  And they don't think it worked.

How much you can save when you stop buying shit.

How amazingly transparent the CIA is....

How do you pronounce pecan?

California drought, before and after comparisons.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Iceland could really mess things up...

Because of Bárðarbunga.  Daily Kos's Rei tells the story:

The winter of 1783-1784. The Revolutionary War had just ended, and Benjamin Franklin was puzzling over the nation's bizarre weather. Congress had been delayed getting to Annapolis to vote for the Treaty of Paris because the Chesapeake Bay just wouldn't melt. The Mississippi River froze down to New Orleans, and ice was reported floating in the Gulf of Mexico. Reports from Europe were of a bizarrely hot summer with thick fog that was choking people to death in Scotland, massive hailstones, lightning, and crop failures. The sun was blood-red at noon. Mass starvation that would ultimately kill 1/6ths of Egypt's population took hold due to a historic drought of the Nile. As many as six million people would die from the bizarre weather.
Franklin was one of the few scientists of the era to (almost) correctly speculate as to its cause:
"The cause of this universal fog is not yet ascertained [...] or whether it was the vast quantity of smoke, long continuing, to issue during the summer from Hekla in Iceland, and that other volcano which arose out of the sea near that island, which smoke might be spread by various winds, over the northern part of the world, is yet uncertain."
He, however, had mixed up his Icelandic volcanoes, for it was not Hekla that erupted that year, causing the planet-altering weather, but Laki (Eldgjá). A rift 23 kilometers long opened up in places up to 100 meters wide with lava fountains at times reaching over a kilometers into the air - and it continued erupting for 8 months.

The total quantity of lava erupted - 14 cubic kilometers - was not that much more than Mount Pinatubo (largest eruption of the 20th century)'s 10 cubic kilometers. But the eruption kicked out a staggering 120 million tons of sulfur dioxide, compared to Pinatubo's 17 million - nearly supervolcano levels. Also unusually, Laki emitted 8 million tons of hydrogen fluoride - normally a trace volcanic gas. These gasses created the "Laki Haze" across Europe. In Iceland, the consequences were most severe - a quarter of the population starved or died of fluoride poisoning, and most of the livestock died. Denmark considered evacuating the entire island.
Is Laki threatening to go off? No. Then why do I mention him?
Because his big sister IS threatening to go off.
Bárðarbunga (BOWR-thar-Boon-kah, "Bárður's Bulge") is part of the same volcanic system, but is much larger than Laki. Barðárbunga stretches out over 200 kilometers long. It has a large eruption every 250-600 years. One of its eruptions before settlers arrived was 21-30 cubic kilometers of lava. Like her little brother Laki, she's associated with massive amounts of toxic gas release.

Update:
Rei's update.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Follies

Russian has actually had two nuclear disasters.

Love no matter what.

Apparently we need to start recording everything we do.

Republicans hate government so much that they are startled to learn they might want to show voters they can govern.

Paul Krugman takes apart libertarian economics and Ayn Rand fantasies.

The over-militarization of our police. Steve Bates discusses. Officer Friendly.

Singing opera may save your life.

Why funny people kill themselves.

Jeffrey Smith Challenge to Neil deGrasse Tyson on GMO food.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Piles and piles of bones, artifacts, fish

Piles of prehistoric bones!

Piles of 'artifacts spanning more than 15 centuries of Etruscan, Roman and medieval civilization in Tuscany'.

Piles of dead sea creatures.  Stop ghost fishing.
Shocking Statistics
Up to 30% of all fish are caught in ghost nets.
Roughly 10%, or 640,000 tons of all marine debris are caught in ghost nets.
As of right now, and still counting, there has been thousands of seabirds, 20,000 northern fur seals, and 500,000 octopi caught in ghost nets.
Over a 23 week period, there has been 11 harbor seals, 450 salmon, 1,300 spiny dogfish, 1,800 birds, and 16,900 crabs caught in just one net.
In the wreck of the MV Infidel off the coast of Santa Catalina Island alone, 4.5 tons of netting sank to the ocean floor.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014