Gee-O-Science Happy Holiday’s Links: Part Two

One of the great things about geoscience is the fact that it doesn’t take a holiday, weekend, vacation, or an evening off.  The pale blue dot that we live on just keeps going 24/7 and offers a never-ending supply of goodies to fascinate us.  Here’s part two of the holiday link smorgasbord…dive on in…and pass the egg nog.

Our closest relatives can suffer from a mid life crisis too. After all, we’re not that much different from them.

The Liberal Republic of Science: a nice four part read that’s very thought provoking and well worth your time.

Calling all fellow introverts! If you’re exhausted by crowds, chit-chat, and “life-of-the-party” folks, you’ll enjoy this video. Were you bullied too? I was and know all too well the feeling of being a verbal punching bag. Little did those opportunistic interlopers know that they were giving me strengths that they will never comprehend or possess.

In spite of the myth, a well-rounded scientist is more productive, happy, and simply more fun to be around.

Before we head into the weather and climate links, here’s a look back at the most fascinating human evolution discoveries of 2012.

And speaking of species changing and adapting, approximately two million years ago changing environmental conditions in eastern Africa could have had an effect on human evolution.

It’s winter and, as I write this, many areas of the southern plains received snow over the Christmas holiday. Like to find out how much snow fell at your location? You can measure the snow depth yourself but, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Here’ s the proper way to measure snowfall accurately.

Speaking of snow, do you know how it forms? Watch and learn!

One of the most popular computer weather forecast models (often referred to as the EURO) compiles it data in Europe, but is highly dependent on data from USA satellites.

Even the relatively quiet & lonely continent of Antarctica is showing signs of warming…rather quickly too.

One of the challenges of conveying important scientific research is making it easily “digestible” to a general public that, for many reasons, finds science intimidating and/or boring.  Here’s a nice read on how we can get a start on changing that.

Forecasting weather is one of the most challenging tasks for the atmospheric scientist. It’s even tougher when weather systems go “missing” and make a difficult task worse that it should be.

Yes, Facebook is popular and hundreds of millions of people literally live on that site. Unfortunately, it’s a horrible platform for spreading potentially life-saving weather information!

Climate change is as real as the sky is blue. Sadly, some would rather pledge allegiance to the withering tin foil hat crowd and live in the Dark Ages.

2012 will go down as one of the driest years for the USA in decades. Unfortunately, the US Drought Monitor keeps looking worse as the weeks go by…with little relief in sight.

As of December 20, there were eleven billion dollar weather related events during 2012 in the USA. NOAA has detailed preliminary data on each of them.

Winter weather warnings, advisories, special weather statements, etc. can be confusing to many folks.  NOAA’s National Weather Service would like your feedback on how to improve their products. Here’s how you can help!

In the spirit of the season, I’ll wrap this up with an essay on the returns of being thankful.  Though not spiritual, I am fully aware that I can say, “thank goodness” (in the spirit of Daniel Dennett) for many things…

  • The countless people the world over who devote their lives to the never-ending search for the ultimate truth…which resides in the halls of science.
  • The courage of many scientists to take on the bully pulpit of corporations, big money religion, and politicians that are little more than puppets of lobbyists.
  • The amazing fact that by a mere roll of the dice, we live on a planet that has just the right ingredients for life and untold numbers of species have evolved over billions of years…a few leading to what we (humans) are today…and that we’re never satisfied with the knowledge we have now…and we crave the acquisition of new knowledge as much as we crave the very food and water that keeps us alive.
  • The amazing technology that keeps us all connected and has made the world a much smaller place. Some long for the “good old days” of a telegraph, gossip in the local cafe, and a bucolic existence of a world gone by. Give me the technology of computers and the internet any day. Today’s most modest laptop computer can give its user the world and his or her fingertips, news from any country, free communication with someone thousands of miles away in real time. Like Johannes Gutenberg’s press, computers, the digital world, and the internet have revolutionized human existence…and the best it yet to come. Yes, I’m optimistic about our species and, if we mind our fragile planet, we’ll have the greatest gift we can give to future generations…a planet fit for our species to live on in the brief amount of geologic time that we’re a guest on this amazing orbiting sphere we call home.

Here’s to an amazing 2013 full of spectacular discoveries! Now get out there, ruffle some feathers, and raise some hell. We’ve got some awesome SCIENCE to do!



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