Monthly Archives: August, 2013

Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Aug. 19 – 25, 2013

Busy week on tap for yours truly, so I’ve got an abbreviated list here…but there’s some good stuff I’d like to pass along…let’s get started…hope you enjoy!


Good news on the open-access front…a significant percentage of 2011 scientific papers are now free to read.

Thought provoking read by Chris Mooney. “The Science Of Why We Don’t Believe Science.”

The inimitable E.O. Wilson writes on, “What Makes A Good Scientist?”

September is National Preparedness Month with the American Red Cross. Regardless of where you live in the USA, you need a disaster preparedness plan.


How do citizen scientists stack up against the experts? Quite well, thank you.


Eight official state dinosaurs…including Oklahoma’s very own T-Rex look-a-like called Acrocanthosaurus atokensis.


What makes consumers less likely to recycle? The answer is surprising.

Scandinavians are probably the worlds most adept folks at recycling…so much so that in Norway, there’s a shortage of trash.

Some amazing images…seeing earth as a beautiful calamity.

For many city dwellers like myself, light pollution is a challenge for our astronomical viewing. But, there are options available.


After 10 years of faithful service, NOAA retires the GOES-12 satellite.

NASA is using two aircraft in a study to gather data on the interaction of pollution and climate.

NASA’s also been analyzing a vast area of Saharan dust that’s partly responsible for a quiet Atlantic tropical season.

The Columbia Journalism Review has compiled a good list of climate websites.

A decline in sea ice is inducing a ‘greening’ of the Arctic.

Looking back to the past climate for data to help long-term climate fluctuations.

Hurricane Sandy altered sea floors and shorelines, destroyed buildings, and disrupted millions of lives in 2012. Now, the changed coastline is being remapped.

Summer may be drawing to a close for much of the Northern Hemisphere, but here’s some “bookmark worthy” summer safety info from the NWS, Norman, OK.

And that’s a wrap…have a great week everybody…see you sooner than later!



Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew’s Florida Landfall: Aug. 24, 1992

Today’s the 21st anniversary of Hurricane Andrew  making landfall on the southeastern Florida coast. It seems like just yesterday when I was watching The Weather Channel, closely following the progress of the storm (sans internet), and realizing this would be a historical weather event for the United States. After crossing the Gulf of Mexico, I was able to pick up a New Orleans radio station on my clock radio and vividly recall the sense of urgency in the announcer’s voice as Andrew headed towards the central Gulf coast. Ultimately, Andrew was upgraded to Category 5 status in 2002 after meteorological data was reviewed.

Here are some links you might find of interest. The Nat’l Climactic Data Center has a nice roundup of events. From 1993, the Nat’l Hurricane Center has a very detailed overview including a detailed meteorological perspective and damage photos. The Capital Weather Gang has two nice pages from 2012; one on the development of Andrew as is approached the US, the latter giving in insiders view of the events at the National Hurricane Center. Last but not least, the National Hurricane Center has all the latest tropical cyclone weather data. If you live in a hurricane prone region, travel to one often, or have family or friends who live along or close to the Gulf or Atlantic coast, it’s a website worth bookmarking.

And just one more thing…September is National Preparedness Month from the American Red Cross. Hurricane Preparedness Week was earlier this summer, but this is still a good time to prepare. Considering that the Atlantic is very quiet at this time, now’s an ideal time to prepare for a tropical cyclone landfall because when it’s imminent, it’s too late.


Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For Aug. 12 – 18, 2013

Quite a variety of topics to cover this week which is one of the nice things about science. It’s one of the few disciplines that can touch a wide spectrum of topics and opinions. Here’s a look at a few select links…


An overview of browser extensions that help protect your privacy.

The end of privacy and the rise of a surveillance society…a disturbing tech trend with no easy solutions for society at large.

Some are low tech, some higher tech…but here are 10 innovations you didn’t know were Swedish.

If you’re like me, you can spend up to 16-18 hours a day at your workstation. Here’s some valuable tips on how to set up and ergonomic workstation.

The solution to the problems of sharing scientific data isn’t an easy one.


The Precipitation Identification Near Ground (PING) project at the Nat’l Severe Storms Laboratory is one of the coolest citizen science projects to come along in quite some time!

Read how citizen scientists are helping scientists gather climate data and information for research.


I can’t improve or improvise better on this headline: “The New York Times hosts a superfluous debate on evolution vs. creationism, including more dumb accusations that science is based on faith.”

A brilliant essay by Stephen Pinker (Science Is Not The Enemy Of The Humanities) and an interesting rebuttal to Pinker’s “patronizing” article.


A very interesting map from The Atlantic on race in the US based on the 2010 census.  Would be interesting to see other maps constructed of different census data.


Here’s a very cool info-graphic of 50 amazing facts about our own planet.

Monitoring slow earthquakes could help seismologists foretell more significant seismic events.


Many folks in arid southwestern US cities are losing their lawns…and I like the sound of this concept.

Very interesting read from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists…”How big is your carbon debt?”


Would you like a weather forecast or a life-saving warning? Pony up, Mack! Ya want it, ya gotta pay for it!

Related to the previous link…storms, even hurricanes, used to be a surprise. Here’s a nice history of hurricane warnings.

Sprites (and blue jets) are an atmospheric phenomenon that has fascinated me for years. Here’s a look at these rarely photographed spectacles.

An op-ed piece on soil science and it’s relation to climate science.

Could cutting soot and methane have little or no effect on slowing climate change?

Crowdsourcing weather data using smartphone batteries…and interesting concept.

How will crops fare under climate change? It depends on how you ask.

Research from the Univ. of Arizona shows a change in plant growth across 50 years and it’s connection to climate change.

Nice comparison by Climate Central of US drought conditions between 2012 and 2013 & relation to climate change.

While on the topic of the 2012 drought, here’s one opinion that feels it’s related to natural climactic trends.

On the other side of the coin, another read that feels the climatic extremes are fueled by climate change.

Attention apple lovers…the fruit, not the hardware…climate change could have an effect on your favorite fruit.

The challenge of conveying climate science to a public that is indifferent to the topic is a challenge that will be with us for some time.

Here’s an amazing AP photo essay following several students affected by the Moore, OK tornado of May 20, 2013.


A bizarre example of archaic sexism (for both genders) that, frightfully enough, is still valid for a certain ilk of our modern society.

A perfect example of media hype which shows (1) media is often “slack on the facts” and (2) wishful thinking by some feeds the hype.

NIKE is releasing “weatherman” shoes…at $200 a pop, they’re at least $150 overpriced.

Across the contiguous US, we’re looking at a return to more traditional weather patterns this week with a ridge of high pressure bringing warm temps back into the plains states. For now, the Atlantic tropics are somewhat quiet…but we have several weeks left in the hurricane season…so stay weather aware.

See you good folks next week…


Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links: Aug. 5 – 11, 2013

As usual, there’s plenty of interesting science stories out there. From a weather viewpoint, we’re entering the peak of the Atlantic tropical cyclone season. Though the activity has been “tame” so far, there’s a lot that can still happen over the next few weeks. And on that note, let’s get started…there’s a little bit of everything this week.


A great read by the inimitable Stephen Pinker: Science Is Not Your Enemy.

How open-access scholarship improves the internet…I’d really like to see more of this.

The Mercator projection on world maps is everywhere, but it’s not the most accurate.


An enjoyable read on how science museums must aim beyond education and embrace citizen science.

Millions are birdwatchers (including myself…& my constant vigilance for Cardinals). Like to get started? Here’s how.


Fellow introverts, rest easy. Here’s a list of 27 challenges that we can relate to all too well.

A good read on “7 Negative People You Need To Ignore“…and essay like this makes me think twice about following anybody on Twitter, etc. who has a dour & sarcastic online personality.


Is digital media wiping out traditional print media? Here’s an interesting take on that discussion.

Thought provoking look at 100 examples of corporate social media policies.  Some good tips here that should be applied to even “secret” personal accounts.

Nothing done on the internet is “private”…but here’s some helpful tips on encrypting email.

Speaking of privacy, Steve Gibson’s written a good essay on “The Lesson of Lavabit.”


The sun’s magnetic field is about to flip…again. Don’t worry. It’s nothing we haven’t lived through before.


Here’s a weather data and imagery site from Univ. of Wisconsin Space Science and Engineering Center that’s bookmark worthy.

Astronaut and oceanographer Kathryn Sullivan has been chosen to lead NOAA.

Here’s an interesting story about Lewis Fry Richardson, the “father” of weather forecasting…and much unappreciated in the history of science.

Though much of the changes in polar ice are slow, sudden events can and do occur.

The loss of Arctic sea ice has wide ranging effects that can take place all over the globe.

For some climate scientists, speaking out about climate change is a moral obligation.

As I mentioned earlier, the Atlantic tropical cyclone season has been relatively quiet…but NOAA is still expecting an active season.

As hurricane Henriette moved across the Pacific in early August, 2013, NASA’s TRMM scanned thunderstorms within the circulation up to ten miles in height.

Active tropical cyclone season or not, here are a few changes that can’t do anything but help us.

NASA’s Firestation is on it’s way to the International Space Station to study lightning!

Here’s an interesting map of the number of Twitter followers (as of summer, 2013) for each National Weather Service office in the U.S. (Courtesty NWSFO Norman, OK)

A meteorologists took this very cool video of a dry microburst as it blasts the NWS office in Elko, Nevada.

And that’s a wrap for this show…time to turn the page, mark 30, and I’ll see you good folks sooner than later!


Tornado Quest Gee-O-Science Links For July 29 – August 4, 2013

Another week of great science out there. Let’s take a look at a few select stories…


Taking a complex scientific concept and translating it into words that are palatable for the general public can be a daunting task for many a writer. Trust me, I’ve done it many times.

When talking about science to the general public, do we need more Tony Stark and less Big Bang Theory?


If you’re looking for a great site to answer your questions related to citizen science, SciStarter has your answers.

No surprise here. Citizen scientists rival experts in analyzing land-cover data.


After reading this, I don’t feel so bad about the clover, chickweed, unsavory vines, and crabgrass that fight with the bermuda in my lawn for survival.


Check out this very cool satellite image page from NASA with worldwide views available for the date you choose.

After many weeks of 24 hour daylight, the sun is finally setting in Barrow, Alaska. Yes, winter is on it’s way.

Clouds on Earth don’t just look pretty or give us various forms of precipitation, they also save us from a greenhouse hell.

According to some estimates, heat-related deaths in Australia could quadruple by 2050.

And speaking of heat-related deaths, here’s some good info on heatstroke & motor vehicles. It’s sad in this day & age that safety info like this has to exist, but carelessness and neglect are all too frequent.

Cities, like the one I live in, are prone to the “urban heat island effect.” Temperatures in urban areas can run 10-15 degrees warmer (especially at night) than in suburban/rural areas.

Areas prone to damage from floods and hurricanes often rebuild as soon as possible…then face the dangers of the same damage occurring again…and again.

No surprise here. A warming climate may drive human conflict. No doubt that many historians could verify this.

Here’s another good read on scientists looking back in time to get a better grasp on the future of our planet’s climate.

What would be a surprising tool to measure climate change? Radio waves.

NASA is embarking on a research project to study the pollution-climate link.

A very intriguing read on the interesting, and troubling, connection with climate change and infectious diseases.

By some accounts, the rate of climate change is occurring at a rate faster than ecosystems can adapt.

The latest drought data shows some relief across the United States plains states, but severe conditions still exist in many areas.

Is long-range tornado forecasting feasible? Here’s an interesting read on the topic from NCAR.

A new Doppler radar will take flight this summer over the Atlantic to gather data on tropical cyclones.

Recently, the Lubbock, TX airport has a couple of unexpected guests.

Some recent tornadoes in Italy resulted in some “close encounter” videos. In this video, it’s interesting to note the sudden change (00:21:00) in the wind field as the tornado passes.  This video just as interesting…in both cases, the people really should have been in shelter rather than standing close to large glass windows.


Why do people read the comments…when, far too often, it’s worthless vitriol hidden behind the safety/facade of a monitor?

Speaking of malevolent online behavior, here’s an interesting read on those darling trolls. Overall, I’d agree…but trolls also consist of females, nationalities, and ethnic/socio-economic backgrounds.

Roundabout’s are great…efficient at moving traffic smoothly, safe, and no troubles to navigate during a power outage as opposed to a intersection with lights that’s suddenly a four-way stop. Too bad some folks just don’t get it…and never will.

The prevalence of terrible passwords is…all too prevalent.

Like our planet’s polar ice, the United States citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights are slowly melting away.

Sweden’s “old-timers” (which would include me by some standards) are back in style…but not for the reasons you think.

Finally, here’s a great list of school safety resources from the CDC that covers most anything a parent could be concerned with.

And that’s a wrap for this week! If you’re sweltering in the summer heat, remember to check the back seat!


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