Tornado Quest Science Links And Much, Much More For May 26 – June 2, 2015

Many of you who live outside of the southern plains of the contiguous USA may be wondering why all the news coverage of flooding (particularly in Oklahoma and Texas) is taking place. To say that we’ve had more than our share of drought-busting rains is a vast understatement. The good side is we’ve gotten several lakes that have been well below normal for years back to or over their usual level. Many agricultural interests got some badly needed relief. On the sad, and even tragic side, several lives have been lost including a Claremore, OK firefighter who drowned while trying to rescue people who were trapped in a building that was in danger of flooding. Several other Oklahoma first responders had close calls and nearly lost their lives saving people who (to be direct and to-the-point) did stupid and dangerous things…like driving a large four-wheel drive vehicle through water of an unknown depth. Those of us in the know who have seen the after effects of deadly floods (which I have) could talk to a good portion of the public until we’re blue in the face about the dangers of flash floods, but it’s all too often for naught. Everyone thinks their vehicle can handle the water. Everyone thinks their driving skills can overcome the forces of nature. Everyone thinks that drowning fatalities only happen to “other” people. The sad truth is 1. Flash Flooding is the largest weather related killer and outranks yearly the number of people killed by tornadoes, hurricanes, heat, cold, lightning, et. al combined and 2. YOU are just as vulnerable to death by drowning regardless of what kind of vehicle you’re driving. If you’re interested in staying alive, read this and take it to heart…and seriously. Now, on to our regular business.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

GENERAL SCIENCE

I’m absolutely gobsmacked that in 2015 this is still an issue. “Bias Against Women In Science Persists, Even In Egalitarian Societies.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

This can’t happen soon enough…and with merciless vengeance. Twitter trolls, your days are numbered. The Department of Justice is about to drop the hammer…on you.

SOCIAL SCIENCE

From personal experience, I’ve no doubt this is true. “Seeing Awe-Inspiring Natural Sights Makes You A Better Person.”

EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY/PALEONTOLOGY

Fascinating read on new evidence on the origins of life.

There’s a new branch on the human family tree. Anthropologists say they’ve found a new human ancestor.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

A new study finds little known earthquake and tsunami hazards are lurking offshore of Southern California.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Cooperation is imperative to dealing with drought conditions. “Watersheds don’t obey the political boundaries of multi-state, multi-country resources.”

In the midst of an unprecedented California drought, residents of San Diego are ripping up their water-guzzling lawns.

As the world’s population grows, the quest to quench an ever-growing thirsty planet is an increasingly daunting task.

It would be great to see these go worldwide. “World’s first Ocean Cleanup Array will start removing plastic from the seas in 2016.”

Snow may be fun while it’s fresh…but the melting piles that are still melting are vile in every way possible.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

The Atlantic hurricane season has officially started. Here’s an excellent overview of storm names, the seasonal outlook, and forecast products.

Complacency regarding the hurricane threat can lead to potentially lethal consequences. For many vulnerable regions of the USA, luck will run out…eventually. Regardless of how ambivalent one may be, now is the time to prepare…and the Red Cross has an excellent Hurricane Safety Checklist. (1 page PDF file)

Contrary to popular opinion, tropical storms are not the “drought-busters” that people want to believe they are.

This op-ed is simultaneously ignorant of the National Weather Service warning procedure, the atmospheric fluid dynamics of tornadogenisis, and fawningly sycophantic. Oddly enough, that’s about all it does achieve.

And before I close out this post one more reminder on flash flooding…TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!

Food for thought regarding climate change in the future. “Can A 4C Earth Support 10 Billion People?

An interesting read on research linking a warming Arctic and its potential connections to extremes in weather events.

A very interesting and telling look at eight maps that reveal American’s incoherent opinions of climate change.

THE QUIXOTIC

The plot thickens in the fracking/earthquake connection as academic integrity is threatened in Oklahoma. “Did Oklahoma’s richest man try to get Oklahoma Geological Survey scientists dismissed?”

For some, wind farms are an eyesore and aesthetics always outweigh environmental benefits…ergo, the perfect reason to abolish them from the face of the planet. Right.

That’s a wrap for this post!

Cheers!

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