Tornado Quest Science Week In Review for February 4 – 11, 2017

Happy weekend everyone! February is moving along just fine with a major heat wave in Australia, significant snowstorms in the northeastern USA states and parts of eastern Europe, and an exceptionally warm winter day in the American southern plains. As of late, I’ve had several inquiries regarding storm spotter training. Across the USA, National Weather Service offices are having their Skywarn spotter training classes. Please check with your local National Weather Service office to see when training is scheduled in your area. This training is imperative to have if you’re to be an effective spotter. Also keep in mind that this is a commitment to your local community. Safety, for the public and yourself, is a non-negotiable priority and the purpose of storm spotting. Sensationalism, hyperbole, and fifteen minutes of fame on social media isn’t.

In other topics, public policy is now a permanent part of the sciences. It actually always has been but, in the interest of neutrality, many scientists have avoided it in spite of their frustrations. For reasons that are painfully obvious, scientists and citizen scientists are now in the politics business. Lock and load…we’re in for several years of a wild ride.

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

SCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

The USA can’t afford to take part in any international or national cuts in science funding. Any attempts at such action would set us back many years.

Oklahoman’s are more than a little familiar with the new head of the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency and what he is capable of. The agency’s regulatory authority is in peril.

After what seems like a millennium of playing the apolitical “neutral” game, scientists are finally taking a stance politically…and none too soon.

A very thought provoking look at women in scientific research. The most startling statistic: only twenty-eight percent of researchers are women.

This young lady has the kind of fearless chutzpah that you can’t help but admire. “Congressman is righteously booed after dodging a young girl’s simple question about science.”

TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter is finally putting some teeth and anti-harassment  into their policy toward trolls.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

This could also be posted under Atmospheric Science, but due to the potential use by citizen scientists, I’ve posted it here…and it’s very cool too. You can now post mPING reports from your RadarScope app! If you’re a citizen scientist, weather geek, nature enthusiast, or have any kind of interest in the weather and climate, RadarScope is the best mobile device weather radar app available.

GEOGRAPHY

A fascinating look at seven maps that will certainly alter the way you look at the countries around the world.

GEOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Considering the impending changes in the current administration, I doubt seriously this will come to fruition. We can only hope that somehow the EPA is still allowed to tell Oklahoma regulators to do more to protect the state from a surge in earthquake activity linked to the underground disposal of oil & gas wastewater.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE/RENEWABLES

Here’s some good news from Europe. Approximately ninety percent of new power is from renewable energy sources. The caveat is what will happen after the year 2020.

Fortunately, there’s more good renewables  news this week. “Wind power is making a comeback. One of the earliest energy sources to be harnessed by mankind has now overtaken coal-fired generation in Europe and hydroelectric dams in the U.S.”

Air pollution can kill. You only have to look at the recent horrid conditions across much of China to see the life-threatening effects.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

As I mentioned earlier, it’s time for Skywarn spotter training. With the peak of severe weather season rapidly approaching, it’s time for training.

A much warmer than usual winter for the Arctic is still going full steam. That’s not a little disconcerting.

Here’s a very detailed view of drought conditions across the contiguous USA. For the first time since March, 2011, there are no areas in the USA that are experiencing “exceptional” drought conditions.

In other parts of the world, floods and erosion are problematic. Many of Britain’s significant sites are in critical danger of permanent alteration.

An enlightening read on how the new climate change denial is just like the old-school denial…just a touch of different rhetoric.

One of the more unfortunate stories this week concerns false information that claims the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) falsified climate data. Here’s Carbon Brief’s excellent article on this matter as well as a good read from the New York Times.

I couldn’t have said this better myself. “Climate change has long been the target of so-called fake news and its researchers can offer lessons for the wider society in how to handle deliberate misinformation.” Considering the overabundance of information that many people find difficult to sift through, a concerted effort to help the public discern scientific news conveyed by truth-seeking scientists from sub par propaganda from the interloping riff-raff is badly needed.

The United States isn’t the only country where climate change and policy is being ravaged in terms of short-term profits. Australia has an equally hostile climate as well. Myopic, vested interests have climate science squarely in their cross-hairs.

Last but certainly not least, here’s another reminder of the March for Science which will be taking place in Washington, D. C. and many, many other cities around the globe on Earth Day, 22 April 2017. For more information, please visit the March For Science website for details and how you can participate. One particularly interesting take on the even comes from Forbes magazine. “The March For Science In Washington Is Political Whether You Like It Or Not.”

march-for-science2

And that will be a wrap for this post! I’d like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers in social media. I’m glad you’re along for the ride!

Cheers!


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