Category Archives: Science Facts and Fun

The Oklahoma Tornado Seen From Space (Video)


When severe weather conditions developed over Oklahoma on May 20, NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite was switched to capture an image every 5 minutes as opposed to the normal interval of 30 minutes. The result is this amazing NOAAVisualizations high speed animation. “The added frequency greatly assists …
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The Oklahoma Tornado Seen From Space (Video)
Big Think Editors
Wed, 22 May 2013 16:29:46 GMT



Protons for Breakfast Blog

via Satellites.

Hurricane Earl viewed from the space stationHurricane Earl viewed from the space station: From LA TImes

Satellite imagery has transformed our appreciation of our Earth.

I only sign up for one e-mail newsletter, the weekly digest of images from the NASA Earth Observatory. Each week at least one image evokes a sense of simple wonder.  A couple of satellite images this week stopped me in my tracks, and I think their power rests on the fact that the images include the curve of the Earth in the background, and parts of the satellite in the foreground. Both are images of hurricanes and curiously neither of them was from the Earth Observatory, though both were from NASA. The photo of Hurricane Earl (link) at the head of this article is just stunning: I find it moving to reflect on the contrast between the silent grace of the storm when viewed from space, with the chaos and overwhelming power of the storm on the ground. The second ‘image’ was actually a movie of Hurricane Igor, and again the sense of Olympian detachment is profoundly moving: we simply watch while chaos unfolds below.

Satellite imagery has transformed our appreciation of our Earth.

The Spillage Idiot | The New Republic

Jonathan Chait:

Charles Krauthammer has a genuine conceptual breakthrough. The BP oil spill is the fault, at least in part, of… environmentalists!

Environmental chic has driven us out there. As production from the shallower Gulf of Mexico wells declines, we go deep (1,000 feet and more) and ultra deep (5,000 feet and more), in part because environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coast off-limits to oil production. (President Obama’s tentative, selective opening of some Atlantic and offshore Alaska sites is now dead.) And of course, in the safest of all places, on land, we’ve had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.As a description of reality, this is pure idiocy. But as a form of right-wing rationalization, it’s genius, to the point where I nearly have to admire it. Let’s tally up the fallacious assumptions here. First, the large fallacy is that environmentalists are the ones controlling American oil drilling policy. They support deep offshore drilling? Really?

Then there are smaller, associated fallacies. Krauthammer implies that drilling closer to shore on the East or West coasts would foreclose the possibility of accidents, even though close offshore drilling has also resulted in accidents, and the proximity to shore would make such accidents even more disastrous.

Next, there’s the assumption that world demand for oil is completely static — drill a little more here and we’d necessarily be drilling less there. If we had opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, that would sate the oil companies, and they’d have no longer had any need to drill in the gulf. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way.

All in all, a memorable effort from Krauthammer.

The Spillage Idiot | The New Republic.

I actually find Chait’s argument unpersuasive, except for suggesting its absurd to suggestion environmentalists support deep water drilling.  The effect of their policy preferences may well have that effect though.

Japan Plans a Moon Base by 2020, Built by Robots for Robots | Popular Science

From Popular Science, that because of my dad I enjoyed as a kid:

America may have eighty-sixed its moon base ambitions, but the Japanese have no plans to let perfectly good lunar real estate go to waste. An ambitious $2.2 billion project in the works at JAXA, the Japanese space agency, plans to put humanoid robots on the moon by 2015, and now official backing from the Prime Minister’s office says the Japanese could have an unmanned lunar base up and running by 2020.

At least some one is talking about some kind of Moon base.  When I was a kid, I thought by the time I was the age I am now there would be one or more Moon bases.

In fact after showing the Russian who was boss by making a hand full of trips, nothing has happened in almost 40 years.  The future feels like a disappointment at times.

Sadly, given the economic difficulties that exist now in Japan and other place, I’m skeptical that this will actually happen, at least in my life time.

What do others think?

Japan Plans a Moon Base by 2020, Built by Robots for Robots | Popular Science.

Fire, Ice and Lighting – Cool or what? – Volcanic Lightning, Eyjafjallajökull, and how it works : Starts With A Bang

Fire, Ice and Lighting – Cool or what?

Volcanic Lightning, Eyjafjallajökull, and how it works : Starts With A Bang.